The wrath of a holy God hovers over unredeemed sinners. Some flaunt conventional or biblical morality (1:18-31). Others hope their innate goodness, a myth to be destroyed later in Romans, will overcome their bad sins (2:1-11). Now we get to a text that deals with the sin of being religious (2:12-29).
The Apostle Paul has just argued in his epistle to the Romans that it is bad to be bad (ref. 1:18-32). Now he is going to tell us that good can be bad, too. That is, until we are transformed from bad to good. Then, good is what the good do. Let’s break that down.
Paul in Romans has already mentioned the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ, by way of introduction. Later in this letter he will plumb the depths of the love, grace, and mercy of God which takes the gospel and makes a person right with God. But in order to receive salvation and all the wonderful things that go with it, we have to face the worst things first.
The gospel is for God’s people. It is what brings us to God. It motivates us to pray for and present the gospel to others. And every time we gather for worship, the gospel should be preached, to grant salvation, to give assurance, and to motivate us to follow Christ in every other aspect of our lives.
Rock Johnson, Superstar. If I were a Roman Catholic Priest, this is the title I would give to my homily on this text. It would grab attention and require an explanation.