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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 16
Verse 16. In the day. This verse is doubtless to be connected with Ro 2:12, and the intermediate verses are a parenthesis, and it implies that the heathen world, as well as the Jews, will be arraigned at the bar of judgment. At that time God will judge all in righteousness, the Jew by the law which he had, and the heathen by the law which he had.
But this does not militate against the fact that he will do it by Jesus Christ. God has appointed his Son to administer judgment; and it will be not by God directly, but by Jesus Christ that it will be administered.
The secrets of men. See Lu 18:17; Ec 12:14, "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing," etc. Mt 10:26; 1 Co 4:5. The expression denotes the hidden desires, lusts, passions, and motives of men; the thoughts of the hearts, as well as the outward actions of the life. It will be a characteristic of the day of judgment, that all these will be brought out, and receive their appropriate reward. The propriety of this is apparent, for
(1.) it is by these that the character is really determined. The motives and principles of a mart constitute his character, and to judge him impartially these must be known.
(2.) They are not judged or rewarded in this life. The external conduct only can be seen by men, and of course that only can be rewarded or punished here.
(3.) Men of pure motives and pure hearts are often here basely aspersed and calumniated. They are persecuted, traduced, and often overwhelmed with ignominy. It is proper that the secret motives of their conduct should be brought out, and approved. On the other hand, men of base motives—men of unprincipled character, and who are corrupt at the heart—are often lauded, flattered, and exalted into public estimation. It is proper that their secret principles should be detected, and that they should take their proper place in the government of God. In regard to this expression, we may further remark
(1.) that the fact, that all secret thoughts and purposes will be brought into judgment, invests the judgment with an awful character. Who should not tremble at the idea that the secret plans and desires of his soul, which he has so long and so studiously concealed, should be brought out into noon-day in the judgment? All his artifices of concealment shall be then at an end. He will be able to practise disguise no longer. He will be seen as he is; and he will receive the doom he deserves. There will be one place, at least, where the sinner shall be treated as he ought.
(2.) To execute this judgment implies the power of searching the heart, of knowing the thoughts, and of developing and unfolding all the purposes and plans of the soul. Yet this is entrusted to Jesus Christ, and the fact that he will exercise this shows that he is Divine.
Of men. Of all men, whether Jew or Gentile, infidel or Christian. The day of judgment, therefore, may be regarded as a day of universal development of all the plans and purposes that have ever been entertained in this world.
According to my Gospel. According to the gospel which I preach. Comp. Ac 17:31; 2 Ti 4:8. This does not mean that the gospel which he preached would be the rule by which God would judge all mankind, for he had just said that the heathen world would be judged by a different rule, Ro 2:12. But it means that he was entrusted with the gospel to make it known; and that one of the great and prime articles of that gospel was, that God would judge the world by Jesus Christ. To make this known he was appointed; and it could be called his gospel only as being a part of the important message with which he was entrusted.
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