by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 10 January 18, 2005 Lincolnton, N.C.
(092)Thesis:Man's condition under the wrath of God is made more serious by the fact that he has not been permitted to be ignorant of his sin.
Introduction:The Bible says that there is going to come a day when every knee bows (Romans 14:11) and every mouth is silenced (Romans 3:19) before the judgment of God. The Bible also, however, says that there will be a cacophony of voices raised in the day of judgment by men who resist the judgment of God (Matthew 7:22). What is it that is going to bring the noise level down to total silence? We have an illustration in John 8:1-11; but we have a clear explanation in Romans 2:15.
I. The Damping of the Noise Level Will Begin With the Reality of the Heart.
A. One aspect of the reality of the heart is that it dominates the actions of the body.
1. We are familiar with at least the bigger picture of the brain's impact upon the muscles.
2. Aside from a malfunction within the brain itself, the body does what the person decides will be done.
3. The decision of the person, however, is not determined by what the person knows.
4. The decision of the person is determined by a combination of what the person wants and what the person believes will get him what he wants.
5. Both of these issues (wanting and believing) have their foundations in what the Bible calls the "heart".
a) The "wanting" is rooted in the heart (Matthew 5:28).
b) The effective "believing" is rooted in the heart (Romans 10:9).
B. A second aspect of the reality of the heart is that it is very much like a tablet.
1. Paul says the law is "written" in the heart.
2. This does two things...
a) It makes the "heart" very much like a "tablet" (2 Corinthians 3:3).
b) It makes the "heart" a secondary issue to the "writing".
3. This means that it is not the heart, per se, which determines the actions that will be taken, but what is written there.
4. And this means that the writer is the ultimate controller of the actions.
a) This is borne out by both Jeremiah 31:33 and 2 Corinthians 3:3.
b) This is what is so dangerous about Ephesians 2:1ff.
C. A third aspect of the reality of the heart is that its contents are revealed by the actions of the body.
1. Paul says that the "doing" reveals the "writing".
a. He is not claiming that there is discernment of motivation in the revelation.
b. He is claiming that some mixture of "want" and "belief" have combined in the writing to produce the action...and that the action is clear evidence of the thing written.
2. This is a two-edged sword...
a. The "doing" of what is written in the Law reveals the Law's presence in the heart.
b. The "doing" of things contrary to the Law also, however, reveals the presence of something else in the heart besides the Law.
c. This mixture has made the human heart a hopeless mess that is without remedy [Ezekiel 36:26 at least implies that even God cannot correct the mess; so He has promised to replace it].
D. Thus, the first aspect of the damping of the noise will be the examination of the works that came out of the body.
II. The Damping of the Noise Level Will Increase With the Reality of the Conscience.
A. There is, within man, a "conscience" that does two things...
1. First, it monitors everything that proceeds out of the heart [the word "conscience" means "to perceive together with another"].
2. Second, it renders moral judgment upon everything that it observes [the word "bears witness" also includes another "witness"].
B. The point of Paul's words is that man has an internal witness to what is coming out of his heart.
C. The fact that he already knows what is written in the books of works leads to a further damping of the noise.
III. The Damping of the Noise Level Will Be Complete by Reason of the Reality of the Reasonings.
A. Paul says that a further development in the processes of man's actions is the active element of his "reasonings".
B. Man recognizes the decisions of his "conscience" and immediately puts his "reasoning" into the process in order to respond to "accusation" and "excusing".
C. The fact that the reasoning will be exposed for what it is (Romans 2:16) will finally bring about a dead silence.