Bible Study, Catholic, Catholicism, Christianity

Bible 1 Yr – Day 184 – Romans 2: Confession and Example

Today we read Romans 2. At the end of Chapter 1, Paul told his readers that people who fall into persistent sin might be left to their own choices by God. Paul tells the readers that by not speaking out against sin a person can fall in to error by allowing it to appear as though they approve of those who engaged in sin.
Paul now changes direction and illuminates the other side of the coin. While it is important to identify sin to do so while committing sins of your own is hypocrisy. Paul writes:

1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another; for in passing judgment upon him you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.

That’s fair enough, I don’t think anyone would really take issue with that, but look at what Paul says next:

3 Do you suppose, O man, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Read that carefully, think about and pray about what Paul is saying. He says that one cannot “presume upon” God’s “kindness and forbearance and patience”, to escape judgement. In other words, you cannot assume that because you’re a Christian you are forgiven. Or more correctly, you can’t presume that because you are a Christian your current sins a automatically forgiven. You must continuously actively repent. This verse alone is enough to capsize the idea of ‘once save, always saved’.

Furthermore, this passage addresses the common question of why as Catholics we must confess our sins to a priest. When someone asks, “Why do I have to go to a Priest? Why can’t I go straight to God for forgiveness of my sins?” Part of the answer is that when you as an individual you “go straight to God”, even if you are genuinely sorry, you are at least partially presuming upon God’s kindness, forbearance and patience, something Paul tells us that you are not allowed to do. Combine this verse with:

– what we read in Matthew 9, that the power to forgive sins have been given to MEN (plural), and

– what Jesus says in Matthew 16 that what the Apostles bind on earth in bound in heaven and what they loose on earth is loosed in heaven, and later He tells the Apostles “whose sins you forgive are forgiven and whose sins you retain are retained.”

– remember that Paul says that when an Apostle speaks it, “is the same as a commandment of the Lord”

Thus the totality of the Biblical evidence demonstrates a strong case for confession to a priest. We see that going to a Priest is necessary because they have authority to forgive sins and we have to demonstrate true repentance by humbling ourselves so as not to presume upon God’s kindness, forbearance and patience.

Also, Paul makes plain in this Chapter that it is works, not faith, for which you will be rewarded in Heaven:

5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 For he will render to every man according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

As always when we discuss works, I try to remind everyone of the caveat – Faith is presupposed. We do not earn our way into heaven through works, but faith makes our works meritorious in the eyes of God. So our works store up for us treasure in heaven, but just as it would be wrong to presume forgiveness, it would be equally wrong to presume that because of works we are “owed” eternal life. We must seek the Lord with a humble heart.

Paul make two other points we must address. First, he makes the point that even for those who do not believe, conscience will be there judge:

14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Thus Paul says that for all men the law of God is written on their hearts. Importantly, he says that on the day of judgement their conscience will either convict OR excuse them. This is an important point to understand. Remember a while ago when the Pope said Atheists might go to heaven? This is what he was talking about. A person who pursues after God but honestly can’t intellectually bring himself to believe is vastly different from someone who rejects the existence of God because they desire to live a sinful lifestyle. Presuming the honest intellectual lives his life as best they can one will have their conscience convict them while the other it will acquit. This principle is true for all of us to one degree or another. God will judge perfectly.

Finally, there is this very important admonition form Paul:

22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Thus it is the falsely pious person that caused unbelief to spread. It is the hypocrite that causes scandal that the unbelievers latch onto for justification to deny God. Thus, your life is an important example to others. As a Christian how you carry yourself is important. As the saying goes, “Preach the gospel always, when necessary use words.”

29 thoughts on “Bible 1 Yr – Day 184 – Romans 2: Confession and Example”

  1. “Furthermore, this passage addresses the common question of why as Catholics we must confess our sins to a priest. When someone asks, “Why do I have to go to a Priest? Why can’t I go straight to God for forgiveness of my sins?” Part of the answer is that when you as an individual you “go straight to God”, even if you are genuinely sorry, you are at least partially presuming upon God’s kindness, forbearance and patience, something Paul tells us that you are not allowed to do.”

    Then why does Christ teach us to ask God for forgiveness in the Lord’s prayer?

    Matthew 6:9-14King James Version (KJV)

    9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
    10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
    11 Give us this day our daily bread.
    12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
    13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
    14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

    In verse 11, “Forgive us our debts”,, Is that an empty prayer since according to you, I have to go to a priest to obtain forgiveness?

    also, verse 14, says if I forgive people who trespass against me, then our Father will forgive me.
    It doesn’t say anything about anybody else being involved.

    Also these verse in Mark

    Mark 11:24-26King James Version (KJV)

    24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
    25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
    26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

    I don’t see anything in there where Jesus is telling us to go to somebody to be forgiven. Jesus tells us to forgive others and in turn, He says God will forgive our sins

  2. Again you are falling into the trap of making the false logical conclusion that just because one thing might be true that it excludes the other thing. OF COURSE, God forgives you when you genuinely come to him in forgiveness. However it is also true that we can easily fool ourselves an be presumptuous of his forgiveness. Which is why he gave his ministers authority to forgive sins. In going to his ministers we must be introspective and humble. This assists us in evaluating our conscience and helping us to become truly repentant. As is common the Bible teaches the BOTH – AND position, as opposed to the either / or.

  3. So, God can forgive me by going straight to him and I can be forgiven by going to priest, that’s what you are saying, right?

  4. “We see that going to a Priest is necessary because they have authority to forgive sins and we have to demonstrate true repentance by humbling ourselves so as not to presume upon God’s kindness, forbearance and patience.”

    Isn’t it more humbling to go right to the person we have sinned against seeking forgiveness?

  5. Your a human, a material being. Unless God is speaking to you directly, going straight to God for forgiveness NECESSARILY presumes that he has accepted your repentance and granted you forgiveness. Which is exactly what Paul is warning against. On the other hand, Jesus said to his Apostles “whose sins you forgive are forgiven” and “he who hears you, hears me”.

    So Yes, you can and should go straight to God for forgiveness when you realize you have sinned. In addition, you should go to God’s ministers, to receive the assurance of forgiveness our human nature desires and needs.

  6. “Your a human, a material being. Unless God is speaking to you directly, going straight to God for forgiveness NECESSARILY presumes that he has accepted your repentance and granted you forgiveness.”

    Doesn’t God speak to you everyday when you read His Word?

  7. Of course. He also speaks to everyone personally. In their conscience, in prayer, in coincidence, in “signs” – real or imagined. But does not speak to most of us on demand and most often his speaking to us is to subtle to for us to be certain if it is him, our minds playing tricks, wishful thinking, self justification, etc.

    And again, as Jesus himself said of his Apostles, (in the Bible) “he who hears you hears me.” So he speaks to us through his ministers.

    And he speaks to us through the Church, (Matthew 18) “… go tell it to the Church and if he fails TO LISTEN to the Church let him be as a gentile and a tax collector.”

  8. the only time you “take it to the church” is when that person wont listen to you and 2 other people.
    Matthew 18:15-18King James Version

    15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
    16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
    17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
    18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    The first step is to keep it between the 2 parties affected by it. then if that doesn’t work, bring 1-2 others, if that still doesn’t work, THEN take it to the church.

  9. Paul not advocating for a works theology he talking about hypocrites people who are apostate Christians, he saying don’t be a hypocrite this is not saying go to a priest read the whole letter Dave. The theology throughout the letter is justification by faith. I love how you isolate verses see them in there full context!

    1. First, I did not say that he is explicitly saying go to a priest. I said taking several of the teachings of the entire bible together makes a case for confession to a priest.

      Second, I specifically said that it would be wrong to read a “works theology” into these passages.

      Third, we must take each passages individually AND as part of the whole. Just as much as it would be wrong for me to say the passage warning against presumption on its own mandates confession so it is wrong for you to say passages that talk about forgiveness by God negate the need for confession to a priest when the underlying premise of going to God alone is presumption.

  10. Yes, exactly. At that is what happened in Acts 15. Where the deacon Nicholas would not listen to Paul and Barnabas so they took it to the Church in Jerusalem. At which point the Church decided and “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit”. So God speaks to us through that decision even now.

    And thus it continues down through the centuries. The Church has met in similar counsel about 21 times. Each time declaring important truths of the faith, like the nature of Christ, the teaching on the Trinity and the infallibility of the Pope and many many things in between.

    I’m not an expert on the Councils but I know the teaching that comes through them is extensive.

  11. And again, as Jesus himself said of his Apostles, (in the Bible) “he who hears you hears me.” So he speaks to us through his ministers.

    that’s from Luke 10
    Here’s Luke 10:1-16
    Luke 10:1-16King James Version (KJV)

    10 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
    2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
    3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
    4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
    5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
    6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
    7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
    8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
    9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
    10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,
    11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
    12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.
    13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
    14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
    15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

    16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

    So actually, this passage is directed towards the 70 disciples who aren’t ever named, it’s not just a message for the Apostles.

  12. Indeed, but he also says specifically to the Apostles “whose sins you forgive are forgiven and whose sins your retain are retained”. Paul also says that what he writes (and therefore presumably what the other apostles write and say) is the “same as a commandment of the Lord”. He also gives the Apostles the power to bind and loose, not the 70.

    Again, passages like Luke 10 don’t negate the other grants of authority he gave to the Apostles. Likewise the grants of authority to the Apostles does not mean that some authority does not exist within the entire body of believers – which the book of Hebrews says is a holy nation of priests. In fact, the Catholic Church teaches that the body of believers has authority to proclaim the gospel, convey some blessings, baptize, among other things.

  13. Indeed, but he also says specifically to the Apostles “whose sins you forgive are forgiven and whose sins your retain are retained”

    where does it say specifically apostles?
    the passage from John 20 says
    John 20:19-23Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

    Jesus Appears to the Disciples

    19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

    It says the disciples were there, not just the apostles. We know from Luke 10, Jesus had at least 70 other disciples besides the apostles, so couldn’t there have been more than just the 12 apostles in that room?

    1. The most direct evidence is Luke 24:

      And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And THEY FOUND THE ELEVEN and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. AS THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT THESE THINGS, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? SEE MY HAND AND MY FEET, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Luk 24:33-39

      From this we know the 11 were there with some others. We know that after it is established that the 11 are in the room it is only a short time later that Jesus appears (bc they were still talking about the same thing). Finally, we know this is the same instance referred to in John b/c he shows his wounds.

      There are other ways to establish that “those who were with them” refer to the few woman who were at the Crucifixion and remained with the apostles after. However, it to complicated to lay all that out now.

      1. “There are other ways to establish that “those who were with them” refer to the few woman who were at the Crucifixion and remained with the apostles after”

        In Luke 24:18Luke 24:18Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

        18 Then one of them, named Cle′opas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

        he was one of the 2 walking down the road to Emmaus

        then Luke 23:35-36 says
        Luke 24:35-36Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

        35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
        36 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”[a]

        So this guy, Cleopas, was with the disciples when Jesus appeared in the room along with another of Jesus’s followers, who isn’t named. It wasn’t just women, as you suggest

  14. Your conclusion are not orthodox Christianity Dave! They deny the power of the resurrection! Jesus saves or he doesnt and Jesus saves the veil is torn! Salvation is all Christ now. A priest a rabbi or a pastor or universal church can change that! I plead again find salvation in Christ alone!

    God bless

    1. “Jesus saves or he doesn’t” is a false premise. Of course, Jesus saves. Of course, it is His sacrifice that makes the forgiveness of sins a reality. That has nothing to do with the question of whether he shared that authority with the Church and the Apostles. Of course, even you have admitted in the past that he did and have only denied that that authority continued after the apostolic age. I find salvation is Christ alone but that does not preclude salvation being ministered through the Church Jesus founded. The Chruch which the Bible says, “is the fullness of HIM in this world, who is all in all.”

      1. God bless Dave! The apostles profess one thing Christ! The cornerstone of faith is Jesus isn’t in the hole anymore and his blood was the last sacrifice! Paul the same one who wrote Romans! ” I call it (all) lost to know the saving power of Christ!

        Grace grace grace

  15. “those who were with them” applies most particularly to when they first arrived back form the Road to Emmaus. At that time the Apostles and the women were in the upper room. Other evidence suggest that the Apostles were alone at the time Jesus appeared. Acts 1 and 2 describe the activities of the Apostles at this time. But again, the hints are subtle and have to be followed carefully. More that I can do here. Most notably however it is the Apostles who speaking in tongues, showing that it is to them that the Holy Spirit was given.

    Further, it is a false premise to presume that the movements of each specific person must be spelled out in scripture. In the 1st Century, when this happened, NONE of this was written down. It just happened and people knew about it organically. That is why God gave a Church and Tradition (which Paul says to follow).

  16. But when Scripture tells you plainly, that a particular person was there, then you have the beileve that person was there. So when I read that a man named Cleopas was walking down the road to Emmaus with another person, and then later told that the two people walking down the road to Emmaus told their story right before Jesus appeared to them, I have to think that Cleopas was in the room when Jesus appeared

    1. It doesn’t say, “right before”. It says “they were still talking about these things”. That means it was soon after, not immediately. It’s equally plausible that after reporting to the Apostles, Cleopas again set our for Emmaus.

      Again, that is why the traditional interpretation of scripture is the one that we are to stick with. That principle is expressly identified by Paul.

      The traditional interpretation is that the power to forgive sins was given just to the 12.

      1. Dave it says right up there

        Luke 24:35-36Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

        35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
        36 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”[a]

        “As they were saying this.”
        they were telling the story when Jesus showed up

  17. Acts 1:14-15Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

    14 All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.[a]

    15 In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said,

    according to this there, were about 120 brethren.

    then in acts 2

    Acts 2:1-2Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

    The Coming of the Holy Spirit

    2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

    “they were all together in one place”

    Now, I’m supposed to believe that this just the 12 apostles meeting by themselves?

    1. Acts 1 is on the day Jesus ascended. Acts 2 is later on Pentacost, which is 50 (penta) days later. So unless you believe that 120 guys were sharing one upper room than Yes, the 12 are those who were “together in one place”.

  18. Acts 1 takes place on more than 1 day. I would say 1-14 are the day Jesus ascended, then 15-26 is a different day, where Peter addresses 120 brethren and they choose another apostle to replace Judas.

    Acts 2 starts by saying they were all in one place. Nothing about an upper room, only that the whole house shook. So, yes, all 120 could have been in one giant house, because if they were celebrating a special day like Pentecost, why would the apostles meet somewhere private away from the other believers?

    1. Driving so I can’t fully reply.

      Why would they be celebrating Pentecost if it hadn’t happened yet? And to cost we are talking about is the coming of the Holy Spirit onto the apostles. Jesus told him to wait together until the Holy Spirit came. If they were celebrating the Jewish pentecost they would’ve been in the temple.

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