Rom.2:1-16. We read in verse 2 that the “judgment of God is according to truth” against those who are hypocritical in their judgement. Mans judgement is based upon many things in his own mind, feelings and circumstances and so results in hypocritical judgement. Man becomes his own centre and standard of judgement. But God’s judgement is according to truth. He has a set standard of judgement which is fixed and unchanging. In verse 5 we read of the “righteous judgment of God.” His judgement is righteous. It is perfect. It is upright. It cannot be condemned or challenged as not fair. In this chapter Paul deals with God’s righteous judgement in connection with three groups of people. First He deals with the Jew who has the law and who will be judged according to the law. Secondly he deals with the gentile or heathen peoples who He will judge according to “the law written in their hearts”to which their conscience bears witness, either accusing or excusing them (v15). Then last of all He deals with the church and those who have heard the gospel through the church, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (v16). They will be judged according to the message of Christ in the Gospel. So we see that God has set a means of righteous judging according to truth for every man.
A Standard to Walk By
In the book of Philippians chapter 3 we find that Paul writes of a set standard set by God by which the New Testament Christian under grace is to live and walk by. In verse 2 he first warns “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” There were certain men and teachers in the church that he called dogs. The dog returns to its vomit and eats it again. The very thing that made it sick was the thing that it insisted on eating once more. The dog was the “concision” those who insisted that the gentiles must return to their Jewish roots by being circumcised. These were men professing to be born-again, who said they believed in Christ, the cross and grace yet they were trying to take the Christians back to Jewish ritual and outward ordinance of the flesh. They were hard on the outward man, the flesh, yet they were evil workers. They were no more obedient in works after all their legal ritual than anyone else. These men had created their own standard of judgement by which they judged the Christian life and others.
In verses 15-20 Paul goes on to speak about God’s true standard of judgement in the church. He says “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect”—that is those who are mature—“be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” All believers whether young or old, babes in Christ or fathers in the faith, are to have the same mind or think the same. But he acknowledges that those who are not mature in their thinking may not think correctly on certain issues but God will show them by His Word and teach them by His Spirit. But he goes further in saying that there is a standard by which every believer is to consider as God’s standard to live by and by which all things in the Christian life may be judged. “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” He is saying no matter where you are in your walk as far as maturity goes make sure of this one thing “let us walk by the same rule.” The Greek word rule is kanon. It means a standard, a boundary, a limit or a line. It is a standard or rule by which measurements are made. It is a clear line by which we may test and judge all things. The Greek word kane means a straight reed or a rod. This is taken from the Hebrew word kaneh used in the OT for a measuring reed. This was the normal standard of judgement as far as measurement. What Paul is saying is that we all are to walk by the same divine standard and rule. We all must walk in the same direction, in the same path and we have been given a line of measurement by which to walk. He says that “let us mind the same thing” or have the same mind in thinking the same way by having a mind moulded and shaped by this rule.
In the church of our day we have many who say they are living under grace in blessing yet they do not walk by the “rule” or even adjust their thinking to it. They do not judge, or test, or try themselves in walk, speech, thought, attitude or deed by this rule. They think that grace relieves them of any responsibility to walk holy in a straight and narrow way. Yet Paul says that there is a rule, a straight line, by which every believer must line their walk up with. He says “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” Paul walked by this rule. He says we ought to follow his example and to mark out or set as a target any who endeavour to follow the example of the apostles as revealed in the New Testament writings. He also gives a serious warning about so-called believers who by their rejection of the rule do not follow an example of walking straight, who prove that they are enemies of the cross. They are carnal, controlled by the flesh and their mind is set towards earthly things. They are heading for destruction.
Many in our day have created a selective personal judgement. They have invented their own standard of judgement. They make their own decisions, draw their own conclusions and determine their own choice of direction by the judgement of their own feelings, thoughts, opinions, desires and will. This has become their standard of judgement in the Christian life. Such people are not walking or thinking according to the rule, the line and the standard set by God. In Ezekiel 40:3 we read about a man of brass (brass is always the symbol of judgement in the Bible), with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed. In chapter 47 the same man measures the river coming out of the temple. He measures 1000 cubits then brings Ezekiel out into deeper water until he is swimming. A man who walks by this rule will be led into the deep things of God. In Zechariah 2 we read of a man with a measuring rode going forth to measure Jerusalem. In Revelation 11 the angel gives John a reed like a rod and says “Rise and measure” the temple, altar and them that worship.
A Standard to Judge By
Paul said “…let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” In I Cor.1:10 he said, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Every believer is to have the same mind and judgement. It is a means of judgement birthed out of a mind that thinks according to the rule or line given by God. It is thinking Biblically. It is only possible to judge the same judgement if the judgement is already a settled thing outside of man.
In I Corinthians chapter 4 Paul states that the Corinthians were judging him and judging him by man’s judgement but he says he does not even judge himself by such means. He says “the Lord judges me.” Paul is speaking here about how judgements were made or by what standard—God’s or man? He goes on to say “And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another" (4:6). Weymouth’s translations clarifiys this vital statement: ‘…I have done so for your sakes, in order to teach you by our example what those words mean, which say, “Nothing beyond what is written!”’ He was saying ‘Don’t go beyond what is written.’ His whole life was lived as an example of living by the written Word of God.
In his Second letter in chapter 10 he says that the Corinthian’s began to say that his letters were “weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” Here is one of the greatest
Gospel preachers and teachers of the church yet the Corinthian’s were judging his ministry by their own standard of carnal judgement. Paul goes on to say we do not “compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring (metreo) themselves by themselves, and comparing (sugkrino = to judge by comparing two different persons) themselves among themselves, are not wise.” But then he states how he will judge “…according to the measure (metron) of the rule (kanon) which God hath distributed to us…”
Many in the church have disannulled the written scriptures by their modern contemporary theories and ideas. They accuse the written Word of being cultural and almost a man’s opinion and so ease their conscience thinking they do not have to live in such a way or treating it as idealistic. In I Corinthians 4:17 Paul writes, “For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.” Paul taught the exact same things in every church. What he taught in Corinth he also taught in Antioch, Jerusalem, Ephesus and Rome. His teachings were not cultural, regional, situational or generational. These teachings were authoritive for all believers and every church. The written scriptures were the straight line by which everything in the church is tested and tried. By this straight line we know all things, judge all things and make every decision.
Judging Righteous Judgment by the written Word
Jesus said that “the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jn.12:47). Isaiah said “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (8:20). David wrote “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps.119:105). In Psalm 119 God’s Word is called “judgements” 18 times. This word “judgements” means God’s verdict, sentence, decision, thought and conclusion. This is one of the major names for God’s written Word. By this He is saying that ‘my written Word is my thought and decision on all things and by this you may judge all things.’ The Word of God has been given as a righteous judge outside the realm of man's imperfections. In closing we have already seen that we are to mark those who walk according to the God given rule all follow them but in this last verse you are commanded to note and mark out those who do not walk and act according to the wriiten Word and avoid them.
II Thess.3:6-7, 14 “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdrawyourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you...And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.”