on Romans 2 :11
For there is no respect of persons with God - The righteous Judge will not act according to any principle of partiality; the character and conduct, alone of the persons shall weigh with him. He will take no wicked man to glory, let his nation or advantages be what they may; and he will send no righteous man to perdition, though brought up in the very bosom of Gentilism. And as he will judge in that day according to character and conduct, so his judgment will proceed on the ground of the graces, privileges, and blessings which they had received, improved or abused. And as there is no respect of persons with God in judgment, so there can be none in the previous administration of his saving blessings. He that will be condemned for his unrighteousness, will be condemned on the ground that he had sufficient grace afforded him for the salvation of his soul; and his condemnation will rest on the simple principle, that he abused the grace which was sufficient to save him, by acting in opposition to its dictates and influence. No man, in that great day, shall be brought to heaven through any partiality of the Judge; and no man sent to hell because God did not afford him sufficient grace, or because he had made a decree which rendered even his use of it ineffectual to his salvation. In reference to the great design of God, in the salvation of man, it shall be said, - in time, at the day of judgment, and throughout eternity, - There Is No Respect of Persons with God.
on Romans 2 :11
For - This particle is used here to confirm what is said before, particularly that this punishment should be experienced by the Jew as well as the Gentile. For God would deal with both on the principles of justice.
Respect of persons - The word thus rendered means "partiality," in pronouncing judgment, in favoring one party or individual more than another, not because his cause is more just, but on account of something personal - on account of his wealth, or rank, or function, or influence, or by personal friendship, or by the fear of him. It has special reference to a judge who pronounces judgment between parties at law. The exercise of such partiality was strictly and often forbidden to the Jewish magistrates; Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:17; Proverbs 24:23; James 2:1, James 2:3,James 2:9. In his capacity as a Judge, it is applied often to God. It means that he will not be influenced in awarding the retributions of eternity, in actually pronouncing and executing sentence, by any partiality, or by regard to the wealth, function, rank, or appearance of people. He will judge righteous judgment; he will judge people as they ought to be judged; according to their character and deserts; and not contrary to their character, or by partiality.
The connection here demands that this affirmation should be limited solely to his dealing with people as their judge. And in this sense, and this only, this is affirmed often of God in the Scriptures; Deuteronomy 10:17; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; Galatians 6:7-8; 1 Peter 1:17; Acts 10:34. It does not affirm that he must make all his creatures equal in talent, health, wealth, or privilege; it does not imply that, as a sovereign, he may not make a difference in their endowments, their beauty, strength, or graces; it does not imply that he may not bestow his favors where he pleases where all are undeserving, or that he may not make a difference in the characters of people by his providence, and by the agency of his Spirit. All these are actually done, done not out of any respect to their persons, to their rank, function, or wealth, but according to his own sovereign good pleasure; Ephesians 1. To deny that this is done, would be to deny the manifest arrangement of things everywhere on the earth. To deny that God had a right to do it, would be,
(1) To maintain that sinners had a claim on his favors;
(2) that he might not do what he willed with his own; or,
(3) To affirm that God was under obligation to make all people with just the same talents and privileges, that is, that all creatures must be, in all respects, just alike.
This passage, therefore, is very improperly brought to disprove the doctrine of decrees, or election, or sovereignty. It has respect to a different thing, to the actual exercise of the office of the Judge of the world; and whatever may be the truth about God's decrees or his electing love, this passage teaches nothing in relation to either. It may be added that this passage contains a most alarming truth for guilty people. It is that God will not be influenced by partiality, but will treat them just as they deserve. He will not be won or awed by their rank or function; by their wealth or endowments; by their numbers, their power, or their robes of royalty and splendor. Every man should tremble at the prospect of falling into the hands of a just God, who will treat him just as he deserves, and should without delay seek a refuge in the Saviour and Advocate provided for the guilty: 1 John 2:1-2.
on Romans 2 :11
2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God - He will reward every one according to his works. But this is well consistent with his distributing advantages and opportunities of improvement, according to his own good pleasure.