We address the dangers of moralism as we look at Romans 2 today. You might not have heard of moralism, but you have heard of man’s desire to be good enough to please God. Moralism is simply our efforts to be good enough on our own – apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What is Moralism?

The challenge with moralism is that it feels intuitively good to us from an ethical standpoint. The moralist is convinced that he or she are better than others morally. Most moralists are good people who are self-disciplined. They might be regular church attenders and even involved in leadership because they live exemplary lives.

The moralist is also caught up in self-reliant sin. The moralist is often judgmental of others, and he or she strives to be good.

Paul shocks the reader by clearly stating that the moralist is also condemned. So, the immoral people referenced in chapter one of Romans and the moralists of chapter two are both self-reliant sinners who are equally damned in their self-sufficiency

Paul shocks the reader by clearly stating that the moralist is also condemned. So, the immoral people referenced in chapter one of Romans and the moralists of chapter two are both self-reliant sinners who are equally damned in their self-sufficiency

 

What is the Cure for Moralism?

The moralist probably has a harder time coming to the end of himself because he lives an ethical life – even a good life. The moralist is a sinner, but he doesn’t commit the heinous sins Paul mentions in Romans 1. However, the moralist also lives in sin. He commits sins of the heart while he condemns or judges others who sin outwardly.

The moralist is in need of repentance according to Paul. The moralist is a hypocrite who likes to accuse others of sin, but the moralist is equally contemned and in need of repentance.

This counter-cultural counter-intuitive lesson on the implications of sin is often neglected in our churches, but it is important to see clearly who God is, who man is, and how God relates to man. Paul contrasts the immoral person with the moralist, the person who believes they can be good enough on their own. This is powerful, radical truth that changes lives. This foundational understanding is critical to our ability to place the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the right context.

Please don’t hesitate to send along questions and comments. Thank you for your support of Relentless Truth. You can learn more, including our contact information, at johnwarrenmedia.com. Please share this series on social media and through email and text with your friends. I want to share these powerful truths with people who, like me, struggle with guilt and despair caused by a lack of understanding the beauty of justification by faith. Our great hope in Jesus Christ is powerful, and it is this Gospel that compels us to share these truths with others.

“Moralism is simply our efforts to be good enough on our own-apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

John Warren