Life Group Discussion Guide for Romans 2

Can We Be Good without God?

There’s an interesting dynamic we should notice whenever Christians and non-Christians accuse each other of wrongdoing. They each carry similar notions of morality.

Romans 1:21 tells us that sin clouds the moral viewpoint of fallen man.

Despite this fact, religious and non-religious people almost universally agree that actions like murder, rape, theft, and racial discrimination are bad. If we didn’t, there would be a worldwide movement to empty prisons of people who are guilty of these things.

Human beings possess universally-accepted standards of morality. Because of this, it’s reasonable to believe in the existence of a personal God who cares about the way we behave. If He didn’t exist, we would have no objective standard of right and wrong.

Dr. William Craig explains the moral argument for God in this video.

Being Bad with God?

Religious hypocrisy is one of the most common complaints lodged against Christians in our culture.

Sometimes those accusations are unwarranted attacks meant to discourage the church from fulfilling its purpose. However, these accusations hit their mark far too often.

In last week’s discussion, we saw that all men have ample evidence to know there is a God with moral expectations. It doesn’t take a religious background to see it. When men realize this, their natural response is to become religious.

Romans 2 was written to religious people who already believe that God has moral expectations. However, those same people constantly accused others while violating the standard themselves.

Paul says it is ridiculous to believe religious hypocrites will be exempt from God’s judgement.

Read Romans 2

How do you define religion?

Austin’s definition: Man’s effort to meet the expectations he perceives God has for him in order to feel justified and deserving of God’s favor. These efforts are most often associated with ceremonies, rituals, rules for daily living, cultural practices, and ethnicity.

Discussion Questions

  • Define “judging” as it is used in Romans 2:1.
  • How does religion cloud a person’s moral vision?
  • How does ungodliness cloud a person’s moral vision?
  • Why do you think religious people are held to a higher standard of morality? Is this fair?
  • Do religious people have a greater standing before God?
  • Is every religious person a hypocrite? Why or why not?
  • How does Romans 2 bolster the claim that God is not a respecter of persons?
  • How does the church sometimes behave as if God is impressed by our family name or religious background?
  • What does repentance look like for the religious person?

Related Message: The Hypocrisy of Religion

Pray for Our Missionaries

Take time to reflect on Paul’s calling as an apostle to all the nations. God calls his church to carry on that task today.

Join us in prayer for the church planting efforts in Northeast India this year. Pray that churches in reached areas of the world would have doors opened to places like the Indian states of Assam and Bihar, where very few people have heard the Gospel.

I encourage you to check out and to learn more about the status of global missions.

Also take time in your small group to pray for people in your life who need to know about Jesus. How are you delivering that message to them?

Jonathan Pugh

Associate Pastor: Life Groups & Church Partnership
Jonathan Pugh

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