Your Secret Life Revealed

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, February 18, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

One of my favorite movies of 2014 was “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” It’s the story of a lonely and timid man who often finds himself daydreaming about situations where he is either the hero or something amazing happens to him. The trances are so realistic that he is visibly shocked each time he is awoken back into his life. This creates awkward moments because part of what is happening secretly in his mind ends up getting revealed to others through his words and actions during the first few seconds that he is snapping back to reality. Eventually, he gets tired of living in a fantasy world and uses his humiliation and discontentment as motivation to take some risks and go after the life from his dreams.

How would you feel if those around you knew the things about which you fantasized? I understand that the word “fantasized” is often used in conjunction with lust and sexual desire, and that’s why I chose it. Think about just that area of your life. If all of your lustful thoughts were plastered on a billboard for all to see, how would the view that others have of you change from what it is right now? It might be a chilling thought for some of you. Then, move on to the other secret thoughts that you have. Think about the lies or rumors you’ve spread about others, the times maybe you wanted to hurt someone, or the ways you’ve contemplated using people. For me, just the things that I think and often even mutter to myself when someone cuts me off in traffic would be enough to shame me.

The passage that we are discussing this week ends with a reminder that should get our attention. “This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares” (Romans 2:16). To see what the “this” is in that verse, go back and read the section beginning with verse 5. Before I dig into those verses, I want to remind you that Paul wasn’t the first person to declare that even our secrets would be judged. Check out the words of Jesus himself in Luke 12:2-3: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” The similarity between these passages isn’t just about the content of them. If you look at the context of each passage, you see the audiences are virtually the same. Jesus spoke to his disciples with thousands of others, including the “religiously moral” Pharisees, listening closely. Paul wrote a letter to the Christians in Rome, knowing full well that some of the Jews who thought they were better than others would be reading it. In each case, the message is that we must not focus on comparing ourselves favorably to others, but instead must realize that God will judge even our secrets that no one else knows, and that alone levels the playing field among all human beings.

The whole section of Romans 2:5-16 shows that even though we all have an opportunity to receive salvation and experience the work of God’s grace in our lives, a time of judgment and wrath is still coming. This time of wrath is not caused by God, but by our stubborn and unrepentant attitude and actions. In fact, the New King James Version of verse 5 says that we are “treasuring up” wrath for ourselves. What an interesting way to put it! I bet that when you think about the things you treasure in this life, God’s wrath doesn’t make the list. That’s what makes Paul’s point hit home. Both the Jews of that time and many present-day Christians in America have made the mistake of assuming God’s grace. His wrath isn’t even on our radar. We’ve gotten comfortable in our blessed assurance of heaven, forgetting that the gift of salvation comes with a certain responsibility for those who believe. Paul lays out that responsibility and its good benefits in verses 7 and 10, as well as the failure to do it and its consequences in verses 8-9. Just as the gospel message and salvation were offered “first for the Jew, then for the Gentile,” so too are the benefits of seeking the truth in Christ and the consequences of rejecting it.

As we’ve pointed out at other times so far on our journey through Romans, the Jews had a hard time accepting that salvation came to even the Gentiles, whom they judged as less than themselves. So Paul finishes this section by explaining that neither group has an excuse and all are condemned by their actions - the Jews because they act against the law and the Gentiles because they act against their consciences, which are the moral compasses given to all human beings by God. Either way, we are doomed if we are trying to save ourselves by our actions alone.

Have you fallen into the trap of thinking you are good enough to be approved by God? Have you accepted the type of mediocre Christianity that so many in churches practice these days because you know your eternity is secured? Think about your life and what you are storing or “treasuring” up. Are your actions and attitude adding to the burden of wrath that God is already carrying until the day he lets it loose? The good news is that perfection is not demanded because Christ already died for you. But a repentant and humble heart coupled with a desire for truth, honor, glory, and peace are marks of the Christian life. Remember that how you compare on the outside to others won’t matter, because God knows your secret life and one day it will be revealed “from the roofs” as well. That day could be tomorrow or it could be a thousand years from now. Will you be ready for it? If not, now’s the time to change whatever is needed to get prepared.