Romans 2:1-16 (NIV)
1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
If you’ll recall last week’s study of Romans chapter 1, Paul outlined the disease of sin (exchanging truth for lies) and its only cure (the good news of the gospel). When we harden our hearts, God gives us over to our sinful desires and we become slaves to every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. We hit rock bottom. A clear picture of this is the parable Jesus told of the prodigal son found in Luke chapter 15; a son who hit rock bottom after being allowed to go his own way and fulfill the evil desires of his flesh. Do you remember the other son in this parable? The one who stayed home and did everything “right?” If Romans chapter 1 describes the prodigal son, Romans chapter 2 is a good caricature of the other son. Paul opens chapter 2 by calling out the self-appointed judges, those who feel they are above immoral behavior and able to abide by all of the rules (basically they judge themselves on their good intentions). It’s as if he’s saying, “If you felt tempted to believe that Romans 1 did not apply to you, you are not to be left out. You are guilty of the same terrible sins!” Paul makes it clear that all of humanity is under God’s perfect judgement; both the outwardly rebellious and the inwardly self-righteous. No one will escape God’s judgement; you will either be found in right standing aligned with King Jesus or self-seeking aligned with death and destruction. Is your confidence building in being able to declare, “I am NOT ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes?!?”
Have you ever tried to use good morals/behavior to cover your sin? Where did that get you?
What does it mean to pass judgment, and how does this differ from knowing and teaching God’s standards?