Those Who Judge Have No Excuse—Romans 2:1

"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things" (Romans 2:1)

Last night at my small group, we were talking of how God has forgiven us of all of our offenses. My cousin who is a new believer, commented that she had a hard time believing that I committed the same sins as everyone else because I was a mature Christian. I brought her to the passage of scripture that I have been blogging about in Romans to explain that we all struggle with the carnal earthly things. It is always a matter of the heart and one cannot judge based on what they alone see.

From a human perspective, it is easy to compare ourselves with one another. It is also easy to assume that the further we grow with Christ the more right that gives us to judge one another. But it simply isn't so. Even if we are not caught up in the same offenses as those we judge, James tells us that "whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" ( James 2:10 ). It is best to keep judgment to God, who is not corrupted by sin or the flesh.

In Romans 1, we see that Paul has built his case to prove that the Gentiles were guilty before God. From our passage today in Romans chapter 2, he begins to turn the tables on the Jews. He is going to show them that they are just as guilty, if not more, than the Gentiles. So by default they have no right to pass judgment on the Gentiles because they are guilty of the very same things they judge.

When we judge, we prove that we have awareness of right from wrong and that knowledge makes us liable before God. Fortunately for us, God is in the business of saving and not condemning. The book of John says in John 3:17, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" If we recognize that and submit to the fact we need Jesus as our Savior then we escape judgment and find rest for our souls. Today, it is my prayer that you find this rest.

God's Judgment is Based on Truth—Romans 2:2

"Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth"(Romans 2:2)

To be a judge in our court system several requirements have to be met. First the judge has to know the law. They have to compare the offense against the standard of the law and render a decision. Secondly, the judge has to be impartial. They cannot be bias towards either side of the case. And lastly, the judge has to be fair. They have to base their decision on the facts or the truth of the case. Opinion cannot play into part during the trial. Both sides have to be weighed equally and whatever side is proven right wins out in the end.

In the previous verse, Paul has just disqualified mankind from rendering judgment against each other. "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things." ( Romans 2:1 ) To participate in the transgression excludes the ability to render fair and right judgment.

However, given the criteria for passing judgment, Paul knows that only God is capable of doing it. God's judgment is based on truth. Many people thing that truth is a relative term, but in reality truth is an absolute. And that truth is based on His Word and His character. Knowing from our own court system how important the truth is in deciding a verdict, one can rest assured that God bases everything upon it. If he didn't he would not be just.

God is just but God is also merciful. Paul tells us in Romans 3:26, " as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." This is extremely important because as a just judge he has to render his decision based on truth, but as a merciful savior he took the punishment for us we could be justify before God. He render the decision of guilty and the penalty was death or eternal separation from God. But, when we believe in Jesus and accept His free gift of Salvation then we stand in true righteousness and holiness before God 'just as if we've never sinned'. The judgment and penalty was placed on Jesus and the benefits were given to us.

Praise Jesus that he is both a just and the justifier!

It is God's Kindness That Leads Towards Repentance—Romans 2:3-4

"So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" (Romans 2:3-4)

During the winter months I looked down on my keychain and realized that I had lost the key to my Harley. I had it on one of those quick release loops so I could remove it from the rest of my keys when I wanted to go out riding. The set also had a house key on it. I looked everywhere for it, in all of my purses and pockets, but since I couldn't pinpoint the timeframe that I lost it, there was no hope of finding it.

After I had given up the search, I had to tell my husband that it was gone. I expected him to be very angry about it even though it was a accident. However, when I told him he extended leniency towards my situation and dismissed it with a shrug and a comment that 'these things happen'. I was relieved. Not only was he not angry, he was sympatric to my plight because it could have happened to anyone.

As humans, we like grace for ourselves and justice for everyone else. A lot of times we do not like to be gracious towards others. We can be quick to point our finger at everyone else while having three fingers pointed back at ourselves. Paul is reminding us in this passage not to be too quick to judge. Previously he wrote that God is the one who is the judge and His judgment is based solely on the truth. Since we are not the judge, we shouldn't be quick to step into that role.

The truth is, that God is much more ready to extend mercy to us, than we are ready to offer it to one another. In Hosea 6:6 He said, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice". The Amplified Bible puts it this way, " I desire and delight in dutiful steadfast love and goodness, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of and acquaintance with God more than burnt offerings." As with everything, God is concerned with the condition of our heart and wants them pure before him. When we extend grace towards one another then we resemble our Father in Heaven.

Lastly, Paul lets us in on a foundational truth, God is a God of kindness, tolerance and patience. He wants us to experience mercy and in the same way pass that along towards our fellow man. His goodness is what brings us to repentance. His favor along with the knowledge of Him makes us complete. In the same way that my husbands forbearance with me made me appreciate him and learn something about Him, God's mercy and grace does the same thing. When we experience this, then we know Him better and continue to move into the fullness of Christ. Today, may you experience the richness of Christ and know that His mercy is extended to you as you pass it along towards others!

The Hard and Unrepentant Heart—Romans 2:5

"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" (Romans 2:5)

About a year ago I was struggling at work with some changes that were taking place internally within my department. Every little altercation caused immense drama in my existence. It got to the point that one day my boss meet with me to discuss work and during the course of the conversation he was going to offer me a raise. Because I was so self consumed and wallowing in self-pity we never got there, half way through our conversation I kicked him out of my office.

Needless to say, I still got the raise but it was only after a few weeks and a sincere apology. The issue was my heart. It had been misguided and left unchecked during all of the changes. During that time, I saw only what I wanted to see and built it up in my own mind. My perspective had gotten off course and I was a long way from understanding the truth from any other view point except my own.

In today's passage Paul says it is 'because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart that you are storing up wrath against yourself'. A hard and unrepentant heart accomplishes several things. First a hard heart stops spiritual perception. When we are focused on the natural realm then we are blinded to spiritual truths. In the same way that my self-pity blinded me to the truth of how the changes would help our business, focusing on the earthly things limits our perspective on kingdom things. When we are naturally focused, we are less likely to recognize spiritual truths in operation.

Secondly, a hard heart stops us from understanding spiritual truths. Not only do we not recognize them, we cannot understand them either. We can read or hear a passage of scripture but are unable to understand it because the seed cannot penetrate deep into our hearts. Our heart is conditioned not to receive it. If we are not able to perceive or understand it, then we will never be able to operate in it.

Lastly, hardness of heart keeps us from remembering spiritual truths. Jesus said "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" ( John 6:63 ) and Paul tells us that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" ( II Timothy 3:16 ). God places a huge importance on understanding His word but sadly many Christians do not know it or complain that it is too hard to understand. This is because they spend more time conditioning unbelief and shallowness in understanding then opening their hearts and minds to the Lord and His Word.

Just as I had to humble myself and seek forgiveness from my boss, if we turn and take the time to cultivate a willing heart in seeking the Lord He will be found by us. James tell us "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you" ( James 4:8 ). We must first conditioning the soil of our hearts to receive His word, then believe it and lastly act upon it. When we do this, then we now longer consider facing God's judgment, because we are in tune with Him and operating in His plan. May the Lord bless you today as you consider this.

The Result is Eternal Life—Romans 2:6-11

"God 'will give to each person according to what he has done.' To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism" (Romans 2:6-11)

This passage is talking about God's final judgment at the end of the world. If you look at this passage it looks like God will judge you based on your actions and reward according to your works. However, Paul builds the case for Jesus throughout the entire book of Romans. And how we need to be saved by grace and faith in Him along. If we understand that, then verses appear to contract the theme of the book of Romans. However, we know that scripture does not oppose it's self, therefore we view these verses in light of what Paul is saying overall.

This passage, in context of the entire expose to the Romans, Paul maintains that we are saved by grace ( Romans 3:23-24 ), that no one will be declared righteous by observing the law ( Romans 3:19-20 ) and finally, that we will only be justified through faith in what Jesus did for us. ( Romans 3:24-28 ). Therefore, the only action that will be rewarded with eternal life is the action of faith not of works.

We have a choice in this life. The choice we have in this life is the choice of faith in Jesus. Faith is what saves us, not individual good works. We must put our faith in Jesus and that alone is the only thing that God will judge in determining eternal life verses wrath and anger.

What Paul is describing is that faith is an action. James says, that true faith has actions. "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." ( James 2:17-18 ). Paul is attesting to this, He is saying that for those whose faith is so real, it causes them to continue to do well... 'seeking glory, honor and immortality'... the result is eternal life. On the other hand, for those who reject the truth, the truth of what Jesus did for them, and follow in the ways of the world, then there will be destruction. It all boils down to a choice and the corresponding actions associated with believing that choice.

Today, it is my prayer that as you make this choice to trust Jesus with your life, you will continue on into the fullness of Christ. By knowing Him, the choices you make in life will spur you onto good deeds out flowing from His goodness and love. Paul says, the result is eternal life with our Lord and Savior! Amen!

Juli Camarin

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