In the last post, I mentioned that we entered the first main section of Romans (1:18 – 3:20) and that this section is divided into 3 subsections, the first of which deals with the condition of the Gentiles. Here we begin the second subsection that deals with God’s wrath and the Jews. For the sake of clarity, I’ve decided to split this part into two posts, this being the first. As of the time of this writing, I haven’t received any feedback from the previous post (it’s still Friday morning) so I don’t yet know if anyone has questioned why I went so “soft” on sin when I had the chance to point fingers, but this is why:
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. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 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? 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?
(Believe it or not, not even I am so dense that I would point fingers at other people when I know this is coming next…)
Paul originally wrote this for Jewish Christians to consider, and while that was the situation in the first century, in the 21st century I think all Christians would be well advised to take this section to heart and do some soul searching.
This need not be a very long post, for once again, Paul’s text is elegant in its simplicity, and one needs to be proud indeed to miss his point, which is that none of us is qualified to pass judgment on anyone else, for this is the sole purview of God Himself.
Is this to say that we turn a blind eye to unrighteousness?
Of course not!
If our brother or sister stumbles, the loving thing to do is to offer them a hand so they can get up again, but there is a huge difference between a helping hand and a kick in the butt while they’re down! We have received God’s mercy and kindness; all of us. Why must so many repay God’s mercy and kindness by thinking they can push God aside and take His place as the Judge over others?
I hope that each of us will reflect on these things today, and as we each ask God for His forgiveness, may we also ask Him for His guidance as we move forward in our journey with Him.
We’ll pick up where we left off on Monday morning….
Programming Note: Be looking for the first Romans “Bonus Post” later today that will provide some background on Rome and its significance in both the first century and on Paul’s strategy for spreading the Good News worldwide.