Judgment: Romans 2:1-11

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man–you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself–that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.”–Romans 2:1-11

Our culture celebrates the idea of not judging others. Non-Christians use this line constantly to tell Christians to back off popular views on sexual immorality, abortion and a host of other sins plaguing the world.

But does God’s Word really say not to judge others? Is that what Paul is getting at in this passage?

There’s a key part to this text, and it’s the same key we find in Matthew 7, when Jesus is talking about judgment. That verse reads:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”–Matthew 7:1-5

We must “take the log out” first. Paul attacks the popular Pharisaical belief, which the former Pharisee would be familiar with, that being Jewish, that being circumcised and knowing the law made one right with God.

Paul calls out any Jewish reader reading the previous passage calling out a litany of sins who thinks himself better than another because they don’t commit murder or adultery or the other sins he lists.

Paul will soon make it clear that “all have sinned,” and all “fall short” of the glory of God.

So does our own sin keep us from judging others? It does if we don’t acknowledge our own sin.

So how do we judge rightly?

  1. Acknowledge sin and repent. Acknowledge where you fall short, confess sin to the Lord and ask for forgiveness and grace to follow Jesus.
  2. For rebuking Christians: Lovingly confront brothers and sisters in Christ. Let the grace of God make you loving and kind, not arrogant and haughty.
  3. But…be firm. God doesn’t play games with us regarding our sin, and though we ought to speak the truth in love, we better speak the truth.
  4. For calling out non-Christians: Share the gospel. How wicked is it if we tell people they have a problem without giving them the solution?

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer for self-righteousness and unrighteousness. His grace melts the hard of both the legalist and those who know how sinful they are. His grace reminds us of our need for Him, whether we are doing “well” or doing “poorly,” because at the end of the day, we are all sinners who need grace.

Share that grace today.

Lord, may we not judge others before judging ourselves. May we let the gospel inform our judging and may we not let our self-righteousness get in the way of sharing the gospel.

God bless,

Neal E.


The Sinfulness of Sin and the Wrath of God: Romans 1:18-32

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”–Rom. 1:18-23

Do you ever think about the wrath of God? I’ll be the first to admit I probably don’t. I’d prefer not to. Wrath in general isn’t something I’d like to think about. But regardless of whether or not we like it, God is holy, and God is a God of wrath.

All people “suppress the truth.” We suppress it, we act like it isn’t there. It’s more convenient for us to walk outside and attribute a perfectly designed world to a random act of science than to deal with the truth that there is a God and we are accountable to Him.

We cannot be saved through studying God in nature, but we can clearly see there is a God. His “eternal power” and “divine nature” are shown. How? We see the power of God when we look at creation. The beauty of God’s creation, the uniqueness of it…all point to Him.

We see His divine nature when we notice our world and see the existence of a Creator.

So we are without excuse, Paul says. No one will be able to stand before God and say, “Wow! Had no idea you were here, God!” No one.

“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”–1:24-25

Sin is now rampant. It has affected all of creation. Why is there institutional racism, genocide, abortion and mistreatment of others? Not because of “religion,” but because of sin. Because human hearts don’t recognize their Creator.

If we were to recognize God as God and follow Him, how different things would be. But no one does. No one follows God, everyone falls short, Paul will tell us.

“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decrees that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”–1:26-32

Paul uses homosexual behavior as an example of unrighteousness and rebellion. It is not popular in 2017 to call this sin, but Christians are bound, not by culture, but by the Word of God. Same-sex behavior and marriage is a sin, and stands as rebellion against God. I cannot describe how painful those words are to right, as I have close friends and family who are in this situation, and I love them dearly. But that doesn’t change the truth.

Lest those of us who don’t struggle with that particular sin think we are something, Paul’s included a list for everyone. No one can make it through this list without an alarm going off in their head…”Guilty, guilty, guilty!” We know we are guilty. We know we are foolish and heartless and inventors of evil, etc. And we deserve to die.

But praise God that’s not the end of the story. Jesus has come to save us from our sins. He has paid our sin debt on the cross with His death and has risen from the grave so that those who trust in Him as Savior and Lord will be with God forever and their sin will not stand against them. Trust in Him.

Lord, may we not take for granted your holiness. May we be quick to repent. May we be bound by your word, not by culture. May we be unafraid to talk about sin and unafraid to share your solution for sin, the gospel of your Son Jesus.

God bless,

Neal E.