Hey Plankeye!! Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read the passage below.
Romans 2:1-4 – 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 richesof his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
I feel like every blog post I do starts out with me saying, ‘make sure you read the context…’---so here we go again!! I would highly recommend reading through Romans 1:18 – 2:16, because it gives tremendous insights into what’s going on!! Also, whenever ‘therefore’ is in Scripture, we MUST know what’s previously been said.
Ok, so my understanding of this church (the one in Rome) is that it was a mixture Jewish & Gentile (aka…non-Jewish) people that were in the same community. The Jewish people were raised in the Jewish faith and then converted to being a Christ-follower and were steeped in religious tradition and the ‘law’. If you were raised in the church and were basically taught the Bible, you can lump yourself into this category. The church also had Gentile Christians that had no basic religious upbringing, except for the pagan gods they were around. This was a much different tradition than the Jewish people were brought up in---if you had no religious upbringing and then came to faith, you fit into this category. Imagine how different the perspectives on what’s right and wrong!!!
Now, both these believers were within the same community of faith and were in the middle of Rome that housed tons of Gentile people that lived totally against OT law and totally against Jesus calling on their lives. Romans 1 details what these Gentile, non-Christ followers were doing. Paul says in Romans 1:21 that ‘they knew God’, but didn’t really care and rejected His authority in their lives. Everyone raise your fingers, point at the sinners, and speak how awful they are! I mean…we would NEVER do this kind of thing today…or would we??
Paul continues on in Romans 2 and says ‘You…’ this refers to the Jewish Christians, brought up under the Law, that then pointed the judgmental finger at the sinners far from God---again, which we would never do (hopefully you are sensing my sarcasm!!) Wherever you judge someone else, you have fallen in the same way or same category. In walking with numerous people and reflecting on my own journey, I think we all tend to have a self-righteous phase. We feel like everyone should be as awesome as we are, because we truly love Jesus and the people around us don’t love Him as much or have rejected Him completely. We tend to point out people that struggle in areas we may not and we feel holier than them!!
Read through Luke 7:40-47---Jesus is contrasting the attitude of a self-righteous religious person with a well-known sinner (known in the Biblical sense!!). Our gratefulness towards God and how we see and treat others displays how much we believe we have been forgiven! Arrogance, self-righteousness, and judgment show we think we have been forgiven little---Humility, repentance, and love reflect a heart that has been forgiven much. If we truly grasp the Gospel, we come with repentance (Romans 2:4) and God’s kindness and forgiveness melts our hearts and we realize that we have no place of judgment or authority. We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory and only humility, dependence, and repentance allow us to receive His grace.
So in a sexually-charged world, where anything goes, we must first begin with ourselves. Sexually we have all had thoughts, actions, and desires that are deserving of the condemnation that we spew out towards certain groups. We believe that the homosexual, porn addict, and adulterer are much worse than us, the pristine church-goer. Brother, you and I need to throw down our fig leaves and realize our own depravity and the length that God went for humanity. Plus, in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13---Paul says it's not our responsibility to judge those outside the church!! If we grasp the length, depth, and height of His love, we will have different eyes to see those around us and you know what, that kind of attitude may actually help lead someone to Jesus!
Do you grasp how much God has forgiven you? Are there certain categories of ‘sin’ that you judge more than others? Does that make you feel better about yourself? I would love to hear your journey and how this passage impacted you.