Romans 2: 1- “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” NKJV
This chapter begins with Paul setting a tone. He’s not telling his readers how wonderful they are anymore. As a matter of fact, just the opposite. He’s probably inciting their anger towards him because he is pointing out a truth they either don’t recognize or don’t want to recognize!
All of us know good people and people who we don’t consider to be so good. They are in our families, at our jobs, in our churches, our next door neighbors. Mr. Smith down the block has been married to the same woman for 20 years, keeps up with his lawn, and offers to cut the lawns of the older people on the block. We judge him as being good. The lady in the office with the tight clothes, stiletto heels, and too much make up who is too loud, we judge as sinful. The tither and Sunday School teacher, good! The person who is always on the prayer list for one thing or another, not so good! We’ve all done it at some point in our life, and Paul is saying, who are we to judge when we are guilty of wrong doing ourselves?
Paul addressed all of those terrible sins associated with the worldly Gentiles, and now he is addressing the Jewish population who were trained in religious protocol. We looked at the Gentiles, Paul implies, but now let’s look at you! Paul states that those who believe themselves to be morally upright are without excuse before God, for as they have judged the Gentiles, they are also guilty for practicing the same things. Paul was letting them know that having morality didn’t give them a leg up on the Gentiles or with God. Those little foxes spoil the vine every time!
Paul reminds the Jews that God judges according to truth! Not our truth, His truth!
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.Psalm 96:13 NKJV
Everything that God calls unrighteous is unrighteous; and all that He declares to be holy, is holy! As the Righteous One, He can never be wrong!
For some reason, commentators of the book of Romans agree that when Paul was writing this portion of the letter he was probably thinking of some of his secular contemporaries in Rome. Each of them mention a philosopher named Seneca, so I thought I would see why. Seneca was the younger brother of Gallio. Remember Gallio in the book of Acts? In Acts 18, the Jews take Paul to the judgment seat where Gallio is presiding. They accuse Paul of persuading men to worship God contrary to the law. Before Paul can say anything, Gallio basically tells them that he doesn’t care and tells them to leave. At the time of this letter, Seneca, a Spanish born philosopher, had risen to a place of prominence in Rome. He tutored Nero, the Roman emperor when he was a young man. Prior to this, he had been expelled from Rome, but Nero’s mom had him brought back to Rome and made him a tutor. Although he was responsible for doing some good things, he also stood by, without question, as Nero murdered his own mother.
With this scenario in mind, we can well see why Paul would say that they were without excuse. Judging others as being wicked, while ignoring the wickedness of those who have honored us or placed us in a position of power is wrong! It’s equally wicked! Didn’t we hear a politician say that he could shoot someone in Central Park and his supporters wouldn’t care? Unfortunately, he’s proving that could be so true!
I mentioned before, how I received an email from a very well known Christian leader. In that email there was an urgent message to pray for the presidential election of 2016. Within the email was a statement referring to the Democrats as evil Democrats. I was shocked! Since then, there have been many many more who have made similar comments, even to the point of saying that those who didn’t vote for a particular candidate was in danger of the wrath of God, or that they were going to hell. It seems to me that Paul was speaking prophetically of the times in which we live. Voting is not theocratic, it is part of a democracy. One vote for every citizen. We have the right to vote as we please. All Republicans are not Christians, nor are they all godly, or evil. All Democrats are not evil, nor do they all agree with abortion or gay rights. And they are certainly not all evil! Paul warns us about being so judgmental, when many of the things we are judging, we are guilty of doing ourselves. So after bringing this point out, Paul asks the question:
And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?Romans 2:3 NKJV
When I mention the judgment of God, what exactly am I referring to? In the Vine’s dictionary, the Greek word for judgment is “krima” and it conveys the thought of “the sentence pronounced, a verdict, a condemnation, specifically God’s judgment upon man”. Peter wrote in another letter these words about the judgment of God:
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?1 Peter 4:16 NKJV
Christians have become pretty self-righteous and a little arrogant. (Aren’t those sins?) I was working in a restaurant while going to school. Every Sunday night, a group of students from a Christian college would come to the place to eat and hang out. They were pretty obnoxious, to say the least, acting as if they had come into this worldly environment to dominate and exercise their Christian rights. Things were getting out of hand. My manager felt that if I worked that shift, being a Christian, I could probably make them happier. I was a little embarrassed for my fellow Christians, as they were being rude and were developing a bad reputation before unsaved people. I ended up having to really have a talk with them. I explained to them that I was embarrassed that they called themselves Christians with their type of behavior. I mentioned that they were hurting my evangelistic efforts amongst my co-workers. And then I said something about starting the night over and acting like they were really Christians. Well, their leader apologized and had the group apologize. We never had another problem!
I see this same spirit operating in the church today! And it is sad! I understand that the world runs over us at every opportunity. I understand they have no respect for us or our Jesus! I understand policies are often not made in our favor and often place us in uncomfortable positions. But when we act like they act, (especially in the Name of Jesus), I believe we place ourselves in the position of judge and jury. It is as if we have decided that God is too weak to take care of this situation and therefore we need to do it! Or maybe we think He forgot how to deal with sinners, or He’s just too merciful and no mercy will be extended any longer! Or maybe we really think that we have become God because we have a lot of followers, a mega church, several mega churches, hundreds of books and money we no longer need to check on. Whatever we are thinking, it’s stinking thinking!
Do we really think that God needs us to burn down abortion clinics because He can’t seem to stop people from getting an abortion? Do we really think that we are better than others because we go to church and say that we are saved? Does God really need us to storm the capital and then pray in the room to show how Christian-like we are? I refuse to say Christ-like! And in the words of Paul, do we really think that we are going to escape the judgement of God when it starts in the house of God? I’m just agreeing with Paul! This is inexcusable and we need to do a reality check, or spiritual check, or Jesus check, or something! Wonderful Jesus!