Our next reading is Romans 2:1-11
There is a difference between judging someone and simply evaluating their behaviour according to Biblical truth. When we want the best for someone, we can share the truth with them in love, without coming across as having a judgmental or condemning attitude toward them. When that person knows the truth, then they can make a positive change in their lives. A good example of this ability to evaluate would be the jury in a court case. They do not hand out the sentence or administer the punishment, but they are able to evaluate and feedback on a person’s behaviour. It is acceptable, at times, to share with a fellow believer, that their behaviour is not in accordance with Scripture. If we find that our attitude and behaviour has changed toward someone (we think less of them, we want to treat them differently etc), because of what they have done, then we would not be the right person to share this information with them – as very quickly our attitude toward them can become condemning. Judgment for condemnation is reserved for G-d. It is out of our jurisdiction.
v1: Inexcusable: This is a strong word. In this context it means that we will not be excused or justified if we judge others. If we judge others, we ourselves are going to experience condemnation from G-d. Judging others is not a salvation issue, but it is a punishment issue, and those who judge are going to suffer loss, as this is the kind of behaviour that G-d is not pleased with.
- Man: Paul is not only speaking to males. This word simply means human being – male and female.
- Whoever you are: All. Everyone. No exceptions.
- You condemn yourself: The measure we use against others is the measure that will be used against us (Matt 7:1-2).
- Practice the same things: Often the flaws and sins we see in the lives of others are the very things that we ourselves battle with in our own lives. When we see sin in the lives of others, if should cause us to take a look within ourselves to see if we are perhaps guilty of the same sin. If we find that we are guilty, it should serve as a time of repentance and change in our own lives. Sin in the lives of others can be a message to us of our need to change and repent.
v2: But: In contrast to. We are completely ill-equipped to judge others. We have no idea what is truly going on in the lives and thoughts of others.
- The judgment of G-d is according to truth: G-d knows all things. We don’t. Often the baggage in our own lives will cloud or obscure our judgment.
- The judgment of G-d is … against those who practice such things: There is a debate among the scholars as to whether this means that G-d is going to judge those who are practicing these wrong things, or if the judgment of G-d is going to be upon us if we practice these things i.e. judging others.
v3: Do you think: Paul wants us to think carefully about this.
- Do you think… that you will escape the judgment of G-d?: The answer to this question is ‘no’. When we see others behaving wrongly, we must avoid having a negative attitude or behaviour toward them, but (after examining ourselves) in love and compassion, wanting the very best for them, we must quietly and gently approach them about their wrong behaviour that does not meet the standards of G-d.
v4: Despise: Think little of. We might be quick to judge others because we think little of G-d’s kindness, bearing with others or His patience.
- Goodness: Kindness. We are called to be kind, and the Holy Spirit will lead us to be kind to others, but in our flesh we struggle with being truly kind to others. G-d, on the other hand, is rich in kindness.
- Forbearance: To delay something. To put up with. To not respond immediately.
- Longsuffering: Patience. Drawing out something slowly.
- Not knowing: Against knowing.
- The goodness of G-d leads…to repentance: The kindness etc of G-d has a purpose. It produces fruit. It leads a person to repentance. G-d delays punishment. He does not delight in it. He acts slowly, allowing us time to fall under conviction, so that we have enough time to be able to repent.
v5: Hardness… impenitent heart: Individuals who are quick to judge others usually have hard and unrepentant hearts. They often lack patience and kindness, and do not want the best for others.
- Treasuring up… wrath: We, who have received mercy through Messiah Yeshua, should be merciful. We who have received the grace of G-d need to extend the grace of G-d to others.
- Day of wrath: There is a time set aside for judgment day. On this judgment day, those who are unrepentant, and who have denied the gospel, are going to be cast into eternal punishment.
v6: Render to each one according to his deeds: This is another aspect of judgment day. It is not only a day for condemnation, but is also the time for the handing out of rewards. This verse is not speaking about salvation. It is not speaking about faith. Instead, it is speaking about what we, as believers, are going to gain (or lose) as a consequence of our behaviour while we were here on earth (1 Cor 3:10-15). All believers are going to appear before the judgment seat of Messiah (2 Cor 5:10).
v7: Eternal life: Kingdom life. Although this does mean life without end, it also speaks to a quality or character of life, that we can enjoy right now – life that is related to the Kingdom of G-d. Eternal life doesn’t only begin when we die. We should be living in it from the moment that we believe. When we are enduring in good deeds it is because we are seeking this Kingdom experience, in this age and not only for in the age to come.
- Patient continuance in doing good: Enduring in good works. Speaking about those who persevere in doing good works.
- Immortality: Not able to be corrupted. They will experience no decay or wearing out. Everlasting life.
v8: Self-seeking: Selfish. They do not love others as they love themselves. They are not concerned about the well-being of others.
- Do not obey the truth: They are not interested in the truth of G-d.
v9: Tribulation and anguish (distress) on every soul…who does evil: G-d does not behave in one way to some and in another way to others. Those who practice evil are going to experience the wrath of G-d.
- Evil: Doing that which is against the will of G-d.
- Greek: Gentile
v10: But: In contrast to the above.
- Good: Meaning in accordance with G-d’s will. We should be individuals who want to do that which is good. This means we want to be people who submit to the will of G-d.
- To the Jew first and also to the Greek: G-d’s standards are not just for the Jewish people, but they are for all of humanity.
v11: Partiality: Favouritism.