God’s Righteous Judgment
2 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 riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
The Jews and the Law
17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
Paul seems to continue with addressing hypocrisy, while pointing the readers of this letter to God and His grace. It appears people are being very legalistic and judgemental towards others who break the law and sin. But Paul is asking what right they have to judge others when they are doing the same things. Paul says they are passing judgement, which in turn is casting judgement on themselves. Basically, Paul is saying that their words had better line up with their works.
Paul then calls attention to those calling themselves Jews. He calls them out because they are using their ‘status’ as a Jew, God’s chosen people,to be the teachers of the law and therefore fall on the right side of God’s righteous judgement. But Paul says otherwise, calling out the hypocrisy once again and informing them that their birthright and following the law to the letter is not what makes them a Christian, but what is in their heart. These people seek the approval of God, not men.
Hypocrisy and works are two very easy traps to fall into. We can very easily look at another person and judge them because their sin is so much worse than our own. But what does God tell us in the book of James, breaking the law at only one point is like breaking them all. We are all on a level playing field, we have no right to judge others. If we judge another by what they are doing, and we are sinning, either by our actions or by not having love in our heart for others, then we are going to be judged accordingly by God. Let’s be careful we are not having that “at least i don’t do that” type attitude towards others.
Lord, forgive us for those times when we judge others, and yet, we ourselves continue to sin. Help us with our own sin, help us to love others, and through this, help others to see Jesus and your kindness and forgiveness. Let us be a true and genuine light to the world around us. Jesus we thank you for your love and for your blessings, in your name, amen.