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Romans 2:1 - 10: To Judge or not to Judge? Part One

Romans Bible Study - The Kindness of God

You can't go very far in the Bible without coming across the word and concept of judgment and its variants: to judge, judge not, and of course, judge not lest you be judged.

In perfect harmony with judgment is mercy and grace.

I. Who are you to judge?

Judging Others:

Matthew 7:1 ? 2; Luke 6:37; John 7:24; Romans 14:3 ? 4, 10, 13, 22; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Colossians 2:16; James 4:11 ? 12;

Judging the Church:

1 Corinthians 6:1 ? 3, 6;

Judging Ourselves:

1 Corinthians 11:31 ? 32;

Condemning Others:

John 3:17 ? 18;

The Judgment of God:

Romans 2:3, 12, 16;

In 1 Corinthians 2:15 Paul makes the argument that a spiritual person ?judges? all things. However, this word is different than the ones in the proof texts. For one thing, the word has more of a sense of investigation or examination rather than condemnation. We can examine without passing judgment, just as we ?examine (judge) ourselves

a. Judging in others what we practice ourselves. (Verse 1)

The word "inexcusable" can be translated as "without defense" or "without an excuse." So we can say that everyone who judges while practicing the same things they condemn, are condemning themselves.

b. Judgment according to truth. (Verse 2 & 3)

God's judgment is always based on truth, whereas, human judgment is mostly based on opinion, conjecture, and feeling. God, in truth, must prosecute every one who denies the truth as in chapter one. However, if someone realizes that they are practicing of very things that they judge in others, and rightly judge themselves, God shows mercy. If they repent, they are forgiven. But no mercy will be shown to those who do not show mercy to others.

The critic always judges and condemns the very things that he practices.

How can we expect we will escape God's righteous judgment and condemnation, unless we think God does not care or see? If God does care and does see, how can we judge others when we deserve to be judged by God? God?s judgment is based on truth since He is the truth. He is the universal and absolute standard of truth and righteousness. He alone is worthy to judge. This does not mean that we do not judge, or evaluate people and/or things. Paul said that we are to judge, and Jesus said that we would be able to distinguish between true prophets and false through inspecting or evaluating the fruit they bear.

We are to judge and teach others how to judge according to truth so that we can distinguish between the holy and unholy, between the service of God and the service of the nations.

Proof Texts:

Leviticus 10:10; 2 Chronicles 12:8; Ezekiel 22:26, 44:23

II. Who is He to judge?

Who is God that He should judge us? Better still a question that is often asked is "Why does He judge us?" or "No one is perfect, we are all human?" That is still not good enough to escape the righteous judgment of God. But God's judgment and wrath are in all respects equal to His forgiveness of mercy. As a matter of fact, a startling truth is revealed in verse 4 in all its wonderful majestic theological wonder.

a. The kindness of God. (Verse 4)

Since none of us can rightly judge based on our own performance, we must judge rightly according the truth of the Bible. This is not to say that we condemn or treat people with contempt or unkindness, since if the goodness of God leads people to repentance, then we should treat people with kindness.

The riches or abundance of God?s 1) goodness, 2) forbearance, and 3) longsuffering is in stark contrast to our lack of goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering. It is not our lifestyle or witness that leads people to Christ, it is His kindness.

b. Stubborn hearts. (Verses 5 & 6)

It is always stubbornness (hardness) and a unrepentant heart that causes someone to condemn in others what they practice in their own lives. Many are too proud or stubborn to listen carefully to the gospel of Jesus Christ. God's judgment is coming, but His grace and mercy are already here. That is why God stores wrath for those who reject Him. We learned from chapter one that those who deny God and His truth always turn to sin. They not only do those things that are evil but get others to do it as well. And if they are not outwardly sinning, they sin in their heart every time they judge (condemn) their fellow man.

God will give everyone who decides to try and make it to heaven on their own goodness, ability, and righteousness, everything they deserve. It is not enough to rely on our deeds to make it into heaven we must rely on Jesus? finish deed on the cross. If we are relying on our own deeds, we are justly condemned, but if we rely on the finished and complete work of Jesus Christ, we do not need to fear judgment.

III. Judge wisely - two paths to choose from.

There have always been two roads to travel and two masters to serve. Jesus said that the road to destruction is wide and many travel that road.

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it." Matthew 7:13

There are only two paths, and only one leads to God.

a. Holiness (Verses 7)

Eternal life (with God) is not gained by works, but through faith in Jesus Christ. The result of gaining eternal life is a life dedicated to doing good and seeking glory, honor and immortality.

b. Worldliness (Verse 8 )

In contrast to those who are born again and seeking God's kingdom, those who are self-seeking and disobedient to the truth have one expectation: indignation and wrath. We are told to test ourselves and judge ourselves to see if we are truly born again and are in the faith.

c. Reward and Penalty (Verses 9 ? 10)

Just as the gospel came to the Jew first and then to the Gentile, so to judgment on every soul that does not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. The reward for believing in the simple message is not only eternal life, but the ability now to obey what God commands. As Jesus overcame evil through the Word and the Spirit, so we can obey from our hearts by hearing the Word and the Spirit.

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Published on: 2006-01-01 (3351 reads)

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