Have you ever heard the phrase “look deeper”. Many years ago when I was a young child, I was very messy. I had all of my clean clothes piled on top of my bed and had no interest in folding them and putting them away. Yet soon my family and I needed to leave and I wanted to wear a specific shirt. I looked and looked at the pile of clothes and could not see it. So I yelled down to my mother, “I can’t find my shirt.” Then she replied have to actually gone into the pile or have you just looked at the surface. Once I actually started rummaging through the pile of clothes after a while I found the t-shirt I was looking for. This story from my childhood is how you may have just read Romans 2:1-5.
When we read Romans 2:1-5, if we read it only on the surface we can draw aimportant conclusion but not the main point that Paul is trying to teach. The surface conclusion, is that we are not to judge anyone, for how they are living. Now do not get me wrong this is an important concept we are to learn but that is not the entire point that Paul is trying to make here. If we end there we are only looking at the surface of the passage and have not started rummaging through the entire passage and the context of the passage to find the main point Paul is trying to make.
In the previous chapter Paul was teaching about God’s wrath and how we are all sinners condemned by our disobedience to the law and that we are without excuse. There is no excuse that we can make that will have God “forget” our sin. Even if you are saved by God’s grace though Jesus as your savior God has not forgotten your sin because of Jesus’s sacrifice, rather you have been forgiven because Jesus took your punishment. A debt needed to be paid and he paid it in full. God never forgets rather He forgives when the debt is paid.
With this in mind, Paul starts to write how we cannot judge others because we are not the Judge. We are not the ones that a person is sinning against. When a person sins, in the end they are breaking God’s law, even if they are sinning against us, God is the ultimate person they are sinning against. Because of this God is the one whom they are sinning against God is the Judge not us. God is the one who says if they are guilty of breaking His law, not us.
Paul then continues by writing about the Day of Judgment. The Day of Judgment which Paul is referring to is on the day when God judges all people, every person will have to give an account of their entire life. And if there was any sin in your life you will face the wrath of God, which is eternal punishment in Hell. Complete separation from God, with no hope of parole, eternal pain and suffering beyond what you can imagine with no end ever. The is the penalty for breaking God’s law and something that each and every one of us deserves for we sin every single day, every single hour, usually every single minute. Even more so we are all born into sin and can never escape it.
We all will be judged. Even if you have Jesus as your savior having your sins forgiven, having Jesus as your mediator between you and God, you will still be judged. But rather than being judged by your obedience to the law you are judged by Jesus obedience to the law. He had perfect obedience while we can never obey, and were born into sin.
This is why it confuses me when we see sings all around saying “Escape final judgment, choose Jesus.” or something to that effect. They are falsely telling us that if we have Jesus as our savior we do not face the Judge that the final judgment is only for people who will go to Hell. This could not be further from the truth. We all must face this Final Judgment. We will all face the Judge who is the only one who can be the judge for He is the one who created the law. Yes, if you have been forgiven though the perfect obedience of Jesus you will not receive the wrath of God but you still have to give an account of all of your sin to God. For God is the Judge and will judge all people in the final day.
Do you ever judge other people’s sin? Is there sin greater than you sin? Why do we think that their sin is greater than our sin? Why do we place ourselves in the role of Judge rather than God? Are we any better than them? Does Jesus’s perfect obedience make your sin any less heinous? Rather than judging others sins, what can you do instead? Does this mean we are to ignore their sin? Why not? What are we to do instead? How can you point them to Jesus as their savior, without acting like the Judge of their sin? Why is this hard to do? Why is it so important?
Read Romans 2:1-5.