Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why Judge Others?

Romans 2:6-10

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.

When I first read these verses, I was thinking these words of Paul might be misconstrued that he is advocating "works righteousness". Meaning that one is justified before God by their good deeds. But what he is really doing is speaking to those who were judging others by their own standards. The Jews were especially guilty of this, as they looked down on Gentiles because they weren't Jewish. So Paul uses this argument that God judges everyone the same.

Here is someone's summary of why Paul is not advocating "works righteousness",

"Paul is stating that our eternal state is judged not by what we believe about ourselves but by how we live before God. Paul will amplify this thought in the verses to come. It is important for us to realize that Paul is not addressing the issue as to how to get to heaven (he does this later) but who is going to heaven (no one because they fall short as he will teach in the last part of chapter 2 and the first part of chapter 3). This argument is similar to I John where there exists tests to determine one’s salvation.

Paul is attacking the false security of the men and women who are supposedly saved by their righteous deeds. Paul confronts them right where they feel the strongest, but it is their deception that makes them so blind. Again, one cannot presume to be saved on the basis of who a person is, such as being a Jew, an elder, a faithful church goer, but one’s genuine sense of security is derived from a godly life. Paul has everyone to look at their own behavior rather than on their background, for otherwise, man will be able to hide his sin. Paul further aids us to do this through the following verses."

The bottom line once again is we have to read these kinds of passages in context. In this case, reading it in the context of the whole book of Romans. If anyone reads the whole book of Romans, you would see the singular message of the whole book is we are saved by grace through faith, not by works lest anyone should boast. Romans, which many regard as Paul's greatest letter, is from start to finish all about how he was saved because of this grace even though he persecuted many Christians . He spent the rest of his life in reaching as many people as possible, Jews and Gentiles, with the Good News. He preached it first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles, which was God's specific call on his life. For there is no difference between Jew or Gentile, because all of sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. cf Romans 3:23

So the question for us today is, "How do we judge others like those in Paul's day did?" As Christians how do we judge each other in the community of faith, and also those outside the faith. Paul says in the same way we judge others, we will be judged with the same judgment we use. That's pretty scary. We tend to judge people on our standards, which are usually external in nature. But God's standard is perfection and He looks at the heart, which only he can see.

Who are you tempted to judge in your life? What do you gain by judging them? Wouldn't it be better to show them the same grace, you received in Christ. After all we are really no different, just our brand of sin is different and in differing degrees. But in God's eyes we need mercy. By grace we have been saved through faith in what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Let's not forget it!

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