You Shall Judge (Romans 2:1-5)

There are two focal points in Romans 2:1-5; the entire passage forms an alternative: God’s judgement falls on the hypocritical judge, or the kindness of God leads men to repentance.

But this passage, much like Matthew 7, gets tossed around by those who have ripped it from it’s context, and enjoy pointing out how “judgmental” all of us are being (especially of those poor, maligned homosexuals). We need to take these passages (Romans 2 and Matthew 7) and place them in the larger context of Scripture.

We should note that Paul, in Romans 2, isn’t telling us not to judge, he’s telling us not to judge hypocritically. You can see this in the last clause of v. 1, which gives the reason that those Paul is addressing are “without excuse”: “…because you who judge practice the same things.” The warning is against self-righteous and hypocritical judgement, not all judgement and discernment. It is worth remembering that Jesus commanded us to “stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgement” (John 7:24).

I am often stunned at the folks that trot this passage out, because it seems that they don’t actually understand the passage! I recently had Romans 2 quoted to me on Facebook, explaining how I was a big, nasty, jerk-face for opposing homosexual marriage. Here’s the irony: the proponents of homosexual marriage are catapulting our society toward a premature demise by making the disastrous judgment that we ought not make judgments about their behavior. They, of course, can judge our behavior as immoral when we oppose same-sex marriage. But we are not to judge their behavior. This is exactly the kind of hypocrisy that Jesus warned against. The passage they quote actually convicts them!

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"I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve." (Romans 16:17-18) Please read "The Comments Policy."

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