In Romans 1 Paul laid some things out for the Romans, that he was afraid they would look at and think well I’m not as bad as this guy so I must be ok. Paul wants to be sure in Romans 2 that they realize that instead of judging others they better be looking at themselves first.
“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” Romans 2:1 ESV
In Matthew it also warns us that we will be judged by the measure that we use on others against ourselves. (Matt 7:1-2) I don’t know about you but the more I learn and know about God, I would much rather be “judged” by God than by man. Our measures are imperfect. We will quickly jump to conclusions or in our mind we will choose sides based on friendship and on how we feel about one person or another. But God is the same all the time, He knows the big picture, He knows your heart. God’s judgment is meant to lead you to repentance, whereas the judgment of man is condemning and it leads to guilt and shame.
“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
God’s kindness is so that he leads us to repentance. We are not driven there. I’ve often jokingly said that God had to hit me over the head with a 2X4 for something. But the more I know about God the more I realize that God doesn’t do that. He leads us to repentance. He draws us to himself, in his kindness and his patience and in his loving, gentle ways. He is not going to hit us over the head or to drive us to do anything. Oh make no mistake there is a wrath of God too. And the day will come that all who do and practice evil will fall under the judgment of God. But for those who seek God and his righteousness there will be glory and honor and peace.
In the last part of Romans 2 Paul is talking about the law and God’s judgment that comes through the law. I’ll be honest, I read this passage over and over to try to gain understanding because I want to always handle God’s word rightly and to the best of my ability. What I gain from this is we will be judged by the matter of our hearts, not just the law. However, if you do know the law and if you teach and if you preach and if you boast in the laws of God and then you break these laws then you are dishonoring God. But let’s say there is someone who does not know the law, back in the days of the writing of Romans Paul was talking about the Gentiles. The Gentiles did not have the benefit of the Mosaic law handed down to them for centuries so what of them? What I think Paul is saying here is that it comes down to the heart. What is in your heart? Are you judging those who do not “keep” the laws and commandments of God based on what you know to be right and wrong? Or are you sweeping at your own back door first and realizing that the law was given to us as a measure but it’s what is in your own heart that God will look at. It’s not my place to judge you or to judge others. It is my place to show the lovingkindness of God to my fellow man. Even if I don’t necessarily see eye to eye with him. God is going to judge my heart by what I know. God is going to judge your heart by what you know. There is so much going on in the world right now and people are quick to be angry and everyone wants their own opinion to be your opinion. My question is what can I do every day to show Jesus love to my fellow man. My job is to show the lovingkindness of Jesus so that maybe it will be something you will see in me that you might want for yourself. I don’t want it to be about religion or about laws. I do want to teach, and I do want to keep the law of the Lord. But I want to do it out of love and I desire to do His will and work for Him out of my love for Him.
“But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man, but from God.” Romans 2:29 ESV