Summary: Your religion will never save you. Only a relationship with Jesus can.
I am certainly happy to be done with the first chapter. The wrath of GOD and attributes of a depraved society are not easy subjects to speak on, or even listen to. We are often torn between the conflicting standards of society, or of GOD. Choose you this day whom ye will serve.
For the sake of time, I'll read Romans 2:1-8,11 & 16.
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judge: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judge doest the same things. 2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 11 For there is no partiality with God. 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
The text this morning takes us to another topic involving a different audience. We are no longer looking at the unrighteousness of the heathen society, but the self-righteousness of some within the church. The focus is no longer “them” or “they” as in the first chapter. They are without excuse, they knew GOD, they became fools, GOD gave them over. Picture the members of that early church reading this letter and relishing in how Paul is really giving it to the Godless pagans around them. The focus here shifts to “you”, or “thou” dependent upon translation. (Verse 1) Therefore thou are inexcusable... whoever you are who judge...
As in all first century Christian Churches, there were 2 cultures, Jews & Gentiles. The Jews had a natural tendency to see themselves higher up the ladder because their culture was based on the law. Not just the 10 commandments that we are used to, but the full 613 commandments found within the first 5 books of the O.T. Since they have knowledge of the law, they should expect higher scrutiny. (Verse 12) “...and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law.”
In a nutshell, Paul cautions against hypocrisy and the tendency to judge others who may be considered to be more sinful. I think to an extent, we all do this. We all tend to use ourselves as a baseline for good or bad. Anyone perceived to be better than us are good, anyone worse than us are bad.
Lets try a quick experiment. I'll say a name, & you say whether you perceive them as good or bad. Adolf Hitler...Bad. Mother Theresa...Good. Jeffrey Dahmer...Bad. Billy Graham...Good.
While this passage is saying that we are not to judge to condemnation; it isn't saying we are not to judge for identification. There are times we must still judge a persons motives. We are given several examples of this. 1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Jesus said in Mathew 7:16 You will know them by their fruits.
Let's say your daughter or grand-daughters' new boyfriend shows up to your house for the first time. You hear the brakes screeching outside. Then you look outside in time to see the car door open. Beer cans & prescription bottles are falling out. The boy has tattoos on his forehead & neck that mimic those of Charles Manson. I think we are safe in judging for identification,....& keeping our daughters' at home. (paraphrased from Jon Courson)
Ultimately, it is not our opinions of others, or even theirs of us that matter. There is only one judgment that matters. (Vs 11&16) For there is no partiality with God... in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ .
This is Paul's way of introducing the Roman Christians to the idea of judgment day. (Vs 5-8) ...in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good, seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth... indignation and wrath...,