"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."
In order to understand this passage of scripture we have to answer some questions first.
What is Paul’s assignment from God stated in Romans 1:5-6?
His assignment was to bring about the obedience of faith for Jesus’ sake among all the nations. We see this also inRomans 15:18and Romans 16:26.
What is the condition of all men and do they have an excuse for their condition as given in Romans 1:18-20?
All men have sinned (Romans 3:23clarifies that Paul is talking about all men in Romans 1:18-20) and are without excuse since they can see God’s divine nature in what has been created and thus know sin is wrong, contrary to God and deserving of His wrath, which is death as clarified in Romans 1:32. Romans 2:1 states that those judging (condemning) others have no excuse because they also have sinned as mentioned in Romans 1:20and are condemning themselves when they judge another person.
The “you” in Romans 2:1 is singular and thus indicates that individuals in the Roman church were judging others and ruining unity. Paul instructs in Romans 14:13 that those doing the judging are to stop judging (condemning) and decide to not put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
Please note that there is a difference between judging and condemning. When a person judges another person, the person judging is saying the person is not pleasing God, but still is saved. When a person condemns another, the person is saying the person is not accepted by God and subject to eternal torment. We all need to judge one another to help each other walk pleasing to God (Galatians 6:1). We are not to condemn others who have repented of their sin and believed the gospel.
The judging in the Roman church was over non sin issues (Romans 14), not about Romans 1:21-31sin issues. Paul makes an argument in his letter to the Jewish and Gentile Christians that all the ground is level at the foot of the cross, that is, all in the Roman church have sinned and all alike are saved by grace. The Jews and Gentiles were making a big deal over non sin issues (Romans 14) and claiming acceptance (salvation from penalty of sin) by God was by keeping certain practices or by not keeping certain practices. Paul stated clearly in Romans 1:16-17that acceptance by God and pleasing God both occur by faith in the Son of God and that faith yields obedience to God.
May you look at yourself and ask, "Are you judging rightly?", "Are you judging people for non sin issues like clothes, music, hair style, food and drink, holiday practices?"
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
Three key questions to ask as we prayerfully read the scriptures:
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