Critical moralizer. Think about this word…have you ever heard the term before? What does it mean to be critical? What does it mean to be a moralizer? If you’ve been around this kind of person, how did it make you feel? In what ways have you seen this term played out in people’s lives?
Our objective is to understand that Paul is not writing about the evils of judging people, but instead is writing about the failure of accurate self-judgement and the need for all to understand that we are all without excuse before God. Paul wants us to understand that the need is real and will be obvious if one would only look honestly at their situation.
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.”
There is a shift in chapter one and two from “They, them” to “You, your.” Who was the “They” (chapter 1) and who is the “you” in chapter two?
Why can a person be justly judged by rejecting general revelation, and yet they cannot be saved by it?
Why is it important that we share the gospel we’ve received with others? (Think of the two examples Terry gave from Acts.)
In this passage Paul now uses a writing style known as a “diatribe.” What is it and what does he want to address?
In verse 4, God in his kindness calls all people to “repent”. Why is “repent” a word that receives strong, negative reactions from people?
Look more carefully at verse 4. How might God’s judgment be a kindness?
Why is the opportunity to repent a great kindness of God?
Look at verse 5, why does it help us to look at this verse from the perspective electricity or a flat tire? Why does this help us to better understand that “your truth, my truth” thinking doesn’t work?
Now look at verse 6, does Paul mean that our works play a part in our salvation? What does Paul mean by “God will give to each person according to what they have done?”
Verse 7 can sometimes be misinterpreted to mean that you will never know if you’re saved until the end. But in reality, what Paul is saying is that those who belong to him will change, and the change will endure because the change is real. Contrast the two different ways of looking at this verse and talk about the implications it has for you personally.
Our problem is the failure of accurate self-judgment. What can you do to make sure you’re not falling into this trap Paul is describing here?
How can seeing change as an overall life direction and not a choice-by-choice perfection help?
What would need to happen in your life for you to live out Heb. 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” In what ways does this give you comfort? How might we help each other to live this out?
2 Cor. 1:21- 22, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” How can we encourage each other as we live this verse out together?