Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Rom. 2:1-11, “1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? 5 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. 6 God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’ 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.”
In our passage last week, Paul had just made the point that the depraved Gentile world was guilty and without excuse before God. In our passage for this week, Paul abruptly made a shift to the audience. So, who’s he addressing here?
Paul used what is called a “diatribe.” I’m sure you’ve seen this done before; it’s when a person uses questions or objections of an imaginary critic in order to give an answer or to tear down an argument or attitude. We’re not sure who the “you” is in particular in this passage. Some have said it was the Jews and others point to folks known as critical moralizers. Not all of the Gentile world would have been depraved; it’s more likely that Paul had both Gentiles and Jews in mind here: those who are critiacal moralizers, a person who presumes to pass moral judgements on other people’s actions and attitudes. In using a diatribe, Paul flipped the table on some of his audience. Instead of focusing on the shameless immorality of the world around him, he now turned to self-conscious moralism.
Paul pointed to a shortcoming that all of mankind tends to have: our tendency to be critical of everybody except ourselves. We are often harsher in our judgment of others than we are lenient toward ourselves. It’s a sad commentary on humanity. It tends to make people look down their noses at others whose sins may be more obvious than their own.
This kind of moralizing only proves a person’s own guilt. If their own critical faculties are so developed that they have now become the expert in evaluating others, then there is no way they can plead ignorance of moral issues themselves. They have become guilty of hypocrisy, of having a double standard. Their standards of others are extremely high, while they either overlook or minimize their own failures.
As I read over my thoughts, I can’t help but think of the ways I’m more critical of others and their failings. When I stop and think honestly of my own life, I shudder…I know how dark my own heart can be. I don’t want to be so harsh with others; I want to be a grace giver. I want to be a person who the love of Christ flows out of. I want my life to draw people to Christ.
What about you? Are you more critical of other’s sin than you are of your own? Let’s you and I commit to changing today. Each day let us surrender our will to Him and ask Him to use us to draw others to the hope we have in the gospel of Jesus
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians.