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. 2:1-4, “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?”
As we read in our last devotional, Paul was really stepping on the toes of some individuals in his audience. I can’t over emphasize how quickly and harshly we can become critics of everyone else except ourselves. We can be quick to pass judgement, yet give ourselves a pass. This is simply wrong.
It’s important to understand that when we do this, we are exposing ourselves to the judgement of God; we’re leaving ourselves without an escape or excuse. In becoming experts in what deserves judgment and what doesn’t, we set ourselves up for judgment, because in essence we’re saying we know what deserves punishment and who should receive that punishment.
It’s important to make a distinction here…this is not a call for us to suspend our critical faculties or even stop speaking about injustice. Instead, it is a call for us to stop standing in judgment of others and condemning them, especially when we do the very same thing…we sin. So what should we do? We should speak the truth; we point people toward the Gospel. We pray that they would clearly see God’s righteous decrees and come to knowledge of God.
Paul was exposing that this self-righteous attitude that was seen in the self-moralizer was wrong. He wanted us to know that the judgment of God was according to truth. Truth is based on God, not on incomplete, inaccurate, and circumstantial evidence. Yes, we are made in the image of God, but we are marred, we are finite, and we have limited knowledge. It is God alone that is all-knowing.
The self-moralizer would do well to understand that God’s judgement is inescapable; wrong is wrong. Who has done the wrong is irrelative; God doesn’t show favoritism. We must understand that all of mankind is guilty of falling short of God’s righteous decrees. The only hope for escape is found in Jesus as we repent and are forgiven when we place our hope in Him alone. It is when we come to grips with our own guilt before God that we realize anything less is to show “contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience.”
God’s patience with us, His willingness to delay judgement, is evidence of His goodness toward us. For “God’s kindness leads us toward repentance” and that is the goal! It is intended to give us space in which to repent, not to give us an excuse for sinning.
Ask God to show you ways you may be acting like the self-righteous moralizer. Have you made excuses for sinning? Would you ask God to show you the ways He’s shown His kindness to you?
*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.