Gospel – 4 – Judgment
The Apostle Paul has declared what God has announced to be judicially approved of – Namely that those who perform improper and unfitting behavior as a regular practice
Are weighed and balanced and found to be deserving of death
Not only do people manufacture and construct this kind of behavior,
They also identify with, agree with and are of one mind with
Those who actively and regularly practice such behaviors
So in Romans 2 v 1 – 11, he comes to a conclusion:
Everyone, whoever you are, is without excuse or defence
When you judge and separate out good from bad
At whatever point you judge another person
You condemn yourself
You the judge actively perform it – you do the same things
We know that the judgment and separating out down from God
Upon those who do such things
Is true to the facts
Do you consider that when you judge and separate out good from bad
With regard to those who practice such things
And (yet) construct and manufacture them yourself
That you will flee away from God’s judgment and separating?
Do you show scorn and disregard for
The wealth and abundance of His kindness, forbearance and patience –
Ignorant that God’s kindness leads and inclines you to a change of mind?
Coming down from your hardness,
And from your core that has no change of mind
You are storing up and accumulating
A rising, settled anger for yourself
In the day of rising, settled anger
And the unveiling and revealing
Of the results of God’s righteous, fair, judgment and separating out.
God will give to every individual
A payment in return
Exactly related to their actions
That come out from and complete
Their inner desires
Down from steadfast endurance
In good actions coming out from inner desires to inquire and seek to resolve the matter (will come)
Honor, renown, respect,
Freedom from physical decay or perishing and
Down from mercenary self-seeking and refusal to be persuaded with regard to
What is true to the facts –
Being persuaded of injustice and unrighteousness – (will come)
Settled swelling, passionate anger and wrath
Hemmed in affliction
Confined distress and
Based on every breath of humans
That work out, produce and accomplish
The malice within
Of Jewish people, first
(There will also be)
Honor, renown, glory, splendor and wholeness
To everyone working, laboring and accomplishing good
Of Jewish people, first
There is no partiality or favoritism with God
To the degree that people fail to acknowledge and honor God even though God is revealed in creation, and to the degree that people change the facts about God to images of created things – praising and serving created things instead of the Creator – God hands people over to follow their inner desires, passions and lusts. Thus we see injustice, greed, grudges, quarrels, gossiping, criticism, violence insolence and lack of compassion. This is how we see God’s anger being revealed from heaven. We see it every day in the news and in our day-to-day social encounters.
We may find it easy to look down on some people who act in these kinds of ways and we may frown on certain instances of such behavior. We may find ourselves being critical of the way that some people behave, and we may readily offer negative judgments about some people, expressing disapproval of the way that they speak and act.
Every time we make those sorts of criticisms, we condemn ourselves. This reflects a very important principle set out by Jesus himself: ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Because in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’ (Matthew 7 v 1, 2). This is a very important and strong caution to us with regards to how we relate to other people. There is this principle of reciprocity in Scripture – There is a moving back and forth between two people who behave in the same way, corresponding; matching; complementary and equivalent. This principle can be seen again in what we know as the ‘Lord’s Prayer’: ‘Forgive us our sins, as we also forgive everyone who sins against us’ (Luke 11 v 4).
This is a sobering principle. We look to God for forgiveness, kindness and mercy – we hope that God will be patient and forbearing with us in our weaknesses. We hope that God will hold back His Judgment, anger and wrath. But there is a reciprocal condition and principle with regard to these qualities of God that we hope for. In effect God says: If you are judgmental and critical of others – I will judge you in the same way. If you are not kind, merciful, forbearing and patient with those who offend you, then it is no use hoping for those qualities from me. I will forgive you in the same way that you forgive others. Just think about that for a moment and let it serve as a caution to the things that you say and do.
We find a similar principle here in Romans – None of us can take a superior position and judge others as though we are somehow excluded from such behavior or exempt from God’s anger. We all follow the same principle of behavior – inner desires, passions –lusts – rise up within us. We all have drives, impulses, instincts that at one time or another we follow, we allow them to be ‘worked out’ into speech and behavior. So when we judge others, we condemn ourselves because, to different degrees and in different ways, we all follow the same principle of giving way to and following our desires and passions that swell up within us. Whoever we are, whatever social strata we are in or role we perform, we are without excuse or defence. None of us can escape God’s Judgment – we cannot run away from it. God’s patience and forbearance with us is meant to incline us to change our minds when it comes to following our inner desires and passions, in the light of this future Judgment.
The Apostle compares and contrasts our human judging with that of God. God’s Judgment is true to the facts. Scripture tells us elsewhere that God does not judge by appearances but searches the very core of our being, such that hidden, secret things are brought into the light.
God’s Judgment is also fair and proportioned. People are building up a store based on the things that they do and say. By remaining insensitive to God, by becoming foolish in their thinking, and by following and ‘working out’ their inner passions and desires into their behavior, they are storing up God’s anger and passionate wrath. Why? Because what we do earns a ‘wage’. Ungodly, unrighteous behavior earns condemnation and punishment exactly in proportion to the behavior concerned. This condemnation and punishment will result in the person being ‘hemmed in’ and confined in a state of affliction, distress and inner anguish.
By contrast, good¸ righteous behavior earns a reward of praise and honor, and when a person diligently searches and inquires after the truth with regard to God and spiritual realities, they will earn freedom from decay – immortality – eternal life.