Romans 2:1-11

You must also judge yourself. Hypocrisy. God’s kindness leads to repentance. The law 101.

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1Therefore you are without excuse,whoever you are, when you judge someone else. For on whatever grounds you judge another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge practice the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment is in accordance with truth against those who practice such things (Romans 2:1—2)."

Most people initially interpret verse 1 as saying that passing judgment on others is improper. How do we judge false teachers and their teachings, if this is the case? This text essentially states that you must hold yourself to the same standard as others while making judgments about them.

People are driven to judge others. It runs in their veins. Their conscience is never at peace because they came to know good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Later in verse 15, this truth is stated as follows:“They show that the work of the law is written in their hearts, as their conscience bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or else defend them (Romans 2:15).”

The issue with the people Paul is talking to is that they are so quick to judge others but fail to recognize their own shortcomings. They “practice the same things” even while they accuse others of certain faults. If they had judged themselves, they would have been just as guilty.


3And do you think, whoever you are, when you judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God’s judgment?” (Romans 2:3)

Perhaps they think that by blaming others for misdeeds that are more heinous than their own, they will appear to be less guilty and be able to “escape God’s judgment.”

The odd thing about the people Paul is addressing is that despite the fact that they do the same offenses they accuse others of, they fail to see it in themselves. These people will struggle to admit their own depravity and need for God’s mercy and grace. They won’t be able to see their own wretchedness because of their feeling of self righteousness.

11The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: extortionists, unrighteous people, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ 13The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am!’ 14I tell you that this man went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:11-14)


4Or do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

Paul seems to be pointing people away from the traditional expectation of using the law as a motivator and toward the real cause for repentance, which is “God’s kindness”. Mankind had been driven out of the realm of immortality by the law, which took the form of the knowledge of good and evil. Now, out of his kindness, God has given them a new path to attain immortality once more via faith in his Son.

It is futile to attempt to use the law as a repentance motivator. God has given them thousands of years to come to this realization.

8But sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of wrong desires. For apart from the law, sin is dead. 9And I was once alive apart from the law, but with the coming of the commandment sin became alive 10and I died. So I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life brought death! (Romans 7:8-10)

They died as soon as the law entered their consciousness through the understanding of good and evil, just as it did with Adam and Eve. In light of this, rejecting the free gift of life received through faith in Christ is equivalent to “contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience.”

In essence, Paul is saying to the Romans: “Avoid being a fool! You’re saved by God’s kindness, not by obedience to the law.”


5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed! 6He will reward each one according to his works: 7eternal life to those who by perseverance in good works seek glory and honor and immortality, 8but wrath and anger to those who live in selfish ambition and do not obey the truth but follow unrighteousness. 9There will be affliction and distress on everyone who does evil, on the Jew first and also the Greek, 10but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, for the Jew first and also the Greek. 11For there is no partiality with God.” (Romans 2:5-11)

Paul reminded the Romans in the passages 5 through 11 listed above how the law functions: there is reward for good deeds and punishment for wrongdoing. Jew or Greek, there is “no partiality”. But more crucially, they should comprehend that, like us modern Christians, everyone commits acts of evil and no one commits acts of good (Romans 3:10).

Repentance is, thus, the decision to abandon keeping the law in favor of trusting in Christ. Only this kind of repentance results in eternal life. According to Romans 7:10, law-based penitence only results in death, as Adam and Eve had demonstrated.

What kind of repentance do you possess?

Nghi Nguyen

- Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion on the topic, which does not necessarily reflect the church's theology, or beliefs of the individuals in it — Nghi Nguyen

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