Who We Are
 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.  Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  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?  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?  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 repay each person according to what they have 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.  All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.  For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.  (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)  This will take place on the day when God judges people's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
In this chapter Paul moves from denouncing the debauched Gentiles (1:18-32) to directly addressing his readers ("you"). Commentators differ over who exactly is addressed but, whether secular moralists, the Roman church or Jews, both the wildly immoral population and the judgmental readers are similar in God's eyes. Both groups know of God (1:19; 2:2), demonstrate contempt of God (1:28,32; 2:4,5), and face the judgment of God. All are equally guilty (1:29; 2:5).
Are we sometimes tempted to think that we're not so bad, compared to others? This passage challenges that. God views judgmental hypocrisy as harshly as overt wickedness. We all face God's judgment and all deserve his wrath.
But there's comfort, also. It is Jesus (2:16), our Savior, will be the judge. And that judgment has a positive purpose: to confront us with our sinfulness and its consequences, and point us towards repentance. This is God's kindness towards us (2:4). It's only with repentance that we become eligible for justification and thus salvation. God wants us to take our sin seriously because he ultimately wants us to have life.
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