Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.(Romans 2:1)
Being disgusted by the squalid effects of the morally ruined, spiritually bankrupt, reprobate world we have created for ourselves and our unfortunate children and grandchildren can be deceiving. It is normal and healthy to feel moral repugnance at the twisted,perverse ,obscene media culture of today, but that does not equate to being Righteous ourselves.
That is the point Paul is making in the first 11 verses of Romans 2.To paraphrase verse 1, ‘Of course there are those of us who hate what has happened, and make moral judgments, but who among us can even live up to the very judgments we make on others?’ In other words the very capacity to make any kind of moral judgment, is going to be a testimony against us on the day of God’s final Judgment.
Francis Schaeffer, the Christian theologian and Philosopher once put it like this;
Imagine that each baby is born into the world with an invisible tape recorder hung around his neck. Imagine further that these are very special recorders that record only when moral judgments are made. Aesthetic judgments such as “This is beautiful” are not recorded. But whenever a person makes such a statement as “She’s such a gossip,” or “He’s so lazy,” the recorder turns on, records the statement and turns off. Many times each day the recorder operates, as the person makes moral judgments about those around him, recording dozens of judgments each week, hundreds every year and thousands in a lifetime.
Then the scene shifts, and we suddenly see all the people of the world standing before God at the end of time. “God, it’s not fair for You to judge me,” say some. “I didn’t know about Christ. “No one taught me the Ten Commandments, and I never read the Sermon on the Mount.”
Then God speaks. “Very well. Since you claim not to know My laws, I will set aside My perfect standard of righteousness. Instead I will judge you on this.” And as He pushes the button on the recorder, the person listens with growing horror as his own voice pours forth a stream of condemnation toward those around him…”She shouldn’t be doing this.” “He was wrong in that”-thousands upon thousands of moral judgments.
When the tape ends, God says, “This will be the basis of My judgment: how well have you kept the moral standards you proved that you understood by constantly applying them to those around you. Here you accused someone of lying, yet have you ever stretched the truth? You were angry at that fellow for being selfish, yet have you ever put your own interests above someone else’s needs?” And every person will be silent. For no one has consistently lived up to the standard he demands of others.
Romans chapter one and chapter two are akin to Jesus’ story of the prodigal Son. The last part of Romans 1 addresses the ungodly, out of control prodigal, longing to eat pig slop and totally lost! But Romans 2 addresses the older brother, equally lost but unaware of the fact, because externally, he’s all right! Making moral motions such as judgment of right, wrong, ugly and beautiful is not the same as being saved! Even moral and good people need to be saved.
Paul says that you who judge the godless “do the same”- what could Paul mean by that? I am not homosexual, I have not ever been a dissolute alcoholic, I wouldn’t consider myself to be one who applauds abortion, homosexual marriage,nor am I a relativist. So in what sense do those who don’t drink the koolaid of godlessness do the same as they?
Remember that those excesses in Romans 1 were outcomes ; horrible and frightening outcomes of sin. The real sin is rejecting the glory of God and trying to find beauty and meaning in something other than God himself. This is what Paul means when he says “You do the same”. In a sense the elder brother of the prodigal son “did the same” , he was far, far from the Father, although he didn’t express it in “wine women and Song” like his brother.
Not everyone is godless, atheistic, given over to excess, hateful, ungrateful, unholy, approving of the culture of death. But everyone on earth ,whether they have preserved some moral sensibility, or sold it down the cultural sewer, everyone has rejected God to some degree, and it is the rejection of the glory of God that is the essence of sin.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:21
Everybody needs a gift of Righteousness , from the righteous God and judge, all need to be saved, not just the obviously vile.