Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2;1-4)
The godless are going to be without excuse ,when they stand before the Throne of the Righteous Judge of the Universe, because they suppress the truth that God has revealed to them, in their conscience and in creation. Truly the Heavens declare the Glory of God…
But Romans 2 shows us that the moral and religious also, who trust in their own morality and who rightly abhor the effects of godlessness on individuals and societies, they too are liable to judgment and are without excuse!
Paul charges the moralist with doing the same thing as the godless. It’s not that they participate in the degraded excesses that godlessness always leads to, they don’t necessarily become moral relativists, or sexual libertines.
What Paul means when he charges them with doing the same thing as the people they judge, is that they too reject God in their thoughts, but it manifests itself in a different way.
Moralism, “do-goodism” and even religion itself can become a substitute for true spirituality, which is only possible by coming to God as a sinner in need of the God appointed Saviour, the crucified Jesus ,and on the terms set by the LORD, through faith and repentance.
But our text reveals that there is a two-fold self deception that such moralistic people engage in.
1)- And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?
The first deception : Because there are people so degraded and debased by the culture of godlessness; reprobates, homosexuals,Atheists, terrorists,etc., by contrast there are the “moral majority”, who play by the rules, pay the bills, hold old fashioned, sound stable values , the deception is that the Judgment is for them, not for us.
Moralism, having “family values”, being a conservative, holding the Protestant work ethic et al ,all are extremely beneficial for this life. These habits tend toward greater prosperity, they are in line with the world as God made it to be, and they tend towards a much happier life than godlessness has to offer. But they are no substitute for salvation! Not even the most moral moralist is able to stand in the day of judgment.
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2;1-4)
The second self-deception is an outgrowth of the first-Because the Moralist has these habits that tend towards more temporal happiness, (monogamy, no divorce, belief and reverence for Creator, thrift, hard work, merit) his temporal life generally tends to be better lived. The self-deception is that this is God’s approval, we must be doing something right,unlike those godless heathen!
But Paul is telling is that those blessings of our lives are the very kindness of God. They aren’t given by Him because we are doing everything right, they are designed to bring us also, to repentance. The kindness is wrongly taken as approval, when in reality it is mercy, and space to turn to God in humble gratitude.
Perhaps even more than the utterly godless, the moralist ignores the urgency to repent, to turn to God and be saved. Because they are “Not as bad as the others”- moralists are oblivious to the fact that every single day is borrowed time, and every breath taken is credit also, for they too are liable to judgment.
But in accordance with your hardness and your 1impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds” (Romans 2:5-6)
If God’s judgement will be according to truth, and we know it will be ,(see Romans 2:2), than the standard of it is perfection, nothing less than absolute righteousness.God, we are told, will render to each one according to his deeds. Not even the best, the greatest humanitarian, the most Noble among us would be able to stand in the judgment of the Righteous and Holy God!