Today in this chapter we learn how God will judge those who are under the law and those without the law. And how both groups are saved when they, “by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life” (v. 7).
1 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. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 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? 4 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?
vs. 1-4: Paul rebukes them for judging the Gentiles for the very same things they are doing, he states in v. 4 that it is God’s kindness that leads towards repentance because God is rich in (a) kindness, (b) tolerance, and (c) patience. In other words, God hates the sin, but loves the sinner. That is why He is being patient in waiting to bring His judgment. It is also good to notice that Paul begins to use here in Romans a literary technique called, a “diatribe,” which is a bold way of making one’s points.
5 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. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” (Psalm 62:12) 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
vs. 5-11: Paul declares because of their stubbornness and unrepentant hearts they are storing up wrath for the day of judgment because on Judgment Day God “will give to each person according to what they have done,” which is a popular quote in the Old Testament found in such places as; Job 34:11, Psalm 62:12, Proverbs 24:12, and Jeremiah 17:10 & 32:19. Paul also uses a, “chiasm structure” in this passage, which is when verses are carefully organized into a pattern with two main ideas having other corresponding ideas (usually in the form of “>”).
A. God will judge people according to their works (v. 6)
———-B. People who are good will attain eternal life (v. 7)
—————C. People who do evil will suffer wrath (v. 8)
—————C. Wrath for those who do evil (v. 9)
———-B. Glory for those who do good (v. 10)
A. God judges impartially (v. 11)
12 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. 13 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. 14 (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. 15 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.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
vs. 12-16: Paul shows that the Jews, people who have the Law of Moses, will be judged by the Law, and the Gentiles, those who do not have the Law, will be judged by their conscience. Here is a list of all of the 613 laws given to Moses in the desert. Though the Gentiles are judged by their conscience, (Gk. “syneid?sis” – “the inner part of the soul that distinguishes between what is morally good and bad”) they still have the chance to be justly condemned or saved.
17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Isaiah 52:5)
vs. 17-24: Paul rebukes the Jews because they believe they are righteous by keeping the law, but in fact they are actually breaking the law and causing the name of God to be blasphemed among the Gentiles, a quote from Isaiah 52:5 & Ezekiel 36:22.
25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. 28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
vs. 25-29: Paul declares that a true Jew is not just a person circumcised on the outside, but rather circumcised on the inside, meaning they are obedient to God, not a law breaker.
God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance