When Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, he had already preached the Gospel for more than 20 years in Jewish synagogues, city halls, and market squares. He knew how people would respond to his message. He knew their questions. In Romans 2, he allows his hearers to overhear his conversation with an imaginary person who thinks he or she is morally superior. And they, his hearers, can ponder their own questions.
Like the Jews, many Greeks and Romans wrestled with the pervasive reality of human evil. In these verses, Paul is critiquing all moralists; that is, all people who seek to live an upright, moral life, but also tend to cast judgement on others for their moral failings. He turns to the self-righteous person who asks, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" and answers "Well, I am."
Can we, humans, judge others? How should we respond when God doesn't appear to be judging us? Let's listen in to the conversation.
Questions for Reflection:
- How have you torn down others in order to build yourself up? Why are we, as human beings, prone to do this?
- What sins do you publicly condemn, but privately commit? Why do you think that is?
- In what area of life are you despising God's kindness by refusing to change?
- How would God have you live in light of judgement day?