This week I unexpectedly connected with a fellow believer whom I’ve known for years but I didn’t have the pleasure of truly knowing and loving this “sibling” like Jesus does. So, we shared pieces of our testimonies with one another and towards the end of our time together we both agreed that Jesus allowed us to see one another as He sees each of us, not as others see us, thus growing us closer as “siblings” within His Family.
If I am being fully transparent, each of us had heard things in the past about one another that made it, so we didn’t have a great desire to grow closer to one another, rather we were simply civil to each other. But being “simply civil” and loving some people more than other people is actually a sin. Jesus loves us all the same and He calls us to love like He loves. A few weeks ago, I wrote a devotion where James reminded us that we are to obey the royal law as found in Scripture, to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” but if we favor some people over others, then we are committing a sin (2:8-9).
Today, Paul helps us dig even deeper to reveal the Truth that we are not to judge others, or we will be judged, and how we treat others is how we will be treated (Matt 7:1). Paul begins his letter to the Romans, in chapter one, by thanking them for their faith. He wants them to know that “God’s Good News” about Christ is being revealed through them and talked about all over the world (1:8). He goes on within chapter one and into chapter two to talk about “God’s Anger at Sin”. He wants these faithful Christians to keep growing in their faith, and in order to do that they (and we) need to stay connected to Jesus and move further and further away from sin. “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.” (2:4)
Paul wants everyone to know that even if we can cross off every sin, he listed at the end of chapter one, we are all still guilty of sin, because we are all born with a sinful nature, and far too often every single one of us judges our fellow brothers and sisters. The only sinless One is Jesus, Who is also the only Judge. No one can avoid God’s judgment. All religious leaders, all non-religious leaders, all religious people, all non-religious people, all relational people, and all non-relational people will one day face Jesus for judgment, and as Paul reminds us that “day is coming when God, through Christ, will judge everyone’s secret life” (2:16) because only Jesus knows the true motives of our hearts.
Friends, we must stop doing what is evil, and we can start by stopping our judgement of one another in our minds, in our hearts, with our words, with our actions, and with our inactions. We need to be walking out our salvation every second of every day and asking Jesus to strengthen our roots in Him so our faith and relationship with Him can grow deeper and more intimate. We know there will be trouble for those who keep on doing what is evil, but we also know there will be glory, honor, and peace from God for all of those who do good (v.9-10). Good does not mean good works, Paul tells us that good is seeking after the glory, honor, and immortality that God offers (v. 7). This offer is to spend eternity with Jesus, and if we truly want it, we must allow Him to have His way in and through us, so we see others how He sees them, and they see Jesus in us and are drawn to His unending love and eternal kingdom.
Romans 2:1-11 (NLT)
God’s Judgment of Sin
1 You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. 2 And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. 3 Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? 4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
5 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. 9 There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, reveal to me the areas of sin that I need to work with You to correct my life. I want to grow in my faith, and in my relationship with You, Jesus, and I know that sin will hold me back. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Help me to put a watch over my words, I want to speak more like You. Help my actions to be in alignment with Your actions. I want my heart to be in oneness with Your heart, and for people to see You in and through me. Please use me to grow Your Kingdom. I ask all of this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.