So every single one of you who judge others is without any excuse. You condemn yourself when you judge another person because the one who is judging is doing the same things. 2 We know that God’s judgment agrees with the truth, and his judgment is against those who do these kinds of things. 3 If you judge those who do these kinds of things while you do the same things yourself, think about this: Do you believe that you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you have contempt for the riches of God’s generosity, tolerance, and patience? Don’t you realize that God’s kindness is supposed to lead you to change your heart and life? 5 You are storing up wrath for yourself because of your stubbornness and your heart that refuses to change. God’s just judgment will be revealed on the day of wrath. 6 God will repay everyone based on their works.[a]7 On the one hand, he will give eternal life to those who look for glory, honor, and immortality based on their patient good work. 8 But on the other hand, there will be wrath and anger for those who obey wickedness instead of the truth because they are acting out of selfishness and disobedience. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 10 But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 11 God does not have favorites.
In this passage, Paul is not letting anyone slide. He is laying out God’s truth, talking about sin, holding the divine mirror up to our faces to show us our own hypocrisy. When it comes to judging others, we have no excuse, judging others is a sin, and by our actions of judging others, we condemn ourselves.
But how is it that we can we judge others when we ourselves have benefited from the riches of God’s own “generosity, tolerance and patience?” Where we have deserved condemnation, we instead have benefited from the loving kindness of God through the sacrifice of Jesus our Savior. Having been forgiven by God, this act of great love should result in our hearts leading us to live a life of loving kindness towards others. Instead, we take the grace of God with one hand, while we keep on sinning by judging others. Our lives show no evidence to others of a life transformed by God’s love for us.
Here’s the good news! God’s grace is available to everyone. No one is excluded. There’s no preferential treatment when it comes to God’s grace. You can’t earn it by good works, or be born into it by your ancestry or buy it for any amount of money. God doesn’t have favorites, God’s unmerited grace is available to everyone. So it doesn’t matter who we were before, what matters to God is who we are becoming in Christ Jesus. The grace of God is at work in us, transforming us, so that we can be the instruments God uses to transform the world.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
As Christians, we take God for granted. We think we have our ‘get out of jail card’ so that we’ve got our spot in line for heaven. Paul holds that divine mirror of truth up to our faces to show us that our transformation into a loving child of God is a constant work in progress. And it’s God’s unfailing, loving grace that will get us there.
Today, let’s ask God to catch us in those moments where we condemn others, so that we can ask God for forgiveness. And let’s ask ourselves, “Am I truly grateful for God’s mercy and loving kindness towards me? Do I show others loving kindness?
Prayer: Holy God, you have shown us mercy and loving kindness. Forgive us when we take your love for granted. Help
us not to condemn others, but transform us into people who show loving kindness to others. Amen.