God’s Righteous Judgment
The first word of this chapter is “Therefore”, which means that in order to understand this chapter and who Paul is addressing, you need to read it in the context of Romans 1. In Chapter 1, Paul describes how God reveals His wrath to ungodly men. Here, in Chapter 2, Paul reminds us that we have no excuse to judge others or the unrighteous men described in the last chapter (verse 1).
Not only is judging others wrong, but “in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself” (verse 2). We should not be prideful and judge other people especially if we practice the same unrighteous actions.
V3-5 Many people do not understand that the message of the church should not just be about God’s love, but also about God’s righteous judgment. Once we become Christians, many of us believe that the love of God will excuse all our actions. However, this statement does not accurately embody the full intention of God’s forgiveness – that it is meant to lead us to repent for our actions so that we can set aside our old self and become a new creation. Believing that God’s love gives you a free pass to do anything will only lead you to experience His wrath.
In verses 6-11, Paul makes it very easy for us to understand God’s judgment by presenting a stark contrast between righteous vs. unrighteous. Those who “seek for glory and honor and immortality” will receive eternal life, while those who “are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness” will face wrath and fury (verse 7 -8).
God’s Judgment and the Law
What is the human conscience? According to Romans 2:15 a person’s conscience is the law that is written on our hearts, revealed to us by God. Paul reminds us that having the law and knowing it is not enough to be justified in the eyes of God if we haven’t actually kept the law. Even those who do not have the law, are able to follow it because of the conscience written on their hearts (verse 14-15).
Again, Paul continues to emphasize the idea that we should practice what we preach so as not to tarnish the name of God by acting as hypocrites (verse 17-24).
In verses 25-29, Paul reminds us of the irrelevance of outward circumcision. The Jews prided themselves for the physical circumcision that set them apart from others. However, Paul says that a physical circumcision is meaningless while a spiritual circumcision of the heart is what truly sets us apart and transforms us to become more Christ-like.
Galatians 6:15 says “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” —- Cecilia Yip