When Judgement Calls (Rom 2:1-16)

Audio Player

Pastor Mark Mikels – November 29, 2009
“WHEN JUDGMENT CALLS”
(Romans 2:1-16)

Intro …
Have you ever really been set-up? That is, has anyone ever talked you right into a corner where you had no where to turn – where you make one fateful comment and he says, “Gottcha” and all you can say is “He got me good” – “He totally
blind-sided me”?

Well … that’s exactly what Paul has done to his readers in these first two chapters of Romans.

Last week we looked at that incredible passage in chapter one that depicts just what happens when God lifts his hand of gracious restraint and allows a person or a society to simply “go their own way and do their own thing” …

Three times we read the ominous phrase … “He gave them over” – to sexual impurity; to shameful lusts, to a completely depraved mind. He gave them up to
a despicable and disgusting life …

Paul comments in the final verse of chapter one that those who do such things “deserve death” and I’m sure he’s meaning the eternal as well as the physical variety! He’s saying in effect, “Those people who do such things, deserve to
go to Hell!”

And as he says such a thing he, no doubt, has most of his readers nodding their agreement … I mean isn’t that what he expected?

Isn’t that how he would imagine that all “godly” people would respond?
Respond with thoughts like:
“Shame on them!”
“They are the lowest of the low.”
“They are ruining our entire society.”
“They deserve just what’s coming to them.”
“I hope I live long enough to see God’s Justice play out.”
And as we allow those thoughts and feelings to run through our minds and take root in our hearts, we hear him say … “Gottcha”.

And here’s how he says it … Romans 2:1-16

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

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. God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

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. 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. (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, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

So Paul is saying – “You have no excuse … You don’t have a leg to stand on …
You who would so surely condemn these sinners for (in the most important of ways) you are just like them!”

Doesn’t mean that your assessment of them is wrong, it just means that you are in the same boat with them. Your judgment of them simply shows that you understand that judgment is what sin deserves and so when you pass judgment on them you are passing judgment on yourself as well. They are simply sinners doing sinful stuff just as you are! So when you condemn them you are actually simultaneously condemning yourself … “Gottcha – Gottcha Good!”
Well, how do we respond to that … even if we only felt those things a little bit?

Surely we can’t just overlook blatant sin, can we? We can’t just say “to each his own”, can we? The fact that I’m not perfect can’t forever shut my mouth, can it?

In fact, am I not obligated – am I not expected – to engage in a certain amount of judging (judgment making) in this life?

Several significant Scriptures on the subject …

John 7:24 …
“Stop judging (this is right where many believers stop reading)
according to mere appearances and make a right judgment.”

1 Corinthians 11:31 …
“If we would judge ourselves we would not be judged.”

1 Corinthians 5:3 …
“As though present, I have judged already concerning him.”

1 Corinthians 6:3 …
“Do you not know that you will judge angels?
How much more the things of this life.”

Romans 2:3 …
“So when you a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same
things, do you think that you will escape the judgment of God?”

Leads us to …

Today Key Question …

HOW can I make the necessary JUDGMENTS which must
be made in this life without FALLING under judgment myself?

Indeed that’s the issue, isn’t it?
There are “necessary judgments” that must be made – all the time.

Behaviors violate God’s Standards and need to be identified as sin – that’s judgment;

Choices present themselves and we must choose between them – that’s judgment;

People come into our lives frequently and we must decide whether to link ourselves to them or not – that’s judgment;

Individuals under our authority mess up and need to be reprimanded and corrected – that’s judgment.

Judgment is an indispensible part of earthly life – through the proper use of appropriately applied judgment, our lives stay free from willful, deliberate sin, the church stays on track and evil-doing is kept somewhat at bay.

But how can we engage in such judgment-making without incurring the wrath
of the Righteous Judge Himself?

Here’s a simple answer tucked away in that third verse …

Be sure that you do not judge as a “mere man” – a man operating in the flesh, motivated by the attitudes of the world, driven by suggestions of the Devil.

Rather … Operate as God’s Man – as one who has been born-again through faith in Jesus Christ, who is stimulated by the indwelling Spirit of God and by the
life-defining Word of God.

Now … within the context of that conviction – “I must operate (especially in this area of judgment-making) as God’s Man” – there are found in our passage of the morning …

FOUR GUIDELINES FOR JUDGING:

1. JUDGE HUMBLY … Recognizing your own FALLEN STATE (vs. 1)

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else,
for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself,
because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

There is no place for a haughty attitude when one is making righteous judgments. More likely, a believer who is judging properly is doing so with a broken spirit … There is a sense in which our attitude is “There but for the grace of God go I”.

Humility doesn’t keep us from making the necessary judgments but it does remove from us that triumphant sense of superiority that can easily cloud our judgment and even give us pleasure in it.

Recognizing our own fallen state will forever sensitize us to the fact that sinners are not the enemy but they are the victims of the enemy, even as we could easily be. Those who judge humbly will forever make their judgments in the context of sorrow.

This passage would say … When you judge – Judge Humbly!

2. JUDGE ACCURATELY … What actually HAPPENED? (vss. 2, 16)

Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things
is based on truth … This will take place on the day when God will judge
men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

God’s eyes see into the very heart of man – He knows all the secrets that lie within it … His judgment is never based on hearsay or supposition. He knows the truth and it’s that truth upon which his judgment is made.

Those who would judge without falling under judgment themselves must be likewise committed to discovering the truth.

Can’t make judgments based upon mere appearances; can’t make judgments based upon rumor or unfounded accusations; can’t make judgments based upon emotional reactions.

Judgments must be made based upon the most truth that can be uncovered … Proverbs 25:2 says:
“To search out a matter is the Glory of Kings”.

Such judgment-making takes time and effort – such judgment-making allows
for the rush of emotions to subside – such judgment-making creates a context of calmness in which sound judgments are more likely to be made.

Judge Humbly – Judge Accurately …

3. JUDGE IMPARTIALLY … No BIAS or PREJUDICE (vs. 11)

“For God does not show favoritism.”

Everyone knows that “biased or prejudiced judgment” is no judgment at all … That’s why in the highest court in our land, justice is depicted as being blind-folded.

In this passage, Paul is saying that God himself does not show favoritism – All people (Jews and Gentiles) will be judged equally upon the basis of their deeds: good will be rewarded no matter who produces it just as evil will be punished no matter who commits it.

Then he goes on to point out that whether we live under the Mosaic law (the Jewish People) or we live under some form of natural moral law (the Gentiles) we will be equally evaluated according to whether
or not we have kept the law as we have known it to be.

So it must be with our judgments – favoritism (special treatment) must not enter in … if it’s wrong, it’s wrong no matter who has done it.

And now the final and perhaps most interesting and challenging guideline
of the four …

In addition to judging Humbly and Accurately and Impartially …

4. JUDGE HOPEFULLY … No earthly judgment is FINAL (vs. 4)

“… Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience,
not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”

God’s Judgment is always given within the context of kindness, tolerance and patience with the hope that it will ultimately lead to repentance and re-birth. Our earthly judgment should always have some hopefulness in it …

We who must exercise it need to remember that no earthly judgment
is ever final …

In fact, earthly judgment is intended to lead to correction and restoration. The goal of earthly judgment is never punishment per se but discipline leading to behavioral change.

And since that is the goal then it only makes sense that it is meted out in the context of HOPE …

Hope that the true way will be clearly revealed;
Hope that the sinful way will be completely abandoned;
Hope that the results of the judgment (though painful)
will lead to a life that has been wonderfully salvaged.

The presence of a hopeful heart in the judge is actually made possible by the other three elements of the judgment process.

As Christian judges we are hopeful because we humbly remember that we too have been victims of sin and have been delivered; we are hopeful because we believe that our commitment to complete honesty and accuracy will bring to light the things that truly are the necessary and relevant things – the things that need to be addressed; we are hopeful because we believe that a consistent practice of impartiality will establish the context in which our judgments can be best received as having merit and thus most likely to produce a positive result.
Judging humbly/accurately/impartially enables us to judge hopefully!

Final Thot … Judging presents a believer with one of his greatest
RESPONSIBILITIES and one of his greatest TEMPTATIONS.
We can’t IGNORE it and we mustn’t ABUSE it!

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