Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blogging Through Romans: Romans 2: 1-11

Romans 2: 1-11

Paul is piling it on thick. It's like he's reveling in his telling the Roman Christians how awful and sinful they are. Not only were they guilty of every sin mentioned in chapter one, but they were also guilty of being judgmental hypocrites!

Paul's condemnation reminds me of the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector found in Luke 18: 9-14:

Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’

For Paul, the Roman Christians' greatest sin was believing they were less sinful than others. Jesus could have easily summed up chapter 2 when he said, “Judge not, so that you may not be judged” (Matt 7:1).

But this is easier said than done. We like to think we're farther ahead on the righteous path than others. Whether we believe our doctrine is purer than others, or our behaviour more moral, our personal choices more in line with God. We like to think that maybe church-going brings us greater favour from God, that our bible knowledge makes us more spiritual. When we do this Jesus asks why we see the “speck in our neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in our own eye” (Matt 7: 3).

Today I encourage you to ask God where you feel superior to others, and ask the Holy Spirit to bring you greater humility to relate to a fallen world of fellow sinners in need of forgiveness.

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