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The Righteous Judgment of God


Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. 2You say, “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.” 3Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? 4Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: 7to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. 9There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11For God shows no partiality.

12 All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. 15They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them 16on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.

The Jews and the Law

17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God 18and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law, 19and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, 21you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

25 Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. 29Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.

27. By the letter and circumcision, etc. A construction 8585     Hypallage, substitution, a figure of speech, by which a noun or an adjective is put in a form different from its obvious import. — Ed which means a literal circumcision. He does not mean that they violated the law, because they had the literal circumcision; but because they continued, though they had the outward rite, to neglect the spiritual worship of God, even piety, justice, judgment, and truth, which are the chief matters of the law. 8686     The rendering of this clause is rather obscure, “who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law.” The preposition, διὰ, has no doubt the meaning of ἐν or σύν, as in some other passages, as in Romans 4:11, δἰ ἀκροβυστίας — in uncircumcision, and in Romans 8:25, δἰ ῦπομονὢς — in or with patience. Then the version should be, “who, being with, or having, the letter and circumcision, dost transgress the law.” The “letter” means the written law. That this is the meaning is evident from the context. Both Grotius and Macknight give the same construction. It is better to take “letter,” i.e., the law, and “circumcision” separate, than to amalgamate them by a rhetorical figure, as is done by Calvin and others. Hodge justly says, that this is “more suited to the context, as nothing is said here of spiritual circumcision.”
   The word γράμμα, letter, has various meanings — 1. What is commonly called letter, the character, Luke 23:38, — 2. What is written, a bond or contract, Luke 16:6; — 3. In the plural, letters, epistles, Acts 28:21; — 4. The written law, as here, and in the plural, the Old Testament Scriptures, 2 Timothy 3:15; — 5. What is conveyed by writing, learning, John 7:15; Acts 26:24; — and, 6. The outward performance of the law, it being written, as opposed to what is spiritual or inward, as in the last verse of this chapter, and in 2 Corinthians 3:6. — Ed

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