a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

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.

24. For the name of God, etc. I think this quotation is taken from Ezekiel 36:20, rather than from Isaiah 52:5; for in Isaiah there are no reproofs given to the people, but that chapter in Ezekiel is full of reproofs. But some think that it is a proof from the less to the greater, according to this import, “Since the Prophet upbraided, not without cause, the Jews of his time, that on account of their captivity, the glory and power of God were ridiculed among the Gentiles, as though he could not have preserved the people, whom he had taken under his protection, much more are ye a disgrace and dishonor to God, whose religion, being judged of by your wicked life, is blasphemed.” This view I do not reject, but I prefer a simpler one, such as the following, — “We see that all the reproaches cast on the people of Israel do fall on the name of God; for as they are counted, and are said to be the people of God, his name is as it were engraven on their foreheads: it must hence be, that God, whose name they assume, is in a manner defamed by men, through their wicked conduct.” It was then a monstrous thing, that they who derived their glory from God should have disgraced his holy name; for it behoved them surely to requite him in a different manner. 8484     On this remarkable passage Haldane has these very appropriate, just, and striking observations, —
   “The Apostle, in these verses, exhibits the most lively image of hypocrisy. Was there ever a more beautiful veil than that under which the Jew presents himself? He is a man of confession, of praise, of thanksgiving — a man, whose trust is in the Law, whose boast is of God, who knows his will, who approves of things that are excellent, a man who calls himself a conductor of the blind, a light of those who are in darkness, an instructor of the ignorant, a teacher of babes; a man who directs others, who preaches against theft, against adultery, against idolatry, and to sum up the whole, a man who glories in the commandments of the Lord. Who would not say that this is an angel arrayed in human form — a star detached from the firmament, and brought nearer to enlighten the earth? But observe what is concealed under this mask. It is a man who is himself untaught; it is a thief, an adulterer, a sacrilegious person; in one word, a wicked man, who continually dishonors God by the transgression of his law. Is it possible to imagine a contrast more monstrous than between these fair appearances and this awful reality?”

   No, certainly; but it is a contrast which still exists, with various modifications, in many instances. — It ought to be observed, that when the author calls the Jew “a man of confession, of praise, of thanksgiving,” he alludes to the import of the word, Jew, in Hebrew, which is derived from a verb, which includes these ideas: and it is supposed by some, that there is an allusion in the last words of this chapter, “whose praise,” etc., to what the name signifies. — Ed.

VIEWNAME is study