I have been thinking for the past week about puttin my daily Bible reading on my blog. I knew I should do it when my initial reaction was, “What if I don’t post every day?” But the fact of the matter is, that should not be my #1 reason for not posting my Bible reading on my blog. I was also worried that some friends might be put off by this exercise. But really, that’s not a good enough reason not to post this, either.
So today, even though it is a random day in September and not a day generally associated with fresh starts or turning over new leaves, I don’t care. I am going to have a fresh start. Jesus doesn’t care if I start fresh on Tuesday or Thursday – it just matters that I start fresh. So today is the day.
I have been reading Romans prior to starting this post. I am going to start posting from where I am. Please, feel free to comment on these posts if you have questions/comments/things to add. I am not a Bible scholar, just a lowly marketing major. I pray the Holy Spirit will guide these posts and show me what He wants me to see.
Here we go. From the book of Romans 2:
God’s Righteous Judgment
1You, 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. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
5But 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. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”[a] 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.
12All 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. 13For 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. 14(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, 15since 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.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
OK, so I bit off a lot for the first reading. A few things stood out to me from this initial reading. It seems like Paul (the author of Romans) was trying to separate several issues. The first issue seemed to be that of individuals who felt more than comfortable judging others and condemning their sinning, but never turned the mirror on themselves to discover their own sin. The first issue leads directly into the second issue, which is because individuals judged others and were not repentent (admitting their own sin and turning from it), God is especially angry about it. What you sow is what you will reap, essentially. And God is just and fair in his judgement.
The lines that say, “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life,” do strike me as being a little bit confusing initially because salvation does not come through good deeds, but through faith. In the book of James, James addresses faith and deeds, saying that when you have faith, your actions reflect that faith. It seems that the second issue Romans is an extension of the hypocracy of people who say they are Christians, but their actions do not reflect that faith. If anyone reading this has any additional thoughts or insights on that, I’d love to hear it.
The last paragraph addresses a very complicated third issue that I don’t feel particularly trained to get into. My understanding of what Paul is saying is this: if you are not under the law and sin(I think he means Jewish when he says law), then you will be perish apart from the law. If you are under the law (or Jewish?) and sin, you will be judged by the law. In an aside, Paul also mentions that there are gentiles (non-Jews) that follow the law naturally, as the law is written on their hearts.
Maybe it’s not necessarily that there are three separate issues, actually. It seems like Paul is addressing a disagreement among believers in a very systematic way, where the ultimate result is that the only one fit to judge any of us is Jesus, anyway. The application with this seems to be that I shouldn’t judge other people’s shortcomings – that’s Jesus’ job (reminds me of when my parents would say to me, “Emily, who is the parent here?”) – and that I should strive to be repentent for my own sins.