In the second chapter of Romans, the apostle Paul writes the following about judging others,
“Therefore you are without excuse, O man, whoever you are who judge. For in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you who judge practice the same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 Do you think this, O man who judges those who practice such things, and do the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Rom. 2:1-3).
This passage follows Paul’s list of sins found in Romans 1:26-32. At the end of that chapter he speaks of those who practice sins, and others who approve of the people who do them. With part of that text being related to judgment, it is no surprise that this second chapter begins by speaking of judging others.
Considering the context, we know that this passage is not related to judging in general. The focus is against hypocritical judgement. Paul is addressing the man who judges another, and thereby condemns himself. It’s not because judging someone makes one condemned. Paul explains in verse 1, “For you who judge practice the same things.”
When one is a hypocrite, he or she judges another, but also does the same thing. This is how the man is condemning himself. Because God’s judgment is according to truth, He judges against all who practice such things. These include those who commit sins, and others who judge people against their deeds, but do not recognize the same transgressions in themselves.
Paul writes as such in verse 3.
By using a rhetorical question, he warns the man who judges another, and does the same, that he will not escape the judgment of God. This was true at the time of his writing, and for us today. In verse 4, the apostle reminds his readers that the goodness of God is supposed to lead such hypocrites to repentance.
Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?Romans 2:4
I hope we are encouraged by such words. It is easy to judge others, but harder to recognize any potential hypocrisy in ourselves. Instead of condemning ourselves by doing so, the Lord wants us all to be led to repentance! Let’s study God’s Word regularly and learn to walk in the way of God!