This week, we will read selected verses of Romans 2, which is a challenging chapter to read. In it, Paul dismantles the self-righteousness that pervades the minds of many religious people. For us to fully embrace the gospel of grace, we must first gain a deep sense of our sinfulness. That’s what this chapter is all about.
Therefore, every one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. (Romans 2:1)
The Jews prided themselves in having received the Law of God. As a result, some of them began to look down their noses at others, especially those who were non-religious. Paul desperately wants to teach them about the new way of righteousness God has enacted through Jesus Christ, the righteousness of faith. But before he can do this, he must first dismantle the prideful attitude of his readers, who think they are righteous merely because they have received God’s law. He wants them to admit that they are as much lawbreakers as the non-religious people they criticize.
In the same way, for you to fully receive the gospel of grace, you must first abandon any sentiment of self-righteousness, whether overt or hidden. While it is easy to consider the sins of others, it is not so easy to consider your own sins. We tend to think of ourselves as good people who need some minor adjustments. The truth is, we all need a major overhaul. It is sobering to think of ourselves this way, but it is a necessary step toward a much better life. Once we drop our defenses and admit our true need, God will open a new and better way.
Lord, give me a proper understanding of myself, not so that I might be discouraged but that I might enter into a new and better way of life. Keep me from being quick to judge others when I am as much a sinner as they are. Instead, give me a sober mind and a humble heart so that you can reshape me.