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Read Romans 2

God’s Righteous Judgment
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

5 But 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. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.

12 All 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. 13 For 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. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

The Jews and the Law
17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

Go Deeper

The theme of this chapter is that arrogance never leads to godliness. Paul doesn’t pull any punches as he attacks the pride he sees in the Roman church. These people were so blind, they were like drunkards judging others for having a drink. They lacked a self awareness to realize that they were criticizing people for doing the very things they themselves did! While these “believers” thought they had mastered the Christian life, they really hadn’t even begun to live it out. 

This passage reminds the reader that there is no finish line in life with Christ. For all of our days with Him, we will never get to a place where we have “made it.” However, the more distance you have from your conversion, the more likely you are to forget your lostness. You forget that you were saved, not by yourself, but by Jesus who rescued you from a path of self-destruction through sin. You are not the hero to your story, He is. 

The takeaway from this passage is that self-reflection is absolutely necessary for the life of the believer. We need to make space to be with God and ask Him to show us every nook and cranny of our heart. When we are laid bare before Him, the Holy Spirit shows us the ways we have fallen short. The gift of seeing our own sin leads us to have a kindness towards others and a wonder towards God’s forgiveness. If we never sit in the quiet spaces and allow God to show us our brokenness, we’ll start to believe we’re not actually broken. This arrogance will lead us away from God and closer to the self-destructive tendencies we are prone toward. The antidote to the arrogance in Romans 2 is Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 


  1. Why do you think it is so easy for us to focus on other people’s failures?
  2. What do you think Paul means in verse 4 when he says that, “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance”?
  3. How can you create more space in your life for the Holy Spirit to expose your brokenness?


“The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself or less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” 

Tim Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

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8 thoughts on “Romans 2”

  1. I noticed these character traits of God interwoven in Paul’s words:
    1. KIND-God’s kindness leads to repentance.
    2. FAIR-God shows no favoritism.
    3. RIGHTEOUS-God will judge everyone’s secret life.
    What does this mean for us? God desires our heartfelt devotion and obedience, our walk must match our talk.

  2. Robert Denniston

    What do you drive, where do you live, what is your position, what do you earn? What are your 4 words for judging others.

    Matthew 7:1-3: Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

  3. In verse 13 it says not just to hear but to obey. Active. Doing. We do what we want not what we should. Do we listen before we speak, act, do or go. God looks at our heart. Was any action or reaction done with Him in mind? Our life is His, all, totally, but our flesh gets in the way. Our salvation is not through good deeds or our character but our obedience to God. We will mess up BUT GOD can use our messes to help with a message. We just should endeavor to do all to the glory of God, to bless Him, to glorify Him, to make Jesus known through out the world.
    Thank You God that You forgive me minutely. That when my judgey self rears its ugly head, I can immediately say oops “person, please forgive me and then God please forgive me” I am so thankful You are willing to help me with all my struggles constantly . Thank You for loving beyond measure, forgiving as far as the east is from the west and giving me more chances to do right things and make right choices in Jesus name amen.

  4. This morning I was reading and sharing with our SS class, John 20:1-10 where the tomb was empty. How in Matthew 27:63-66, the soldiers petitioned to seal the stone because they feared the prophecy may come true. Yet, we have assumed that the disciples placed the stone over the opening out of fear of Jesus’ body being taken. How John and Peter ran a relay to the tomb to see for themselves that the tomb was indeed, empty. How the disciples left, but Mary of Magdalene, stayed. (John 20:10-11)
    We were discussing how easy it is for us to judge the unbelief, the misunderstanding, the lack of faith that Jesus’ followers had during the pause. Yet, we are reminded in Romans this morning, we do the same. We all lack seeing the power of the pause that each one of us goes through when Jesus is still working for us, to penetrate through us for His glory.


    “You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law, and you boast about your special relationship with him.”
    -‭‭Romans‬ ‭2‬:‭17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    “The Jewish people of Paul’s day were extremely proud and confident in the fact that God gave His holy law to them as a nation. They believed this confirmed their status as a specially chosen people, and thus insured their salvation” (Guzik).

    When you’ve spent your whole life among the “Have’s,” it’s all too easy to look down on the “Have Not’s,” forgetting all you have is only ever a gift of God‘s grace.

    I learned this lesson most powerfully when I returned from China with my newly adopted daughter.

    One thing I’ve learned from traveling internationally is that not all customs checkpoints are created equal. Some are more democratic, requiring all disembarking passengers to form a single line and wait for the next available agent. When we first arrived back in the US, what we found instead was practically a “sheep and goats” scenario: citizens only on the RIGHT; everyone else on the LEFT.

    And it was painfully clear which was the “better” line to be in. To the left, there was a long queue of mostly Chinese nationals, anxiously waiting their turn through the slow and tedious entry process. To the right, US citizens breezed by the agent with barely a nod and a stamp.

    Which presented me with this dilemma: I knew which line *I* belonged in (and was deeply grateful I did) — but what about my daughter? As my legal offspring she was now heir to my US citizenship—but she still held a foreign passport. What to do?

    What happened next was nothing short of a miraculous gift of grace. I was able to flag down a free customs agent (Miracle #1) … who, after hearing my unusual story graciously offered to help (Miracle #2), returning with the final Miracle:

    “We are going to open a window just for YOU!”
    [Jaw drop.]

    Within a few moments, a kindly, grandfatherly agent was stamping Elizabeth‘s papers, smiling broadly as he welcomed her officially to the United States. (That would be one of many moments along the journey I wanted to fall to my knees and kiss the ground, weeping!)

    How I love the Lord’s object lessons! To this day our daughter moves among us as a constant, living reminder of God’s magnificent grace, enjoying many blessings and privileges far beyond the circumstances of her “natural” birth.

    Meanwhile, I give thanks for my own privileged birthright, growing up blessed by protection, provision, prosperity and potential. And I appreciate such things as gifts of God’s grace—I did nothing to secure or deserve them.

    Romans 2 reminds me that when I judge, most often it’s because I count myself as somehow superior to the one on whom I pass judgment, forgetting that any advantage I may [feel I] have is also only a gift of God‘s grace. Too often lately I’ve been judging others for what I perceive as unloving hardness of heart – forgetting it was God who exchanged MY own heart of stone for one of love and compassion (Ezekiel 11:19).

    For all this and SO much more I should be grateful … and HUMBLE.

    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
    ‭‭-Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭8‬-‭9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    “I will not boast in anything
    No gifts, no power, no wisdom
    But I will boast in Jesus Christ
    His death and resurrection
    Why should I gain from His reward?
    I cannot give an answer
    But this I know with all my heart
    His wounds have paid my ransom!”

    For more powerful insights on Romans 2, check out Guzik’s “Enduring Word” commentary:

      1. Thank you, Robert! Our daughter is now 21, so I have had many opportunities to tell that story – and I never get tired of doing so!


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