The Judgment of God
Romans 2:1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, (NKJV)
This passage gives us four attributes of the judgment of God. The previous passage tells us that those who practice sin “are deserving of death” (v. 1:32a), The word “practice” denotes a habitual action versus a mistake. The Greek word, translated here for death, is “thanatos”, which can mean human death, spiritual death, or both.
Paul, then, ends the previous passage with “not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (v. 1:32b). This death sentence is not just upon all those who practice sin, but also upon those who approve, or support, sin.
Paul is referencing non-Christians, not Christians. Christians do not succumb to the practice of sin, and they are not under a death sentence since they have assurance of eternal life in Heaven.
Non-Christians are those who reject God, the God of the Bible. If they continue in this rejection, and die as non-Christians after reaching their own unique age of accountability, they will experience the wrath of God’s judgment.
On the other hand, Christians do not experience God’s wrath. Instead, they are subject to God’s discipline, just as a good parent disciplines their child. Only Christians are children of God.
So, in this passage, Paul is addressing non-Christians, specifically those who think they are better than, or more moral than, other non-Christians. He is writing to the church in Rome, which tells us that not all who attend church are Christians. Only you and God truly know if you are a Christian.
Paul writes that these judgmental non-Christians “are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things” (v. 1). The judgmental non-Christian is just as guilty as those they judge. They too will experience the wrath, the judgment of God.
Paul then gives us the four attributes of the judgment of God. The judgment of God is:
1. “According to truth” (v. 2) – The judgment of God is based on the truth, not untruths or circumstantial evidence. We find the truth of God in the Bible.
2. “Inescapable” (v. 3) – Those who die as non-Christians, no matter how good or moral they might be, cannot escape the judgment of God.
3. “Goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering” (v. 4a). - The judgment of God is good, restrained and patient. God may delay His judgment, perhaps forever. His purpose for each of us is to have a relationship with Him, no matter how long He has to wait. He loves us that much. His goodness is designed to lead us “to repentance” (v. 4b), turning from the practice of sin and turning to the practice of having a relationship with Him.
4. “In accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart” (v. 5). – The judgment of God is cumulative. The longer non-Christians reject God, the more hardened their hearts become, the more they practice sin, and the more they store up the wrath of God against them.
The judgment of God can be avoided. It’s easy. Become a Christian, today. Click on the “About” section on the menu and learn how to become a Christian.
Online Bible Commentary