After listing the things he believes are degrading to the person—things that are harmful to individuals and society: homosexuality, wickedness, greed, envy, murder, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, arrogance, boastfulness, and disobedience to parents—Paul indicts everyone who passes judgment on those who practice such things. We should perk up, here, because we like to mount our moral high horses and cast judgment.
Those who cast judgment, here meaning to condemn because of their actions or lifestyles, condemn themselves. This judgment does not refer to simple discernment. It is not civil judgment. It is not the kind of judgment we see from a referee at a sporting event. It is personal judgment—the condemning of one person by another personally. They condemn themselves because they practice the same things—following the desires of their own hearts. Just because our desires are culturally considered to be more moral or may be more in line with Scripture does not make seeking them any less selfish and godless. Paul has started his explanation of the gospel now by professing that everyone, moral and immoral, lives a self-condemning life.
We know that the judgment of God rightly, justly, falls upon those who practice homosexuality, wickedness, greed, envy, murder, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, arrogance, boastfulness, disobedience to parents, and those who condemn those who practice such things. No one will escape the judgment of God, and Paul makes special mention of those who condemn others. He asks a question of those who condemn others personally because of their sin. Do they think lightly of the riches of God’s kindness and tolerance and patience? Do they not know that God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience lead individuals to repentance? It is not threat of His wrath or condemnation because of sin—the kindness, tolerance, and patience of God is what leads your to repentance.
Scripture, here, challenges the notion that people must have the Hell scared out of them. Paul is honest about sin and its consequences, but not so with an attitude of condemnation toward those who are reading. Instead, he makes known the patience of God and challenges people not to condemn one-another. Why? There is hope for every sinner. Hellfire and brimstone sermons incur self-condemnation. The Scriptures are sweet like honey, soothing to the soul of those who are willing to listen. If we take the position of condemning others in order to try to get them to convert, we will only drive them away. It isn’t until we practice the tolerance, kindness, and patience of God that we will see a mighty movement in our local churches, communities, nations, and world. Honey attracts. Vinegar repels. Honey leads people to repentance. Vinegar incurs their bitterness.
Those who remain stubborn store up wrath for themselves in the day of wrath and at the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. God is fair. He renders to each person according to his deeds. Those who seek Him receive eternal life. Those who are entitled and selfish receive wrath and indignation. We earn our just wages. Our problem is that we always act in accordance with our desires—all of our actions from youth are entitled and selfish. Ergo, we are all subject to wrath and indignation. That is, unless a good person accepts our just wages, wrath and indignation, on our behalf so we can receive eternal life.
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