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,
6 who “WILL RENDER TO EACH ONE ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS”:
7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;
8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,
9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;
10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
11 For there is no partiality with God.
12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law
13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;
14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,
15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)
16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God,
18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law,
19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,
20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law.
21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal?
22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?
24 For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” as it is written.
25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?
27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?
28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
So, after strongly addressing the conflict of knowing something of God and yet living in opposition to Him, goes on to challenge any attempts at judging anyone else. Though there are endless outward demonstrations in a life that has found the Truth, it is no longer upon us to become consumed with pointing out and correcting where there is failure to do so. To get caught up with the outward is to abandon the only way of actually bringing about the desired changes. Outward behaviors are simply reflections of what is going on inside. Condemnation just produces more condemnation. Jesus came to remove the power of condemnation to identify and destroy, while producing a change inside that will not be possible to hide. Where there are incredible opportunities to judge those outward and offensive actions that are obviously so ungodly, there is a greater opportunity to demonstrate the wisdom of God in love. We have been brought into a realm where the wrath of God is averted, not by failing outward conformity, but by inward transformation. It is in the cutting away that takes place there in the heart, that the purpose of holiness is discovered in a life that will glorify God in true holiness and righteousness.
I love how Paul continues to hammer home that it’s all about the heart, a heart unto God, to care for and about the things of God’s heart. The Jews were the original custodians of His Word, they were given the Law so as to truly cut off that which kept the heart from God. Paul points to the Gentiles who through their conscience did as written in the law without having it taught to them. To me, that is evidence of the Spirit at work and moving in them, so awesome! And then on verses 29 the AMP says that it is “circumcision of the heart by the Spirit, not by the fulfillment of the letter of the Law”. Time for a good hearted check. 😉
This is an important reminder that we are a light, whether we realize it or not. What we say should be a direct reflection of what we are doing in our own life. It is so important to know God, to mold our life after what He says, and to allow everything that comes out of our mouth to be influenced by Him. People are watching self proclaimed Christians, to see if they are Christlike or if there is any difference in them at all from what they see in the world.