Pristine Grace

Judge By the Gospel
by John Pedersen
Judge By the Gospel

“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whosoever you are who judge, for in the thing wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself, for you who judge do the same things.” (Romans 2:1ff). 

     The statement above comes at the conclusion of an extensive description of man’s moral depravity and rebellion against God at the beginning of the Apostle’s letter to the Romans. 

     As he continues, he brings focus to the inherently hypocritical and self-condemning character of law-judgment (see 2:17ff.), leaving his readers with only one legitimate standard by which one man may be distinguished from another: the gospel, and belief in the gospel (Romans 3). 

     All judgment entails distinction and separation. If I, as a professing believer in the one true gospel of Scripture, judge another to be an unbeliever, I am not only making a statement or judgment about another; I am just as assuredly making a statement about myself. I am saying I am what the other person, whatever he may claim to the contrary, is not. 

     If the judgment I make is concerning a transgression of the law, it is also necessarily a claim by me concerning myself, to wit, that I am not a transgressor, i.e., that I am innocent of the thing I accuse the other of doing or being. This must be so for my judgment to have any significance. 

     What is more, if I am to be legitimately regarded as innocent of the thing whereof I accuse another, my innocence must be absolute and not subject to degrees or relative comparisons, else it is not innocence, but guilt to a lesser extent. 

     God’s justice is absolute, and His demand for righteousness does not admit to degrees. Guilt to a lesser extent may be highly regarded by men, but it is contemptible in the sight of God. 

     Therefore all judgment according to the law is inherently self condemning. Gospel believers who succumb to this thinking are bewitched and poison others with bitterness. They need to be called out and exposed. 

     Believers who become ensnared in some sinful habit need loving and gentle restoration by fellow believers based on a shared belief in the truth of the gospel. 

     Sinful behavior should never be winked at, but rather an occasion for loving concern toward the one overcome while those who help look to themselves, lest they also be tempted. 

     Belief in the testimony of the gospel is a miracle of Gods power. This reality should not be disregarded or dismissed, but rather respected in consideration of the God Who makes blind eyes to see their need of His perfect righteousness, and the forgiveness of their sins. 

     We should judge by the gospel testimony confessed and believed, not relative conformity to the law.