Romans: Day 3

Who Can Judge?

by

Today's Text: Romans 2:1-16, Deuteronomy 16:18-20, Titus 1:15

Scripture Reading: Romans 2:1-16, Deuteronomy 16:18-20, Titus 1:15

Head shaking, brow furrowed, she looked perplexed. Confusion filled her dark brown eyes. “I don’t understand,” she said.

I explained further. “The Chinese and Japanese character used to translate ‘sin’ is the word zui, which means ‘crime.’”

She nodded and motioned for me to continue.

“I think that translation can be somewhat limiting. I imagine you haven’t really spent time in jail or committed a crime like robbing a bank. I imagine you consider yourself a pretty good person.”

She nodded again.

“I used to think of myself as a pretty good person, too” I said. “But then someone asked, if a movie were made of my life, if there were certain scenes I’d want deleted. I knew exactly which scenes I didn’t want anyone to see. And these scenes were not just of the times I did things I knew I shouldn’t, but also when I didn’t do things I knew I should. Our sin problem shows itself in both ways—in the things we do and the things we don’t do. We all sin. No one lives a life free of scenes they wouldn’t want others to see.”

Paul goes to great lengths in the first three chapters of Romans to help us understand the totality and consequences of our sin. He lists the manifestations of sin at the end of chapter one, then goes on to explain how his readers not only judge others, but also practice the very things for which they pass judgment.

And it’s true: most of us consider ourselves “good” people, qualified to judge others for their many shortcomings—that is, until we place our own sin-plagued lives next to Christ’s righteousness. Jesus is the only one who lived a perfect, God-honoring, shame-free life.

Both Jews and Gentiles—and both you and I—fall short under God’s holy judgment. We are all guilty, often of the very same things for which we condemn others. But there is good news:

For God loved the world in this way. He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
- John 3:16

We are born spiritually dead, our sin separating us from a life with God. But God, in the person of Jesus Christ, has made a way for us to know Him, both in this earthly life and for all eternity (John 17:3).

Just as God Himself provides the way for us to be reconciled to Him, He also does the work of revealing to us our sin—of showing us how our “goodness” falls short of His righteousness. The Holy Spirit does the convicting (John 16:8), which frees us to love and to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

In Romans, Paul writes systematically to knock away our sense of ever being righteous in and of ourselves. God’s invitation is not to mere ethics or manufactured goodness, but to the utter, complete transformation that takes place when we are made new in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

May God melt away our pride that keeps us from total dependence on Him. By His grace, may we love others, even as they fall short like we also do. And may we recognize and receive God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Amen.

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Vivian Mabuni is a speaker and author, and a sushi, white Christmas lights, post-its, and coffee-with-friends lover. She has been on staff with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) for 28 years and serves with Epic Movement, the Asian American ministry of Cru. Connect with Vivian on Twitter and Instagram at @vivmabuni.

  • Laura Humphreys

    It’s crazy how God can make you stumble upon scripture you need to hear. This passage touched my heart in a way it never has before.

  • You

  • Does anyone have good commentary on Romans 2:12 – 15? Trying to understand the context and what Paul is telling us. Thanks

    • Andrea

      It’s not commentary specific to those verses, but this talks about Romans Chp 1-4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej_6dVdJSIU

    • Katie Sluck

      In the app “Blue Letter Bible” if you go to that chapter tap on the text and then click commentary scroll down to David Guziks commentary. He does commentaries for literally every chapter of every book in the Bible and goes verse by verse and it’s soooo helpful. He really helps you get a deeper understanding of the background culture that influences each book while also doing a great job of referring back to the OT so we can see how even the OT was just pointing towards Jesus too! It’s such a great commentary I hope it helps!

  • Debbie Ruvolo

    Need this as I’m walking in a storm of life. We all sin and God is aware of that. God isn’t asking for our perfection he is asking for our hearts. He gives us grace for what we do and what WE choose not to do. We are to do the same with others. We need to remember it’s not our place to judge others as that’s for God to do. God shows no favoritism but we will be rewarded with things we have done in this life.

  • Peyton A Isakson

    Oh I so loved this! Thank you for your words and thank you for your heart. So thankful for this community. A safe place to acknowledge ones short comings and to be able to lean more and more on Him.

  • Merrimae

    We know that every word of God is true. When I pass judgement on someone else, I am condemning myself, because I do the same things. Ugh, I hate sin! God is not calling us to be ethical or to try to cover our sin. He is after our transformation! His Word transforms us by renewing our minds. His word changes me from the inside.

  • CandyRen

    Great devotion. Definitely needed to read this today to remind me that I have flaws and that only God is perfect. Also, needed to be reminded that though I’m a sinner, God still desires for me to seek Him and to depend on Him solely to help me become more like Him.

  • Laurabeth

    That one hurt more than I wanted it to. Thankful more today for the good of Jesus. For the price he paid. That in my sin he sees more than anyone ever will and still decided that he loved me enough to die!

  • mamachak01

    this study is such a great tool for God to speak into my life. praise God for His willingness to teach me and continue to lead me in my faltering! I loved this bit, “…Just as God Himself provides the way for us to be reconciled to Him, He also does the work of revealing to us our sin—of showing us how our “goodness” falls short of His righteousness. The Holy Spirit does the convicting (John 16:8), which frees us to love and to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)… ”
    May God continue to reveal my sin to us and through that growth, may we learn to walk closer to Him.

  • When I am tempted to diagnose someone else’s sin, I need to stop and picture my life compared to Christ’s righteousness. What a hard BUT very crucial reminder!

  • Elizabeth Moersch

    I hear that same country song! “Always stay humble and kind!” I love the work “Kindness!” If “kindness” was kept at the forefront of my mind and habitually stored in my heart; I believe I would judge others less and replace that judgement with compasssion and grace. This is my prayer God! Make me humble and kind…

  • Always stay humble and kind. Lyrics from a song I hear in my head daily. :)

  • This lesson is a great reminder of needing to work on becoming more humbled. We tend to focus so much energy on other people and their sin, that we forget ours is equal. All sin is equal. Titus 1:15 really spoke to me because if we focus on pure and godly things, the Holy Spirit will help us be better at being aware of our own sin. Great read<3

  • The only life I need to compare my own to is that of Jesus Christ.
    Good reminder!

  • Loved making that last paragraph a personal prayer to share with my children. Loving this study!

  • Day three is a good reminder to me on many levels. My prayer for myself is for more humility, grace and kindness to overshadow a desire to judge others, remembering to pursue justice & purity. This is ask in His Holy Name. Amen.

    Loving this study, Ladies! ❤️

  • This passage made me think back to a Tim Keller sermon, where he says that if every single person had a voice box around their neck for their entire lives and it recorded everything they said and at the end of their life, they were judged by the standards they held others to, not a single one of us would pass our own judgement. How much more infinitely do we fall short of God’s perfect holiness! Thanks be to God that “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

  • Meghan H.

    I really liked this. It’s so easy to get into a mindset as a Christian that is “us versus them.” It’s such a dangerous mindset. Rather, when we see ourselves as just as fallen and in needing of grace as the “them,” we allow space to connect with and love on people.

  • JeniaMarie

    As believers we are to hold each other accountable. I have no problem with someone judging my actions based on the word of God. If I say I’m a believer then my actions should reflect that. I would expect my sisters in Christ to take me to the word of God and allow God to bring about the necessary conviction that would hopefully lead me to repent. I think there is a lordship ( every part of your life being surrendered to God) issue when believers have a problem being judged by the word. It should be our final authority.

  • Amanda B

    Sarah wrote on here that living faithfully is harder than it sounds because we are all born sinners. This resonated with me and I am beginning to understand this concept now. I am new to Christianity, coming to follow our Lord 2 months ago. I have been so blessed by Him in these past months and now I can see what people say when they say that following Christ is one heck of a ride. I’ve been struggling with the judgement aspect. I’ve learned so much about myself and how I have sinned, how I have judged others unlawfully. I’ve had a mind shift and I am working towards a path of nonjudgement. I know that will have moments of judgement but I pray that with the Lord by my side He will guide me with His righteousness.

    • Kylee

      Welcome to the family Amanda!! So glad you’re here!

    • She Reads Truth

      So glad to have you with us, Amanda! Grateful for you and your words this morning.

      – Stormye

      • Michelle

        As I was recently reminded Amanda, you can now call yourself -REDEEMED instead of sinner. You are a new creation in Christ! It is quite a ride. Welcome sister.

  • I think deep down we know that we are hypocrites when judging others…because that’s why people judge…because of their own insecurities. But if we find our value in Christ…then we won’t be insecure, and we’ll have no reason to judge others.

    • Kylee

      Yes and amen, Molly. A foundation and knowledge of our value in Jesus changes everything!

  • Marguerite

    I think that this is such an important message of the Bible that is often regrettably omitted or forgotten. Some people are arguing whether we ever have the right to judge another for their perceived ungodliness, and I must admit I am myself a little undecided. It is my feeling that it is never our place to pass judgement on others for their personal decisions where it does not affect us. We ourselves are imperfect in the eyes of the Lord. I think that tolerance and acceptance apply to things like gay marriage and other people’s religious and cultural views. I think that we only ever have the right to judge and intervene where someone is inflicting intentional pain, grief or suffering on another human being. God bless.

  • songbird

    Challenging again hey. On the one hand, there is sooo much in this world that we need to judge (as mentioned before: Where does the food come from? Do I agree with this political statement? But also heavy issues such as: does God allow gay sexuality or does he not?) and in the meantime we are not to judge others. A slippery slope indeed and at times it’s really clear I’m sinning against this passage. Yet at other times I’m not so sure: when I say the minister in our church seems not to be telling the Gospel? Am I too harsh on our minister or am I truly, deeply concerned about the word of God?
    Or if, as the discussion went yesterday, I call a friend not a real Christian because her lifestyle doesn’t match what I see as a Christian lifestyle, am I sinning against this passage or am I following yesterday’s passage whereby I avoid the wrong convictions to blemish my mind?
    I honestly am finding this a hard part of Christianity.
    Telling ourselves (or others) not to judge may be a smokescreen for tolerating far too much ungodliness, yet raising your finger against certain behaviour or what you consider heresy may make you feel sorry later….

    • Rebecca

      I, too, struggle with where the line is with judging the unchristian world. However, the Holy Spirit always reminds me that, as a Christian, we are to judge the world. God has already done that.

    • Rebecca

      Sorry, I had an issue with my last post and I don’t see how to edit it. So, let me try again….we are NOT to judge the world. However, as a Christian, we are to follow the descriptions given in Hebrews 3 and II Thess. 3 in judging and approaching those Christians who are not living by the Gospels. 1.) personally, 2.) with witnesses, and 3.) whole church. Prayerful consultation with God of the condition of my heart (what is my motivation for judgement here? Is it grounded in the spiritual truth?) and Guidance of the Holy Spirit is essential in these matters. No snap judgements.

    • Amy

      I agree with your response. I do believe we are not to judge based on our own opinions but we are to judge based on Gods word. How are we to know right from wrong if we dont look at it and judge it according to the word. But it is often so easy to let our opinion take the lead and which can often make us hypocrites.

    • Courtney Renee

      I think we shouldn’t judge, in general. In the Deuteronomy verse, it says to appoint officials and judges to do what is right, so even then, it’s not our job to judge. As long as it’s not hurting anyone else, people can do whatever they want and God will judge them as He sees fit. Our only job is to love them and try to bring them to Him. Live your life by God’s standards for yourself and don’t judge others except in the event that their actions are harming others. I believe in this Romans study, we will learn more about the Law of Liberty and Law of Love later, which tell us to not look down on anyone — even those of weaker faith.

  • So many excellent comments today that I can relate to!

  • I’ve been following Jesus for 6 months now, and reading this really was sobering for me. My life before was “good” but the sin was tangible. Even when I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong I was just too blind to see it. I know that my new life in Christ grants me freedom and forgiveness from past sins, but ladies, how do we forgive ourselves? I trust the Lord with everything, but how do I learn to also let go of this guilt?

    I’m 30 and single and I worry about one day meeting someone I want to spend my life with…how do I broach the past? How do I reconcile past actions with new found faith?

    Judgement is part of life…I think I’m finally looking in the mirror and seeing what I refused to acknowledge for so long, and judging myself! I can’t be the only one but I’m just lost as how to handle. Lord, I put my life fully in your hands…please grant me strength and continue to guide me. I am not perfect and I never will be, but my hope is to live the rest of my life in faith through you.

    • Emily B.

      I think learning to let go of that guilt can be a long process, but you have to remember that God doesn’t use guilt. Guilt is Satan’s domain, and he’ll use it to make you feel awful about yourself. The way I see it, if you believe that the Creator of the universe forgives you, then why would you struggle with forgiving yourself? He knows absolutely everything, and He forgives you when you ask for it. It helps me to put things in that perspective–who am I to think badly of myself when the Almighty Creator loves me and tells me that I’m His precious daughter? I’m excited that you trust God, and I hope you can work through things and have an ever-deepening relationship with Him. :)

      • Kattie M

        Hi Sarah! First of all, congratulations on taking steps to follow Jesus! It will be one heck of a ride, I can tell you that! I definitely understand where you are coming from with looking in the mirror and judging yourself. For years, even after I followed Christ, I did the same exact thing. However, I do want to let you know that, first, you can not possibly learn everything or undo habits in one day or even five years (trust me, I tried, lol). God takes his time with you in everything that He does because He knows what you can handle and what needs a little more prep time. So I encourage you to not be disappointed or frustrated if it doesn’t seem to come easily. Second, I want to suggest that knowing something in your brain is not the same as knowing it in your heart. That concept is key to learning how to reconcile the past and learning how to walk and live in God’s grace and mercy. Living faithfully is harder than it sounds because we are born sinners. However, I have found this to be true. If you are having a hard day and shame and guilt are bullying you, say out loud or write it down or whatever floats your boat, that God loves you. He has chosen you. He pursues relentlessly regardless of what you have to offer him. For me personally, I use to kind of think about my relationship with Christ as a give and take type situation. For example, He gave me a new life so I in return must do a, b, and c to repay him. But I learned that hard way that God loves me no matter what I do. I see it in the blessings (both good and bad situations) He has given me. Third, in this Scripture reading today, it talks about how we must do good works for Christ. I am a type A person who has to do everything myself because then I know it will be done according to my liking and I know that there is a higher probability of whatever it is producing the results I want. So, with this being said, I took it upon myself to check every box I thought a “good” Christian would do and I became exhausted and eventually resolved to going through the motions rather than pursue a more meaningful and deeper relationship with Christ. So I am here to say that the good works God asks of us is simple, to love in the way He loves us (not so simple). But it starts with us. It starts with our hearts. God’s language is love and we must realign and retrain ourselves to speak lovingly to ourselves first before we can project it into the world. I propose that if you are seeing things that you don’t like about yourself, God is revealing it to you because he is saying: I love you anyway. You are my crowning creation. Walk with me and we can fix it together. It will take time Sarah, but God loves you. Only when we can see ourselves as God sees us can we truly start to say no to shame and guilt every time they come knocking. I’ll be praying for you and I hope this helped a little bit.

      • Lexi

        You said this so beautifully. I needed to read this, and you spoke it exactly how I needed it. Thank you. ❤️

    • Jen

      “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18. When we put our faith in Jesus, God no longer sees our sin, because we are washed white by the blood of the Lamb. God declares us righteous, not because of anything we have done, but only because of what Jesus has done. So when God declares us just, righteous, holy, forgiven; to not forgive ourselves is almost like putting ourselves on a higher pedestal than God. (Only saying this out love and know that all of us, including myself, have difficulty forgiving ourselves) I hope that you will be able to rest fully in the sacrifice that Jesus has made on our behalf, and that you will no longer feel shame, but will know that you are washed as white as snow.

      • Sarah

        Thank you, Jen for that scripture. I am still learning and that has brought me comfort.

    • She Reads Truth

      Welcome, Sarah! We are so glad to have you in this community and as a sister in Christ! So grateful for you and your vulnerability in sharing today.

      – Stormye

  • Jenn in GA

    i am thankful for Vivian’s thoughts, especially this statement: God’s invitation is not to mere ethics or manufactured goodness, but to the utter, complete transformation that takes place when we are made new in Jesus Christ. this is a beautiful counterpoint to judging and behavioral goodness.

    i am hung up on vs. 7, however, where Paul seems to say what Jehovah’s Witnesses and some denominations of Christianity espouse: works=eternal life. can anyone exegete this so i can understand it better and have a gentle answer ready for those who may come to my door some day?

    • Emily

      My NIV study bible says this:
      “Paul is not contradicting his continual emphasis in all his writings, including Romans, that a person is saved not by what he does but by faith and what Christ does for him. Rather, he is discussing the principle of judgment according to deeds. If anyone persists in doing good deeds (i.e. Lives a perfect life), he will receive eternal life. No one can do this, but if anyone could, God would give him life, since God judges according to what a person does.”

      I have never read it this way! I always lump myself in with the group who is trying to do good deeds so I can receive eternal life. Instead, I am actually a part of the second, sinful, self-seeking group who will be judged and found guilty. It’s so dismal, isn’t it?! But like yesterday’s study said, there is no need for salvation is not for being saved from something.

      • Laurie

        La

        • Laurie

          Oops. I just wanted to agree with Emily. I don’t want to be part of that second group. But, since that doesn’t matter and there is no possible way for me to be a part of that totally righteous by works group…just Jesus…it’s a dang good thing for the cross! I have lived most of my life trying to pretend to belong to the “good person” group and it has cost me intimacy with God and others as well as appreciation for the goodness of God in loving me despite my junk and saving me from my doom.

    • Emily B.

      Good works don’t equal getting to have eternal life; however, they are the result of living a life for Christ. We’ve already been saved, and now we go through and try to live as He did, which includes doing the works Paul and others mention. I hope that makes sense!

  • Victoria Miller

    When I read through the first three chapters of Romans – I can easily feel so guilty and ashamed of how sinful and broken I am as a human being. I have grown up with the pressure of perfectionism – wanting to seem like I have everything all together. So when my sin and my brokenness is revealed.. I become plagued by feelings of guilt and shame and just not-enoughness.

    But wow, am I thankful for Romans 3:4 – “God’s KINDNESS is intended to lead you to repentance.” It’s not God’s WRATH or His CONDEMNATION or His GUILT that leads to repentance, but His KINDNESS.

    Praying today that I wouldn’t try to run away from God because I fear His wrath, but like the Prodigal Son, I would run home to the Father, knowing He’s going to draw me back to Him with His loving kindness. What a gift.

    • She Reads Truth

      Amen, Victoria! We have a kind Father who draws us in. So glad that this stood out to you today – thank you for sharing!

      – Stormye

    • Karen

      Amen!! It’s a wonderful truth. His kindness leads us to repentance. We look bleak and bad but God chose us when we were sinners. Sometimes I have to fight to stay and live in this truth instead of evaluating my worth or sin each day. We are righteous in Jesus.

    • Janet

      I LOVE THIS!!! I have the same fears. Even sometimes not wanting to open the word and read for fear of guilt. Thanks for sharing. I had thought about that same thing but not really let it sink

  • I am around a few people who are constantly critical of how people look and who are angry all the time. Their attitudes and words affect and infect me. I “love” them by helping them, but in all truth, I do not like being with them. EVER. I feel angry at them for being angry and critical. They are both such a mess of a lifetime of emotional pain and now physical illnesses. Here is the hardest part: they are my parents. Am I judging them when I resent them for their nastiness to each other and their constant critical observations? UGH. What is the log in my eye that I can not see???

    • Kathy

      I feel your pain and wish I had the easy answers. I think letting your resentment fester is like holding a grudge, which we are called not to do. But I struggle with the same thing, all I know is that the solution is a supernatural one, no way can we love these people on our own strength. I also hope you don’t beat yourself up about it, thinking its always a log in your eye. Its like a thorn in your flesh you have to deal with. Keep praying for strength, I’m sure you probably do. Let the Spirit lead you on how you can help them, and how you cannot. This is such a tough one. God bless you sister!

    • Laurie

      Hi Bridget. I have just started reading Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. Great Biblical truth and research into how toxic people effect us and how God designed us to have boundaries with people. One of the things that stood out in the book so far is that we are responsible FOR ourselves (how we behave in our relationships, etc.) and we are responsible TO others (how we respond to them in a relationship). When we mix it up and feel responsible FOR others’ behavior or do not take responsibility for our own, it leads to problems. For example, when we are in a relationship with someone who is sinning in front of us and unrepentant and we choose not to live in the truth by telling them how we feel and resentment builds, that is our lack of boundary. If this person has demonstrated that our truth telling means they pull out of the relationship by becoming emotionally distant or some other form of punishment, then we need a better boundary. I will be 100% honest…I don’t know exactly how to make those good boundaries. I’m only about half way through the book. Ooo, Chapter 7 is called, “Boundaries and Your Family.” That sounds promising. I highly recommend this book for everyone who is in or considering being in any personal relationship. ;)

    • Rosalyn

      Good morning Bridget,
      I read this mornings study and scripture and wow, I feel exposed. I’ll share with my group on another forum, more of that. However, I felt compelled to respond to your post.
      First, God bless you and your open heart. I pray God gives you a heart to love your parents as He would have you. Not as He does, but as He would have you. He knows everything, past present and future, including, our abilities and capabilities, day by day. I have struggled greatly with my parents. It’s incredibly layered. In living, avoiding, denying, then digging, denying, praying and submitting, succumbing then praying and FINALLY listening (to the voice of God), I have learned a couple of things, that help me along my daily struggles.
      I am afraid. I am afraid to be them, in every aspect of my life; my marriage, parenting, social, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts of my life. My fears, manifest in attitudes of, self righteousness, indignation, impatience, intolerance, even revulsion :( toward them. I was aware of my hostility and always, always, plagued with guilt afterward.
      Daily or when anxious, I find, I have to admit I am afraid of those things, in order to hand them over to God. To face my fear, I have to acknowledge it, every time, I have those anxious feelings. Then I have to remind myself, I am not a failure, God can love through me by my admission and plea for intercession. Those things squash any looming guilt.
      When my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I was given the greatest gift, in a form letter, from his neurologist. I have since lost it, but it was incredible! Something like: “Dear loved one, your own loved one is no longer the person you may have once known. He has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He will grow increasingly insecure and distant. He may no longer be responsible or relied upon. You may no longer hold this person accountable for anything, past, present or future.”
      It was official! Documented! In writing. That form letter let me forgive and love him, at my pace, as God filtered His love through me. Since then I have tried that approach in the difficult relations in my life. In the frustrations with my spouse, I tell myself, “I know he can’t help it. That is his broken part, as we all have broken parts.”
      I am rambling. But I have found a lot of freedom in those tools. Everyday I must be willing to admit my fear and submit to My God. He does the rest. Thank you for letting me share. God bless you beautiful Bridget.

      • Bridget

        Thank you so much for sharing, Rosalyn. Thank you for taking the time to respond with such honesty. I will be pondering your words…and applying them. It feels so good to be understood. I, too am afraid of the same things you listed! And, the whole relationship I have with my parents is indeed very layered. I wish we could share a cup of coffee, Rosalyn. Thank you again for your encouragement!

      • Hope in the South

        Wow! I don’t know if you will see this but you mentioned another forum which you write in, where can I access it?

        Your comments shifted my mindset. I am so thankful.

  • Sonja Cox

    Love the line, ” May God melt away our pride and keep us from total dependence on Him.”
    By God’s amazing grace! ♥️

  • I’ve learned that when you start to hear the same message over and over again, it usually means that God is trying to get your attention! Well, that theme of God’s transforming power in us has been that for me! After experiencing some difficult things over the past several years, I felt my heart really hardening. And honestly, I thought, “Well, this is it. He can’t grow me anymore.” It sounds so silly when I say it out loud now, but it felt so true then. I thought His transforming work in my life was over and I was stuck with a bitter attitude and a wall around my heart. But I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think we sometimes give up on God’s transforming power in our lives. It may not happen in our timing or the way we want (trials, ugh!) or with the people we thought. But thank goodness, He is not done with us, even when we feel done with ourselves!! Paul reminds us of this in Philippians 1:6: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Holding onto that promise today and ready for God to keep transforming us to bring Him more and more glory!

  • PronetoWander

    “By His grace, may we love others, even as they fall short like we also do. And may we recognize and receive God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Amen.” I like that line. Loving others even as they fall short, like us ! Loving that person who did you wrong at work and in friendship! Loving that person who didn’t use the roundabout correctly but yelled at you. That’s hard. Not judging is maybe the hardest things, even if you can tame your tongue and keep your mouth shut, what you think also counts and to me that can be harder to reel in! Changing the way you think and keeping from silently judging others, like when you see someone yell at and belittle their kids, or don’t discipline at all. Keeping your mind free of judgment is something I will always be working on.

    • Emily B.

      I’ve been learning that, too! Just because I don’t say my judgement out loud doesn’t mean that it’s not still in my heart. It’s definitely convicting to think about.

  • Tochi Heredia

    These verses read like a description of anxiety, that fear of impending pain and chaos. When we are Christians we know that the ultimate destruction and pain are caused by sin.
    I find it hard to accept forgiveness as I go over my past sins in my mind over and over again. The guilt feels always present. By doing that, I’m deliberately despising the riches of His kindness.
    Then I see my loved ones and I apply that same thing. I think, “why aren’t they penitent? I know they have messed up big time!”

    As heavy as the book of Romans might be, it is intertwined with hope and light. We have to come face to face with the ugliness of our condition to be able to experience the beauty of God’s love, Christ’s deliverance and the Spirit’s guidance.

  • Today’s reading is so humbling. I am so guilty of judging others silently for outfit choices, hair styles, or for the things they put into their bodies. I often catch myself mid-thought and immediately feel guilt in my gut, and as Susan said, pull the log out of my eye.

    There are many scenes I wish I could delete from my own life movie, especially having lead a life of sin for a large chunk of my life, but I must remind myself to be thankful for God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. He is the judge, not me. I’ve got a ways to go but He understands me and loves me, and I must remember that.

    Thanking God today and every day for SRT and for this Romans study. So sobering and humbling, loving every second. May God bless all of you!

  • Caroline

    Yes to all of this! What a different place this world would be. “May God melt away our pride that keeps us from total dependence on Him. By His grace, may we love others, even as they fall short like we also do. And may we recognize and receive God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. ”

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Instead of criticizing and condemning others I am going to give thanks. Each one in God’s image created. His mercy and grace has been extended to me. I desire the movie of my life to be filled with lives changed by quiet kindness. There is no HOPE in judgement. Yikes!

    • Ashley Simpson

      “Lives changed by quite kindness.” What a beautiful, magical mission statement.

  • Deleted scenes…oh wow…I actually prayed that God would delete scenes for me. You know when your walk doesn’t match your talk….when you have totally blown your witness…when you can really relate to Peter. Today’s and yesterdays readings/teachings have really spoken to my sin of judgement. And yes, I am guilty of the same thing I’m judging. OUCH.
    Thankful today for God’s grace and standing on His promise that He is faithful to complete the work He has started in me.

  • I can also turn judgement on myself. Kicking myself over those scenes I wish I could delete. That is also pride. If I truly believe He is the only judge and has forgiven me completely I’m Christ, then making myself the judge is sinful. I’m ignoring that He is in control of my life. So much to apply here!

    • Leslie

      Yes…you are right..If I truly believe He is the only judge and BELIEVE He has forgiven me completely …Thanks for this …and yes…pride…ugh

    • Emily B.

      I like your perspective! I know judging others is wrong, but thinking about how placing myself as the judge means I’m not letting Christ be in control and saying that I should be doing the same job as Him… Wow. That hits me. Thank you for sharing!

    • Christina

      I’ve been guilty of the same exact thing. When I get those thoughts in my mind I have to stop them in my tracks. The enemy loves to keep us down not living in Gods promises. I command Satan to get off my land in Jesus name and I begin to speak Gods truths out loud as silly as that may seem. It works though!

      • Courtney Welborn

        Not silly at all! There is power in speaking truth ALOUD to the darkness threatening you. I do it all the time! :)

  • I wrote “you are no better” next to the end of verse one: “since you, the judge, do the same things” ugh, humbled.

  • “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth.” He is the truth! His purity and righteousness are the only standard by which we should compare–but how often am I comparing my “goodness” against the shortcomings of others.

    V3 hit me right in the gut this morning–“do you really think-anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same-that you will escape God’s judgement?” I can almost hear Paul’s tone as he’s writing. Full of disbelief at the arrogance and pride in which we walk . It’s that same arrogance and pride that keeps us (keeps me!) from God’s kindness.

    The same kindness that leads us to repentance and ultimately, into deep relationship with others and the Lord.

    “May God melt away our pride that keeps us from total dependence on Him. By His grace, may we love others, even as they fall short like we also do. And may we recognize and receive God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Amen.” THAT is going on my mirror so that I am reminded of my shortcomings, God’s kindness and our rescue.

  • First I want to thank God for bringing this study to me. I am into day 3 of this study and I can see why. I also thought that I was a good person. So I asked myself today the above question about the movie deal – and I teared up because I quickly realized their are parts I want deleted. I am full of sin but with God’s love, mercy and guidance I can do better. I am new to this daily bible reading process but I can already see how I am learning that it is all about God, not me. That I need him every moment of every day. Thank you also ladies for sharing in the comments. They are truly helpful for me, and I love the Aslan reference, that helps me relate.

    • Mmartinez

      Crystal- thank you for sharing that. I wrote down some thoughts for myself on the movie deal as well. God also spoke to me- through it. There is nothing I can do to separate myself from Him unless I turn from Him. I have been a believer since I was 8- I can tell you my sin is no less than you. There are many – probably more of the parts of a movie I would cut out than keep. The amazing thing is by abiding in Him I have peace and rest. He Loves me and You just the same

      • Crystal W

        I was just thinking there are probably more parts I would want deleted than kept. What an eye opener!

    • She Reads Truth

      Welcome, Crystal! So glad to have you reading with us and grateful that the Lord has already touched your heart through His Word.

      – Stormye

  • Judging … it’s a slippery slope. We all do it. I judge many things – which non-profit causes I wish to help with my money, which political figure I think is the best for our town, state, nation, which store provides the best product. In these cases, I ‘m judging a product/action and also the people associated with them. Not necessarily wrong or sinful … right? My judging can be insidious though. I stand in line at the grocery store and look at what a young woman places up on the cashier’s conveyor … and I find myself judging. Pasta, Twinkies, Pop-Tarts, bulk burger, ketchup, chips, Hawaiian Punch, store brand burger rolls, etc etc etc. How can she feed so much sugar and processed junk to her family? What’s wrong with her? Is she so ignorant of nutrition ? She’s so overweight already, what is she thinking? And then I catch myself and look at what I’m putting up on the conveyor. Some of the same stuff – different and higher priced iterations. I look again and she’s carefully counting out her money and handing over her SNAP cards and I get it and I look down and take the log out of my eye. Judgement is a slippery slope. Thank you Paul for an ‘in your face’ reminder of God’s message.

  • Michelle Baier

    I love the line where the Holy Spirit does the convicting and we are free to love. I am going to practice it today when my thoughts start to judge.

    • Kristen

      Your comment helped me to really get that verse! A light bulb came on! Thank you and I thank the Holy Spirit for using your comment to have an understanding!

  • “May God melt away our pride that keeps us from total dependence on Him…” AMEN! By His grace, I… Hear His words, listen to them, am convicted, repent, seek Him, obey Him, love others, love ME, love Him, abide in Him… It’s ALL Him. I choose Him because He FIRST chose me. The days I pursue Him, it’s because He first seeks me in the quiet moments of my waking up… Thank you, God, that You love me, pursue me, and strengthen my spirit to hear YOU and obey. Thank you for continuing to convict and pursue when I turn away from You and choose the world over your presence and direction. YOU are faithful! Thank you for loving us, Lord.

  • Kelly Johnson

    For this study, I am reading Romans in The Message translation as well. It makes some of these concepts so much easier to understand. I especially loved Romans 2:4 in The Message. Reminds me of the story of Aslan in the Narnian Chronicles. “God is kind, but He’s not soft.”

  • Christine

    Man do these words hit me in the gut like a ton of bricks. I want to immediately push them off onto others bad behaviors- my husband shouldn’t judge me, he is the hearer and not the doer. But no, this is solidly and completely about me. So often we turn to the fuzzy feel good stuff in the Bible and pass right over this tough stuff. We “know” our sin, why linger on it? That sort of thing. But I don’t truly know the consequences of my sin, I don’t truly know how it pains God. So I have to do my best to understand, despite how much it hurts.

  • I feel so confused by verses 6 and 7?? Trying to make this study of Romans deep and figure out the questions I have had for years. Read lots of commentaries and no resolution in my head. Sigh. Since works don’t save us, what do these verses really say???

    • Kimberly

      The repayment he is talking about in vs 6 is about the person who is transformed and seeks Gods honor, doing Gods work and keeping a heavenly perspective. We don’t do those things to gain salvation but because of what he has done for us. Rejoicing in our salvation results in all the good things that are listed in vs 7.
      Keep on seeking Debi. He will give you all the wisdom and enlightenment you need.

    • Janet

      Debi. I think it’s the reason behind our works. That’s the issue. Are we doing what we do for our own glory or for Gods glory. If we do what we do for our own glory God judges that. When our works are meant t bring glory to God he honors that. It’s a heart issue and I struggle with this often. Why am I doing what I do. Is it to build me up or to glorify God. I love serving others, I love Bringing joy to the broken, but there are times when I do crave that recognition or approval, that pat on the back that Good Job girl!! UGH. Such a struggle

      • Robbyn

        Janet, I am the same and I can’t help myself. Just this morning, as I set up to do my study, I kept thinking “this would make a good IG post” because visually it was pretty and would likely get a lot of “likes” and somehow it would make me look like a better Christian in the eyes of my friends & peers. While I study the word to glorify God & deepen my relationship with Him {inwardly}, I often do things {outwardly} seeking approval & high ratings from others. I ask God why?! Why do I feel / think this way when I’d rather have a heart like His. And then He gives me James & Romans and I am humbled before Him. I feel shifting taking place, and I like it. I’m praying you experience the shift as well.

    • Jaime

      Faith saves us, but we are meant to work to further God’s kingdom on Earth because our faith. Matthew 25: 14-30 is the parable of the talents, I think it gives a really summary of why God wants to see our good works even though they don’t save us. The more works we do, the more rewards we are given, the closer we grow to God, the deeper our faith becomes, and the more he trusts us with. The repayment here is the joy and peace that comes from aligning yourself with God. At least that is my perspective

    • Laryssa

      Hi Debi! It was a bit confusing to me, too. However, the teacher in me came out and I made a “T”chart to compare… I listed the “good” works and the “bad”works and then realized these both had to do with the Word -am I a Doer or merely and Hearer of the Word. Our faith (doer) will produce works -peace, patience, love, self-control, etc… But our lack of faith (hearer) also produces works- strife, envy, quarrels, etc… Which side am I really on?

    • Mmartinez

      It also says the Holy Spirit does the judging we do he loving. By allowing Christ to manifest in us we become Christlike – we do nothing – we are HIs vessel. If we do not allow this transformation we become hardened and live the sinful human way.

  • churchmouse

    Feeling a bit melancholy today. Perhaps the dreary weather is a contributing factor. Reading over these sobering and convicting words from Paul doesnt help. Sometimes truth is a hard rock that sinks to the bottom of the river. No amount of effort lifts it to float merrily downstream. Nope. That rock is going to sit right there. So…I deal with it. When I ponder all my many failings, the melancholy is stroked. When I ponder that God’s invitation is to “utter, complete transformation” I wonder if that is truly possible. My life is one step forward (hallelujah!) and a step or two back (oh my. Here I go again.). This “complete transformation” takes place when I’m made new in Christ Jesus. I get that. I know theologically that I’m now in right standing with God but the hard rock truth is that my life doesn’t always look like that or feel like that. I’m in right standing but I feel like a disappointment at times. Sobering words from Paul yield sobering thoughts this morning. BUT… Sobering thoughts can be good because they do remind me that I’m dependent on God for His grace and His mercy. And I know He understands the human condition and He is patient with me. And I know the Holy Spirit indwells to develop Godly fruit. That’s hard rock truth also. So… I’ll turn up the worship music and go dance in the rain. I’ve got a ways to go but He loves me still. Hard. Rock. Truth. Dance with me. We will both feel better.

    • Debi

      Boy, can I relate to your words. it is a minute-by-minute dance to stay in step with the Spirit in me. Hard work!! I truly do not have the whole”resting in the Spirit” thing down. Romans confuses me so often but I am determined to figure it out and grow in my knowledge of the grace of God!

    • Laura

      Thank you for that. I so often have those same thoughts. I appreciate hearing that I’m not alone

    • Rhonda

      Thank you Churchmouse. I always look for your comments because you give such great insight into how to take these dvotions and apply them to your life. Your emotions are so raw and honest. I love reading how you work through the convictins of the scripture in such a real way. Thank you.

    • Susan

      I loved reading this comment Ms churchmouse. Hard rock, bitter pill, whatever metaphor we use, the truth can be difficult to deal with … turning it around to good, though, is always the challenge. Half that challenge is realizing our dependence on God’s grace and patience and mercy and loving encouragement. Dance the good dance, churchmouse! I’m not a great dancer, but I’ll be tapping my toes right along with you!

    • TheLocalGentry

      Zeph 3:17

    • Sarah

      I understand your comment about the rock sinking to the bottom and not floating down the stream (merrily). But I say this, the stream washing over the rock is polishing it, making it smooth and the one desired to be picked up and kept in the pocket. It will be taken home and placed on the shelf, admired by all who see it.

      • rebecca7395

        Great thought, Sarah! Just as the Lord is the potter and we are the clay, or just as we are going through a furnace to rid ourselves of dross….to be aware of our sins and shortcomings is to be open to the refinement of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is there to constantly hold a mirror to our hearts, to reveal just how far we have to go and how much work needs to be done on those days we get complacent. Our Father will indeed polish us and be well pleased, if we heed His workings, as painful as they may be.

    • Wildflower

      Totally feeling the same today sister.

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Churchmouse. So grateful for your wisdom and honesty today.

      – Stormye

    • Rachael

      Wow. Your words expressed my very feeling! Praying for all who have a heavy heart after reading this scripture.

    • Kendra

      Your honesty helps me be more honest with myself and God. Thank you!

  • Devin Giguere

    This spoke to me. Thank you!

  • I’m convicted by vs 16, “judge the secret thoughts”! Ouch! Even when I try to hide of my sins from others, the Lord knows. The depth of sin is so great. Lord forgive me!

  • This one hit home today. How guilty I am! Asking for some prayers today…I just can’t seem to get myself back on track. As mentioned in the devotion, it’s not that I am doing “bad” things, but a lack of “good” things. I’ve gotten lazy with my daily walk with God, getting easily frustrated with those in my life (including my kids!), letting the house get messy. And I can’t pinpoint why I’m struggling to get back on track. Maybe its laziness. Praying that I would gain the motivation to get back to where I was with God, family and home.

    It’s so grateful for this community, and for Paul’s blunt truths that speak to the heart!

  • Good morning !! (over here in South Africa) I am feeling so blessed that I can start each day in this study with you ladies. Love it . I AM GUILTY . Romans is quite sobering to the fact that we cannot be faultless in thought word or deed. I’ve been putting pressure on myself lately, allowing other doctrines to speak into my life which causes me to think or feel more legalistically… dulling grace and love . I don’t know girls . I have been a Christian now for almost a year and its been tough with all the doctrines out there hey. we are truly in the last days . I pray that the Holy spirit and scripture alone reveal to me

    • Caitie

      Praying this for you too, friend. I agree – there are so many doctrines and ways to live that it can be hard to hear only God’s voice. I pray that he would lead you closer to him each day!

      • Kandria Johnson

        I to have to pray about false teachings. I will lift you up in prayer.

        • Sara

          That’s why it’s so important to be in a community of women committed to reading God’s Word. One day at a time, praying for all of us to persevere.

      • Jodie

        thank you sisters .

        A friend is “attacking” me with the “sabbath truth” and It simply doesn’t feel right. I’ve tried to keep it but felt oppressed and even more unworthy . I will pray for you too

    • Cindy

      There is much out there to confuse us … As a parent of a 20 year old college senior that is concerning in huge ways to me. I remind myself, and her, of something I was told years ago when I was looking for a new church and asked about the doctrine of a a place I was visiting. “No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible.” If we could just remember that…

      • Jodie

        Thank you so much. Those are core things to remember when analysing any doctrine .

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