In Romans chapter 1, Paul was dealing specifically with the sins of the Gentiles, the pagans, those who had lost sight of God a long time ago and, thus, had fallen into the most degrading of practices.
But he wasn’t going to let his own people, his own countrymen, off the hook either. Despite all the advantages that they had been given (Rom. 3:1-2), they, too, were sinners, condemned by God’s law, and in need of the saving grace of Christ. In that sense-in the sense of being sinners, of having violated God’s law, and of needing divine grace for salvation-Jews and Gentiles are the same.
“After the Apostle has shown that all heathen are sinners, he now, in a special and most emphatic way, shows that also the Jews live in sin, above all because they obey the Law only outwardly, that is, according to the letter and not according to the spirit.” – Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans, p. 61.
Often it’s so easy to see and point out the sins of others. How often, though, are we guilty of the same kinds of things, or even worse? The problem is that we tend to turn a blind eye on ourselves, or we make ourselves feel better by looking at just how bad others are in contrast to ourselves.
Paul will have none of that. He warns his countrymen not to be quick to judge the Gentiles, for they, the Jews-even as the chosen people-were sinners. In some cases they were even more guilty than the pagans they were so quick to condemn because as Jews they had been given more light than the Gentiles.
Paul’s point in all this is that none of us are righteous, none of us meet the divine standard, none of us are innately good or inherently holy. Jew or Gentile, male or female, rich or poor, God-fearing or God-rejecting, we all are condemned. And were it not for the grace of God as revealed in the gospel, there would be no hope for any of us.
|How often do you, even if only in your own mind, condemn others for things that you, yourself, are guilty of? By taking heed of what Paul has written here, how can you change?|
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons