Tuesday, November 16, 2010
mankind's moral insufficiency
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.
Paul's warning in this passage is one against self-based moral judgment. Only God can truly stand in judgment over sin because He alone is holy. When human beings pass judgment on other human beings it is is just one sinner sinfully discriminating against another sinner. We need an outside standard.
And what Paul meant by practicing "the very same things" is absolutely clear in the context. It is spelled out in an excruciating list of sins in the last part of Romans chapter one:
"And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them."
The one who tries to pass judgment on sin while living outside of the clear standards that God has revealed in God's Word is just a wicked person evaluating another wicked person's wickedness. Men have insufficient moral gauges by which to evaluate holiness. We condemn ourselves when we judge others.
The only standard for holiness is God. Even in a civil society with a solid representative republic and democratically elected officials, sin will reign! People cannot collectively create a perfect standard of right and wrong. We need God's input for that to stand a chance of being true. That is why the Judeo-Christian basis for law and government should not be tossed out by postmodern deconstructionists of culture. It served a purpose of at least being a solid basis from which to build something. When it is replaced by the vote of the masses or the legal musings of educated sinners in the political, legal, or judicial systems, we are ignoring the warning Paul gave us all of our inability to judge right from wrong outside of God's holy standards.
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13