I'm fascinated that you used the standard pharisee trick of ending the scripture post at verse 32...instead of continuing to Romans 2:1.Romans 1 lists a whole slew of evil things that people do that God condemns, and Romans 2 begins:
When the letter was written....it wasn't divided into chapters...and the letter has been arbitrarily segmented into chapters at a later date.
But I have noticed pharisees just REFUSE to quote Romans 2...in connection with Romans 1...in the same way pharisees will quote 1 cor 6:9-10 without the redemptive verse 11.
What is it that so grates on you about Romans 2? You don't feel so smug about your own 'moral superiority' when you're discussing the homosexual issue....that's what.
1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?So what does this mean? Lance is correct in saying that the chapter and verse divisions are arbitrary, and it's clear that Paul is continuing the thought he began in the first chapter. Does this passage mean, as Lance asserts, that we humans have no business differentiating between right and wrong? Consider this paragraph from 1 Corinthians 5, also written by Paul:
5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.It's important to remember that these two books, Romans and 1 Corinthians, were originally written as letters to two churches and intended to address specific difficulties that each church was having. Much of Romans concentrates on instruction about the nature of sin and the humility that should arise from that knowledge. 1 Corinthians focuses more on how the members of a local church should function together in harmony and in service to God.
In Romans, God isn't absolving us of our responsibility to discern right from wrong -- in fact, the first chapter of Romans contains a huge list of sins and condemns them all. No, what God is saying is that we as individuals are not fit to hand out punishments and condemnation to other people based on our perception of their wrongdoing (interestingly, Romans 13 explains that this is why God establishes governments). Nor are we to create our own definitions of evil based on our personal preferences. (For instance, it would be wrong for me to declare that wearing white pants after Labor Day is evil, since as far as I know God couldn't care less what color pants anyone wears.)
Jesus elaborates on this a bit in Matthew 7:
1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.If we judge rightly, based on God's laws, then we will in turn be judged rightly. Furthermore, should we ignore the speck in our brothers' eyes? No, but we must attend to our own offenses first to avoid hypocrisy. This lines up pretty well with Romans 2, where Paul condemns those who judge others but partake in the same evils.
3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
In Matthew 18 Jesus speaks a bit about correcting evil within the church, and this passage also lines up with what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5.
15 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.There are a few main principles that apply.
1. We must not base our evaluations of right and wrong on our own preferences, but only on what God has commanded. Sometimes we like to veil our preferences and claim that we're following God when we're really just using him as an excuse to do what we want, so we must be on guard against this pitfall.
2. When dealing with another's sin, we must first make sure that our motives are right and that we're not acting out of pride but rather with compassion. We must also make sure that we're not guilty of hypocrisy. Our primary goals should be correcting the wrong actions and repairing the person's relationship with God.
3. It's always wise to seek counsel from others before making any judgements. By seeking advice we can help ensure that the first two principles are met and that we're not fooling ourselves. Acting as a group also adds human authority to any accusation and can help convince the listener to take the matter seriously.
And finally, if we're quick to correct ourselves then we won't need to worry about being judged by others.