While, this letter was written to a Jew and Gentile church, this section feels more aimed at the Jews, those with the Law, who felt a moral high ground to judge others. However, this rebuke can be applicable to any of us who fancy ourselves “holier than thou”.
“But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (2:3-4)
We should never confuse the grace and mercy of God as a free pass to sidestep His authority.
I grew up in this category of people who should know better. But also, grew to discover just how God’s relentless kindness, not His condemnation, lured me into repentance. It’s a beautiful thing, because it’s so humbling.
You know what else is humbling? People who don’t need as much external government.
“For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.” (2:14-16)
All throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites were called out for their stubbornness. Then, Jesus comes along and liked to point out how many Gentiles surpassed a faith found in Israel. Get off your high horse, people!
It’s never our job to police each other or compare ourselves as a measurement of righteousness. So enough with the side eye! I say this to myself as well.
Let’s consider the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience today. Let’s fix our eyes on the LORD and give each other a break from all the comparing.