Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
1901 ASV Translation:
1 Wherefore thou art without excuse, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest dost practise the same things.
2 And we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that practise such things.
There are no textual variations between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
November 2, 2004
- I. With this verse, Paul opens a new line of "condemnation".
- A. In 1:18-32, Paul laid out God's "case" against humanity.
- 1. In that "case", Paul accused humanity of wilfull rejection of the Life of God by reason of its fundamental methodology (Life can only be experienced by those who are committed to servanthood  -- first to the Servant God Who sets the tone by practicing what He demands of others; and then to the creation of God which is presently at war against every notion of servanthood, thus making "serving God's creation" rather expensive in terms of personal costs).
- 2. In that "case" Paul's fundamental thesis is that humanity is pretty much totally committed to subverting the Truth of God (1:18) by the performance of all manner of evil deeds.
- B. Beginning with this verse, Paul takes on the "self-righteous" mentality of those who recognize that men do, indeed, act against both what they know and what is, therefore, "reasonable".
- 1. The major problem these "self-righteous" have is that, though they recognize the sinfulness of man in generic terms, they refuse to include themselves in the "group" whom they identify as "sinners".
- 2. There seems to be an underlying reason for this "unreasonableness" (that of rejecting the legitimate conclusion: if generic humanity is "sinful", I must be also because I am a human).
- a. The "reason" is unveiled by Paul's opening words, "Wherefore you are inexcusable...".
- 1) The word for "inexcusable" is a word that means to not have a legitimate explanation to defend oneself against accusation. It is used multiple times to refer to answering charges in a court of law.
- 2) The "legal" implication of the word Paul chose is that there is a final date with Justice for everyone.
- b. The dependency man has upon being "excusable" is not hard to understand.
- 1) The problem with being a "sinner" is that the liability is enormous: those who practice "sinning" are worthy of Death.
- 2) The problem's enormity naturally drives every attempt men make to try to distance themselves from being "worthy of Death".
- 3) And, that is not all: being "worthy" of Death is simply the tip of the iceberg because Death is already pervasively involved in the current experience.
- a) Because Death is already being experienced to some degree, men feel physical pain, they experience the breakdown of meaningful relationships, and they sense their lack of value by reason of their "guiltiness".
- b) Thus, Death's presence means that men will attempt to avoid the powerfully painful reality of their guiltiness because it leaves them without an "excuse" for it -- so they blind themselves to it by pointing the finger at others.
- 3. Paul's grounds for making his case is that those to whom he writes are engaging in "judgment".
- a. The concept of "judgment" is, in reality, nothing more or less than making a decision about the morality of an action or attitude.
- 1) Paul is not criticizing the making of "judgments".
- 2) He is saying that "the making of judgments" is automatic to human rationality -- everyone makes moral judgments.
- a) The root of everyone's "morality" is the awareness that is innate in every person that one "ought" to do "this" and not "that".
- b) This "ought" is often highly erroneous, but it ultimately has the ability to render "excuseless" in that whatever one "ought" to do to me is what I also "ought" to do to all others. Even if what I think others "ought" to do for me is wrong, the fact that I do not do for them while expecting them to do for me makes me a hopeless contradiction in moral terms.
- b. The problem is that the individual who is making the moral judgments is making it impossible for himself/herself to give any valid reason for doing the very thing that is morally reprehensible in others.
- c. Then, being in an impossible situation of self-justification, the person does the morally reprehensible thing anyway.
- 4. The consequence is "condemnation": once a person has done a thing that is "worthy of death", he is subject to being "put to death".
- II. Paul Follows Up With "What We Know".
- A. In 1:32, Paul insisted that men "know" (with as much certainty as experience can give) that those who practice the evils listed in 1:29-31 are worthy of Death.
- B. Now, he switches terms: the "knowing" we have about how God is going to react is not "experientially based"; rather, it is "rationally based".
- C. What he says is "reasonable" is that the "judgment of God is according to Truth".
- 1. No one can deny the presence and reality of "truth" for absolutely nothing can be done in a universe that has no foundation in some form of consistency.
- 2. However anyone defines "truth" in terms of its specific content, "God" is given the credit for being the Ultimate Foundation.
- 3. And it is inescapable that "Truth" is not going to admit that what one does to another can escape the "obligation" to be consistent with how one wishes to be treated.