Meeting Times at 4th United Presbyterian Church

Cafe' Worship: 9:15 a.m. each Sunday in Gathering Hall (activities provided for children; coffee; snacks)
Adult Sunday School: 10 a.m.

Sunday Worship: 11 a.m.

Bible Study: each Thursday at 6 p.m.

Community Forum: last Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. with meal (no community forum in November, 2011)

About the 4th United Presbyterian Bible Blog

Posts on this blog are from me, Rev. George H. Waters, one of the two organizing co-pastors of 4th United Presbyterian Church. Our other organizing pastor was Rev. Sonya McAuley-Allen, who is now pastor of a church in Charlotte, N.C. Since June of 2011, Rev. Elizabeth Peterson has been our parish associate pastor for new church development. The earliest posts are sermon notes from the few I have typed the last two years. Then, there is a series of notes posted on the book of Romans. After that, it varies from week to week, sometimes church news, sometimes reflections on a happening, a passage of scripture, or even some pictures. This blog is meant to open the conversation we have going on in our church to others in our community.

The picture below is of our church's sanctuary, built in 1913.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Romans 2:1-3 and why I can't get past verse 3

In my last post, I said that Christians ought to read these words of Paul in chapter 2 as if they were written for contemporary Christians. Of course, having said that, I almost wish I hadn't. Because these words are just so direct, so clear. It was a more relaxing exercise to think about the context "back then," and wait a while longer to look at our context "here and now."

And, these first three verses of Romans 2 have just stopped me in my tracks.

"Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things." v. 1

And, verses 2 and 3 just drive the point home further.

Romans 1:18-3:20 might be called "NO EXIT." And, in chapters 1 & 2 of Romans (Romans 1:18-2:29), Paul closes every door, or you might say: "he reveals the despair of humanity who is trapped in the meaninglessness of sin." What Paul reveals in this chapter is that our sinfulness is shown in the very fact that we are so busy judging others for the very sins we also commit. The real root of our evil lies in this propensity to set ourselves up as judges over others. It is sort of like Paul is saying: yes, in the first chapter of this letter I talked about all the awful idolatry and immorality among humans beings, but now I am going one step farther to talk about the presumption of those religious human beings who not only are idolatrous and immoral but think they are not while accusing the rest of the world!

"You say, 'we know that God's judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with the truth.' Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God?"

vv. 2-3

And, here comes the real heart of Paul's appeal: "Or do you despise the riches of God's kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" v. 4

That really says it all. I am going to think on that some this morning.

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