God’s Just Judgment. 1* Therefore, you are without excuse,a every one of you who passes judgment.* For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things. 2We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true. 3Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?b 4Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance?c 5By your stubbornness and impenitent heart,d you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, 6e who will repay everyone according to his works:* 7eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, 8but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness.f 9Yes, affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil, Jew first and then Greek. 10g But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek. 11* h There is no partiality with God.
Judgment by the Interior Law.* 12All who sin outside the law will also perish without reference to it, and all who sin under the law will be judged in accordance with it.i 13For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified.j 14For when the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature observe the prescriptions of the law, they are a law for themselves even though they do not have the law.k 15They show that the demands of the law are written in their hearts,* while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even defend them 16on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people’s hidden works through Christ Jesus.l
Judgment by the Mosaic Law.* 17Now if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of Godm 18and know his will and are able to discern what is important since you are instructed from the law,n 19and if you are confident that you are a guide for the blind and a light for those in darkness,o 20that you are a trainer of the foolish and teacher of the simple,p because in the law you have the formulation of knowledge and truth— 21then you who teach another, are you failing to teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal?q 22You who forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob temples? 23You who boast of the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24r For, as it is written, “Because of you the name of God is reviled among the Gentiles.”*
25s Circumcision, to be sure, has value if you observe the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.t 26Again, if an uncircumcised man keeps the precepts of the law, will he not be considered circumcised?u 27Indeed, those who are physically uncircumcised but carry out the law will pass judgment on you, with your written law and circumcision, who break the law. 28One is not a Jew outwardly. True circumcision is not outward, in the flesh.v 29Rather, one is a Jew inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit, not the letter; his praise is not from human beings but from God.w
* [2:1–3:20] After his general indictment of the Gentile, Paul shows that in spite of special revelation Jews enjoy no advantage in moral status before God (Rom 3:1–8). With the entire human race now declared guilty before God (Rom 3:9–20), Paul will then be able to display the solution for the total problem: salvation through God’s redemptive work that is revealed in Christ Jesus for all who believe (Rom 3:21–31).
* [2:1–11] As a first step in his demonstration that Jews enjoy no real moral supremacy over Gentiles, Paul explains that the final judgment will be a review of performance, not of privilege. From this perspective Gentiles stand on an equal footing with Jews, and Jews cannot condemn the sins of Gentiles without condemning themselves.
* [2:11] No partiality with God: this sentence is not at variance with the statements in Rom 2:9–10. Since Jews are the first to go under indictment, it is only fair that they be given first consideration in the distribution of blessings. Basic, of course, is the understanding that God accepts no bribes (Dt 10:17).
* [2:12–16] Jews cannot reasonably demand from Gentiles the standard of conduct inculcated in the Old Testament since God did not address its revelation to them. Rather, God made it possible for Gentiles to know instinctively the difference between right and wrong. But, as Paul explained in Rom 1:18–32, humanity misread the evidence of God’s existence, power, and divinity, and “while claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Rom 1:22).
* [2:17–29] Mere possession of laws is no evidence of virtue. By eliminating circumcision as an elitist moral sign, Paul clears away the last obstacle to his presentation of justification through faith without claims based on the receipt of circumcision and its attendant legal obligations.
* [2:24] According to Is 52:5 the suffering of Israel prompts her enemies to revile God. Paul uses the passage in support of his point that the present immorality of Israelites is the cause of such defamation.