I set myself the task of reading Romans backwards the other day. Well not literally, but by focusing on how the application of chapters 12-16 followed from Romans 1-11. One thing that struck me doing it this way is how running through the whole book is the question: who judges?
All the judgment language in Romans (Justification, Righteousness etc) is often brought to a point with one of two questions:
- How do we receive a favourable judgment (Legalism v. Grace)? Or
- How do we know who has received a favourable judgment (Jew v. Gentile)?
Both these questions are important to Paul writing Romans, but seem secondary to the larger question of who does the judging.
Romans 1 dwells on the judgment made by God (on all humanity, Paul does not start with Gentiles in chapter 1 and then move onto Jews in chapters 2-3)
Romans 2 questions those who take on judgment for themselves how they will stand in God's judgment.
Romans 3 is again about the universal and condemning nature of that judgment.
Romans 5 talks about the two judgments available, one belonging to Adam and one to Christ.
Romans 12 says that the Christian should "think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment" and should leave judgment (vengence) to God.
Romans 13 talks about God's judgment being invested in the proper authorities.
Romans 14 at length teaches how we should not judge each other, and in particular the weak.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? To me at least this has been a bit of an epiphany.