21Διὸ ἀναπολόγητος εἶ, ὦ ἄνθρωπε πᾶς ὁ κρίνων· ἐν ᾧ γὰρ κρίνεις τὸν ἕτερον, σεαυτὸν κατακρίνεις, τὰ γὰρ αὐτὰ πράσσεις ὁ κρίνων. 2οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι τὸ κρίμα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν κατὰ ἀλήθειαν ἐπὶ τοὺς τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντας. 3λογίζῃ δὲ τοῦτο, ὦ ἄνθρωπε ὁ κρίνων τοὺς τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντας καὶ ποιῶν αὐτά, ὅτι σὺ ἐκφεύξῃ τὸ κρίμα τοῦ θεοῦ; 4ἢ τοῦ πλούτου τῆς χρηστότητος αὐτοῦ καὶ τῆς ἀνοχῆς καὶ τῆς μακροθυμίας καταφρονεῖς, ἀγνοῶν ὅτι τὸ χρηστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰς μετάνοιάν σε ἄγει; 5κατὰ δὲ τὴν σκληρότητά σου καὶ ἀμετανόητον καρδίαν θησαυρίζεις σεαυτῷ ὀργὴν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ὀργῆς καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως δικαιοκρισίας τοῦ θεοῦ 6ὃς
ROMANS 2: 7-16
Whoever you are, you leave yourself with no defence as a judge, if you do the very same things for which you are condemning others. For we know that God’s judgement is shrewdly made on those who do such things. Do you imagine if you stand in judgement over people who do such and such while doing it yourself, that you’ll escape the judgement of God? Or are you presuming on the abundant goodness, forbearance and longsuffering of God, ignoring the fact that God’s goodness is meant to drive you to a change of mind? With your hard and unrepentant heart you are piling up anger for yourself on the day of anger when God’s just judgements will be openly displayed. For God will reward each one according to his actions.
7τοῖς μὲν καθ’ ὑπομονὴν ἔργου ἀγαθοῦ δόξαν καὶ τιμὴν καὶ ἀφθαρσίαν ζητοῦσιν ζωὴν αἰώνιον, 8τοῖς δὲ ἐξ ἐριθείας καὶ ἀπειθοῦσιν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ πειθομένοις δὲ τῇ ἀδικίᾳ ὀργὴ καὶ θυμός. 9θλῖψις καὶ στενοχωρία ἐπὶ πᾶσαν ψυχὴν ἀνθρώπου τοῦ κατεργαζομένου τὸ κακόν, Ἰουδαίου τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνος· 10δόξα δὲ καὶ τιμὴ καὶ εἰρήνη παντὶ τῷ ἐργαζομένῳ τὸ ἀγαθόν, Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι· 11οὐ γάρ ἐστιν προσωπολημψία παρὰ τῷ θεῷ.
Whoever seeks glory and honour by the discipline of good deeds will get eternal life; whoever serves injustice through strife and refusal of truth, will get passionate anger. There will be sharp pain and distress for every human soul that produces evil, Jews first and Greeks after; honour and peace on every one that labours for the good, Jews first and Greeks after, for God has no favourite faces.
12Ὅσοι γὰρ ἀνόμως ἥμαρτον, ἀνόμως καὶ ἀπολοῦνται, καὶ ὅσοι ἐν νόμῳ ἥμαρτον, διὰ νόμου κριθήσονται· 13οὐ γὰρ οἱ ἀκροαταὶ νόμου δίκαιοι παρὰ [τῷ] θεῷ, ἀλλ’ οἱ ποιηταὶ νόμου δικαιωθήσονται. 14ὅταν γὰρ ἔθνη τὰ μὴ νόμον ἔχοντα φύσει τὰ τοῦ νόμου ποιῶσιν, οὗτοι νόμον μὴ ἔχοντες ἑαυτοῖς εἰσιν νόμος· 15οἵτινες ἐνδείκνυνται τὸ ἔργον τοῦ νόμου γραπτὸν ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν, συμμαρτυρούσης αὐτῶν τῆς συνειδήσεως καὶ μεταξὺ ἀλλήλων τῶν λογισμῶν κατηγορούντων ἢ καὶ ἀπολογουμένων, 16ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ὅτε κρίνει ὁ θεὸς τὰ κρυπτὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου διὰ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ.
People who sin outside the Jewish Law will be destroyed outside the Law; while people who sin within the Law will be condemned by the Law; for it is not those who hear the Law who are recognised as just before God, but those who do the Law who will be justified. When people who do not have the Law naturally do lawful actions, they are a Law for themselves, although they do not have the Law. They show that the actions of the Law are written on their hearts, as their conscience confirms; with their vacillating thoughts either denouncing or defending them , on the day, when according to my Joyful News of Messiah Jesus, God will judge the secrets of men and women.
I’ve let the Greek remain today- I usually erase it- so that those who can read Greek can check my translation, and those who can’t will see that God didn’t write in English.
This passage continues Paul’s attack on the sinfulness of human beings, in this case, on the hypocrisy involved in condemnatory judgements on others. He reminds his audience of the ease with which people condemn in others the faults they do not notice in themselves. And he warns those who believe in a forgiving God that they shouldn’t push their luck, like Napoleon or some other French hero, who said,”God will forgive, c’est son metier.” ( it’s his trade). At this point Paul introduces an eschatological threat: the day of God’s great judgement on the world. This belief was part of Paul’s pharisaic tradition, sharpened by the Christian message which imagined the imminent return of Jesus, in whose name God’s judgement would be pronounced. This faith in the imminence of judgement is a feature of early Christianity, which was progressively lost as Christianity became part of the establishment of the Roman state.
Paul writes generously of the Gentiles who “do the actions of the Law”; but we have to ask,”of what Law?” for the Jewish Torah required circumcision and many other ritual customs that Paul explicitly rejected. So we have to conclude that Paul has a definition of the Law that ignores its ritual elements, which clearly command customs that Paul’s Gentiles did not observe. Doubtless Paul means that some Gentiles act ethically in ways that are similar to the Law. This notion of Law in Paul is not often noticed. The “discipline of good deeds” is Paul’s definition of this universal Law, by which all people can be judged.
Paul imagines that this Law is internalised by some Gentiles so that it becomes the conscientious criterion of their behaviour, which is in turn affirmed by God’s judgement. Any analysis of Paul’s view of the Law needs to take account of this special development of Paul’s thinking.