OK, back to Romans. Today will be: Romans 2:1-11.
One of the things I've really noticed in reading Romans again is that it's dangerous to isolate passages. Paul's reasoning is so circular (addressing a certain topic and then re-approaching it from a different/contrasting angle) that it becomes really important to make sure that we grasp the bigger context of the letter before drawing conclusions from a specific passage. Because of this, Romans is really easy to "proof-text."
It is because of this greater context that I think we need to make sure that when we read these verses at the beginning of Romans 2 that we see ourselves as being the ones addressed. I think there is the temptation to read the end of chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2 as addressing other people. In contrast, I think the full context of Romans tells us that God's judgement falls on all people; these passages are talking about me.
The problem is that, in at least some sense, we are all hypocrites. Of course, this theme is developed further in chapter 7 but I think we see the beginnings of this thought process here in verses 6-8. Unfortunately, I see both vs. 7 and vs. 8 at work in my life. I strive to "...by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality..." but all too often it is vs. 8's "self-seeking" that is lived out in my life.
So in this passage Paul continues to lay the foundations for his letter: there is not a single person upon whom judgement does not fall. (it's not until later on in chapter 3 that Paul really starts talking about the solution to this predicament)
This brings to my mind our tendency as North American Evangelicals to dwell so much on forgiveness and freedom that we lose the sense of the enormity of our failure to live as true, image-bearing humans. Our (ie. my) inability to live holy lives is nothing less than catastrophic.
I think that this is something many of us need to spend a bit more time meditating on... I know it might not be "fun" to dwell on such thoughts, but that's not the point is it?
I'm not sure how to segue that into something to spark comments so I suppose I'll just leave it there! I guess maybe the upside to this post is we're not alone; we're all in the same boat (vs. 11)!