God Judges Fairly
1If you judge someone else, you have no excuse for it. When you judge another person, you are judging yourself. You do the same things you blame others for doing.
2We know that when God judges those who do evil things, he judges fairly. 3Though you are only a human being, you judge others. But you yourself do the same things. So how do you think you will escape when God judges you?
4Do you make fun of God's great kindness and favor? Do you make fun of God when he is patient with you? Don't you realize that God's kindness is meant to turn you away from your sins?
5But you are stubborn. In your heart you are not sorry for your sins. You are storing up anger against yourself. The day of God's anger is coming. Then his way of judging fairly will be shown. 6God "will give to each person in keeping with what he has done." (Psalm 62:12; Proverbs 24:12)
7God will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good. They want glory, honor, and life that never ends. 8But there are others who only look out for themselves. They don't accept the truth. They go down an evil path. God will pour out his burning anger on them. 9There will be trouble and suffering for everyone who does evil. That is meant first for the Jews. It is also meant for the non-Jews. 10But there will be glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good. That is meant first for the Jews. It is also meant for the non-Jews. 11God treats everyone the same.
12Some people do not know God's law when they sin. They will not be judged by the law when they die. Others do know God's law when they sin. They will be judged by the law. 13Hearing the law does not make a person right with God. People are considered to be right with God only when they obey the law.
14Those who aren't Jews do not have the law. Sometimes they just naturally do what the law requires. They are a law for themselves. This is true even though they don't have the law. 15They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts. The way their minds judge them gives witness to that fact. Sometimes their thoughts find them guilty. At other times their thoughts find them not guilty.
16People will be judged on the day God appoints Jesus Christ to judge their secret thoughts. That's part of my good news.
The Jews and the Law
17Suppose you call yourself a Jew. You trust in the law. You brag that you are close to God. 18You know what God wants. You agree with what is best because the law teaches you. 19You are sure you can lead people who are blind. You are sure you are a light for those who are in the dark. 20You claim to be able to teach foolish people. You can even teach babies. You think that in the law you have all knowledge and truth.
21You teach others. But you don't teach yourself! You preach against stealing. But you steal! 22You say that people should not commit adultery. But you commit adultery! You hate statues of gods. But you rob temples! 23You brag about the law. But when you break it, you rob God of his honor! 24It is written, "Those who aren't Jews say evil things against God's name because of you." (Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 36:22)
25Circumcision has value if you obey the law. But if you break the law, it is just as if you hadn't been circumcised.
26Sometimes those who aren't circumcised do what the law requires. Won't God accept them as if they had been circumcised? 27Many are not circumcised physically, but they obey the law. They will prove that you are guilty. You are breaking the law, even though you have the written law and are circumcised.
28A man is not a Jew if he is a Jew only on the outside. And circumcision is more than just something done to the outside of a man's body.
29No, a man is a Jew only if he is a Jew on the inside. And true circumcision means that the heart has been circumcised. It is done by the Holy Spirit. It is more than just obeying the written Law. Then a man's praise will not come from others. It will come from God.