After talking about the unrighteous in Romans One, Paul then turns his attention to the self-righteous in Chapters Two and Three. While there is no doubt that the unrighteous are separated from God, the shocking news is that so are the self-righteous.
Paul’s comments are directed at the Jews who thought that because they had the Law of God they could look down their noses at those nasty Gentile sinners. “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse!” Yes, they had the Law of God but the Law pointed to Jesus as its fulfillment and they had rejected Him.
It is interesting to observe, that in the course of Jesus’ ministry, His most scathing and pointed comments were reserved for the self-righteous and the religious. He did not ignore the sins of the unrighteous. He said things to them like, “Go and sin no more.” In the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, however, it was the tax collector, the sinner, who found peace with God. Because the tax collector humbled himself before God and confessed his sin, he found the peace that he was searching for.
The falicy of the self-righteous is that like the Pharisee in the parable, they compare themselves to other people. “I’m not as bad as that person,” or “I’m a better person than my rotten neighbor.” While these may very well be valid comparisons, that is not the scale that God uses. His standard is Jesus. None of us have a chance of meeting that standard. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” If that is the case, then what chance do any of us have of finding peace with God?
To be continued…