God judges all people in a right way
1 So I say this to each one of you: ‘Do not judge other people.’ If you decide that someone else has done a bad thing, remember that you also do the same bad things. You are really saying that God should punish you also! When you judge someone, God will not punish them and then forgive you. 2 When God judges people, he does it in a way that is right and fair. He punishes people who do those kind of bad things.
3 I ask each of you again: ‘Do you speak against people who do bad things, but you do those same bad things yourself?’ Then God will certainly punish you and you will not go free. 4 Remember that God is very kind and patient with us. He waits a long time before he punishes us. Do you not think that that is important? You should understand that God is giving you a chance to change. He waits patiently, so that you may turn away from wrong things.
5 But you refuse to change the way that you live. You are not sorry about the wrong things that you have done. As a result, you cause God to become even angrier with you. So, he will punish you even more on the day when he will judge everyone. On that day, he will show how angry he is against people who do bad things. Everyone will know that he judges people in a right way. 6 He will give to each person what they ought to have because of the things that they have done. 7 Some people continue patiently to do good things. They want to do what is right so that God will praise them. They want to live the kind of life which death will not spoil. God will cause people like that to live with him always. 8 But other people think only about themselves. They refuse to obey God's true message. Instead, they continue to do things that are wrong. God will be very angry with people like that and he will punish them. 9 God will punish everyone who does bad things. He will do that first to the Jews, and he will do it also to the Gentiles. There will be much trouble and pain for every person who does bad things. 10 But God will praise every person who does good things. He will make them great and they will have peace in their minds. He will do that first for the Jews, and he will do it also for the Gentiles. 11 God is always fair when he judges people, whoever they are.
12 The Gentiles do not have God's Laws that he gave to Moses. If Gentiles do wrong things, God will punish them. But he will not use Moses' Laws when he judges the Gentiles. But the Jews do have Moses' Laws. So, if Jews do wrong things, God will use those Laws to judge them. The Law will show that they have done wrong things. 13 Who does God accept as right with himself? It is those people who obey his Laws. It is not the people who only know his Laws but do not obey them.
2:13Exodus 19-31 describes the time when God gave his Laws to Moses.
14 The Gentiles do not have God's Laws. But they may still do the right things that those Laws say. They do right things because of what they themselves think is right. In that way they are showing that they have a certain law in their minds, even though they do not know Moses' Laws. 15 Those people show that they know what is right. It is like God has written his Laws deep inside them. Their thoughts tell them the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Sometimes their thoughts say: ‘You did something that is wrong.’ And sometimes their thoughts say: ‘You did what is right.’
16 That is the message that I tell people. God knows everything that people think secretly. One day he will judge everyone. He has given Jesus Christ the authority to do that.
The Jews and God's Law
17 Do you say that you are a Jew? Maybe you know the Laws that God gave to Moses. You think that those Laws will help you. You are proud that you belong to God. 18 You know what God wants people to do. His Law teaches you what is good and right. 19 You are sure that you yourself can teach other people about God. You think that you can be like a guide to blind people. You think that you can be like a light to people who are in the dark. 20 You are sure that you can teach fools and people who do not know very much. You know that God's Law tells you everything about what is true. Because it helps you to know so much, you think that you can be a great teacher!
21 So, you teach other people, do you? But do you teach yourself? You tell other people, ‘Do not rob anyone.’ But maybe you yourself rob other people. 22 You say, ‘People must not have sex with anyone who is not their wife or their husband.’ But maybe you yourself have sex in a wrong way. You say that you hate idols. But do you rob places where people worship idols? 23 You are proud that you know God's Laws. But you do not obey those Laws. As a result, you cause other people to speak against God. 24 This is written in the Bible:
‘Because of you Jews, the Gentiles say bad things against God.’
25 As a Jewish man, you are proud that someone has circumcised you. That is a help to you, if you obey God's Laws in your life. But if you do not obey God's Laws, then it is worth nothing. You have become like a Gentile that nobody has ever circumcised. 26 But a Gentile may obey what God's Laws say. Then he has shown that he belongs to God even though nobody has circumcised him.
2:26They circumcised Jewish boys to show that they belonged to God's special people. See Genesis 17:10-14.
27 In that way, even Gentiles will show that you who are Jews are wrong. God's Law was written to help you Jews. They circumcised you to show that you belong to God. But if you refuse to obey God's Laws, then God will punish you. The Gentiles who do obey God's Laws will show that God is right to punish you. 28 Not everyone who seems to be a Jew is really a Jew who belongs to God. God does not accept a man just because someone has circumcised that man's body. 29 No! A true Jew is someone who belongs to God in his spirit. He belongs to God because God's Spirit has changed his life. It is like God has circumcised him in his spirit, not in his body. The rules in God's Law cannot do that work in a person. Other people may not praise a person like that, but God will praise him.