Inspired by Romans 2:12-16
“All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” Romans 2:12-13 (NRSV)
We want to live in a world in which our societies and their laws support and uphold our obedience to God’s commandments. Unfortunately, that’s not the way the world is. Not everyone recognizes God’s commandments as authoritative for their lives, so many of our laws permit practices that are contrary to what we believe. They don’t mandate them, meaning we are free to continue obeying God’s law without violating the law of the land, but they don’t prevent others from disobeying the Lord, either.
In response to this, many faithful Christians condemn the law of the land, as well as anyone who engages in those things that the law of the land allows, but that God’s law forbids. But even when we’re motivated by an earnest desire for all to know God and experience his grace, we still put ourselves in the role of judge. We brush off the fact that we all sin and are need of God’s mercy, and justify our own shortcomings by hiding behind the name ‘Christian.’ Our behavior suggests that we consider ourselves righteous because we know the law, regardless of our ability (or lack thereof) to keep the law.
Knowing the will of the Lord is not enough; we are called to submit to him in every aspect of our lives. That includes not judging others for their sinful behavior, and instead treating them with the love, mercy, respect, and grace that Christ showed us when we crucified him for our sins.
God in Christ gave everything that we may be saved; such a gift cannot be codified in law, but shared by living in love, as Christ loved us.
Let us pray. Merciful God, you gave your law as a gift and a promise. Help us to obey your word in humility, that others may see your grace reflected in our lives. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.