There’s no excuse for anyone who passes judgment on other people.
Look, whatever fault you criticize in another person is sure to be one which you’ve committed yourself. And we all know that God, who’s absolutely fair, will judge everyone who commits an offence. Well, when you judge others, how do you think you’re going to escape his judgment when you do the same thing? Aren’t you showing contempt for God’s kindness, and his tolerance and patience? And don’t you see that his kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
However, if you remain stubbornly unrepentant, you’re storing up for yourself a terrible retribution on the day of God’s judgment, when his absolute fairness will be revealed. God will repay everyone according to exactly what they’ve done. To those who seek glory, honour and immortality by doing what’s right, he’ll grant eternal life. But those who live only for themselves – rejecting the truth and following evil – there’ll be nothing but wrath and anger. Trouble and distress await all who do evil – for the Jew first, and then for the Gentile. But there’ll be glory, honour and peace for all who do good – for the Jew first, and then for the Gentile. Because God doesn’t show any favouritism.
All who sin without the law will perish without the law. And all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. It’s not those who’ve heard the law who are right in God’s eyes, but only those who keep the law. In fact, if Gentiles, who’ve never heard God’s law, do by instinct what the law requires, they’re a law unto themselves, even though they’re without the law. They show that the law’s requirements are written upon their hearts, and their consciences bear witness to this – with their thoughts sometimes accusing them, and at other times excusing them. And all this will take place on that day when God judges everyone’s secrets by Jesus Christ – as declared in the gospel which I preach.
If you call yourself a Jew, if you’re relying on the law and boasting in God, if you know what he wants, if you know what’s right because you’ve been instructed in the law, if you think you’re a guide for the blind and a light in the darkness, if you think you’re an instructor of the ignorant and a teacher of little because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – then, having taught others, why don’t you teach yourself? You preach against theft, but don’t you steal? You tell people not to commit adultery, but don’t you commit adultery? You hate idols, but don’t you rob temples? You boast about the law, but don’t you dishonour God by breaking it? As it’s written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
Circumcision only has value only if you keep the law. If you break the law, you’ve become as if you’ve never been circumcised. But if those who haven’t been circumcised obey the law’s requirements, won’t they be regarded if they had been circumcised? In fact, he who hasn’t been circumcised will condemn you Jews who have been circumcised and possess the law – but don’t obey it!
A man isn’t a Jew because he’s one outwardly, and circumcision isn’t merely an outward and physical act. No, a man is a Jew who’s one inwardly, and his circumcision is a circumcision of the heart, performed by the Holy Spirit. And such a man’s praise doesn’t come from other people, but from God.