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Romans  ◦   Chapter 2

1If, therefore, you make judgments about others, you have no excuse for your failure to experience transformation of heart and mind. For whenever you judge another, you are revealing your own sickness of heart–you are revealing that selfishness, unforgiveness, unkindness and hard-heartedness still live in you — and unless you experience a change, your condition remains terminal.2Now, we know that when God diagnoses someone as sick, infected with selfishness and dying, his diagnosis is based on the actual condition of the heart and mind of the individual being diagnosed.3So when you — a mere human who sees only the outward appearance — pass judgment on others, condemning them to ruin and eternal loss, you only reveal the lack of love and the persistence of an infected, selfish heart within you. If you remain like this, do you think you will somehow evade God's diagnosis of your fatal state?4Or do you purposely disdain the abundance of God's gentle, kind, patient bedside-manner, completely oblivious to the fact that it is God's tolerant, kind and gentle character that wins us back to trust and leads us to leave our destructive ways behind?

5But because of your refusal to change, and your persistence in practicing selfish and destructive methods, you are solidifying your minds in opposition to God. If you continue in this way, you will destroy the very capacity to recognize and respond to truth, and God will ultimately let you go to reap the consequences of your own self-destructive choice. This will occur when the condition of each person’s heart and mind is revealed.6Every person will receive from God what they have chosen for themselves.7Those who have valued God and his methods and have persisted in doing good, and who have sought to be more like Jesus in character and to honor God with their lives will be fully healed and receive eternal life.8But those who reject truth and love, and seek only self-gratification and self-interest, who have allowed themselves to be controlled by evil desires — develop a character like Satan's, and God gives them up to their own persistent rebellious choice.9All who persist in evil will have troubled lives: their minds will be distressed, their relationships tormented, and they will not experience peace–first for the Jew whom God first called to assist in spreading the healing Remedy, then for the Gentile most recently called to assist in spreading the healing Remedy.10But there will be complete transformation to Christlikeness of character and honor and peace for everyone who accepts God's healing truth and practices God's methods of goodness and love–first for the Jew, and then for the Gentile.11For God loves all humankind, and all humankind has the exact same healing Remedy offered freely, for God does not show any favoritism.

12All who practice selfish methods and behaviors without knowing about God’s principles of love and freedom still experience the damage that occurs when such methods are practiced, and will perish; and all who know about God’s law of love and liberty but choose to persist in selfishness will be diagnosed as incurable and shown to be out of harmony with the principles life is based upon.13For it is not those who hear about love, truth and freedom that are healthy and right in God's sight; but it is those who internalize in their hearts and minds the principles of love, truth and freedom — and have characters transformed to be like Jesus — that are diagnosed as righteous.14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who have not heard the truth about God's character, methods and principles as revealed in Scripture, internalize in their characters God's methods of love, truth and freedom–which they have understood from God's revelation in nature–they are in harmony with God and his great law of love, even though they have not had the benefit of Scripture,15since their lives reveal that the infection of selfishness has been removed and love has been written in their hearts, their consciences are cleansed and in harmony with God, and their thoughts are able to discern the right from the wrong–the healthy from the unhealthy.)16This revelation of the effect of God's healing plan (and the disclosure of who has accepted it and who hasn't) will occur when God compares a person's inmost, secret self with the character of Jesus–as my healing message declares.

17Now, I'm writing to those of you who call themselves Jews and claim to have some special privilege as Abraham's descendants: If you rely on keeping the rules and work on behavioral conformity and brag about your special connection to God;18if you know God's methods and agree with his plan to heal and restore because you have studied the Scriptures;19if you are confident that you are enlightened with truth and able to lead those who are blind or in the darkness of Satan's lies;20if you believe you have been enabled to instruct the ignorant and teach the immature because you have the laws of Moses–the basic framework of knowledge and truth;21you, then, who set yourselves up to teach others, why don't you teach yourselves? Why don't you do what you teach? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? Why don't you practice what you preach?22You who criticize homosexuals and pornographers, why do you visit prostitutes? Why do you divorce your spouse without reason? You who abhor idols and criticize the infidel, why do you advocate the same methods of coercion and force?23You who brag about the temple and its service, why do you misrepresent God by failing to practice his methods of love and thus defile the Spirit's temple?24It is true what has been written about you: "God's character is misrepresented and distorted among the Gentiles because of you."

25Circumcision has value as a symbol of the transformation of heart (experienced by those who practice God's law of love and liberty), but if you violate God's law of love and practice Satan's methods of selfishness–the symbol of circumcision has no meaning or purpose.26Those who have not been circumcised in their body but have been changed in their heart, and as such, practice God's methods of love–have they not already experienced what circumcision represents and thus will be considered circumcised?27The life of those who have not been circumcised physically but have been transformed within to be like Jesus will reveal that you, who have had the benefit of the written code yet have failed to be transformed within, are without excuse.

28One is a Jew not because one is descended from Abraham or has been circumcised in his body, or dresses like a Jew.29No! A real, genuine Jew is a person who is like Abraham in character, and has been changed within to value truth and practice God's methods; and so circumcision is cutting away the heart's attachments to worldly things and establishing attachments to godly things. This is accomplished by the Spirit of Truth working in the mind, and not by rules performed for outward show. Such a person's life is evidence that God's healing principles work. Such a person receives appreciation from God–not from humans.