I don’t know how many of you felt fairly comfortable reading Romans 1 last week, but at times I confess I did. I’d like to think I don’t suppress the truth and worship idols; I’d like to think that nasty list of vices and sins is not my own biography. Well, if we felt good we were missing the point: finger pointing at sinners stops at Romans 2:1:
Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.
The moralists of Paul’s day and our day are under the same indictment: Paul goes at them in diatribe style with “You have no excuse” either. Judges and the judged are all brought before God’s tribunal, and that tribunal is the gospel of Jesus Christ the Lord.
Paul does not narrow sin, as so many did and still do, to vices and to external behaviors. By the time we get to chp 3 in this letter it will be clear that for Paul everyone is a sinner and it is time now to stop judging the other as if we are not sinners. Everyone Paul will say in 3:23 is sinful and falls short of the (eikonic) glory of God (seen in the face of Jesus Christ).
Everyone: that is the point of Paul’s gospel of the power of salvation — everyone is a sinner, everyone needs Jesus Christ, everyone who believes in Christ finds that salvation.