JUDGEMENT AND SELF-SEEKING
Romans and James tells us how idolatry has devastating practical effects. Romans 2:1–2:8 gives the main symptoms of idolatry: judgment and self-seeking. Romans 2:2 tells us that we all pass judgment; we are not to judge. In other words, we attempt to take spiritual authority over one another! Romans 2:8 describes “self-seeking” (Greek word eritheia), which describes how we do things out of selfish interest such that we foment chaos. (Rom 2:6-9) tells us that
self-seekers reject truth and follow evil. Four things await self-seekers: wrath, anger, trouble & distress. Romans 1:20–25 gives us a crucial link between idolatry, beliefs and actions, which we summarize here: God's eternal power and divine nature are obvious; men have no excuse.
OUR ACTIONS COME FROM OUR BELIEFS
We don’t recognize Him as supreme despite the obvious evidence (read: we are out of His authority!) Thus, our thinking (belief) has become futile; our foolish hearts have become dark (belief) and we worship idols (belief). Therefore, we: bought into the lie (belief); we worship idols (belief); we revel in sinful desires (belief); and we are turned over to depraved minds (belief). The result: we do perverse things (actions).
(Rom 1:29-32):”…they have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, god-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Therefore, we have no excuse: (Rom 2:1-3).
The passage goes on to describe that we also see the destructive actions of judgment – something we all do, yet, we are not empowered to do so. Judgment – the taking of spiritual authority over others – is only allowed by God and those who He chooses!
James expresses the same sentiment: (James 3:13-16; 4:1-4).
“…But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts…For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…”
WE ARE NOT TO JUDGE!
Is it any surprise to find out that self-seeking and selfish ambition come from the same greek word: eritheia? Indeed what are the results of eritheia? Disorder & every evil practice! We have more examples of eritheia: (2 Cor 12:20) “... I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.” In addition, there is (Gal 5:19-20). “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions.” James also addresses the topic of judgment:
(James 4:11-12) “…Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?”
The emphasis is clear: we are not to judge! Taking on spiritual authority that is not yours leads only to eritheia!
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Mr. Marica contributes incisive and contemporary Christian commentary for Examiner.com on a regular basis. He holds an MA from Liberty University, and he is the Director of Godly Training Ministries. You can find out more about him by clicking here. You can contact Mr. Marica at email@example.com.
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