After the Pharisees condemned Jesus for healing a blind man on the Sabbath, He told them, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some who heard Him say this replied, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus answered, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (John 9:39–41).
No sinner is as hard to reach as a moral sinner. That is the kind of person Paul has in mind in today’s passage. In particular, he takes aim at the pious Jew who believed that it was possible to become righteous by faithfully keeping the Old Testament law. They would have rightly condemned the kinds of behavior Paul described in the previous chapter. Their mistake was that they did not think that, because they obeyed the letter of the law, they were candidates for God’s judgment. When they passed judgment on others, they condemned themselves (v. 1). The solution was not to ignore sin but to acknowledge the truth about themselves.
It is not just hypocrisy that Paul condemns in these verses but also the unrealistic view they have of themselves. They were right to agree with God’s standard. They were wrong to think they had met it. Those who possessed God’s law were not any more successful in their attempts to keep it than the Gentiles who dismissed God’s moral standard.
>> The apostle describes the stark outcome in verse 12: “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.” Paul’s point is clear. Those who sin without the law will perish. Those who have the law will be judged by it and prove that they have fallen short of its standard.