January 23, 2018


Romans 2:1–3

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God's Righteous Judgment

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?

In Context:

1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.


Bio | Meredith Knighton

Howdy! I'm Meredith, and I have been married to my hubby Ben for three and-a-half years. We met at Texas A&M (WHOOP!) and started coming to Watermark after graduating four years ago. We have loved being a part of the Plano campus since it opened.

We are both middle school teachers and coaches (yes, we actually chose to work with angsty and awkward middle schoolers), and we extend our love for students by serving at Shoreline, Watermark's high school student ministry. There is such joy in walking alongside teenagers as they take ownership of their relationships with Christ!

Central Truth

Whether you see yourself as the dirtiest of sinners or the purest of believers, you're wrong. God's righteousness is our standard, and we ALL fall equally and devastatingly short of it.

Devotional | Romans 2:1–3

I vividly remember the night when I accepted Christ as my Savior. Although at age 6, I did understand what it meant to accept Jesus, it took me many years afterward to fully understand the personal depravity from...

I vividly remember the night when I accepted Christ as my Savior. Although at age 6, I did understand what it meant to accept Jesus, it took me many years afterward to fully understand the personal depravity from which I had been saved.

In Romans 1, Paul describes some of the ways that the Gentiles have forsaken God. He references sins such as sexual immorality, murder, and even inventors of evil. Then, in chapter 2, he interjects a message aimed toward those of us who have ever thought, "Well, at least I'm not as bad as those guys!" The mindset that Paul is addressing here is the very one that I carried for next 15 years of my life. I saw myself as superior to others because I didn't party, smoke, cuss, etc. The problem with my mentality? I was blind to the truth about my sin, feeling like I had somehow attained a special righteousness all my own.

James 2:10 tells us that "whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it." Did those last three words register with you? All. Of. It. Murderers are guilty of sin. The sexually immoral are guilty of sin. Thieves, liars, cheaters—all guilty of sin. And so am I.

It's like this—there are no different levels of death, right? When our time comes, no matter how we get there, we all will just . . . die. In the same way, all sinners are equally "dead in the trespasses and sins . . . . But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved." (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5)

There came a time when the Lord graciously dropped a truth bomb in my face to reveal my depravity, and I'm so thankful that He did. Praise Jesus that He is faithful in that way, and that by His grace, a wretch like me can be made ALIVE in Him!

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Discussion Questions

  1. Can you think of a time when you looked down on someone else or thought to yourself "at least I am not as bad as that person"? Take time to confess that to the Lord.

  2. Satan tempts some of us to believe that we are "too far gone" and tempts others to believe that we are successful in doing good with no need for repentance. Do either of these temptations strike a chord with you? Whom do you have in your life to remind you of Truth in these moments?

  3. One of the most troubling things about self-righteousness is that it gives others a wrong view of Christianity and the Church. I cringe when I consider how many times I may have pushed people away from Christ as a result of my judgment. Colossians 4:5 tells us: "Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time." How are you doing in drawing others toward Christ? How do you treat those who may not yet have the Holy Spirit guiding their lives?

31 Comments available

William Breazeale 10 months ago

No different levels of sin like there are no different levels of death. There is one level: SIN. There is one punishment: DEATH. Amen to that! Praise God their is one savior: JESUS! God, forgive our wretchedness! Have mercy on our wayward souls!

Kristi Lichtenberg 11 months ago

Meredith!! You & Taryn were in my Sunday School class for 3 years when you were little!! What a huge JOY to see you loving, serving, and leading!!

Todd Wagner 11 months ago

Proud to be representing the grace of God with you Meredith. “There are no different levels of death”. Amen sister.

Todd Wagner 11 months ago

Proud to be celebrating and sharing the grace of God with you Meredith. “There are no different levels of death”

Andi Guevara 11 months ago

Going through ReGen has shed light on how self righteous I have been. I used to think I’m not as bad as so and so or at least I didn’t do this or that. Not realizing that by acting self righteous I actually minimized what Jesus did on the cross for me and my “little sins”(wrongly thought) Comparing sins attempts to make our standards God’s standards. God is holy, we are not therefore our standards could never measure up to God’s.

shazia wali 11 months ago

we do sin everyday,we all are sinners,sinners are saved by his grace through faith!

Alma Barber 11 months ago

So thankful for God’s saving grace- for all. Lord, help us to see ourselves and others as you see us. Equally valuable and significant-because of the price Jesus paid on the cross. And NOTHING else. May we be extravagant with our Grace, as you are with us. And may we be mindful that the same grace we withhold from someone today, may be the very grace we need tomorrow.

James Rener 11 months ago

Thank you Meredith for today’s Devo.

Alma Barber 11 months ago

There was a time, when I was prone to think, that if my marriage sucked -or pretty much any other relationship I had- whoever was on the other end of the relationship, was the problem. Then one day, I sensed the Holy Spirit saying to me “maybe THEY…aren’t the problem” as I looked to each side of me, I said… “then who is!?” We are so good at identifying the sin in others, and/or minimizing our own sin. We qualify sin as big or little sin. The one who tells little white lies, is as much a sinner as a murderer.The only difference is, we sin differently. But the same blood that Jesus shed for the murderers and molesters, is the same blood he shed for the honest, hard-working solid citizens. And we are all in need of His saving grace. Lord, help us remember Colossians 3:12-17

Georgia Littlejohn 11 months ago

“Too far gone” wow what a statement. Many would of said that about my son 2+ years ago. I never gave up. I prayed a lot and in my heart I knew he would survive. Then my 22/23 yr old son was addicted to meth and herion, over dosed twice, totaled several vehicles but never truly hurt and so much more. He was saved by the grace of God. I have always said one day he will tell his story because God was always by his side. I continue to invite him to church and love him unconditionally. He is CLEAN!! He is in automotive school. Satan tempted him and lost!!! TY for today’s lesson. A lot to think about and a lot to be thankful for.

greg jones 11 months ago

Meredith, great devotional, and I love people with superpowers, like teaching middle schoolers. Your three questions are questions I want to struggle with. I feel if I’m not struggling with those types of questions then I’m probably living out the wrong answers to those questions. Without the struggle of those questions I develop thoughts that can be described this way. I’m saved from someone else’s depravity, but I’m lost in my own self righteousness. I try to see myself as saved for something rather than saved from something, that helps me remember that, my answers, to your questions, are never permanent.

Jennifer Borgne 11 months ago

Wow! Today’s read was (again) quite powerful. I definitely struggle with self righteousness. The very first query has me answering: I do this DAILY! On the roadway, my attitude reveals a superiority in action when I see others around me being selfish and cutting each other off, or not allowing adequate following distance. I see evidence of an attitude that says I’m better than they are…because I don’t do that. As if this gives me a pass to be selfish elsewhere. Hopes comment about the two critical thinking errors are excellent as well. Really ouches today. My prayer is that He would begin showing me every time I do this, so I can practice owning it. Lord, let the time between Your revelation of truth and my owning of my sin grow ever smaller! Amen

Lisa Olsen 11 months ago

Thank you, Meredith! “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 (ESV) We are quick to judge and yet defensive when someone mentions our own shortcomings and struggles. I believe it is one of those areas in life that while there may be growth in as we mature in our faith, it will remain a constant struggle on this side of Heaven.

Autumn VerHoef 11 months ago

Howdy Meredith! Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of '13 here! Luke 18:9-14 reads: To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Robert McMillen 11 months ago

The Central Truth is awesome, today!

Todd Shaddock 11 months ago

Great write up! You should write Devos professionally! Thank you so much for your humble transparency as well.

Matt Baker 11 months ago

Thank you so much for writing this deep truth in such a simple way - it is a blessing to those families who do JTJ with their elementary kids!

Rita Satagaj 11 months ago

Thank you Meredith for speaking such truth this morning. I love the wording of your central truth. Romans 3:23 tells us for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. This verse does not say some, it says ALL. I had a friend who said she’d done “too much bad stuff.” I remembered something JP had once said while preaching; “That’s like saying Jesus didn’t do enough when he gave his life on the cross for you and I.” Light bulb moment for her! Ephesians 2:8-9 is absolutely one of my favs!

Robert Owens 11 months ago

An impressive devotional. By what you write i think that the students at the school are in good hands. I remember how my teachers and coaches influenced my life in a positive way. Especially my football coaches. God enables you for the tasks he presents. Enjoy the students. Robert Owens, Mason, Texas

Trey Collins 11 months ago

Great devo Meredith! The bad news is that every sin is punishable by death, the good news though is that one death covered the penalty of every sin. That’s why there should be no one boasting at the cross, nor should any Christian walk with a limp but rather we all gather together equally saved by grace. Praying for you this morning Meredith!

William Daly 11 months ago

What a classic illustration to bring to light the fact that we are all level at the foot of the cross - “It’s like this—there are no different levels of death, right? When our time comes, no matter how we get there, we all will just . . . die.” Bam - drop the mike! Thanks for your witness Meredith.

William Daly 11 months ago

It’s like this—there are no different levels of death, right? When our time comes, no matter how we get there, we all will just . . . die.

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

The most God can ask is conformity to His own standards. The least God can ask is conformity to your own standards you expect of others. Either way, all miss the mark.

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Even the man after God’s own heart, David, showed he had remarkable clarity judging a hypothetical situation than coming to grips with his own depravity. He even spelled out his own judgement. 2 Sam 12 5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” 7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man!

Christopher Hyland 11 months ago

Good morning JTJ and thank you Meredith. I have been all over that spectrum. Stuck in dead religion trying to work my way to God and trying to look the part at the same time full of guilt because my heart was condemning me. Thank God He rescued me from all of that. Now if by the grace of God I can only help my little boy avoid some of those pitfalls.

Michael Spain 11 months ago

Good morning, Meredith. What a sweet surprise to see your smiling face this morning on JTJ. Thank you for the inspired devotional thoughts and your service to all those kids!

Ronnie Oldfield 11 months ago

Thanks for a great start to my day Meredith. Bumping heads with other elected officials (many who profess Christ) can leave me frustrated. My Community Group consistently remind me to pray for them and let the Holy Spirit soften their hearts. Thank you for reminding me I just need to work on myself - which is a full time job!!!

Lindsey Driscoll 11 months ago

Hey coach Meredith, thanks for leading us through these verses on judgement and sin. Q1- I am quick do judge leadership in the corporate world that operates under secular principles. Good question I asked myself this morning was “Am I judging my work leaders or spending time to pray for them and ask for God to move in their lives?”

Amy Merritt 11 months ago

Paul points out here that we are all falling short no matter where we are on the spectrum like you said Meredith, the dirtiest of sinners or purest of believers. The truth is we all still fall short of God’s standard- but it’s important to always see that truth in order that we won’t forget who’s standard we are trying to attain. Not ours or others around us but what God has asked of us.

Hope Harris 11 months ago

Romans 1:18-32 through 2:4, gives me a better understanding to the type of things people are passing judgement on. In my critical thinking class, we would view this as two thinking errors avoidance AKA judgement and blame. Judgement/blame of others takes the focus off my own wrong and in-turn any responsibility for my actions. Repentance brings me to a place where I own up and take responsibility. I admit my wrongs and turn go the opposite direction. It’s impossible for me to do this under my own power. I must turn to God to change my heart and motivation for living. Turning my will over to God and following Him radically changes how I do life.

Hugh Stephenson 11 months ago

The certainty of judgement. Incredibly sobering. In my prior church there was a belief in universal salvation; everybody gets in. One of the struggles I had initially after coming to Watermark was to fully process that the Bible did not say that. This truth has motivated me to reach out to as many people as I can and help them see what the Bible says and does not say. I am thankful for the equipping ministries that train me. The challenge is that I am a people pleaser and don’t want to lose friends. Also, I’m competitive. It’s hard to share the gospel with them and then trust God for the rest. I want to see the results. I am grateful to accept that my job is to proclaim and let Jesus do the saving.

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