So today we continue the last part of Romans 2. Last time we were talking about how church leaders and those long standing members need to make sure to live out what we teach. Well today Paul doesn’t hold back but rather doubles down on what he said earlier.
“For circumcision benefits you if you observe the law, but if you are a lawbreaker, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Therefore if an uncircumcised man keeps the law’s requirements, will his uncircumcision not be counted as circumcision? A man who is physically uncircumcised, but who fulfills the law, will judge you who are a lawbreaker in spite of having the letter of the law and circumcision. For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. That man’s praise is not from men but from God.”
Romans 2:25-29Hcsb Bible
Despite trashing the ungodly gentiles in chapter 1, he then points out hypocrisy in his own brethren, the Jews. In this passage, he even goes so far as to tell the Jews that the gentiles will be better than them.
Now to understand this, keep in mind that a lot of Jews looked down on gentiles(non Jews) because they weren’t designated as Gods people. They signified that they were Gods people by being circumcised. This set them apart and in some Jews eyes made them better and looked down on those that weren’t circumcised.
But Paul made sure they made a heart check here. He says that it’s not just the dry ritual that makes someone Gods people, but rather obedience to God. He says that even though Jews would get circumcised, they couldn’t rely on that one act to keep them saved or righteous in Gods’ eyes. They were relying on their past actions to keep them righteous when that’s not the way it works.
He then goes to say that those that don’t keep all the rituals of the law but rather the purpose for the law, then they are better and closer to God. One example that comes to mind is when Jesus was accused of working on the sabbath when he getting food and then healing a man in Matthew 12. He pointed that its good to do good on the sabbath.
The reason being that the sabbath was meant for a day of relaxation and being closer to God and others. Not to pack on more laws to make sure you don’t have a chance of breaking it. This put an undue burden upon the Jews and worked harder to avoid work which was against the very purpose of the sabbath.
So it is not the ritual and chants that we make during long winded prayers that set us apart as Gods people, but rather the way we act out the purpose of Gods word. This is how we show love to the world.
It is not us wearing our dresses and best cleaned pants that set us apart on Sunday mornings. I believe God would be happier with one of his children coming to church in dirty jeans because he chose to stop on the side of the road and help fix a tire before church to help the person, instead of the person who came in the church with not a small imperfection from their outfit.
Now of course I’m not saying you should help every single person on the side of the road since there are a lot of people using that as a ruse to hurt you or kidnap you. But the premise is that we way we act out the love of God is better than the ritual of seeming to be impressive in front of others.
I’m also not saying to just come to church in your worst clothes and lie and say you were helping when you weren’t. I’m also not saying that you shouldn’t at least respect your elders in church or the biblical traditions of church. I’m saying that you as a Christian should know the word of God and understand why God says what he says. That way, you are better equipped to know bad doctrine, bad traditions and know what to do when it seems like an either/or situation. To do that, you need to be in the word of God daily.
So let the Holy Spirit Mark you and change and that will set you apart and you will get praise from God instead of letting your outward appearance define your godliness.
Be circumcised by the Holy Spirit and not let your outward appearance determine your holiness. Let the Holy Spirit change your personality and you as a person instead of you changing what you look like to get praise from people.
If anyone has any questions, just comment below and I’ll respond when I can to hopefully clarify anything.