January 7 - Romans 2:17-29

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Romans 2:17-29 – Circumcision is of the Heart

The Jews of Paul’s time, boasted in themselves instead of God. Because they had a unique relationship with God, rather than live humbly, they were self-righteous and believed that they had certain religious advantages over others. God had revealed himself to them instead of anyone else on earth. God belonged to them and no one else. They believed they were morally superior to everyone else because of this relationship and withdrew from others, holding themselves apart, separate and above other nations, peoples and cultures.

Isaiah called them to be a “light for the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes and bring out the prisoners from prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house” (Isaiah 42:6b-7), yet in their religious arrogance they looked down on any who weren't part of their own culture. Jesus called them “blind guides” in Matthew 23:16 and here Paul rails against their self-righteous behavior.

He calls out for them to live as they preach and accuses them of dishonoring God while boasting in the law.

Because of their behavior, God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles (Romans 2:24).

Circumcision is a commitment to God made in the heart of mankind, not just on the body.

If Christians refuse to see this parallel in their own lives today, they are missing the point of the Gospel. Humanity blasphemes God because of our behavior. We are to be a light, yet we hide in our temples and look down on those who don’t know God personally. God does not belong only to us and believing that he does, holding ourselves to be morally superior will bring condemnation upon us.

Paul is quite clear in his message. No one is free from sin and moralism is far inferior to a contrite, loving heart, bending low before an Almighty God.