Genuine “Jews” from the Heart. Roman 2:17-29
Real Children of God Are Devoted to Doing God’s Will from the Heart as they trust in the Savior.
Privileges given to us by God do not, in themselves, make us children of God. • Too often, the privileges given to us by God are taken for granted and we do not take them “to heart.” • God desires His children to be genuine, not superficial nor hypocritical, in their service to Him. • Privileges alone will not lead to our salvation.
This is the challenge we face when we are given special privileges:To continue to recognize our need for the Savior to be right with God every step of the way.
The Self-Image of the Self-Righteous “Jew” (Rom. 2:17-20).
Romans 2:17-21a (NASB) 17 But if you bear the name "Jew," and rely upon the Law, and boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?...
Matthew 23:6-7 (NASB) 6 "And they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called by men, Rabbi.
Similarly, some brethren today arrogantly boast in the name Christian, their possession of the law of Christ, and their position as teacher of the truth of this world!
A SAD STATISTIC: The Number of “Name-Only” Christians. 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB) Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail the test?
Some have become proud possessors of truth and have forgotten that truth is a gift of God! Romans 11:33 (NASB) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
Some lift themselves in arrogance over others, failing to love them. 1 Corinthians 8:1 (NASB) Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.
Romans 2:21-22 (NASB) 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Luke 6:41 (NASB) “And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
Romans 2:23 (NASB) You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?
The problem lies when we believe that the mere possession of truth makes us right with God!
Being “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15) involves more than just defending it, it requires living it! (James 1:22-25).
Failing to teach ourselves and boasting in our knowledge of truth will lead to sin (e.g., Rom. 2:21-22).
To claim to be people of “The Book” and yet not follow it dishonors the name of the Lord (Rom. 2:23).
Romans 2:24 (NASB) For "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," just as it is written.
Isaiah 52:5 (NASB) “Now therefore, what do I have here,” declares the LORD, "seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?" Again the LORD declares, "Those who rule over them howl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long.
Some brethren are giving “heathen” an excuse to blaspheme the Lord! 2 Peter 2:1-2 (NKJV) But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. – cf. 1 Tim. 5:14; 6:1; Titus 2:5
Circumcision Has Value Only IfOne Keeps the Law Perfectly (Rom. 2:25-27). • The Jews gloried in circumcision as being their special mark that they were God’s people of the covenant (Gen. 17:1-14). • The Jews failed to see that circumcision brought privileges only ifthey met their obligation to keep the whole Law perfectly.
Romans 2:5 (NASB) For indeed circumcision is of value, if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. – cf. Gal. 5:3
Similarly, some Christians today fail to see that baptism brings eternal blessings only ifthey continue in obedient faith to the Lord.
Hebrews 10:26-27 (NASB) 26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. – cf. Rom. 6:1-4
If the circumcised transgress the Law and the uncircumcised keep the Law,it would be the Gentiles, not the Jews, who would be counted as God’s people (IF salvation could be obtained through the Law) (Rom. 2:26-27)
Romans 2:26-27 (NASB) 26 If therefore the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 And will not he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? – cf. Mat. 12:41
Similarly, if Christians (the baptized into Christ) do not continue to obey the law of Christ, the world will tend to view “religious” non-Christians (unbaptized) as God’s people instead!
Baptism, by itself, does not demonstrate genuine Christianity! • If that were true, then we would be saved by keeping just one law! (Acts 2:38).
What sets us apart from the world is thateven afterbaptism we maintain an obedient faith in Christ our Savior to the very end (Rev. 2:10; Titus 2:11-14; James 2:12-26).
Romans 2:28-29 (NASB) 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
A true “Jew” is not determined by one’s outward physical lineage or by circumcision (Rom. 9:6-8), but by faith that comes from the heart (Gal. 3:7; Rom. 10:9).
Galatians 3:7 (NASB) Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. – cf. Rom. 10:9
Similarly, a true Christian is not determined only by the fact that he was at one time baptized (though essential to becoming one; Gal. 3:27).
Baptism is just the beginning! Acts 2:38 (NASB) And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:41-42 (NASB) 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
A Genuine “Jew” (or Christian): Devoted to God from the heart (from within), his/her heart is changed and thus he seeks to put away sin and obey God’s will.
Romans 2:28-29 (NASB) 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. – cf. Rom. 2:16; 1 Cor. 4:5; Gal. 5:6
A genuine child of God has a “circumcised heart.” Jer 4:4 (NASB) "Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My wrath go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds.“ – cf. Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Col. 2:11-13
Being a genuine Christian is not JUST based on the external requirements we meet to “the letter of the law” (Rom. 2:29; cf. Mat. 7:21-23; Rom. 6:17): GOD WANTS OUR HEARTS!
Genuine Christians seek to do all that the Lord has commanded to the best of their ability including “the spirit of the law” such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Mat. 23:23).
And in harmony with the baptism in which we receive, we put off the body of sin daily (Col. 3:5-8) (circumcision of the heart).
Genuine Christians Devote Themselves Wholly to Being Holy in Heart and in Life So That They May Receive the Praise That Is from God!