Scripture reading for July 15th: Romans 2:24-3:8
These were Paul’s words to his own people the Jews: “As it is written, “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Isaiah 52:5, Romans 2:24) He was trying to awaken an awareness that their religion was not having the effect God desired on the nations! God had called them to be a light to the Gentiles and through Abraham’s Seed, all nations of the earth would be blessed! (Genesis 12:3, Luke 2:30-32) Instead, they boasted in their law and in the fact that God had made promises to them through Abraham.
Paul went on to tell them that circumcision in the flesh was only of value if they obeyed the law. If they broke God’s law, then they would be no different in God’s eyes than the uncircumcised Gentiles! (Romans 2:25-27) Yet if the Gentile kept God’s laws, then they would be accepted as righteous in God’s sight. True Jews were not just outwardly circumcised, but had their hearts circumcised! This circumcision could only be done by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ!
Paul was a Jew and knew just how the Jews thought. He thought that way himself until Jesus revealed Himself on the Damascus road. He was a Pharisee who knew the law “thou shall not commit murder”, (Exodus 20:13) yet he judged Christians as unfit to live and sought to murder them while claiming to have favor with God! Because of his own law-breaking, God’s name was blasphemed among the Gentiles! True Christians were afraid of Paul but prayed for him!
Jews had an advantage because of the very words of God that they had given to them by the patriarchs and prophets. They were instructed in faith through those words. They would be held accountable by God for this advantage! God would be proved justified when He judged them! (Romans 3:4) Some might twist this around to blame God, but God would be true!
Let’s examine our own lives today! Do we claim to have Christ as our Lord? Do we claim to have special favor as Christians and yet live in sin? Are we causing God’s name to be blasphemed because of our own hypocrisy? Lets judge ourselves first and get our own lives in order with God’s word and receive His grace!