17But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God,
18and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,
19and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,
20a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,
21you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?
22You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
23You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?
24For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.
25For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
26So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
27And 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?
28For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
29But 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.
Today I read the paragraph named “Condemnation of the Jew” wondering how possibly God would want me to look at it to apply to my own life today. I am not nor have I ever been a Jew. I don’t forsee myself ever being a Jew either. Let’s look, however, at the theme in this passage.
I’m focusing on the last verse because it seems to be Paul’s thesis for this paragraph and he sums up his point nicely. It is not about the rules you follow, rather your heart condition. Think about that for a second. How many rules do you follow (or not follow) in a given day? Now remember, up until Romans 3: 21, Paul is explaining why we need God and specifically Christ in our lives. In yesterday’s message, Paul told us that we do good things because we want to through faith. Today he is saying that the things we do are inconsequential if we are following words of the Law, but rather we receive praise from God if we follow His Spirit. He’s on a roll with this whole “deeds” thing.
As believers and followers of Christ, we are saved from The Law. Christ’s sacrifice fulfilled The Law so we no longer had to live by it. Does this mean we shouldn’t live by it, or that those things aren’t important? Not quite. Some people do things of The Law without even realizing it. Plenty of Atheists give to the poor. Plenty of “God followers” (Jew, Christian, or otherwise) commit sins on a daily basis. So what’s the point? We live by the Spirit, not the law.
Do you focus on following all the rules? Whose rules do you try to follow? Back in Luke, when asked what laws are most important Christ replied, ““‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Who or what do you love? I’ve been trying to focus on these two things lately. ” Is what I’m doing a form of loving God and/or my neighbor?” Granted, it’s a hard habit to form, but I think it’s worth it.