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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Back to Romans! Don't be confused!

The Jews and the Law -- Romans 2:17-29 

17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”[b]
25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been  circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the[c] written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God. 

Yikes!  What is all this talk about circumcision???   This is a wonderful passage for all of us, believe it or not.  

Circumcision was required in the Jewish Law.  It was a big deal to follow that law, and many other laws promoted by the Jewish leadership.

The point in this passage is this:

1.  It's good to follow the law, but don't be a hypocrite.

2.  If you are following the law to get some kind of "points" with God in public, but turn around (on Monday or Tuesday :)  and do something wrong...well, that does not impress God and it does not set a good example for others.

Don't get hung up on that circumcision stuff.  This just represents anything we do as a "ritual" to try to "earn" favor with God and our fellow man. 

God looks at the inside.  What's going on down there in your gut (and heart!) when no one is looking?  God knows.

Don't cling to rule-keeping for your identity.  Know that God wants you -- not your public "persona" .

Who do we look to for praise?  Man  or God?  It's tough when your friends and/or family think you are weird when you talk about or follow this "God stuff" -- But -- who are we trying to please?

Take that last verse and insert the word "Christian" and update some wording-- see what you think:

29        A person is a Christian who is one inwardly; and they are changed on the inside, a change of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written rules. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God. 

I know, dear readers, we can become discouraged when people don't seem to appreciate us or acknowledge anything we do.  Moms and dads, husbands and wives, are especially vulnerable to this. We just don't get much praise.

Please know -- All that is necessary is to please GOD -- He loves you beyond all belief!  Your praise will come from God! 

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