Romans 2:17-24 (NLT)
17 You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law, and you boast about your special relationship with him. 18 You know what he wants; you know what is right because you have been taught his law. 19 You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness. 20 You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth.
21 Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? 22 You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? 23 You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. 24 No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
What is Paul saying here?
So what is Paul saying here? In the first sixteen verses of chapter two, he shows how outwardly moral people have violated their own standards and thus are guilty before God. In doing so, he quietly sneaks up on the Jews, who prided themselves on their special standing before God. But he doesn’t mention them by name until verse seventeen. Up to this point, they have nodded in approval as Paul indicts the Gentiles. “Oh Yeah Paul! Preach it!” But now, he springs the trap on them. He reminds them of their identity. Who they are! However, their responsibilities are greater because of what they know and who they are.
The Jews will not escape God’s righteous judgment because they were Jews and possessed the Law, unless they obeyed the Law, which they did not do. So he exposes their hypocrisy and shows the spiritual devastation of The Hypocrisy Syndrome!
Hypocrisy deceives the hypocrite, damages unbelievers, and dishonors God.
These Jews had advantages that others in Rome did not have. Because of their education, and the religious knowledge they possessed they were steps beyond others, or at least they were supposed to be. They were able to rely on the law, and boast in God, which resulted in knowing God’s will. Because of this, Jews must minister to the Gentiles. The Jewish conviction that they were to exercise a priestly ministry to the Gentiles was correct.
The tragedy in this passage is that these Jews studied the scriptures, but they missed the point. The tragedy in my life is that I had missed the point. I loved hearing people tell my parents what a great kid they had. I loved people thinking I was some great Christian. But the Jews in Rome were missing it. I was missing it.
I knew what to say. I could teach a Sunday school lesson at the age of 5. I had all the head knowledge anyone could ever ask for. These Jews, they had the head knowledge. They knew how to teach about the law, but what was their life reflecting? What was my life reflecting?
Part 3 (Coming Soon)