A person with a changed heart, seeks approval from God!
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.”
25 The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God’s law. But if you don’t obey God’s law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile. 26 And if the Gentiles obey God’s law, won’t God declare them to be his own people? 27 In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God’s law will condemn you Jews who are circumcised and possess God’s law but don’t obey it.
28 For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. 29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.
God wants us to have tunnel vision for Him and Him alone.
He does not want us to seek approval from other people but only from Him. He knows the demands and pressures that we face in this world. And if we were to seek approval from men, our lives would look very different from the lives He desires for us to live. This is why He instructs us through Paul’s words to seek His approval. His ways don’t line up with what we know in this world. His ways are almost always the complete reversal of our ways. For example, to be raised up high, we must go low. To receive, we must give. To live, we must die.
We need to see life from the right perspective. And the only perspective worth having is that of the cross.
Jesus died so that we could live. When He died on the cross, we died with Him. That’s right, our old self was crucified WITH Jesus. We are now new creations IN Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17),
These final verses in Romans chapter 2 show us that we must have a right heart with God. And this can only come from the Holy Spirit who resides within us.
We are incapable on our own of stepping outside of the law.
The law will keep us in bondage and we know that Jesus came to set us free. So if Jesus came to set us free, we must be free from the law, right? If we keep trying to live through the law – our self righteousness, our self efforts, our self works – we will grow weary quickly. We will have no hope and be in total despair. BUT when we live IN Jesus, we have life, love, light, joy, peace, wholeness. We have hope.
Let’s go through the verses above. Verses 17 through 20 tell us about the religious leaders of the day when Jesus walked among us. There were certain Jews who were steeped in Judaism. They knew Scripture and were very self-righteous. They were hypocrites who looked down their noses at all others. Each of these men had blinders on when it came to Jesus Christ and His true identity. And you know what? We can become these very same people if we’re not careful. All Scripture is to be used for teaching. Including these verses. To avoid the trap of “I”m better than others because I know more of the Bible and I know God” we need to stay humble.
Humility has a way of keeping us grounded.
By avoiding that trap of thinking of ourselves as holier than others, we also avoid teaching others around us the same thing. When we are humble and know that it is only through the grace of God that we are saved, we show Jesus. It’s our choice what we project to others. In verses 21 through 24, we see that these Jewish people were good at teaching but not always so good at practicing what they taught.
Remember, it is out of our heart that our mouths speak! (Luke 6:45)
In these last few verses in chapter 2, we see that the Jewish people valued the external ceremony of circumcision as a sign of their obedience to God’s law. What they didn’t understand was that God is not so concerned about the outward circumcision as He is with the inward circumcision of our hearts. When we allow Christ into our lives and the Holy Spirit dwells within us, our hearts are changed. The old self – all the old and ugly things that we once were – are no longer. They are “cut away” and replaced with the wonderful, beautiful things of God.
We see in verse 29, that God desires for our hearts to be right with His heart. He desires for our hearts to be changed as a result of having His Spirit within us. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not people (Romans 2:29-30). It is not our outward living that God is concerned with. It is the inner person and our hearts that He sees. Seek God’s approval today.
Praise God today for the work that He is doing in us and through us!
Stay in the Light and the Love Always,