14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. Romans 2:14-16 (KJV)
Now we contrast the Gentiles with the Jews.
One thing we really need to understand about Gentiles – they have changed a lot since these words were penned. They adopted the Bible, and let it shape their thoughts and minds.
At the time this was written, they would take stone or wood and carve it and say, “That’s my God!”
They would take an animal and kill it, and then read how the organs spilled out and try to determine their fortune from it.
Really crazy stuff.
I mean, get a book on superstitions sometime and read it, remembering these often are vestiges of ritual practice of pagan religions.
Why toss salt over your shoulder? Really. I grew up in New England, and I’d hear Roman Catholics talk about needing a kitchen witch.
Huh? Really? Some kind of little idol in your kitchen gives you good luck on food not spoiling?
Now, when Gentiles STOP doing those things, and start doing the things of God (reading their Bibles, praying, being ethical) – suddenly we’re getting evidences that there’s been a change in that person’s life.
17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? Romans 2:17-23 (KJV)
The point here is…
If the Gentiles are keeping the non-ceremonial parts of the law suddenly and a Jew is being unethical – Paul makes the contrast now. “Your circumcision (being Jewish) is now become uncircumcision (being Gentile).”
In other words, you’re boasting that you’re a Jew and keep the law, but in reality, the Gentiles now are keeping the ethical demands of the law, and you… are not…
so who’s the Gentile now?
About as subtle as a slap in the face. Paul is hitting hard on the assumption that because one is a son of Abraham, one is not automatically saved.
It’s still a point to be raised today. A reform Jew who keeps almost none of the Law still thinks that due to their heritage, they are automatically saved – even though Orthodox Jews have rituals and elements that shape their very lives, based on the law.
But if you lie, steal, blaspheme, and commit idolatry as a Jew, even if you were the most observant hecksher there is, and you lay oversized Tefillin, etc… You’re no better than a Gentile.
OKAY. I prefaced all this to explain one misquoted, misapplied, misunderstood verse, that 90% of professing Christianity gets wrong every time.
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Romans 2:28-29 (KJV)
What does that mean?
“uh… Jews aren’t Jews anymore, Gentiles become Jews automatically when they believe in Jesus?”
What had we been talking about? Gentiles keeping the ethical parts of the law, and Jews breaking it, but still boasting they’d go to heaven, because they’re Jews.
Paul was explaining it’s not minor surgury done on you when you’re 8 days old that makes you a Jew… it is the dedication to God, to the ethical parts of the law.
It is the understanding that just because you’re Jewish doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to Heaven. That concept ended pretty much… at Sinai. Korah went where when he rebelled against Moses?
Korah was what religion?
Let’s sum this up, and correct ttwo very big mistakes I hear Christians make all the time.
So, if you were born Gentile, and get faith in Jesus Christ and get saved, are you now Jewish? No. You’re still Gentile.
So, there’s no more Jews, right?
Yes, there are still Jews and Gentiles. A simple reading of the Bible on the Millennial Kingdom exposes that – the Jews owe God one thousand years of keeping the Torah. The Gentiles owe God… well, nothing.
But the Bible says there is no more gentiles and no more Jews!
Re-read Galatians. It is talking about salvation. God is no respecter of persons – a Jew who dies without Jesus goes the same place everyone goes who dies without Jesus. It doesn’t matter if you’re slave or master, male or female, gentile or Jew – you die without Jesus Christ, you’re going to Hell.
And there’s no special set of conditions that promise that because you’re this or that you’re automatically going to heaven.
Okay, start arguing with me in the comment section below. My first response is going to be automatically… “Did you read Romans, Galatians and Hebrews all in one day like I asked?”
See you tomorrow!