Romans!
Paul tied his statement in verse one of chapter 2, with verse 32
of the previous chapter (as we currently have it formatted) in
such a way that it cannot be explained without referring back to
that verse.  I have copied verse 32 into this section even though
it was explained in the previous chapter.
Accordingly, in verse one Paul says, “Therefore, you are
inexcusable, in other words, you cannot be defended  (whoever
the judge happens to be) when you make a judgment
concerning your fellowman, as you actually condemn yourself.  
Why?  For he who is the judge does the same thing as the one
being judged.  This statement refers back to, “...not only do the
same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

There is a very interesting thing being explained in this verse
that can easily be overlooked unless we think deeply about
what Paul is saying.  In verse 32 we noticed that God's
judgment had already been made known for those who did the
things we read about in the latter part of chapter one.  In verse
32, we see that even though God's judgment was known, these
evil people went ahead and did these evil deeds and had
pleasure in those who do them.  

The word <therefore> in verse one, ties us back to the previous
verse (32).  What Paul is saying here is that the judge of such
an evil people (whether in the church or out of the church) is
without excuse when he judges that such people are OK, for he
is showing his pleasure in others who are evil just like himself.  
And Paul says that in making such an evil judgment, the judge
condemns himself for he is doing the same things that he
condones in the person receiving his judgment.  Otherwise, he
would not make such judgments.

The nation of Rome was so corrupt that evil was judged as
being right, and this type of judgment was creeping into the
church!  Paul was letting the Roman church know that even if
the judge should make a judgment of right for wrong it would
not stand before God.  This type of judgment could not be
allowed to cross over into the church itself.  The church had to
make judgments according to God's judgment.  A practicing
homosexual was not to remain as a good standing member of
the congregation under the pretense that the sacrifice of the
Messiah was covering his sins!

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such
things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in
them that do them.  

1  Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that
judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for
thou that judgest doest the same things.

But, those of us who know what God requires of man are sure
that God's judgment is according to truth against those who
commit such things.  Paul is saying that regardless of any evil
judgment that may call wrong, right - God's judgment will not
waver from being made according to truth.  Those who commit
such things will receive the judgment of God and His judgment
is always administered correctly, according to truth.

2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against
them which commit such things.

Paul does not let this thought go, but returns to it by saying, Do
you think that you will escape the judgment of God, by judging
them OK who do such things?  Do you really think that just
because you are in a position to judge and have the power to
show your pleasure in those who do such things that they will
not ultimately be judged correctly of God?  All will eventually
stand before the judgment seat of God!  Nobody gets by with
anything!  Everything will eventually come to light.  Therefore,
judge rightly.  

The message is to the Roman church.  They have been steeped
in the type of society that Paul is describing here.  They have to
be shown that God's judgment supersedes the judgment of
man.  They have to understand that truth is to be vindicated
regardless of the judgment of man.  An evil society loves its
self.  An evil society judges evil as good and good as evil.  But
don't be fooled into believing that this will stand before God.  
His judgment is coming, which will be according to truth!  
Therefore, you Romans who have been called of God, judge
according to God's judgment, not according to the type of
judgment you have been steeped in, according to the judgment
of Rome - without morals.

3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things,
and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

The Roman society, of which this church was a part, had strong
influence on its subjects, and the church had to be shored up
against such thinking.  A nation, which had been steeped in
temple prostitutes, homosexuals, lesbians, murderers, and all
sorts of evildoers would be prone to overlook such activity even
within the church.  The Jews had been taught better, but the
Romans had not.  We see in the Corinthian church a man who
was having sex with his mother-in law.  No doubt something of
this nature prompted Paul to set the Roman church straight
that they had to come out of the world and not just condone evil
because it was there.  While the sacrifice of the Messiah
covered past sins, it was not to give license to continue in sin.

We can understand the message that Paul sent to the Romans
much better today as we see the society around us reflecting
the heathenism of Rome.  Good is called evil and evil is called
good.  Judgments are made based on the lifestyles of the judges
themselves.  When they live corrupt lives, they condone such
lifestyles in those whom they judge.  The problem comes when
the church begins to copy such a wrong-headed system.  It was
happening in the church at Rome as it is happening in the
church today.  Evil is being condoned in the church today, as it
was being condoned in the church at Rome, then.  Paul showed
in his letter to the Roman church that they were to use God's
judgment as their standard, not the law as conceived by Rome.

If not do you despise the abundance of Gods’ kindness and
forbearance – in other words, do you despise the fact that your
debt of sins was coming due and He wiped it away.  Or, do you
despise His patience in giving you space to repent?  Do you
despise His actions of love, by doing and condoning acts of
disgrace?  Don't you know that this goodness of God is for the
purpose of leading you to repentance?  

The very reason that God forgives our past sins and gives us
space to learn the right way to live is for the purpose that we
will be led to keeping the law and becoming a worthwhile
citizen of the heavenly kingdom!  It seems obvious that the
Roman church had brought some of their gross sins over into
the church.  Perhaps they were somewhat better than those on
the outside, but not good enough, for Paul is coming down hard
on the sins of a heathen society in this letter to the Roman
church.

4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and
longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to
repentance?

But those who go on stubbornly, admitting no change of mind, in
other words, those who are unrepentant, are heaping up for
themselves the anger of God.  For God is the righteous judge,
who will give out righteous judgment on the day of His
appearing.  Paul was telling these Romans that God will return
to this earth; and then will judge every man according to his
deeds.  Each one will receive according to what he has laid up
for himself.  As his deeds have been, so will his judgment be.

5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself
wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment
of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

Those who have persisted in doing what is right, seek in order
to find the brightness, splendor and purity of eternal life.  But
those who do that which is contrary to the truth, those who do
not <obey> the truth, those who do that which is wrong - for
those people the anger of God waits.  God's anger and the
pressure and calamity of His judgment will be upon the life of
every man who does evil.  The Jew will be judged first, because
he was given the law and abided in a nation that upheld that
law.  This is not referring to <first> in the sense of time, but in
the sense of judgment according to knowledge and
circumstances.  The Gentile second, because of the law of
creation that makes known that there is a God who brought all
things into existence.  Much is required of those to whom much
has been given.  However, to those who have been given little,
there are still requirements.  The differences were not that the
Romans would be let off the hook for sin, but that the Jew
would be held responsible for teaching or not teaching the
message it was given to spread to the entire world.  The Roman
world was not given that responsibility.  Therefore, it would not
have that requirement as part of its standards in judgment.  
Salvation is of the Jews, the national Jews then as far as they
understood, and the spiritual Jew now as that knowledge has
been expanded.


7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and
honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey
unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the
Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

Glory, honor and peace will be given to everyone who labors to
do that which is right and honorable.  These rewards will go to
the Jew who is mentioned first because more is required of him;
and to the Gentile who is mentioned second because less is
required of him.  A judgment is coming on mankind at the
return of the Messiah, in the Day of the Lord.  Many will be
destroyed in that day.  Paul is using this general approach to
show the church at Rome that they need to make their calling
and election sure because God is a righteous Judge.  Therefore,
whether in the church or out of the church, all will be judged in
due time.  For, there is no respect of persons with God.

10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the
Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

For even though the Romans did not have a national standard of
law as had the Jews, they would perish just the same because
they had the creation to look at and could realize from the
creation that this was a just and righteous law.  The Jews had
received the law of God by miraculous display, God Himself
thundering the Ten Commandments from the Mount.  The
miracles of God were well known by the Jews.  The Jews could
add these miracles to the knowledge of the words on the
written page as well as having a national system that backed up
that law.  

The Romans had to look at the creation of God and add that to
the words on the written page and come to believe and
understand that this law was just and righteous in spite of the
lack of a national standard to back up their thoughts on the
matter.  For the Gentile, who for a long time did not even have
the written word, and the Jew, who had been reared and
steeped in the word of God – the law of God would judge both.  
Without law and with law are here referring to the society of
the Romans versus the society of the Jews.  It is a strong
stimulus to have everyone living in the society as one should
live.  It was much easier to live according to the law in Judea
than it was in Rome.  But, regardless of the society around
them, regardless of whether the society upheld the
righteousness of the law - they would still be judged according
to the law of God.  

The members of the Church of Rome had the law, for they had
the Bible.  However, they did not have the law in the sense that
the Jews did because the nation of the Jews upheld the law, but
the Roman Government did not.  The Jews had a nation with
the law of God - the Romans did not.

12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without
law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

But even if the society around one lived righteously outwardly,
that was not what saved a person, or caused him to be just
before God.  All will be judged alike, and according to what
they do so far as the demands of the law are concerned.  If the
law says, You shall not commit adultery, whether you are a Jew
whose heritage upholds the law of God, or a Gentile who does
not have that distinction, you will still be judged according to
your response to the demands of the law of God.

13  (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of
the law shall be justified.

If one is a Gentile, who lives in a nation that does not have and
uphold the law, and he looks at the creation and does what is
right according to the law that was given to the Jews, he is still
justified because he is living according to the law of God.  He
has constrained himself just as someone who has the law and a
national system of judgment based on that law.  Those people
have established the law in their own minds.  Paul is showing
here that even though the Romans didn’t have a temple and
national system based on the law to look to in order to shore up
their faith, they were judged by God according to whether they
live by the law or don't live by the law.  They can look at the
creation of God as their temple, and realize that God's
requirements are the same for them as for the Jews.  And it is
after all, what a man is inwardly in the depths of his mind - not
what the society around him is doing that makes the difference.  
Paul is showing the Romans that even though the Jew may have
the temple and the society to back up his faith, he can still be
living just as rotten as those who are outside the faith in Rome
can.  One can be a hypocrite, in other words, showing on the
outside that he is righteous, while being evil from within.  So,
one perspective is that it is sometimes easier to do evil from the
standpoint of being a hypocrite in an outwardly righteous nation
than one such as Rome where there is no such standard.

Therefore, the Romans were not to be stressed because they
did not live in a society that did not have the standards of the
Jews, for sometimes even that is a stumbling block for those
who would live according to faith.  Especially when those who
are upholding the standards have themselves become
corrupted, causing them to not accept the sacrifice of the
Messiah, as had the Jewish leaders.  Paul was telling the
Romans to live by the law of God regardless of the national
standards of Rome.  For when the day comes that God will
judge the secret or inward thoughts of man, Joshua, the
Messiah will judge them, according to the gospel that Paul had
preached to them.  In other words, their lives would be judged
according to how they had lived, based on the law given from
God to the Jews, and their faith in the Messiah’s sacrifice -
when they had broken that law.

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.

The message of this section of Romans is just as much for us
today as the Roman church of Paul's time.  We have lived in a
nation that has upheld the law much as the Jews of Paul's time,
except the Sabbath, of course.  However, this nation is quickly
becoming evil and similar to the nation of Rome in that it is
upholding evil instead of good.

Regardless of which type of society we are in, we must live
according to the law of God and rely on the Messiah as our
means of justification by faith in His sacrifice and priesthood.

Again, those of us who have seen the church about us torn down
have the same circumstance.  At one time, we were within the
confines of the safety and support of the church that upheld
righteousness.  However, the time came when the church was
corrupted and now it upholds evil instead of righteousness.  
Now we find ourselves much as the Church at Rome, in that we
have to look to the creation of God as our temple of worship for
we have no support system to look to.  Some of us can't go to
church each week and receive and give the support to do what
is right.  Nevertheless, we will be judged according to the law of
God as those who have no standard to look to as far as a
society is concerned.  

Real worship of God will be shown if we, in our minds, do not
waver and allow the society around us to overtake us and cause
us to begin to do evil.  True fellowship with God can be had and
we can become stronger than even when we had a society in
which we could receive and give such support.  

So, whether in the law or out of the law, or in other words,
whether in a society that supports law or one that does not
support law, we can worship and draw close to God and His way
of truth.

Therefore, we see that there can be good advantages when one
lives in a society that upholds the law over one that does not
uphold the law.  But, the bottom line is whether the individual is
actually keeping the law regardless of the support or non-
support of his society.  The key to salvation is whether one has
a right relationship with God, not that he does what is
demanded of him by the society.

With verse 17, Paul focuses on those who are "in the law" or in
other words, those who live in a society that upholds the law.  

Paul was saying, Let's take the case of the Jews who abide in
the law, or who live in a society that upholds the law.  The word
<Jew> means one who is Jewish, and refers to one who lives
according to the temple standard.  The phrase, "rests in the
law" does not mean that the person is living by that law as we
will soon see, but one whose society and belief structure
upholds the law nominally.  The Pharisees were a good example
of those who upheld the law so far as the outside of the cup is
concerned, but inwardly they were ravening wolves.  So, Paul is
making a case here of a Jew who knows the law but does not
live by the standards of the law.  He is basically saying what
advantage is there of having the law if one doesn't live by that
law.

As Paul shows in verse 17, the Jew was very proud of his
relationship with God.  Not a <one on one> relationship, but a
national relationship.  The religion of the Jews was one that had
to do with the whole nation.  God talked to their fathers
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  God called out Moses and brought
their ancestors out of Egypt.  God opened the Red Sea and
took their ancestors over on dry land.  God talked with their
prophet, Moses and even thundered the Ten Commandments to
every one of their ancestors living at that time.  God dwelled in
their temple of Solomon.  Their nation had experienced a close
relationship with God.  They were very proud of that
relationship, and their religion had become one of worshipping
the past relationship of their nation with God rather than
worshipping God Himself.

17  Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy
boast of God,

The Jews knew the will of God and had come to recognize that
what God required of them was good and excellent - for they
were instructed from the law.  This is a very revealing verse as
to Paul's thoughts about how God viewed the law as well as
how Paul, himself viewed the law.  #1) The Jews knew that it
was God's will that they keep the law.  #2) They had come to
see that the keeping of the law was a more excellent way to
live, at least by their neighbors - if not themselves.  Even
though many were living hypocritically according to the law, the
society as a whole was much closer to the requirements of the
law than a nation such as Rome.

Remember that Paul is contrasting the life of a national Jew
with the life of a national Roman.  He sometimes speaks of a
Roman who is in the Church of God, and at other times of a
Roman who is out of the Church of God.  As we go through this
section, keep in mind that the Romans, to whom Paul is writing,
have none of these credentials of the Jews.  However, as Paul
has already shown, one's relationship with God inwardly is the
important thing.  The nation of the Jews may have had
advantage in its relationship with God over Rome, but God is
not saving nations.  Rather, He is saving individuals!

18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more
excellent, being instructed out of the law;

Now the Jews, with their rich heritage of a relationship with
God, trusted in that relationship.  They believed themselves to
be a guide of the blind, a light of those who were in darkness.  
The word <confident> can mean tranquilize.  In other words,
they were sure that God was using them to teach the rest of the
world because of their past relationship with Him as a nation.  
They were to instruct the foolish, to teach the untaught and the
unskilled.  They had the structure of knowledge and truth
because of having been given the law.  In other words, the law,
which God had given to the Jews was and is the structure of
knowledge and truth.  

De 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your
understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these
statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding
people.
7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as
the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so
righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget
the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy
heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;
10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in
Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together,
and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all
the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach
their children.
11 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain
burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and
thick darkness.
12 And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard
the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to
perform, even Ten Commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables
of stone.

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.

As we see in Hosea, a lack of knowledge comes when a people
forget the law of God!  And God will reject those who reject
His law.  God does not give us grace so we can reject the law,
but so we can keep it with confidence - knowing that our past
sins are forgiven.  If our sins are not forgiven, there is no
reason to keep the law so far as the future of our life is
concerned for then our past sins would condemn us to eternal
death.

Ho 4:6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou
hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no
priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also
forget thy children.  

And the word of God is right and true.  In other words, the
word of the law that God spoke from the mount is truth.  God
does not lie.  What He speaks is truth.

Ps 33:4 For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done
in truth.   

So from Paul's affirmation and from the scriptures we see that
the law is the basis of knowledge and truth.  A nation or society
that looses itself from the law is a very foolish nation and will
become ignorant and based on false premises.  Such a nation or
society is bound to fall from its own weight of ignorance in time.

But what Paul showed in verses 19-20 was that the Jews,
having the law as their basis did have the structure of
knowledge and truth and realizing this they believed
themselves to be the lighthouse for the rest of the world.  

There was just one problem!  They didn't have the holy spirit as
a nation.  God does not give His spirit to a nation.  He gives
that spirit to an individual under the right circumstances.  
Therefore, the covenant that God had made with Israel had
been strengthened by the coming of the Messiah, and at the
Pentecost of AD 30.  A new covenant had been drawn up and
was being made with as many as the Father would call.

In the following verses, Paul brings out a dilemma for the Jews
to ponder.  Why were they unable to keep the law, which they
knew was the right thing to do?

Paul begins this section by asking this model Jew, So, you are a
teacher of others - Do you not teach yourself?  You teach the
world that they should not steal - Do you steal?  You say a man
should not commit adultery - Do you commit adultery?  You
detest idols - Do you rob the temple?

Some translations do not put these two verses in question form,
but as a statement.  In other words, You teach that one should
not steal, but you steal!  You say a man should not commit
adultery, but you commit adultery!  You detest idols, but you
rob the temple!

This does seem to get at the essence of what Paul is saying up
to this point.  He is showing that even though the Jews live in a
society that understands the structure of the law, they do not
and cannot live by that law for they are without the part of the
New Covenant that would make that possible - the holy spirit.

The phrase, "commit sacrilege" or "rob the temple" is
illuminated in the book of Malachi.  The teachers and priests of
the Jews had learned to profit from the temple worship of the
people.

Mal 1:8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil?  and if ye
offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?  offer it now unto thy governor;
will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person?  saith the LORD of
hosts.

Mal 1:13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it!  and ye have
snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was
torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I
accept this of your hand?  saith the LORD.

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?

Verse 23 seems to show that the foregoing verses were not
questions but statements of their conduct.  They had the
structure of the law, but they did not and could not keep the
law.  Paul asks in verse 23, You who are so proud of the law
that God has given to you - and yet you break the law, Do you
dishonor God?  Of course they were dishonoring God!  In other
words, the nation of Judah had the law, but because they did
not keep the law they were dishonoring God.  God is honored
only to the extent that we keep the law.  The more we keep the
law, the more God is honored.  By keeping the law we show
that God was right in giving the law to us and we admit that
God's way is superior to our own way, the way that is inherent
in man.  When we argue for abolition of any part of the law we
begin to submit ourselves to the darkness of this world.

23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law
dishonourest thou God?

It is written in Eze 36:22 that Israel had profaned the name of
God wherever they went among the heathen or Gentiles.  They
did this by upholding a standard, which they did not themselves
keep.  

Eze 36:22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord
GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy
name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye
went.  

24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you,
as it is written.

Although the Jews as a nation had the correct structure, they
did not really live by it except in an outward show.  At this
point, after showing that having the structure of the law was
only good if we abide by that structure, Paul focuses on the
important conclusion.  

Circumcision, or being a Jew profits only if you keep the law.  If
you break the law you are not circumcised so far as God is
concerned.  Circumcision was an outward sign of a covenant
man.  One who became circumcised was saying with that
ceremony, I am a man who keeps and upholds the law.  Of
course, after the adults of the first generation were
circumcised, it was a ritual done at the age of 8 days for the
newborn males.  But if one lived his life as a breaker of the law,
he had broken the covenant and was no longer a covenant man
in God's sight.

25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be
a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

Therefore, a Gentile who keeps the law of God will be counted
as circumcised by God!  Even though he has not been born in a
nation that practices circumcision as a religious rite, and is not
physically circumcised, he is circumcised in God’s sight – if he
keeps God’s law.  The word <keep> used here is very
interesting.  The word means to guard i.e. care for, take care
not to violate, to observe.  Paul was telling the Roman believers
that if they carefully observed the law, God would count that
for circumcision.

For, circumcision did not come first.  The law came first.  The
law is more important than the outward sign that proclaims the
convictions of a national religion.  Circumcision was something
given to Israel as a sign of commitment to the law.  However, it
didn't work!  What happened was that the Jews were a society
with the structure of the law, the outward sign of the law in
circumcision and fringes of the garment who lived contrary to
the law!  Something was missing.  God had taken a turn in the
road and they were left in the dust of their ancestral worship of
a form and structure rather than the essence of the law.  This
turn took place on the day of Pentecost when the holy spirit
was given.  For, the Jews had the structure of the law but they
didn't have the spirit or mind of God in order to keep the law,
as a nation.  There were however, individuals who had been
given the holy spirit.  However, for the rest, the reason they
could not receive the holy spirit was because they did not
accept the Messiah who sent the holy spirit to those who
believed in Him.

26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law,
shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?

Moreover, Paul continues, will not those who are physically
uncircumcised and do not live in a society that has the structure
of the law, judge you if they keep the law - while you, who are
physically circumcised and have the structure of the law, go
ahead and transgress the law?  It is of no profit if you have the
law and the sign of the law but still do not keep the law.  There
is only profit if we keep the law!  God's people are those who
live according to His standards, not those who use His
standards as something to worship.  

27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law,
judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

Paul continues that a true Jew is not one who has been
circumcised and has all the trappings of the law, and lives his
life contrary to the law.  But a Jew is one who understands and
keeps the law from within.  A true Jew is one who has been
circumcised in his mind.  The evil has been cut off and thrown
away and that which remains is right and true according to the
instructions of God.  For, a true Jew keeps the law according to
the spirit of the law.  In other words, he does not try to get by
with as little of the law as possible.  He wholeheartedly keeps
the law and is not looking for the praise of men, for God is the
one who sees and rewards him.  The Jews had come to live as a
nation so accustomed to the demands of the law that they had
devised ways to circumvent the law.  They were shrewd in
getting around the law and still being considered as living by the
letter of the law.  God is interested in a man or woman who
keeps the law because he loves the law and realizes that it is
the answer to an abundant and peaceful society.

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.

So we see from this and previous studies of Romans that Paul is
by no means making a way for the New Covenant person to
disobey the law.  Rather Paul is following in the steps of the
Messiah by showing that the New Covenant requires the
keeping of the law in the spirit, a far more demanding
requirement than just keeping the law by the letter, and yet
one that includes the letter as its foundation!

The New Covenant is based on better promises and the
indwelling of the holy spirit, the spirit and mind of God, that
makes possible the keeping of the commandments and law of
God in the spirit and not in the letter only.  The Romans were
therefore assured that the Jews had an advantage only if they
used that advantage and most were not using the advantage of
having a structure of the law in their society.  They were
making a bad use of what could have been a stupendous
advantage if they had recognized the Messiah.  However, as
they had rejected the Messiah, the Romans actually had an
advantage over the Jews, because the Jews were worshipping
the structure, rather than living by the demands of the
structure of righteousness and truth.  The Roman believers had
the holy spirit, which made possible the keeping of the law on a
higher plane than that of the Jews, with their temple worship.  

We can begin to see why the Jews were blinded to the
recognition of the Messiah.  Of course, this blindness as
explained by Paul in the 11th chapter of Romans was necessary
so they would put to death the Messiah.  However, we can see
that the Jewish nation had already blasphemed the name of
God throughout the world by proclaiming a standard and not
living by it.  There was to be another approach to open up the
law to the world.  Salvation was to come to the Gentiles i.e. the
Romans in this letter, through the downfall of the Jews.  But as
ever, Satan was waiting in the wings to pervert this gospel into
another gospel - That grace replaced the law!

Continue ...

Home

Commentaries
Chapter Two