Walking Through Romans
“In Need of a Savior”
This post goes along with the Romans lessons posted at the end of this writing.
Week-7 Day-2 Lesson 7 (This one post covers lesson 7)
Paul’s whole point in these first three chapters of Romans is to call into account the Jew and the Gentile for their need of a Savior. In Romans 2:25-29, he specifically calls out the Jew. They had received the seal of circumcision through Abraham, and some Jews believed that the physical act circumcision was proof of their righteousness before God. Paul is saying, “NO!” Physical circumcision does not a Jew make! So,who is the true Jew?
Circumcision is of Value If:
“For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.” Romans 2:25
What is Paul saying to the Jew? If you practice the Law your circumcision is of value, it is a benefit. Circumcision is of value in the sense that it marked the Jews as the chosen nation of God. It was the symbol of the covenant that God made with Abraham and the nation of Israel. In Romans 3, Paul points out that the Jews were chosen and entrusted with the teachings of the word of God. Being a Jew was of great value, but that is not what makes a Jew a Jew!
But circumcision is, spiritually speaking, of no value if you are a transgressor of the Law. If you are a transgressor of the Law your circumcision has become uncircumcision. The question is, “Has any Jew or Gentile ever kept the Law?” NO! So, the Jew who has been physically circumcised, by not keeping the Law, has become uncircumcised! The Jew as well as the Gentile is in need of Christ!
Everything Depends on Obedience!
Paul uses the uncircumcised (a reference used by the Jew to identify the Gentiles, the unclean. They’re also referred to as “the nations” in the Old Testament) to show the Jew that it is not an external work, i.e., circumcision, that justifies you before God.
“So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?” Romans 2:26
Paul is saying to the Jew, “If the unclean, uncircumcised man keeps the Law, then his uncircumcision will be regarded as circumcision.”
“And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?” Romans 2:27
Paul is saying to the Jew, “If the one who is physically uncircumcised keeps the law, he will be called to witness against you (the circumcised who have transgressed the Law!”) The point is, Jew, you are not a Jew because you have been circumcised in the flesh, nor are you a Jew because you have been given the letter of the Law. You have transgressed the Law!
Paul is not saying here that the Gentile has or can keep the Law. He is merely using “keeping the law” as an example to the Jew. If you (Jew) did keep the Law, your circumcision would be of value. If the gentile did, in fact, keep the Law, he would be just before God not on the basis of pedigree, but that he kept the Law.
Keeping the Law would make anyone, Jew or Gentile, just before God! But we know that there is not one human being born that has or will keep the Law.
He is Not a Jew Who is One Outwardly!
Paul sums up what he has been teaching in these last two verses:
“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.” Romans 2:28
Paul refutes the Jew who thinks that because of the outward cutting of his flesh that he is a Jew. (He is a Jew biologically). But what Paul is teaching is spiritual, not physical. A true Jew, one who is righteous before God, is one who has been circumcised in the heart! A true Jew is anyone (any nationality) that has had his heart circumcised! Look at what Romans 2:29 teaches,
“But, he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter…”
Circumcision is a work of The Holy spirit by which He removes a heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh; a heart that can see and understand that he is in great need of a Savior! “Not by the letter” means salvation cannot be earned.
Who is the True Jew?
According to this last verse, a Jew is one who through the power of the Holy Spirit has had his heart circumcised.
Read what Ezekiel and Colossians teach about circumcision of the heart,
“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
“And in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” Colossians 2:11
A true Jew is one who has been regenerated or given new birth.The Holy Spirit has changed his heart, enabling him to see and understand that he is in need of salvation. He places his gift of faith in Jesus Christ to save him from his sins. His hope is in the completed work of Christ. It is Christ’s obedience to the Law and our believing and trusting in His obedience that justifies a man before God, not his own works.
Learning Beside You,
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