Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know His will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’ 25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. 28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”
Paul’s main critique is that Jews, who possess the Law, failed to faithfully follow its commands, which only undermined the purpose of the Law. Remember that God elected Israel as bearers of His promise to bless the nations so that the Gentiles might call upon His name (Gen 12:1–2). Instead, the Gentiles blasphemed God’s name. Why?
Because of what the Gentiles could see with their own eyes; they understood what hypocrisy was. They saw this combination of “a lot of high talk and a very low walk”, and it caused the Gentiles to blaspheme the name of God. They judged the Lord, as men always do, by those who professed to be His followers. It was true in Isaiah’s day (Isa. 52:5) and it is still true today.
I just recently talked to a man who told me about a fellow employee who has bible verses hanging on his wall and his Bible prominently displayed on his desk. The problem is…this guy talks out of both sides of His mouth. His walk doesn’t match what he says and displays in his office. It doesn’t go unnoticed by his coworkers, either. In fact, just as Paul described here, it causes God to be blasphemed among the nonbelievers who work there.
When people live this way, it makes it hard to witness to others because of the hypocrisy they’ve seen. I can remember when I was ordained as a minister. I went to some of my co-workers at the time and asked them to come. They wanted nothing to do with it. In fact, they began to joke and say things like, “Yeah, now you’re gonna fleece the flock and buy you a Cadillac.” Some of this type of rhetoric was pure nonsense, but then some of it was well deserved because of how some have lived out the gospel. I had to ask myself, “Have I lived in a way that would make someone think that way?” I think it’s a great question for us to ask. It’s a question that helps keep us living between the rumble strips. If we regularly ask it, it would help keep us out of the ditches of life.
As a believer, all of our life is to be lived for God’s glory. All of it: work, hobbies, family, raising kids, mowing the grass, taking care of the house, fixing the car, driving kids to school, making lunches, difficult times, good times, times of laughter, and times of sadness. All are to be lived for the King. We’re not called to compartmentalize our lives. We find the greatest joy when we live a single story life. We don’t live our life where the spiritual is upstairs and the real world is down below. No, the gospel is to be all encompassing; every area of our life. It should be transformational, continually drawing us to Christ and making us more and more into His image.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians.