Day 3: Romans 2
Have you ever been asked to do Jury Service? I never gave this much thought until it happened to me. I had to serve on a jury which determined an individual’s innocence or guilt. In the end, the verdict was ‘not guilty’ as the evidence was not enough to determine otherwise. I wondered if being declared innocent brought any real change to that person’s life choices afterwards.
In this passage the apostle Paul reminds the church at Rome of God’s overwhelming kindness to them (v4). All were guilty of sin but God through Christ offers forgiveness. This should bring about repentance in them, which some were failing to grasp. Hypocrisy persisted as church members judged the lifestyles of others while practising the same things themselves – stealing, marital unfaithfulness, and idolatry (v22).
Paul makes clear that God will judge the world with perfect fairness (v5, 6) and the basis for this is not whether we know God’s written law. The Gentiles (non Jews) who didn’t have it handed down to them but who had the ‘spirit’ of the Law written in their hearts, they also stand forgiven, not condemned (v14, 15).
(True) circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code – v29
If there is no inner change and heart transformation, our lives cannot instruct others (v21). It’s useless celebrating our blessings in Christ and assurance of forgiveness, if we are not ‘living it out.’ Receiving God’s kindness in Christ is a process that happens within, not something done to the body. Paul shows us here that trying to impress on the outside does not impress God and he will judge the motivations of the human heart (v16). What matters is living to please God (v29)!