The Jews had reached the point where they thought much and practiced little. We are reminded of what Jesus said of the Jewish leaders: “they say, and do not”. No one should be guilty of adultery, and certainly the man who preaches against it should not be guilty of it.
“For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written” (Romans 2:24). What then is the use of your teaching when ye teach not your own selves? You not only neglect to teach the things of the Law, but you instead teach the opposite. The circumcision, one will say, is a great thing. Yes, I also agree, but when? When it is the inward circumcision. The Jews sought to make proselytes. Jesus said they would compass sea and land to make one proselyte. They might have had great success, if they had lived up to their preaching. It is hard to make anyone believe there is any good in your doctrine, if it has not done you any good. The Jews had so lived as to cause the gentiles to blasphemy their preaching instead of believing it. The Jews had become a hiss and a byword. Read Isaiah 52:5. “Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.” The right kind of living on the part of professed Christians gives them a favorable hearing when they present the gospel. Do not try to sell the gospel by mere talk; show them a sample of what the gospel will do for the people who really believe it. You will then likely make a believer instead of a blasphemer. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).“For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision” (Romans 2:25). Of circumcision God said to Abraham: “And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you” (Genesis 17:11). What is circumcision? Is it a good deed on his part that has it? Is it a manifestation of a right choice? It is surely a victory, when taken in the right regard or when held by them in reverence. Descendants of Abraham and Jacob were not brought into the covenant by circumcision, they were born into that kind of covenant, and were circumcised as a sign of their membership in the covenant. If one was not circumcised, he was cut off from his covenant relationship. “And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant” (Genesis 17:14). Consequently, to the Jew circumcision was indispensable to continued membership in the covenant and it was profitable to him; if he lived in obedience to God. But if he did not obey God’s commands, his circumcision was worthless to him, it was the same as if he had not been circumcised. It was a sign, or token, of the covenant. Paul was seeking to show the Jews that this sign of covenant relationship was worthless to the one who did not live up to the covenant requirements. How does it benefit me to show a written covenant between me and another man, if he can show that I have broken every covenant requirement?