Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 25

This entry is part 25 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as
pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by
works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God” (Romans 4:1-
2). Paul reminds them that the world had become guilty before
God, and that all had sinned, and it was impossible to be saved
without faith. Salvation In Christ, He explains, does not bring
shame, but instead declares a man righteous. He that is saved as a
righteous man has a confidence accompanying his salvation. “What
advantage then hath the Jew?” and, “What then have we more than
they?” and again, “where then is boasting? it is excluded” and here,
“what then shall we say that Abraham our father?” Although the
Jew insisted on declaring circumcision as what made Abraham
important, Paul wishes to show, that it was by faith that he too was
justified. He that glories in his own works has his own labors to put
forward: but he that finds his honor in having faith in God, has a
much greater ground for glorying to show, in that it is God that he
glorifies and magnifies. To believe that it is possible for God to do
things which are impossible requires a soul of no uncaring stature,
and one which is earnestly affected towards Him; for this is a sign
of sincere love. This man indeed honors God, who fulfils the
commandments, but he doth so in a much greater degree if he also
follows wisdom by his faith.
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it
was counted unto him for righteousness” (v. 3). The man who
attains righteousness through forgiveness has no grounds for
boasting.  Abraham had no grounds for boasting for the exact same
reason.
“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of
grace, but of debt” (v. 4). The reward is reckoned to a person that
works, because it is his due. Return rest assured that if we could so
work as to bring God in debt to us to the extent of our salvation, he
would pay that debt. But for that to be true, a person’s work would
have to be perfect – he would have to so live as to never sin, or
never incur any guilt. No perfection of works will blot out, or forgive,
a sin already committed, however, nor make void grace in the
forgiveness of that sin. Something to think about:  If a human being
is made righteous without any human effort, then why aren’t all
righteous?  It is certain that most of them are not making any effort
to attain righteousness.

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that
justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (v. 5).
Is righteousness a much greater reward than a debt due? Certainly,
Paul did not mean to say that God makes the person righteous who
will not obey him, the person who simply does nothing. If so, he
puts a premium on the very thing from which the gospel is intendant
to save us, and contradicts other things said by him. Grace
provided the plan by which sinners are saved, or made righteous,
and grace tells us how to come into possession of that salvation.
God’s grace is in every command he gives. The sinner was lost,
God prepared the way which he could get out of that lost state, and
this is grace. On the day of Pentecost the way had been prepared
and revealed to the people, in response to their question, Peter told
them how to get in that way.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 24

This entry is part 24 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith
without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28). Here he may draw
hurtful conclusions, if we do not keep in mind Paul’s line of
argument. Paul is not contrasting faith and the obedience of faith,
but he is contrasting justification by works of the law and
justification by faith. In chapter 1:5 he speaks of “the obedience of
faith” – that is, obedience of which faith is the source or foundation –
an obedient faith. Works of the law is an entirely different thing from
obedience of faith. When Paul talks about faith, he means an
obedient faith. Many have stumbled through Romans without ever
recognizing the fact that Paul makes that plain in the very beginning
of his letter. To make works of law refer to the obedience of faith is
to cover ourselves in a fog of confusion from which we will not be
able to emerge with any clear ideas of the gospel plan of salvation.
To be justified by works of the law requires that works, as
measured by law, be perfect. A sinner can never be justified by
works of law, for no amount of works will change the fact that he
has sinned. But the death of Christ made it possible for those who
believe in him to be justified. Here, however, another hurtful error
has been made – namely, the limiting of faith to and acceptance of
him as a sacrifice for our sins. Faith is decidedly too limited in
scope, if it does not include also submission to Jesus as our King;
for Jesus will save no one in whose heart he is not allowed to reign
as King. The death of Jesus Christ, for all, made it possible for all to
be saved. 
“Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the
Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which
shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through
faith” (vs. 29-30). The Jews did not think that God would recognize
a Gentile, unless he became a part of the Jewish nation. In their
estimation he was the God of the Jews only – a tribal, or national,
God. Many of the early Christians of Jerusalem taught that Gentile
Christians had to be circumcised and keep the law, or they could
not be saved. They could see no salvation for any but Jews; hence,
they demanded that Gentile Christians become Jews. It is a pity
that this tribal idea of God is now being advocated, with slight
modifications, by Christians among gentiles. Paul had much contention with those who had that conception of God. This one
verse, properly considered, will destroy any such false conceptions
of God. He is the God both of the Jew and Gentile – the God of all
nations. He is equally related to all and all are equally related to
him, for He is one. He is not one kind of God to the Jews and
another to the Gentiles. It would seem that Paul meant to make a
distinction between the phrases “by faith” and “through faith”, else
why use the two phrases?
“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid:
yea, we establish the law” (v. 31). How do we establish the law by
faith? Certainly not in the sense that we set it up or make it binding.
But, if we come to the Lord Jesus Christ that we may be forgiven of
sins committed against the law, do we not thereby show that we
recognize its binding force? Of course, we do, by obeying Christ’s
and rejecting the world.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 23

This entry is part 23 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his
blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are
past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time
his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him
which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:25-26).

Part 23

“Whom God set forth”, that is, publicly exhibited him. To
propitiate is to appease, to render favorable. When Jacob was to
meet Esau, he sent gifts to Esau to appease his wrath, to cause
him to have a favorable feeling toward Jacob. It is not meant that
God was angry toward the sinner in the same sense that men
become angry. On the contrary, the whole plan of redemption grew
out of God’s pity and compassion for sinful men. But God’s law had
been violated, his authority had been disregarded, and man was
under condemnation. There is, so to speak, such a thing as legal or
judicial wrath. A judge and a jury may find that a man is guilty as
charged in the indictment; and yet the man’s sorrow and
repentance may be so manifest that both judge and jury would
earnestly wish that there might be some way to clear him, and at
the same time uphold the majesty of the law; but there is no way
that they can show that they are right in freeing him. To maintain
the law, they must condemn him. Let that serve as a faint
illustration. God’s law had been violated again and again; and yet in
this present dispensation he was justifying sinners; and he had
passed over the sins done aforetime – that is, sins committed under
the former dispensation. How could he show that he was just in so
doing? To ignore since, or to treat them with indifference, would
wreck his moral government. He must be just and the majesty of
his law upheld. Justice demands that the guilty be punished, and
the majesty of the law requires that the penalties of the law be
inflicted on the guilty. How, then, could God be just in passing over
the sins of the former dispensation and in justifying sinners in the
present time? Only because Jesus died for us. He suffered the
penalties of the violated law. Even though he paid the penalty for
our redemption from sin and death, he forces no one to accept the
freedom he purchased. The plan arranges only that those who now
believe in Jesus may be justified. The death of Christ made it
possible for God to be righteous in passing over the sins committed
before the coming of Christ, for the sacrifices they offered pointed

to Christ; the death of Christ made it possible also for God to be
just while justifying sinners now, who believe in Christ.
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of
works? Nay: but by the law of faith” (v. 27). If a man were to live a
perfect life, he would have grounds for boasting that he had always
done the right thing, that no taint of sin ever soiled his spotless life,
and that he stood justified on his own record. But none so lived, for
all have sinned. And recognizing oneself as a condemned sinner,
there is a cause for humility, but no grounds for boasting. And the
greatest ground for humility is the knowledge that an innocent
person died to save me from my own folly. Instead of being the
proud possessor of a spotless character, I have to rely on another
to cleanse me from my own defilement. And this depending on the
innocent to justify the guilty is what Paul calls “the law of faith”. This
law of faith is the plan.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 22

This entry is part 22 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

Continued from Part 21

The “now” is emphatic, in the present case or in the present
dispensation, a plan of righteousness has been manifested, made
known, or brought to light. This plan is distinct from law. And yet the
Jew should not have been astonished at the inauguration of this
new plan of righteousness, for both the Jew and the prophets had
borne witness concerning this plan of righteousness, “being
witnessed by the law and the prophets”

Part 22

Paul does not say that this plan of righteousness was taught
and developed by the law and the prophets, but that they bore
witness, gave their testimony, concerning this plan of
righteousness, which was now, apart from the law, brought to light.
But how witnessed by the law and the prophets? The tabernacle,
with its various services and offerings, was a type of the better
things to come. In speaking of these thing, Paul adds this
explanatory clause, “Which is a figure of the time present”, or for
the present time (Hebrews 9:9). In this way, and also in God’s
promise to Abraham, the law testified, or gave witness, concerning
this plan of righteousness. And the prophets also gave their
testimony concerning this plan of salvation through Christ, this plan
that has now been manifested, or brought into view.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus
Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no
difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24).
All, both Jew and Gentile, need the gospel salvation; for all
have sinned – all have come short of the glory of God. This
salvation for all who was according to God’s plan and purpose. No
distinction. God had chosen Abraham and his seed for a special
purpose. The Jew had failed to grasp God’s purpose; they thought
of Jehovah as their God, and no one else’s. In their thinking he was
a tribal, or national, God. It took a special miracle to convince Peter
that Jehovah was the God of any but the Jews. To correct this
deep-seated idea among the Jews, Paul frequently reminded the
Jewish Christians that now there was no distinction between Jews
and Gentiles. Some of the Jewish Christians never did get over that
tribal idea and drifted into different sects; or split from the original
doctrine. It is a pity that some brethren of late years have revived,
slightly modified, perhaps the Jewish idea that Jehovah is the Jews national God. To justify a person is to declare him free from guilt.
Law cannot declare a person just, or free from guilt, if he had
violated it in only one point. Justification by law was impossible, for
all sinned. But apart from the law, a plan of righteousness had been
revealed. The apostle tells us that this justification is free; and he
further emphasizes the fact that it is free by adding that it is by
grace. It is bestowed gratuitously. It is not arrived at by merit but
comes by grace. And it is by faith. By the term “faith” Paul means
all that is implied in accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, Prophet,
Priest, and King. The justification that is offered apart from the law
is also through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, or by Christ
Jesus. It is by what he did that we have redemption.
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in
his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.”

Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 21

This entry is part 21 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

Continued from Part 20

“For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a
trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on
every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy
children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone
upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation”
(Luke 19:43-44). They did not know how to be at peace with God
nor man. And here is the reason: there is no fear of God before
their eyes. They had no reverence for God, and therefore no regard
for their fellow man.

Part 21

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith
to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped,
and all the world may become guilty before God” (Romans 3:19).
Here the entire Old Testament is referred to as the law, for Paul
had been quoting from various parts of the Old Testament. What he
had quoted were, therefore, words directed to the Jews; they were
guilty of the crimes mentioned in the quotations. “That every mouth
may be stopped”. That all might so feel their guilt as to be unable to
answer back or make any defense. The Jews could not deny what
their own inspired prophets had said. “And all the world may be
brought under the judgment of God”. The Jew readily granted that
the Gentile was under the judgment of God, and now Paul proves
from the Jewish scriptures that the Jew was likewise under the
judgment of God. This was difficult for the Jew to admit. He was
placed on the same playing field as the Gentile.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be
justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (v. 20).
Had they kept the law perfectly, they would have been justified by
the law, but Paul had proved by their own scriptures that they had
not kept the law. He had shown them to be guilty of many and
grievous sins, “for through the law cometh the knowledge of sin”.
That which might have been the means of their justification had, on
account of their sins, become the means of their conviction. This
conviction, this feeling of sinfulness, did not come to them through
some direct operation of the Holy Spirit, but through the plain
statements of inspired men. Paul showed that the Gentile, while
relying upon natural law as his human wisdom interpreted it, had
plunged into all sorts of sin. He had not even lived up to the law of
nature. Paul also showed that the Jew, instead of living up to the
demands of the law of Moses so as to be justified by it, had so transgressed the law as to be condemned by it. All, both Jews and
gentiles, were condemned sinners, and were lost, unless some
plan could be presented that would make righteous men out of
sinners. The law would justify a man, if he kept it perfectly, but it
could not justify one after he had transgressed the law.
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is
manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets” (v. 21).
In Paul’s language, the term “the law” refers to the law of Moses.
The American standard version has “apart from the law”, but there
is no “the” in this phrase in the Greek. This righteousness was
“apart from law”, any law, whether the law of Moses or the law
under which gentiles lived. The “now” is emphatic, in the present
case or in the present dispensation.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 20

This entry is part 20 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

Continued from Part 19

When a person studied the scriptures for any other purpose than to
know God and to be able to do his will, there is no telling what sort
of absurd conclusions he may arrive at. And let us know, let us
follow on to know Jehovah, Hosea 6:3.

Part 20

“They are all gone out of the way, they are together become
unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans
3:12). This is because they did not understand and would not seek
after God. To God they were not profitable; he could not use them
in his plans. They were not born in that condition, but had turned
aside and became unprofitable. None Where absolutely good; all
had sinned.
“Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they
have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose
mouth is full of cursing and bitterness” (vs. 13-14). That is a strong
figure of speech. From their throats would come words as offensive
as the odors from an open sepulcher. How expressive of the
filthiness of their speech! Deceit was one of the sins charged
against the Gentiles. Now the Jews are also charged with the same
sin. No dependence can be put in what a deceitful person says.
Paul also charges that their words were poison like the poison of
asps, that their mouth was full of bitterness and cursing. A deceitful
person is a liar for gain of some sort, but he expects everyone to
believe him; and if you find out that he is a liar, he becomes bitter
towards you.
“Their feet are swift to shed blood” (v. 15). This expresses
their readiness to murder. From the trial of Jesus we learn that
even their high court sometimes was eager to murder an innocent
victim. 
“Destruction and misery are in their ways” (v. 16). They had
come to be a turbulent race. Read what Josephus says took place
inside Jerusalem while the Roman army laid siege to that
unfortunate city. 
***“Throughout the city people were dying of hunger in large numbers, and
enduring unspeakable sufferings. In every house the merest hint of food sparked violence, and close relatives fell to blows, snatching from one another the pitiful supports of life. No respect was paid even to the dying; the ruffians [anti-Roman zealots] searched them, in case they were concealing food somewhere in their clothes, or just pretending to be near death. Gaping with hunger, like mad dogs, lawless gangs went staggering and reeling through the streets, battering upon the doors like drunkards, and so bewildered that they broke into the same house two or three times in an hour. Need drove the starving to gnaw at anything. Refuse which even animals would reject was collected and turned into food. In the end they were eating belts and shoes, and the leather stripped off their shields. Tufts of withered grass were devoured, and sold in little bundles for four drachmas” (The
Siege of Jerusalem, AD 70 by Josephus).
“And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear
of God before their eyes” (vs. 17-18). Had they loved peace, they
could have found it. They did not know how to be peaceable. On
this point Jesus testified against them. “And when he was come
near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst
known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong
unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes” (Luke 19:41-
42). That Jesus here referred to their social and political peace is
clear from what he immediately adds: “For the days shall come
upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and
compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay
thee even with the ground, and thy children

Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 18

This entry is part 18 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

Continued from Part 17

Paul shows not only that there is no difference between the Jew
and the uncircumcised, but that the uncircumcised has the
advantage, if he pays attention, and that it is he that is really the
Jew; and so he says: “For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly”
(v. 28). So far as the flesh was concerned, a Jew was a Jew, no
matter how he lived; but he was not God’s Jew, not such a one as
God would recognize, unless he has a heart true to God. Outward
circumcision was necessary to a Jew but outward circumcision was
considered worthless; unless it was accompanied by
the circumcision of the heart.  

Part 18

“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there
of circumcision?” (Romans 3:1) The Jew saw himself above all
other nations and they were proud of their position. Paul is trying to
focus them and really cause them to question their own importance.
Why was being a Jew advantageous? Circumcised?
“Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were
committed the oracles of God” (v. 2). This means that God put His
trust in the Jew. He trusted that they would be able to manage the
written law placed in their hands. They received many blessings
from God, but their greatest was receiving the oracles.
“For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make
the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but
every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in
thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged” (vs. 3-
4). God promised that he would bless the Jew. Although, they
mostly always were disobedient to Him, He still kept His end of the
deal and blessed them. If He refused to bless them, could we rely
on His promises? What about their lack of faith, should that
interfere with God’s Promises?
“But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of
God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh
vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God
judge the world?” (vs. 5-6) When mankind fell into sin, God brought
forth the gospel message which showed His righteousness. What
can be concluded from this? Is God unrighteous for punishing us?
Did our actions force God’s hand and cause Him to respond with a
great show of righteousness? May it not be so. If it were so,
however, how would God judge the world.

“For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie
unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not
rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we
say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just”
(vs. 7-8). The line of thinking that has been brought forth shows a
person who is trying to justify himself. The justifier would have a
certain line of reasoning that would seem to be this twisted. He
might conclude, our actions eventually brought forth the gospel
message, because we forced God’s hand. Therefore, our actions
are ultimately good. In this case, why should I be condemned. With
the same line of thinking we could conclude, “Let us do evil, that
good may come”. If this was truth than the more sin we commit, the
better off we should be. To change their thoughts on the matter,
Paul condemns this in his next verse of scripture.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 19

This entry is part 19 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we
have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under
sin” (Romans 3:9). Proving that all were under sin had been the
object of all that Paul had said from early in chapter one. This he
had done to prove that all were condemned and in need of the
gospel of God to save them. “What then? Are we better than they?”
These are the types of questions a Jew would ask after hearing
Paul’s reasoning in the preceding verses. The Jew had so many
advantages he would naturally think himself better than others. But
he had such poor use of these advantages that Paul swiftly
answers “No, in no wise: for we before laid to the charge both of
Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin.” The Jew had not
lived up to the law, and therefore was not justified, the Gentle had
also failed of justification, for he had not lived up to the light he had.
Neither was superior to the other; for they were all sinners.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There
is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God”
(vs. 10,11). Paul gives a number of quotations from the Old
Testament scriptures to prove from their own profits the sinfulness
of the Jews. After making the general statement that none of them
were righteous, Paul shows how they were sinful. The Jews were
great students of the scriptures, and yet they did not understand.
They had an accurate understanding of the requirements of the
law, however, they failed to understand the significance of the
things required. They did not understand that their whole system
was temporary. In their estimation, the whole system of Judaism
was God’s permanent order of things, and they were always to be
God’s special people. But Jesus used language about them more
emphatic than the language Paul used, He said: “blind guides”,
“fools and blind”. To those who were supposed to be especially
skilled in the law Jesus said, “Woe unto you lawyers! For you took
away the key of knowledge”. Even the key to a correct
understanding of their scriptures had been hidden in the rubbish of
their notions or traditions. Let those who think the Jews had such
an accurate understanding of Kingdom matters consider what
Jesus and his inspired apostles set about them. “There is none that
seeketh after God”. Perhaps no people ever studied the scriptures
more than did the Jews, yet they were not seeking after God. To
seek after God is to seek to know and to do his will, to make

his thoughts our thoughts and his ways our ways. Pharisees,
lawyers, and scribes studied that they might be informed and
formally correct; so that they might stand well with their fellow Jews.
Instead of seeking to be justified in the sight of God, they sought to
justify themselves in the sight of men. Jesus said to them, “And he
said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men;
but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed
among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). “They
loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).
Such a frame of mind was contradictory to them for heart seeking
after God. “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of
another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?
(John 5:44) When a person studied the scriptures for any other
purpose than to know God

Paul’s Letter to the Roman’s Part 17

This entry is part 17 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

Paul’s Letter to the Romans (17)
If he can do so, it is the same as if I had no written contract. And
that honestly represents the condition of the Jew. Why boast of
being circumcised and of having the law, if he had broken the
covenant? The Jew put stress upon the sign and not the substance.
He boasted of the covenant and broke it every day.

Part 17

“Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of
the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?”
(Romans 2:26) See how Paul acts. He does not say that the
uncircumcision overcomes circumcision, but that the
uncircumcision has become circumcision. And he next enquires
what circumcision is, and what uncircumcision is, and he says that
circumcision is well doing and uncircumcision is evil doing. He had
just stated the doctrine that circumcision was of no value to the
person who did not live right. But what of the Gentile who lived in
harmony with the moral requirements of the law, though he had not
been circumcised? In not being circumcised the Gentile violated no
law, for the law did not require the Gentile to be circumcised.
Hence, the Gentile could neglect circumcision without sin; and if he
lived a moral upright life, he would be considered as if he had been
circumcised. Some Romans, in their anxiety to get rid of the
necessity of baptism, argued that Paul’s a reasoning on
circumcision could be applied to baptism. They ask: “If an
unbaptized person lives right, shall he not be considered as if he
had been baptized?” But their effort at running that sort of parallel
fails. Gentiles had not been commanded to be circumcised, and
therefore violated no law, committed no sin, in not being
circumcised; whereas gospel obedience, including baptism, is
required of all people. Everyone to whom the command to be
circumcised extended had to be circumcised or be cut off from his
people; he had broken the covenant, and was no longer considered
one of God’s people. If, therefor, these theologians could establish
a parallel between circumcision and baptism, they would thereby
prove that everyone to whom the command to be baptized
extended would have to be baptized or be cut off. Paul’s purpose
was to make all men see themselves as condemned sinners and to
cause them to realize their need of salvation through Christ.
“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?” (v. 27) The uncircumcised by nature are gentiles. “Judge”

is here used in the sense of condemn. “The letter” refers to the law
of Moses. The Jews had the law and were circumcised. Paul,
therefore, affirms of the Gentile, if he fulfilled the law, would
condemn the Jew. Just as Noah by his ordinance, condemned the
world. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as
yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by
the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the
righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).
“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that
circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 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”
(Romans 2:28-29). Paul shows not only that there is no difference

Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 16

This entry is part 16 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

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. 

Part 16

“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?