We saw in the previous message how the law gave the Jews special status which led them to claim certain special abilities as a result. I indicated in the last message that I have divided this message into 4 headings namely:
- The claim of Special Status by the Jews (Rom 2:17-18)
- The Claim of Special Ability by the Jews (Rom 2:19-20)
- The Contradictory Conduct of the Jews (Rom 2:21-22)
- The Consequence of the Conduct of the Jews (Rom 2:23-24)
In the past two messages, we have already dealt with the first point regarding the claim of special status by the Jews, and we have already started with the second point regarding the claim of special ability. As indicated in the past message, the one common factor which serves as a basis for the Jews’ claim of special privilege was the law. The Jews claimed special privilege because they received the law from God, because they had all their hopes in the law, because they took pride in God who gave them the law, because they knew God’s will because they had the law, and they could differentiate between what is morally excellent or superior and what is not, because they had been instructed in the law. The basis of their special claim was therefore the fact that they had the law of God in their possession. Based on this special privilege that the Jews had because of the law, they claimed that they had special abilities as a result.
We have already dealt with 1 of the 4 claims of special ability by the Jews in the last message and it was that the Jews were convinced that, because they possessed the law and the Gentiles did not, they could assist the Gentiles by guiding them to the truth of God. I would encourage that you read the previous message to better understand this one. Here is the link: https://undilutedwordofgod.co.za/2019/02/christians-who-dishonor-god-part-2.html
“and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?” (Romans 2:19–21, ESV)
2. A Light to those in Darkness (Romans 19(b))
Not only did the Jews claim that they are a guide to the blind as indicated in the previous message, but they also claimed that they were a light to those who are in darkness. We see this in verse 19(b): a light to those who are in darkness. In this metaphor, those who are in darkness are the Gentiles and those who are the light are the Jews. The Jews having indicated that they can guide the Gentiles to the truth, once the Gentiles get to the truth, for them to see the truth, they must get out of darkness, and the Jews saw themselves as the light the Gentiles required for them to see the truth. In other words, not only can the Jews lead the Gentiles to the truth but they can explain the truth in such a way that the Gentiles can clearly see it.
3. An Instructor of the Foolish (Romans 20(a))
The Jews also claimed that they were instructors of the foolish. We find this in verse 20(a): an instructor of the foolish. The word instructor means a person whose occupation is teaching and one who especially admonishes and corrects. To admonish means to reprimand and to correct means to show mistakes with the aim of rectifying them. The word foolish means one who lacks good judgement. The Jews saw the Gentiles as those who lack judgement, and they saw themselves as those who are able to rebuke them and correct them. They saw the way the Gentiles were living and rightfully concluded that they lacked good judgement and they, as Jews were in a position to correct that.
4. A Teacher of Children (Romans 20(b))
Lastly the Jews saw themselves as teachers of children because they had in the law, the embodiment of truth. We see this in the last part of verse 20: a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—. The word teacher in this verse means a person who instructs others by imparting skills or knowledge. The word children here means a person exhibiting childlike naivete and credulity. The two words simply mean being immature. The Jews saw the Gentiles as those who are behaving like immature children who can be easily deceived, and they saw themselves as in a position to can impart necessary knowledge and skills to them. They felt this way because they had the full and complete knowledge of the truth in the law that God had given them.
The Jews saw themselves as those who can lead the blind Gentiles to the truth. They saw themselves as those who can clearly explain the truth to the Gentiles who were in the dark. They saw themselves as those who could correct the Gentiles who lacked good judgement. Lastly, the saw themselves as those who possess the full and complete knowledge of truth because they had the law from God, and thereby can impart skills and knowledge to the Gentiles to ensure they are not easily deceived. This is what the Jews claimed they could do because they had the law of God. Here is the thing, the Jews were actually telling the truth. They were indeed in a position to do all of this because they had the law. On top of that, God expected them to do exactly that.
How does all of this apply to us today? Well, we saw in the previous message that, just like the Jews of Paul’s time, if you call yourself a Christian today, you also claim special privilege. Now this privilege that you claim by calling yourself a Christian, comes with responsibilities towards unbelievers. According to Matthew 5:13-16, you are to be the salt and the light to the world. In 2 Timothy 4:2, you are to preach the word in season and out of season by reproving, rebuking and exhorting. In 1 Timothy 5:20, you are to rebuke those who persist in sin. In Matthew 28:18-20, you are to go out into the world and make disciples and teach them to obey the commands of Jesus, etc.
Now just like the Jews had a responsibility to guide the blind, be a light to those in darkness, instruct the foolish and teach the children, because they possessed the law of God, you claiming to be a Christian today, likewise have a responsibility to do likewise. In the Jewish time, the blind, those in darkness, the foolish, and the children, was anyone who was not a Jew, that is all Gentiles. Today, for every Christian, the blind, those in darkness, the foolish, and the children, are all unbelievers.
As a christian, you likewise have a responsibility to guide, to be a light, to instruct, and to teach all unbelievers the truth, which is that:
- God created us (Genesis 1:26-27) and therefore owns us,
- He expects us to glorify Him or reflect His character (Isaiah 43:7),
- the wrath of God abides in all of us as we speak (Romans 1:18), because God expects us to be holy (1 Peter 1:16) and we are not (Romans 3:23) .
- We are not holy because we are naturally sinners (Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3) and none of us are righteous (Romans 3:10).
- Now since God is going to judge every single person based on His righteousness (Acts 17:30-31), we will all fall short because none of us are righteous (Romans 3:10).
- Jesus is the only solution (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Jesus Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, He was buried and He was raised from the dead in accordance with the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-5) . Therefore, all unbelievers must repent (Acts 17:30-31) and put their faith in Jesus Christ. This is your responsibility to preach these truth to unbelievers if you claim to be a Christian.
If you are not a Christian as you read this message, please hear these truth today and repent and place your trust only in Jesus Christ for your salvation. Confess your sins, be prepared to accept the consequences of your sins, turn away from your sins and ask God for mercy. Ask God for the ability to see Jesus for who He truly is and to trust and obey Him. Will you do it today? Please do this today before it is too late.