This message is part 5 of this series and the last part, may God be glorified. In the last four messages, I indicated that the main theme of this message is about Christians whose lives contradict scripture, and thereby dishonor God. I indicated 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 previous messages we dealt with the first three points. The first which was the claim of special status by the Jews which, covered verses 17 to 18 of Romans 2. In summary of this point, we learned that the Jews called themselves Jews and claimed special religious privilege, the law was the basis of all their hopes, they saw God as having a special regard for them and they took pride in God, they knew God’s will because they had the law, and lastly, they were able to differentiate between what is morally excellent or superior and what is not, because they had been instructed in the law. All this, was what the Jews claimed as special status.The Jews believed that these claims, gave them special status that will protect them from God’s wrath, even if they did not obey the law. This was a sense of false security as we will see later.
The second point which was found in Romans 2:19-20, was that the Jews saw themselves as having special abilities, as a result of their special status, 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, they saw themselves as those who possess the full and complete knowledge of truth because they possessed 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 possessed 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.
The third point was found in Romans 2:21-22. In simple terms Paul was accusing the Jews of being hypocrites who went against the very things that they preached or professed with their mouths. The very things that they were teaching the Gentiles not to do, they were doing themselves. Because of their special status of possessing the written law of God, they claimed the special ability to teach others right from wrong and yet, they did wrong themselves.
In this message, we will look at the consequences of this type of behavior that the Jews displayed because they possessed the law.
The Consequence of the Conduct of the Jews (Rom 2:23-24)
“You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”” (Romans 2:23–24, ESV)
The Jews claimed special status and special ability because they possessed the law. Their special ability involved seeing 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, they saw themselves as those who possess the full and complete knowledge of truth because they possessed the law from God, and thereby can impart skills and knowledge to the Gentiles to ensure they are not easily deceived. But we see Paul accusing the Jews, despite their possession of the law, of doing the very wrong things that they were preaching to the Gentiles not to do. We saw Paul among others, accusing them of committing theft, adultery and robbing temples. The very things prohibited by the God’s law that they possessed and claimed special status and ability because of.
Paul in verse 23, tells them that they boast in the law, they find pride in the possession of God’s law, they are proud of possessing God’s law, but here is the thing, they dishonor the very same God who gave them the law by breaking it. Then Paul quoted Isaiah 52:5 and tells them that the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of them. In Isaiah, the people of God are under slavery to the Assyrians and before that, they were under slavery in Egypt. God is then saying that as long as His people remain in slavery, His name is despised because, what kind of God allows His people to be in this position. We all know that Israel found themselves in this position because of their disobedience to God and this was a righteous judgement on them. Despite this being a righteous judgement, the name of God was still being despised. It was a direct consequence of the disobedience of Israel that the name of God was being despised, and Paul told the Jews that, their breaking of God’s law, has equally led to the name of God being blasphemed, being cursed, spoken of in vain among the Gentiles. How can these Jews who claim to have this powerful God who gave them the law and yet at the same time, break the very law that he gave them. Can you imagine then the blasphemy that went out against God. This is the accusation that Paul was labeling against the Jews.
The Jews claimed special status because they were in possession of God’s written law. They also claimed special status coming out of their possession of God’s written law. Despite having this law, it did not stop them from breaking the very same law. They did not see this breaking of God’s law as something that will bring judgment on themselves since they are special people who have God’s law. So somehow God’s law was a get out of jail card for them. Paul burst their bubble by saying that they dishonor God and cause His name to be blasphemed among the Gentiles by breaking the very law of God that He gave them.
How does all this apply to us? Well, if you call yourself a Christian today, then you need to examine your life to see if indeed you practice what you preach. You need to examine your life to see if you are not living against the very truth that you claim to represent. Does your life reflect the truth of the message you claim to represent? Do you live a life that reflects what you preach? If not, you are causing the name of God to be dishonored and blasphemed among unbelievers. Unbelievers look at your life and question what kind of God would allow someone who claims to love Him behave in the manner that you do. They question what kind of God would allow His laws to be broken by those who love Him, in the way you are breaking them. Your life of disobedience brings insults, curses, mocking against God. In Luke 6:46, Jesus asked why we call Him Lord if we don’t do what He says. In 1 John 5:3, John says to love God means to obey His commandments. Your disobedience dishonors God.
So, please repent and as Paul urges in Ephesians 4:1
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,” (Ephesians 4:1, ESV)
I also urge you to repent and walk in a manner worthy of the message that you claim to represent.
As a christian, you must live the truth that you have been commanded to preach, and to teach all unbelievers the very same 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 and to reflect these truth in your life.
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.