In Chapter 1 from verse 18, to the end of the chapter, Paul showed how those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, deserve and will face God’s wrath. In Chapter 2, Paul turned his attentions to the Jews who were under the impression that, because they were Jews, they will escape God’s wrath. Paul told the Jews that God will judge them the same way He will judge Gentiles. Then from verse 17-27, Paul replies to the objection by the Jews that, how could they as Jews, be treated like Gentiles, to the point of even being in danger of God’s wrath, when they are God’s chosen people, who possess God’s written law and have a mark of circumcision.
In verse 17-24, Paul replies to the objection regarding the possession of the law, and why that would not protect the Jews from God’s wrath. We have already dealt with this portion of scripture and you can follow the link below to read through that:
In verse 25-29(b), Paul replies to the objection regarding circumcision, and why that would not protect the Jews from God’s wrath. This is what we will deal with in this message.
Circumcision is a matter of the Heart (Rom 2:25-29(a))
“For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. ……” (Romans 2:25–29a, ESV)
What does the text mean?
Paul begins verse 25 with the conjunction “For”. Paul had already indicated in verses 6-16, that Jews and Gentiles will both face God’s judgement and will both be judged the same way. This conjunction then, is indicating that what follows, is Paul’s reply to the implied Jewish objection that, how could they as Jews, be treated like Gentiles, to the point of even being in danger of God’s wrath, when they are God’s chosen people, who possess God’s written law and have a mark of circumcision.
In verses 17-24, Paul indicated to the Jews that their possession of God’s written law, will not protect them from God’s wrath, since they are breaking the very same law, and in the process, dishonoring God among the gentiles. Now, here Paul told them that circumcision is only of value if they obeyed the law. If they broke the law however, their circumcision became worthless and had no value.
Paul continued to argue that if an uncircumcised man or a Gentile, obeys the law, he will be in God’s eyes more of a Jew, than a Jew who disobeys the law. Physical circumcision on its own without obedience to the law, is not pleasing to God and will not protect the Jew from God’s wrath.
Paul then went on to give the Jews reasons why he said that physical circumcision without obedience to the law, would not protect them from God’s wrath. Paul told them that a Jew is not a Jew because of some external things that he must do. Equally so, circumcision was also not an outward and physical thing. But a Jew was one who was a Jew internally, and circumcision is of the heart, based on the Holy Spirit, and not an outward and physical one based on the law.
Paul’s argument to the Jews was very clear, and it was that circumcision was an internal thing, based on the work of the Holy Spirit, and it was a circumcision of the heart. Their physical circumcision was supposed to have reflected the reality that their hearts were already spiritually circumcised, but it was not so. Their hearts were far from God despite their physical circumcision. In fact, their disobedience of the law, despite their physical circumcision, was proof that their hearts were uncircumcised.
How does this text apply to us?
Salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit who changes hearts. Once a heart has been changed, the way the person conducts their lives, will reflect a changed heart. When a person conducts their lives in contradiction to the word of God, it reflects that, the person’s heart has not being changed by the Holy Spirit. Simply because that person claims to be a Christian, it does not make them one.
You can tell the whole world that you are a Christian but that means absolutely nothing, if your life contradicts the word of God. Why? because it simply shows that despite your profession, your heart is far from God, and has not been circumcised by the Holy Spirit. You profess to know and love God but, your life shows that your heart is far from Him. This is exactly what the Jews did. They claimed to belong to God’s chosen people and relied on the law and circumcision, while they broke the law. You also claim to be a Christian but, you contradict the very word of God by the way you conduct your life. The Jews thought that, simply because they had the law of God and were circumcised, they would escape God wrath on judgement day, even if they disobeyed God’s law. You likewise, think that you will escape God’s wrath on judgment day, simply because you claim to be a Christian, even though your life contradicts the very word of God.
Please look in the mirror. How does your life compare to the word of God? Are you living a life worthy of being a Christian? A true Christian would be one who strives continually to be as holy as God is. One who when they do sin, they are saddened by their sin, immediately confesses their sin to God, and repents of that sin. Not one who enjoys sin, and maybe even encourages, and even defends that sin. Christians do sin, but they immediately confess and repent of their sin, instead of enjoying it. If you find yourself claiming to be a Christian, but you enjoy, defend, justify and/or even encourage sin, then your heart might not have been changed by the Holy Spirit and, if you do not repent, and you die in that state, you will face God’s wrath on judgement day, and you will be send to the lake of fire, where you will be tormented day and night, forever and ever. The very Christ, who you claim to be a follower of, will be the very one who will oversee your torment. Repent while you can.
If you have been deceiving yourself into thinking that you are a Christian, and now you realise that you might not be one, this is a time for you to make a decision to confess your sins to God, turn away from your sins, ask God for mercy, and put your trust for your salvation only in Jesus. You can no longer delay this step. The time is now before it is too late. The time of your death is only known to God, and if that happens, it will be too late.
You will know that God has saved you when you no longer enjoy sin, when you no longer defend sin, when you are now saddened by sin and hate sin. Until then, you will face God’s wrath in the lake of fire.
Remember that any time you disobey God’s word, you are placing yourself above God. You are saying that you do not care what God says. You will decide what is right and what is wrong. In other words, you become your own god. You need to confess Jesus as one who has complete and sovereign authority over your life, for you to be saved (Rom 10:9). That is why Jesus asks why you call Him Lord if you do not do what He says (Luke 6:46). If you continue to do what you want, even if it contradicts God’s word, then Jesus is not Lord of your life, but you are. You truly need to acknowledge the authority of Jesus in your life and begin to not only say you are a Christian, but live like a Christian, that is, in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ.
You are not only a Christian, simply because you says so. Your life must reflect that you truly are a Christian. Does it?
Check out our blog at: BLOG