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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Romans 3... Part 3

Rom 2:17 But if you bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law and boast in God,

Rom 2:18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,

Rom 2:19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,

Rom 2:20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,

Rom 2:21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?

Rom 2:22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

Rom 2:23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? (ASV)

This is a point of scripture that I have lost more than one student on and once was even told that everybody couldn't be as holy as I was. There are few statements that anyone can make that hurt as much as that one did. My holiness is wrapped up in the fact that I have been set aside for service to my LORD and His Father. My only claim to righteousness is wrapped up in the Imputed Righteousness of Jesus, the Christ. The only difference between me and some Christians is that I have believed in my LORD and my Salvation and have sworn my life to His service. Because God loved me in spite of my many sins, I have, like the Jew of the Bible period, made myself His Bond Slave. I do not have my ear pierced by an Awl but I am just as bound.

Whether we be Jewish Christians or Gentile Christians, we must be careful not to make the mistakes of our fore-runners, the Jew by religion. These seven verses describe a condition of arrogance that is pure sin. The only important difference between a Cop Killer, on Death Row, and myself is that most of them will never call out to Jesus and I did. That places me, smack, in the middle of some very uncomfortable company except for Jesus.

These verses speak to the issue of Judgment also. This subject is a much misunderstood matter today in Christian circles. The problem here arises from several sources. First we have, far, to many Ear Tickling preachers in the pulpits and on Soap Boxes. (They fear the subject because of the next source.) Then we have the World and their skewed version of what Matthew 7:1 means. In Proverbs we learn a great deal about Wisdom and the fact that God has not called us to be foolish. i.e. If I see a man running from a Bank with a pistol, wearing a mask and carrying a sack of money, when he hails me for a ride I must Judge him right there and then. Failure to do so will make me dead or at best an Accomplice after the fact.

Now to the other extreme. We must judge when a brother or a sister in the faith has stumbled. What we are not called to do in this case is to shoot them so that nobody else will know about the shame that can befall a Christian. Rather than go there, we need to take this passage and learn to begin judging ourselves and to pick up a copy of the Nave's Topical Bible and do the Topic Study on Judgment.
The Matthew 7 verse is jerked from the context of the Sermon on the Mount and if we read the Sermon we learn that Jesus, our LORD was teaching us a few things to do and one of them is to judge righteously, the same way that we wish to be judged. This is a touchy subject that deserves a great deal more study than we generally are willing to commit ourselves to do.


Rom 2:25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.

Rom 2:26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Rom 2:27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?

Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.

Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (NASB)

As much as the world hates Christians and loves to misuse Matthew 7:1, to silence us, our Manifesto, this letter to the Romans demands that we not be foolish. When I was a young Atheist, I was a foolish young man. i.e. We had just disengaged from a fire fight to keep as much fire as possible away from the Huey landing in the rice paddy to pick up the pilot and crewchief that had been shot down. As we disengaged, the rescue completed, my pilot climbed out to five thousand feet. On disengaging I looked at the instrument panel and the Fuel Gage was seeking the Empty Mark rapidly.

At five thousand the pilot pulled back to twenty knots and told me to look at the bottom of the ship and to see if we were leaking fuel, I did so without thinking. And just as I hung from that landing skid with no safety devices so do Christians shut-up when they are told to. Just as the Jew, in the Bible, dishonored God by judging others while breaking the same Law they applied, Christians dishonor God.

2Ti 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

2Ti 2:16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,

2Ti 2:17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

The above is from the NASB and the KJV renders verse 15 as study to show thyself approved. Although I often find myself in trouble on Christian Web Sites and have even been banned from a couple for my direct answers that reflect the truth of the scriptures, I will not change! God can change me if it is His will but I know that He will never teach me to dance around the truth. My most recent 10 day suspension from a site is for this series of messages on the letter to the Romans.

When we allow any person, no matter their title, to cause us to water down the Gospel Message, the message of truth, we cause others to speak shamefully of God's called, we become just like the Jew of old. Let's go back to Matthew 7 for a moment;

Mat 7:15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Mat 7:16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?

Mat 7:17 "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.

Mat 7:18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

Mat 7:19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Mat 7:20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits.

Remember, never jerk any verse from it's context, without even leaving chapter seven we learn that verse 1 has nothing to do with foolishly ignoring sin. The Matthew passage, just like this one, is teaching us to live like we are judging others, that is without reproach in the eyes of the only Holy God.