Romans 2:12-29

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I’m going to invite you to Romans chapter two today. Romans Chapter two is where we’re going to be an important passage of scripture. And I know I’ve already gotten some flak about today’s title, Be Spiritually Disturbed. That’s not a common theme for us. Just so you know, I don’t know what a little bit of Halloween in me. I don’t know what that’s about, but I don’t celebrate that. But but to think about being spiritually disturbed is not something you walk into church, you’re like, Oh, yeah, I won’t make this church my home. Right? So. So if you’re new to ABC, just know in the beginning of Romans, this is the first few chapters of Romans is a fairly uncomfortable section of scripture. But there’s there’s some importance to it. It’s not it’s not intended to disturb you just to leave you there. It’s kind of as we go through this passage of scripture, it’s going to build within us something great that Jesus wants to do. But but to help us understand why I chose such an interesting title, let me just start with an illustration. There was a book recently written called Resilient by a Christian Counselor. And in the book, one of the things that he did is he interviewed a counselor at a at a university. And one of the things that the counselor from the university said that was interesting about younger people coming into the universities today, he said their social and emotional maturity is about equivalent to what a 12 year old would be just a generation ago.

And and I’m not saying that to say and that’s every young person on the planet. I’m not saying that that’s our young people here. We’ve got it great young people in our church. I’m just I’m just repeating what they said. They just it was an interesting they began to speculate as to what those reasons were for the developmental delay of what they’re seeing in young people going into universities today. And part of what they were dancing around is the idea of experience that permitted them the opportunity to maturity. Today, we have so many things available at our fingertips that a lot of times you’ll know, even with young people today when you were if you’re a little bit older and you thought about turning the age of 16, you couldn’t wait to go out, get your driver’s license and go explore the world. And now you see within young people today, there’s just this delay that they’re getting a little older and older before they even take that step, because a lot of what they want to experience in life just comes straight to their fingertips. And so with that, there’s a maybe a lack of of just getting out there with some certain experiences in life. But whatever it is, there’s this delay to today compared to a generation ago and just the exponential development of people that’s affecting their their social and emotional interaction.

And and maybe maybe a part of that would be parenting. Right. And think about parents sometimes just want to do your best for kids and a part of that. You insulate them and protect them and they don’t get to learn by experience and making some mistakes sometimes. And I’m not saying that you specifically as a parent. Okay, But but I am saying that there’s just something about being able to get out there and mess up a little bit, figure some things out on your own without someone just telling you on Google how to think. Right. You get to you get to process through that on your own and maturity develops with that. And in relation to that, I think in our spiritual lives we can we can stunt ourselves spiritually by doing the same thing. And sometimes we think about our own spiritual development. I need to find a place that makes me feel good about me. My best life now helped me to improve me and give me the self-help talk to inspire my life. Don’t say anything difficult. We just want to make this all just just sugarcoated. Right? And Paul takes a different approach in Romans. He he in the beginning of Romans, he sets this this tone for what we can experience in our relationship with God very powerfully.

At first, the first few verses of Romans all the way to verse 16 and 17, he talks about the gospel and for the righteousness of God as revealed in power, the dynamos of God, the dynamite of God in your life made known. And it’s it’s an incredible thought. And then and then from there, he wants to develop within us what that looks like for the power of the gospel to be lived in our lives. But he doesn’t start with just the sugarcoating. He starts with a description of where we are spiritually sort of like this. If you want to plant a garden, you want it to be a solid garden. You’ve got to disrupt the soil in order to get the seed in the ground for it to flourish. And this is what Paul’s doing in the first few chapters of Romans. As it starts in verse 18, he tells us as he talks about the Gospel of God revealed and God’s righteousness revealed. He then says, verse 18, The wrath of God is revealed. Right? And that’s just that is not an easy word to swallow. You like we like to think about God as a great, loving God. And sometimes we always like to consider God and in His wrath or his justice. But in order for God to be good, He must be both. For God to to look at the sin of the world and choose not to do anything about that.

We would look at that God and say, You, you are not a good God because you do not act justly. So you need the justice of God and the love of God. And in order to experience really the fullness of God’s goodness. And he goes on in verse 18 and he starts to explain to us this disruption that is necessary to understand within our soul. So we get a correct perspective of who we are in light of who God is. A lot of times as people, we like to to check our condition by comparing ourselves to one another. But Paul’s reminding us in these these few verses, but that life is not about comparing your goodness to other people. But rather seeing who you are in light of who God is. Because one day you’ll meet him face to face. And he is the ultimate judge and he is holy and he is perfect. And what are you going to say to a God like that? And in Romans chapter one, verse 18, he starts to walk us through the types of people that need to have that disruption within our soul. And he begins with the irreligious and communicating in verse 18 to verse 32 and recognizing who God is and why that’s important. And he gets into the moral people and verse 1 to 2, verse 11, and then today he’s going to talk to the religious people, and the religious people will tend to look at the other two groups and be like, well, you know, irreligious is obvious that God’s going to judge them.

They don’t have any care with God. And and then but the moral people and religious people can look at that and say, you know, well, they’re moral, but they still don’t have it all figured out. Well, look at me, though, because I. I show up to church on Sunday, right? I obey the rules. Not only am I moral, but I’m religious. And Paul is saying it doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from. All of us need to have a healthy understanding of who God is, to allow our souls to come before God transparently, and that disruption to take place in order for God to build something new. And so point number one in your notes, if you have this this morning, Paul starts off, he’s going to transition from the moral into the religious here. But he reminds us of this. We are all accountable to God. We are all accountable to God. Verse 12 Look at this. He says, For all who have sinned without the law will also perish. Without the law and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. And Paul’s starting off with really these two aspects of people. There are the Jewish people and the Gentile people.

That’s it. There’s two two worldviews. He’s he’s approaching here with us. There’s Jew and Gentile Jews receive the law from God. And anyone who isn’t Jew did not receive the law of God. But he’s going to talk a little bit more about that in just a minute. But these these two people groups, he’s sort of separating us and those that without the law will perish. Without the law, those that have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. Now, he’s not saying to these people groups, there’s two different standards by which you’re going to be judged. We’re all coming before a holy God and we’re all going to be judged by the holy God. But he’s saying between those people groups that there there is no one who is not going to be held accountable before God. And he’s going to show that to us here in just a moment. All of us, regardless of where we come from, have an accountability before God. Now, those who have more, there’s more to be expected, right? Like the more you possess in life, the more things you are accountable for. And the Jewish people had had the law given to them. So there’s there’s accountability that comes with that and different than than the Jewish people. But but all of us are going to be held accountable before God. And verse 12 becomes that that breakdown of how this passage will lay itself out and in fact, versus 14 to 16, talk about the first half of this verse, all who have perished without the law and then versus 17 to 24.

We’ll talk about the second half of this verse. All who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. And then he gives us this final wrap up in verse 25 to 29. But but then verse 13, he explains to us why. He says Ford is not the hearers of the law or righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. Now, I know the tendency in reading a verse like that coming from a religious worldview. A religious person would look at that and say, See, see, we got the law. We we’re we’re better than the person that that’s irreligious and the person that’s moral. We we have the law and we can live the law and we can show to God that we’re worthy of his love. And he he can save us. Right? It’s this demonstration you can look at look at those verses and maybe reach that conclusion. But I would just encourage us Keep reading. Romans Right. If we were to take a test on this and I were to say, I’m going to give you a little cheat here, I would encourage you just to go ahead and read Romans 310 or Romans 323 310 tells us no one is righteous.

Our 323 tells us and all of us have sinned. So in this passage, it’s not that here is a law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who are justified. Paul’s got later going to reveal to us that. And in fact, that’s absolutely No. One. There is no one who is justified before the Lord by living out this law because it is an impossibility. We we have all sinned. So point number two, then. And recognizing we’re accountable for God. Paul identifies how in verse 14, This is the second point of your notes. Our conscience holds us accountable. Our conscience holds us accountable. You didn’t know if you’re going to be in a spelling bee today, but the word conscience is con and science, right? With knowledge is what it’s saying that God has intrinsically given to us the the the image of God within us. And so we have this this moral compass that helps us direct in life and and understand and make wiser decisions. Verse 14, he goes on, He says, Like this. He says, For one, Gentiles who do not have the law by nature do. What the law requires. They are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. The show that the works of the law is written on their hearts with their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to the gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Paul saying by nature they’re doing what the law requires. By nature, they’re reflecting the holiness of God within their conscience, because God has made them in the image, in his image. And we have this general idea of of right from wrong not knowing a lick about Jewish law. We live a moral law. We obey a moral law which indicates that there may be a moral lawgiver. I’ve talked to us about the importance of this, and we started in Romans chapter one versus 18 and 32. That that this idea is such an important framework when you when you interact in an atheistic agnostic world, if you have people that that label themselves that way, you call them friends, you have opportunity to converse with them. This is such an important basic basis for for logic, conscience with logic or knowledge when you’re interacting with people because this is the identity of who got is being realized in our life. Many people that claim agnosticism or atheism don’t realize that in order to live that out, they’re actually borrowing from a Christian worldview. Because if they walk in life without a God and by the way, in our culture today, that’s probably the the growing religion. I know people typically don’t think about atheism or agnosticism necessarily as a religion, but what you believe ultimately shapes what you do.

And that in itself is a religion. It’s a belief system. And when we interact with people that hold to that foundation, it gives us a beautiful basis to identify for them where they’re acknowledging the idea of a creator. Because without a creator, without a God who designed all of this to to operate as if today would be like tomorrow is illogical in that worldview and intelligent design suggests an intelligent designer. If this just randomly happened, then life would be chaotic. But when you look at life, it’s got order and meaning. Not only that, but it has got morality right? Like we expect people will generally live with this idea of right from wrong, good over evil. We want good to triumph. How how can we claim anything to be good unless there be someone who moral law givers that gives us what goodness is if we just randomly came into existence, who cares? You’re just stardust bumping into Stardust. In fact, not only do we hold to morality, but we also hold to value as people. We want to be important. But if there is no God, there is nothing more valuable than you, than a rock outside or a dog down the street. It’s just one evolved one way and you evolved a different way. But nothing makes you more special because you’re just stardust.

But we don’t live that way. We live as if there’s logic, as if there’s purpose, as if there’s meaning, as if there is value. That comes from a creator. And this is what Paul’s saying in verse 14 By nature, they’re living these things out from the Lord and that God has even given us a conscience that recognizes it. That conscience bears witness before there was law. You think in the Old Testament, before Moses, what did the people do? There was no Jewish law before Moses, but God gave us conscience and it reflected the goodness of who He is. Your conscience will keep you from doing foolish things, and your conscience will make you feel guilty when you do foolish things. But your conscience does not save you. It reflects the holiness of God, but it does not save your soul from the destruction that that sin brings. And then he and then he says this in verse 16 God judges the secrets. The religion is good at masking. Who we really are. And it’s been said reputation is who people think you are, but your characters who you really are. You can’t hide your character from God. Mark Twain said it like this once. We’re all like the moon. We we all have a dark side we don’t want anyone to see. But God sees it. God sees it. What are you going to do about it? See verse 13 When you think and consider that idea, that verse 13 doesn’t become a passage to liberate you and encourage you.

It becomes a passage that haunts you. Listen, listen to it, for it is not the hears of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. That’s not me. And if we’re being honest, that’s not you. That’s a little disruptive to the soul. But that’s what Paul’s saying. These opening chapters are uncomfortable. And just for a moment, as you go through these chapters for the well-being of your soul, can you can we be okay with being uncomfortable? Because what God wants to do for us and and the chapters that follow is to create something new, something healthy, something powerful in your life. Let’s say it takes a summer to build a squash. But it takes a lifetime to build an oak tree, and that’s what God desires to do and not to just give you these these superficial words that just give you these positive feelings, but to understand that before God, you can be honest with where you are in the brokenness of your soul, because God wants to do a greater work and that there is a reason for which Jesus came. So point number three then in your notes. God’s law also holds us accountable. God’s law holds us accountable. This is where you see him transition now, not just from the idea of moral living with the conscience, but he starts to to dialogue over the religious people.

And he goes on in verse 17, he says, But if you call yourself a Jew. And rely on the law and boast God and know his will and approve what is excellent because you are instructed from the law. I know that’s an incomplete thought, but let me just let me just stop there for a moment. Paul’s recognizing that religious people there are people that can can often boast, and they’re boasting because they see themselves as a proud people, right? Like, well, we’re better than the irreligious and we’re better than the moral because we’ve got the law. We’re God’s special people. That’s how they’re describing themselves. They start to boast in that that identity and religion tends to do one of two things to people. It’ll lead you to a place of of pride or despair. Despair because you’re honest with with the law and what it says. And you recognize you can’t perform that way, or it leads you to pride because you really do buy into it. You think you think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Look at me. Our family has it all together. We’re better than them. And in this verse, he’s talking about the boasting that we we find in that this pride that that builds us up. And that’s what Paul wants to disrupt, to recognize it’s not about your performance.

And they take these identities that create this boasting, this idea of being a Jew and in law. They’re God’s special people. The chosen people. The ones that received the the commandments from the Lord. Doesn’t that make them special? Reminds me of Deuteronomy seven, verse seven, where God told Israel, I didn’t choose you because you were great. In fact, you were the smallest of all peoples. What he’s saying is, look, it’s not about showing how great you are, but rather by choosing the smallest people. It’s about showing the greatness of who I am through you. If they boast in this identity and if we’re not careful, we can do the same thing. Like church attendance or baptism or your your Bible knowledge. And those things are important, but they’re not an end unto themselves. I hear some people say, you know, I’m a Christian, I’ve been a Christian since birth, and can I just tell you there’s nobody in this room that was born a Christian? It’s not even possible if that kind of statement ever comes from your mouth. I can tell you you don’t understand what it means to be a Christian, right? There’s no one in this room that was ever born a Christian. In order to become a Christian, you have to be reborn. And. And you’re walk with Jesus. Like, I’m glad if you grew up in a Christian home and you find some identity there and you enjoy that and you want to talk about being born into a Christian home.

But but the way to Jesus is the same for everyone. And it’s got to come through the cross of Christ. There is this this rebirth. And so our identity isn’t in these things, but our substance belongs to Christ. In fact, in John chapter five, verse 31, Jesus said this You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. And it is they that bear witness about me. She’s just saying it’s not the scriptures themselves, but it’s the point of what the Scriptures contain. And all of it is driven to to your walk in Jesus. God isn’t calling you to religion, but to relationship. And I understand why we need it. And so in verse 19, he goes on, And if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, He goes on further in saying, even worse, sometimes religiously, we can buy into it so much that we start to think we are the answer. We’re the light for the blind. We’re the one that can help you be saved and recognize the day and the most dangerous place for our soul. I would say. Is religion. Because what religion teaches us is how to treat the symptoms. Symptoms? Without healing the problem.

And this is what Paul is driving at in this passage to disrupt us in that place, to recognize it’s not religion that heals. But but, but Christ alone. God doesn’t call us to to religion, but but relationship. And so in verse 20, as an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having the the law of the embodiment of knowledge and truth. And so they’re acknowledging these religious teachers that they’ve got the knowledge and the truth. And and one of the problems they’re identifying, again, it’s this mistake of thinking you’re spiritual because you have information. But rather what you lack is transformation. It’s it’s it becomes this form of legalism without spiritual life. But rather what we should do within our heart is look at a passage like this and ask the question, Lord, how can I surrender my life, my heart, to be forgiven and healed? The problem. Isn’t our behavior. The problem is our heart. Your behavior is simply an indication of something deeper that’s taking place in your life. Verse 21. He then goes on and recognizing this as they talk about having the law and the knowledge and truth, he starts to ask them reflective questions to consider about their own life. These individuals who claim to be the enlightened ones with all of this. He says you. You then who teach others? Do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you yourself steal? You say that one must not commit adultery.

Do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols. Do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law? And we know enough about Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew five to recognize it’s not just about the letter of the law, but the intent of the heart. And the Jews had 613 Commandments. But to suggest to you the 613 Commandments would legislate the immorality of all of humanity is a farce. I don’t think there’s a limit to the amount of laws we could create to try to wrangle in the depravity of the human heart. I think it just happens that the Old Testament has 613 commandments. But the commandments we would have to write in order to get our lives to submit and even then we know won’t be successful, I think could be unending. And Jesus taught us that much of the Sermon on the Mount when he talked about the law. You have heard it said do not commit adultery. But I say you have lusted in your heart. You’ve already done it. Yoo hoo. I tell you, Charlotte, still, you who have covered it in your heart, you’ve already done it. I tell you, do not do not commit murder. You who have had anger in your heart. Where do you think that comes from? The problem is not the behavior.

The problem is the heart. Just adding religion to your life can treat the symptom. But not cure the problem. And Paul reminds us of the significance of this, that you can’t conjure up a list, but rather the law’s intentions, which didn’t come until the time of Moses. The law’s intentions, it tells us in Galatians chapter three, especially verse verse 24 and 25, the laws intentions was to operate as a tutor in order for us to recognize that we can’t fulfill this and what we really need is a Savior Jesus. In fact, when you study the idea of the old covenant, the old law given in the Old Testament, there was this promise in Jeremiah 31 that that our hearts were of stone and it needed to be made of flesh and be made new. And Jeremiah 3131 God promised us there would be a new covenant and we would walk in that new covenant by the power of the spirit that he would renew in us, his life, and that we could live for God’s glory being connected to Him, not because of what we’ve done, but because of what Jesus has done for us. That’s why when you read in John Chapter five, Jesus tells us he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. You can’t remove an old covenant until you’ve fulfilled it. And Jesus came. There’s two ways to to to remove an old covenant.

One is to. To do what it commands and to die under it. And. And Jesus did both of those. He fulfilled it perfectly, and he died for it in order to give us a new covenant in Christ. That we could walk in the spirit, as Galatians five says. And it goes on to say, and against such things, there is no laws. We walk in the spirit. Verse 23 U, who boasts in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. What is reminding us of if you walk in the old covenant, the expectation is to fulfill all of it. So James, chapter two, verse ten, says, He who is guilty of one sin is guilty of all of it. All of it because a covenant is about being faithful. And if you can’t fulfill all of it, then you can’t fulfill any of it. It reminds us of maybe the covenant to marriage. It’s been said that a wife who is 85% faithful to her husband is not faithful at all. That’s the same thing with your covenant to Christ. The expectation, the old covenant is that we would fulfill it, but yet we find that it is an impossibility. Only Jesus himself was able to do it in order to bring us to this place of a new covenant in him. And so in verse 24, it goes on and says this for as it is written, the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.

What he’s acknowledging to the religious leaders. Hypocrisy. Is repulsive. And when we claim to try to live this perfect religious life as if we’re the answer, as if we’ve got it all together. People can see through that. In fact, in Matthew chapter 23, Jesus gives the seven woes to the Pharisee. It’s like Jesus decided to get in a fist fight with a hornet’s nest here, and He goes to the religious leaders of his day. I can imagine the audacity of Christ, the boldness he has. And in doing this in chapter 23 and verse 27, he says this, But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites for you are like whitewashed tombs which outwardly appear beautiful but within are full of dead men’s bones and all unclean. This. The outside beautiful religion does that just makes you look good. Puts on the mask, you know, performs does the part. But then on the inside, completely dead. There was a story I heard of a of a sister who had to go to a pet store for her brother who had surgery. He wasn’t able to to walk and make it there, but he needed his sister to go there because, well, his snake needed a mouse. And she she talked about how horrific this experience was for her. And she said, you know, the worst part, it wasn’t going through the line and picking the juiciest, best mouse for the snake.

The worst part wasn’t even when I checked out with the clerk and the clerk tried to sell me the vitamins to increase the longevity of the life of the snake. That wasn’t even the worst part, she said. The worst part was when they gave me the the mouse in a box and I was taking it home and on the outside of the box it said, Thank you for giving me a new home. It is important before the Lord to let your soul be disrupted. Disturbed. Where is it, really? Because if I were just to give you some self-help, talk to Pat you on the back and tell you you guys are great, right? Like, I want you to be great. I do. And I think we’ve got a great church. I think it’s fantastic church in the way we serve the Lord and live for him. But before God, we don’t come to impress him. We come to be impressed by. Because he’s good. And he forgives. And he heals. He puts the brokenness of her past behind us that we can move forward in his glory, not our own. And his forgiveness, not my achievement. And this is where where Paul is leading us in this story. Hypocrisy drives people away. I think maybe you’ve learned, Christine, in that way. Maybe maybe you teach Christianity to your kids that way, that this this idea of just simply morality, if you treat God like some system of morality, you know, it’s okay.

Just try to do the best you can to the next generation. They just don’t see it as necessary. But if you see the importance of Jesus relationally. And you connect to him knowing he is alive and real and desiring to know you and to forgive you and and to shape you into something new. Hypocrisy drives people away and we don’t need hypocrisy, but rather what we need is humility. Humility. Do you know one of the ways to examine your heart to see is it’s my life, really? Does it walk with that humility before Christ? And one of the ways to maybe examine that and this isn’t the most the perfect way but I’ll tell you, it’s it’s to look at your life to see is is there genuine praise and and Thanksgiving and rejoicing before God that genuine praise rejoicing Thanksgiving acknowledges who you were apart from Christ and now recognizes who you are because of Christ. And you know it wasn’t you. It was this God who relentlessly pursued you by giving his very life that you could find freedom in Him. Verse 25. For circumcision. I should give it to you on the screen, huh? For circumcision, indeed is of value if you obey the law. But if you break the law. Your circumcision becomes un circumcision.

Verse 26 So if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his own circumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised by keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision, but breaks the law. Four. He says no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly. Nor is circumcision outward and physical. Let me let me just stop right there. Verse 28. Obviously the theme of this is circumcision. If you didn’t catch that, he says, It says this ten times in five verses. So let’s have an uncomfortable conversation for a minute. Verse 28, as he’s talking about this, one of the things he acknowledges here, he says, for for no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly. This word Jew. I want to just focus on the significance of this for a moment. You know, when you read the Old Testament, this word Jew doesn’t really appear till later in the Old Testament. And previous to this, God’s people chosen people would have been referred to as Israel. And that story comes from Jacob, right? He wrestled with God. This idea of the name Israel means wrestles with God and. And he refuses to stop wrestling with God until God blesses him. And you know the story of Jacob, he goes on, has 12 sons, and those sons become the tribes of Israel.

And in Israel, they choose to then in their history, as they begin to grow into a nation of people group, they they eventually have the civil war that they split. And ten tribes go to the north of Israel and two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, go to the south and the ten tribes to the north never follow a godly king. And they’re carried off into captivity by the Assyrians, never to be heard from again. But the southern tribes, Benjamin Judah Judah was considered the the larger of the tribes, so their identity became Judah or as we say today, Jew. Short for Judah. As you read the latter half of the Old Testament, you start to see rather than the word Israel used, they start to use the word Judah. Reflecting the people that were left after the Assyrian captivity. The reason I highlight this for you is because I think for us, this is reflective in some ways that of the Christian life. Jesus has a lot of fans. But not as many followers. And there are people that might wear the label of Christian but never really belong to Christ because they never got to that place where their soul was disrupted. Disturbed. To really reflect before a holy God who they were and to surrender that heart to this key, to allow their soul to be forgiven and healed, and for God to make something new. When I think about the tribes of Israel and those that were carried away, I relate it to the idea of of Christianity and wondering where our hearts are before the Lord.

Lots of people can carry the facade of being a Christian. But is your heart genuine before him? There once was a political leader who made free use of Christian vocabulary. He talked about the blessing of the Almighty and in Christian confessions, which would become the pillars of this new government. He wanted. He assumed the earnestness of responsibility. He handed out pious stories to the press, especially to the church papers. He showed his tattered Bible and declared that he drew the strength from his from this great work. Scores of pious people welcomed him in as a man of God. Do you know his name? Adolf Hitler. Now, I will say historically, there are reasons to say and Adolf, as he moved forward, did not claim the truths of Christianity. But he wore the religion. And guys, to me, that’s concerning. In fact, I toyed with whether or not I even wanted to include something like this, because that feels disgusting. A soul needs more than religion. A soul needs true transformation in Christ. A Jew is one inwardly. He goes on to says in verse 29, Look at this, a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart by the spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man, but from God.

I like in this passage, he’s using the idea of circumcision as an illustration, especially when you think first century and previous to this. I mean, could you imagine you’re the first Jew? And Jesus says, I want to set you apart? And you’re like, How? How are you going to do this? God? He says, Even in the most intimate of settings, I want you to remember who is above you and go, Okay, God, I’m up for this. I want to follow you. What do you want me to do? Go to the kitchen. Grab some scissors. We’re going to play a little game, right? I wouldn’t go further than that. I don’t want to create images in your mind here, But but I just think when that kind of decision is being made, you’re going to just you’re going to be extra careful and being certain that what you want to pursue in life is really what God is telling you here. Like, okay, let me just rethink this. Are you really who I think you are? That is a serious commitment, right? And I think he’s saying the same thing here. I. But. But. But good news for you. He means this metaphorically, so no one go home and perform self surgery. But. But he’s. He’s saying this by the spirit, not by the letter. That means don’t don’t go do this physically. But he’s acknowledging there’s something God wants to do in your heart.

There is something God wants to do in your heart. And if you’re not willing to let your soul be disturbed by the greatness of this God. It doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen. This is if what God wants to do within the story, these first few chapters of Romans is to strip us all bare. Not not just the irreligious people or the moral people, but also the religious people, the people that might assume they had it all together in comparison to the rest of the world if anyone’s okay. They might have thought we’re okay. As if to say what you need in life. It’s not religion. But relationship. You need the Spirit of God to make you new. You need the Spirit of God to transform you. And for us as a church, this becomes a monumental to us because what it says is, as God’s people were not above anybody. But rather we’re below Christ and equal to everybody because of who he is. And at the same time, while we’re brought to this position of humble, humble place before the Lord and recognizing our sin before him, it also is this story concludes, at least in this chapter today, it’s saying to us, But you have you’re a people of incredible hope. Here’s why. Because God didn’t give up on you. God will not give up on you. In fact, God wants to do something new in you compared to anywhere in anything you’ve ever experienced.

And it doesn’t happen because of you. It happens because of him. You’re not born into Christianity. You’re reborn into Christianity because of the power of the spirit. And if God’s willing to do this for you, imagine as you continue this story, as God is going to shape something great in your life, when you see the the goodness of God poured out into you and now this incredible identity that comes to us and the rest of Romans, this this beauty that Christ does in us, this is not something that you just keep with yourself. There’s something you can share with the rest of the world, which is why William Carey. I think he said in his life, he’s a great missionary to India. He said this Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God. It’s the father of modern missions. But when he thought about the greatness of what God had done in his life. He recognized that God was with him. And everywhere he went, he could be a reflection of his life, God’s light in this world. And because of the presence of that God, great things could be done. Men, women. For you this morning. I hope you recognize the goodness of who that God is. It’s not a place of just a self-help talk. This is a place where people in death come to life in Christ because of what He has done for us as we surrender ourselves to him.

Romans 2

Romans 3:1-20