But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”Romans 2:17-24
Remember we are still talking about the judgment of God that will be for both the Jew and the Gentile. Paul has made it clear that sin is the true issue here. It doesn’t matter what linage you are, or how good you are, we all need Jesus. Paul now shows the heaviness and weight of this matter when it comes to the Jew. A Jew is one who professes to know the living God. He professes to follow the one true God. Paul is revealing how the Jew say they possess the law and this is there boast. This had become a point of great pride and they were extremely confident that they had the law and were called God’s holy people.
Paul points out that just because you say that you are His people and that you have the law does not mean that you live by it. It does not mean that to possess the law guarantees your justification by it. No rather, you will be judged by it.
Romans 2: 12 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.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Practice what you preach”? It is often used in a derogatory way to express irritation at those who say one thing but do another. This is essentially what Paul is saying to these Roman Christians. Remember, he is making the case for Christ. He is revealing the need that they have for Jesus and why their works, position, or heritage isn’t enough.
The statement that stuck out to me is this tiny line in verse 21, “…you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?” When I first received Christ, I was full of passion and excitement. I devoured the scriptures fast and hard, much like one might do if they were put in front of a buffet and hadn’t eaten in several days. The ravish hunger takes over, and you barely chew the food, that you are eating. I spent hours devouring content and teaching like that. When it comes to the world’s knowledge, we might ingest it fast with the swipe of our thumbs. But with the Bible, we must learn to slow down. It is hard to get clarity, knowledge, and understanding from something you’ve not thought through. Fast food Christianity often produces anemic Christian living.
Anemia is when you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body properly. It can make you feel tired and weak. I do know that from my experience I spent a lot to time telling others about what I was learning, rather than learning myself. I could point to scripture principals and show others how they weren’t lined up with what it said. (I know, not the best tactic) Instead of sharing Christ and His attributes as revealed in the scriptures. I was busy hoping others would think I was smart. Mostly they just thought I was bossy. I had a bright mind but no power in my life to exercise the truths of the Bible I was reading. I take a much slower process with the Word now. I teach out of what I know and share my experiences instead of teach out of my desire for others to see me a certain way.
James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. This is why Paul said in the last verse of this section, “For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” The Jews were to be a beacon of truth and light for the world, not the truth and light itself. They were supposed to be a picture of the true light, one that would point to the messiah when He arrived. But they were so blinded by their pride and arrogance they didn’t recognize Him when He came. We as Christians, are to be those who point to Christ, though imperfect as we are, He made us His ambassadors.
All is grace,