A Much Deeper Problem Than Hypocrisy: Romans 2:17-24
“17) But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 18) and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19) and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20) a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21) you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? 22) You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23) You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24) For “ THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.” Romans‬ ‭2:17-24‬ ‭
Are you ready to wrestle with a profound theological concept? God intended for the Jewish people to be the salt of the earth and the light to the world. But the salt had long since gone bad and the light had gone out. The Law was still the Law, but it lost its status as a moral code for salvation because not even the Jewish people followed it or kept it.
But wait, maybe there was another issue at work under the surface. Maybe the Law was never intended to be a means of salvation. Maybe it was given to expose the sinfulness of mankind and the need for a Savior.
Let’s ask the question another way; If God’s own chosen people could not keep the Law, who could? The answer is, “only Jesus Christ.” Paul is going to drive these points home over the next few chapters.
He concludes that the Gospel is needed because all people are sinful and lost. (See Romans 3:19-20) It is totally futile to embrace a good works based system of religion in an attempt to save yourself. Keeping the Ten Commandments cannot save you, because you have already broken many of them.
What Paul is doing in the opening three chapters of Romans is proving beyond all doubt that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 2:23). He systematically looks at every people group and concludes they are lost. He even pulls the lid off Judaism and shows that God’s own chosen people are lost.
He points out that Religion cannot save people because it fails to make them holy. It can make them do better and feel better, but it fails to deliver the personal holiness needed to enter the into presence of God.
According to 1 Peter 1:16, God doesn’t want us to be better, He wants us to be Holy. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the inner work of the Holy Spirit can produce that conversion. Anything short of that will cause the world to mock at us just like they mocked Judaism. (See Romans 2:24)
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global