Day 3 Read: Romans 2:17-24
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.”
Reflect: What were the people Paul addressed in these verses trusting in?
Consider: Jewish self-righteousness stemmed from a basic misunderstanding of what it meant for them to have been the favored recipients of the law. It is true that in the law they had the “embodiment of knowledge and truth.” But knowledge and truth were intended to be carried out in the affairs of life. They were never meant to be co-opted into the service of personal self-aggrandizement. The Jewish audience to whom Paul wrote fell miserably short of God’s intention for those so blessed with divine favor. They serve as a type of all believers who prostitute the blessings of God to serve their own selfish instincts.3
Respond: Do you have the tendency to trust in your own religious performance? Why do you think that pull is so strong? How does trusting in your own acts of righteousness actually dishonor the sacrifice of Jesus?
3 Robert H. Mounce, Romans, vol. 27, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 99.