Pastor David B. Curtis

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National Hypocrisy

Romans 2:17-24

Delivered 02/06/2011

We are looking at the section in Romans that runs from 1:18 thru 3:20. In this section we see that God is the righteous Judge whose wrath is extended toward the covenant breakers. Most commentators see in 1:18-32 a charge against the Gentiles. But Paul says in verse 18, "Who suppress the truth in unrighteousness"--the word "suppress" here is present tense--they were doing it in Paul's day. Who in Paul's day had the truth, but were suppressing it? It was Israel, and only Israel!

The nations were in darkness, they didn't have the Law and so were condemned without the Law. So Paul doesn't spend a lot of time in this section on wrath condemning them. He focuses on Israel, the covenant people, showing them their guilt before God. So in 1:18-32 Paul shows how Israel had walked away from the truth they had. Then in 2:1-16 we have the principles of Divine judgment, which leave no room for national superiority. This morning we begin verses 17-29 where Paul confronts the Jews in their security, showing them that having the Law and circumcision won't save them from Divine judgment.

Paul's aim in the larger section is to show that all men are under sin. He concludes his argument by saying:

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; Romans 3:9 NASB

Everybody is a sinner and under the wrath of God. And then in verse 19 of this same chapter, he writes:

Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; Romans 3:19 NASB

This is where Paul is headed: All men are sinners, all are accountable to God.

We saw that Paul said:

who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: Romans 2:6 NASB

Paul is saying that judgment is according to works. He is talking to a Jewish interlocutor and making the point that being Jewish won't exclude them from judgment, because judgment is according to works. And the work that they are lacking is faith in Jesus the Messiah! The work of God is: Believe in Jesus the Christ! Then he goes on to say:

for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, Romans 2:13-14 NASB

Here the doers who are justified are believers in Jesus Christ. The Law speaks of the coming Christ and His provision of righteousness.

so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:4 NASB

By having faith in Christ the full requirements of the Law are met in us, and therefore, we are righteous according to the obedience of the Law. I have fully obeyed the Law by faith in Christ, which puts me in union with Christ, who fully met the Law's righteous requirements. I share all that Christ is and has.

Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law. Romans 3:31 NASB

Do we meet all the requirements of the Law in Christ? Absolutely! Do we have a sacrifice for atonement? Do we have a temple? Do we have a high priest? Are we circumcised? Do we keep the Sabbath? Yes, to all of them. Paul is showing us, though somewhat veiled, that it is not about your nationality or some ceremonial right, being righteous before God is all about faith.

We ended last time with verse 16:

on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. Romans 2:16 NASB

The judgment of God is coming, and the Judge is Jesus Christ. This would have startled the Jews. They believe in the coming judgment of God, but that Jesus was the judge is not something they would accept. Keep Paul's mention of Jesus in mind.

Now in Romans 2:17-24, he paints a remarkable picture of privileges of the Jewish nation in having the Law of God in their Scriptures, and how they are breaking that Law:

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

The "if" here is a first class condition meaning: "since"--for since you bear the name Jew. The "you" here is the second person singular, which indicates the nation as a whole, not an individual. Remember, Paul is using diatribe speaking to an interlocutor. The name "Jew" contrasts with "Greek" and calls attention to nationality. The Jews gloried in being members of God's chosen nation.

The term "Jews" was first used in the Babylonian captivity. The Babylonians called them Jews because they were from the land of Judah. At the time of the writing of the New Testament, during the Roman kingdom there were only two tribes in the Palestinian area: Judah and Benjamin. There were certain individuals from other tribes, but for the most part, it was only the two tribes. It was only those two tribes who were called "Jews.

Jew was a title of honor. It designated them as the special people of God. The word even came from a Hebrew root meaning: "praised." They were named "praised" because of the tremendous privileges that they had.

In Paul's time, the Jew is no longer seeing his Jewishness as a revelation of God's goodness and God's grace, but he is seeing it as an indicator of his own superiority. The Jew believed that everyone was destined for judgment except himself. It would not be any special goodness that kept him immune from the wrath of God, but simply the

fact that he was a Jew.

Paul says you "Rely upon the Law"--If there was one thing the Jew prided himself on, it was his possession of the Law. It was delivered to Jews, through Jews. It had been preserved and passed down by Jews. The Jews felt that mere possession of the Law constituted righteousness:

"Then You came down on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven; You gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statutes and commandments. "So You made known to them Your holy sabbath, And laid down for them commandments, statutes and law, Through Your servant Moses. Nehemiah 9:13-14 NASB

And the text goes on and on to talk about what God did and gave them. And so they rested, they relied on the Law of God.

He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His ordinances, they have not known them. Praise the LORD! Psalms 147:19-20 NASB

Here was the point that forever set the Jews apart from the surrounding nations. The Greeks might have Plato and Aristotle, but the Jews had the Law of God. No one could top that. God had written it with His finger on Mount Sinai. How much better could it get? Compared to that, the writings of the Greeks seemed like illiterate scribbling.

Then Paul says that they "Boast in God"--the Greek word used here for "boast" is kauchaomai. It means: "To boast, to glory, to pride oneself in something, to exult." Paul uses this word kauchaomai 35 times in the New Testament. It is only used twice outside of Paul, and that is by James. The origin of the word kauchaomai goes back to:

Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9:23-24 NASB

The Jew was right to boast in God. But their boast had come to be misused thinking that they could do what they wanted and escape judgment. We see this empty boast in:

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, "Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. "Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, 'This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.' Jeremiah 7:3-4 NASB

In other words, they were just saying, "Hey, here is the temple, it's the temple of the Lord and it's in our midst, and that means God is on our side and everything's okay."

Paul goes on to say:

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

The word "approve" here is dokimazois, it means: "to put something to the test for the purpose of approving." They were able to test things. They were able to approve things. Literally, it says they approve the things that are more excellent.

They could do this because they were "Instructed out of the Law"--instructed is katecheo. We get a word from that word: catechism, or catechized. It means: "to be taught something orally." And there would be this oral repetitious teaching. They had been catechized out of God's Law.

Every Jewish boy would have been trained up in the Law, and he would have been able to know the will of God, and he would have been able to discern right and wrong, and he would have been catechized. This did distinguish the Jews from other people. God had chosen them out of all the nations and deposited His moral Law with them so that they might bear testimony to the other nations concerning the Creator.

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

The word "guide" literally means: "somebody who leads a person along a path." God had appointed Abraham and the Jews to be a blessing to all peoples:

And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." Genesis 12:3 NASB

When Solomon dedicated the temple, he talked about Gentiles coming to it:

"Also concerning the foreigner who is not from Your people Israel, when he comes from a far country for Your great name's sake and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray toward this house, then hear from heaven, from Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name, and fear You as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by Your name. 2 Chronicles 6:32-33 NASB

So they expected Gentiles to come and worship the God of Israel at the temple in Jerusalem. The Jews would guide and be a light to these Gentiles. Notice also:

He says, "It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth." Isaiah 49:6 NASB

God called Israel to be a light to the nations, to lead all people into a covenant relationship with the Father:

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

The term "corrector" emphasizes training or discipline. It is used in Hebrews 12:9 of a chastiser, someone who brings correction. They saw themselves as those who were to correct the foolish.

In all of these things, the Jew felt good about himself. He thought that his heritage, confidence in the Law, boasting in God, knowledge of God's will in every setting, and his ability to sift through the fine details of how to live gave him an edge with God. The rabbis even had a saying, "Studying the Law is equal to keeping the Law."

So all these things were true of Israel. Now Paul is going to show them their sin:

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? Romans 2:22-23 NASB

Remember that the "you" here indicates the nation as a whole, not an individual. Paul is not saying that every Jew is a thief, adulterer, or temple robber. But there were those who were, and the presence of these sins within ethnic Israel renders void the national, ethnic boast.

Were there Jews who were stealing?

Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, Her priests instruct for a price And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, "Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us." Micah 3:11 NASB

The Jewish leaders were taking bribes in judging, the priests were teaching for money, and the prophets divining for money. They were stealing from the people and saying, "It's okay, we're Jews":

Hear this, you who trample the needy, to do away with the humble of the land, saying, "When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales, Amos 8:4-5 NASB

They swallowed up the needy, they made the poor of the land to fail. They robbed.

Notice what Jesus said to the Jews of His day:

And He began to teach and say to them, "Is it not written, 'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS'? But you have made it a ROBBERS' DEN." Mark 11:17 NASB

The Jews had the Law, and they taught that you should not steal, but they stole. What do you call someone who teaches you shouldn't do something, and they do the very thing? You call them a Ted Haggard, a Jimmy Swagart. You call them a hypocrite!

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation. Matthew 23:14 NASB

While teaching do not steal, they robbed the widows.

What about the charge of adultery? "You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?" Did they commit adultery? The prophets continually accused Israel of adultery:

Oh that my head were waters And my eyes a fountain of tears, That I might weep day and night For the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh that I had in the desert A wayfarers' lodging place; That I might leave my people And go from them! For all of them are adulterers, An assembly of treacherous men. "They bend their tongue like their bow; Lies and not truth prevail in the land; For they proceed from evil to evil, And they do not know Me," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9:1-3 NASB
For the land is full of adulterers; For the land mourns because of the curse. The pastures of the wilderness have dried up. Their course also is evil And their might is not right. Jeremiah 23:10 NASB
"Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me," says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:5 NASB

Yes, Israel was an adulteress nation. Paul is not saying that they are adulterers in their personal lives, but they were aligned with a nation that is an adulteress. And if they did not come to the "obedience of faith" in Jesus Christ, they were committing adultery with the nation Israel. They were committing adultery by rejecting Jesus Christ, God's promised Messiah.

Then Paul says, "You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?" Did the Jews rob temples? Yes, they did. God told Israel when they were conquering other nations that they were not to take their idols:

"The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 7:25 NASB

You know what they were doing? They were robbing, they were actually going in to pagan temples and stealing the idols, the silver, and the gold and taking them and finding the value of them for their own personal gain.

In Ephesus the town clerk, speaking of the Jewish Christians, said:

"For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess. Acts 19:37 NASB

That assumes that on other occasions, Jews had been taken captive and brought to the tribunal for robbing temples. No charge would have been as reprehensible to the Jews than the charge of religious hypocrisy, but that's exactly what Paul is saying in these verses.

Now notice what Paul says to the Jews, through his dialogue with the Jewish interlocutor:

You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? Romans 2:23 NASB

They boasted in the Law, but they didn't keep it. Their rejection of Jesus, who Paul said was the Judge in verse 16, was a breaking of the Law. The Law and the prophet were all about Jesus. And in their breaking the Law, through their rejection of Jesus, were dishonoring God. Then to back up what he had just said, Paul quotes from the Law that they boasted in:

For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written. Romans 2:24 NASB

Paul is quoting here from Isaiah 52:5 and Ezekiel 36:20--what is important in these quotes in their context? Let me give you a little background here: In Jesus' day the great teachers used a technique which is today called "remez" or hint, in which they used part of a Scripture passage in discussion, assuming their audience's knowledge of the Bible would allow them to deduce for themselves fuller meaning. Apparently, Jesus used this method often. If you don't know Jesus' text, you won't get His point. An example of this is seen in Jesus' discussion with John. John is in Herod's jail, and he sends his disciples to ask Jesus a question:

Now when John in prison heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples, 3 and said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?" Matthew 11:2-3 NASB

This is the man who proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." Was John losing his faith? Was he now uncertain if Jesus was the Christ? A literal rendering of verse 3 is, "Are you the Coming One?" John is using remez here also, to which Jesus answers:

And Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. 6 "And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me." Matthew 11:4-6 NASB

Notice verse 6, it literally reads, "And blessed is he who does not stumble over me." The NIV translates it this way, "Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me." The word "stumbling" is skandalizo, which means: "to trip up (figuratively stumble) to entice to sin or apostasy." What did Jesus say that would cause John to stumble or fall away?

To understand this, we need to go back to John's question, "Are you the Coming One?" Why does John ask this? Why does he call Him the "Coming One"? This is from:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9 NASB

Why does John call Him the "Coming One?" Because in this context the Coming One is going to set the prisoners free:

As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you, I have set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Zechariah 9:11 NASB

John is using a remez to ask, "Am I going to get out of this jail?" John is not doubting the Messiah, he wants to know if he will get out of jail. To which Jesus replies:

And Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. 6 "And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me." Matthew 11:4-6 NASB

Notice the capitalization in the NASV. Why is it capitalized? It is a Scriptural quote. Here Jesus quotes from Isaiah:

To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon, And those who dwell in darkness from the prison. Isaiah 42:7 NASB
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives, And freedom to prisoners; Isaiah 61:1 NASB

In quoting these verses to John's disciples, Jesus leaves out setting the prisoners free. What is He saying to John? "John, you are going to die in prison," and then He says:

"And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me." Matthew 11:6 NASB

That's hard to hear--"You're going to die in prison." You are not going to be set free. The stumbling may come not from what Jesus is doing, but from what He is not doing-- setting John free from prison.

We see another example of Jesus using remez in His comments to Zacchaeus:

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10 NASB

The background to this statement is probably Ezekiel 34.

'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My sheep from them and make them cease from feeding sheep. So the shepherds will not feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them."'" For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. Ezekiel 34:10-11 NASB

Here God, angry with the leaders of Israel for scattering and harming his flock (the people of Israel), states that He Himself will become the Shepherd and will seek the lost ones and deliver (save) them. Based on this, the people of Jesus' day understood that the Messiah to come would "seek and save" the lost. By using this phrase, knowing the people knew the Scripture, Jesus said several things. To the people He said, "I am the Messiah and God no less." To the Jewish leaders (whose influence kept Zacchaeus out of the crowd) he said "You have scattered and harmed God's flock." To Zacchaeus He said, "You are one of God's lost sheep, He still loves you."

This technique indicated a brilliant understanding of Scripture and incredible teaching skills on Jesus' part. It also demonstrates the background knowledge of Scripture the common people had.

I think that Paul, the Jewish Rabbi, is using remez in verse 24:

For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written. Romans 2:24 NASB

He quotes to them this verse knowing that they would know the context. This verse in both Isaiah and Ezekiel is talking about Israel in exile. Israel was in exile because of their sins. And because of their exile, God's name was being blasphemed. The nations would say, "Their God can't even protect His own people--He's impotent!"

Then in the context following this verse in Isaiah we see the coming redeemer, Jesus Christ, who will redeem Israel. He will gather them from their exile so that His name is no longer blasphemed. And in Ezekiel the context goes on to talk about the New Covenant, where God will forgive their sin, and they will be His people.

I think that with this remez Paul is saying, "You Jews are in exile, not geographically, but in a moral and spiritually sense." Their currant bondage to Rome makes it clear that the promised redemption had not yet arrived. And as long as they rejected Jesus Christ, they would remain in exile and would thus continue to blaspheme God until He judged and destroyed them. But if they realized that Jesus was the Christ and turned to Him in faith, then and only then would they be safe from the coming judgment.

Let's first look at the quote from Isaiah 52:5, this verse is given in the context of Israel's redemption through her Messiah:

"Now therefore, what do I have here," declares the LORD, "seeing that My people have been taken away without cause?" Again the LORD declares, "Those who rule over them howl, and My name is continually blasphemed all day long. Isaiah 52:5 NASB

Israel is in exile and being oppressed by the nations because of her sin. This exile and oppression has caused the nations to blaspheme God--God is not almighty, He cannot protect His own people. God had called Israel to be the light of the world, but she was in exile. Paul's audience was under the dominion of Rome, which to them meant that the promised deliverance had not come. But for Paul the deliverance had come in the good news of Jesus. The context in Isaiah goes on to talk about the good news of the coming Redeemer:

"Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, 'Here I am.'" How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes When the LORD restores Zion. Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God. Depart, depart, go out from there, Touch nothing unclean; Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, You who carry the vessels of the LORD. But you will not go out in haste, Nor will you go as fugitives; For the LORD will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard. Isaiah 52:6-12 NASB

God is promising Israel redemption, and this redemption comes in the Christ:

Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men. Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand. Isaiah 52:13-15 NASB

Ignore the chapter division here, and we are talking about the suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. The nations are blaspheming God because of Israel's sin, but if they would turn to Christ, and only if they turned to Christ, would the blasphemy stop.

So Isaiah speaks of the herald who announces good news to Zion, and Ezekiel goes on to speak of covenant renewal. Again we must see the context of this verse:

"Son of man, when the house of Israel was living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds; their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. "Therefore I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on the land, because they had defiled it with their idols. "Also I scattered them among the nations and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them. Ezekiel 36:17-19 NASB

Israel is being judged for their sin, now watch the next verse, it the one Paul quotes:

"When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD; yet they have come out of His land.' Ezekiel 36:20 NASB

You know what that is? That's a statement of mockery. When God has to chasten His people, the result is that the world thinks God to be unfair, unkind, judgmental, burdensome, and overbearing; and His name is dishonored.

It also seemed as if God was impotent. His people always seemed to be strung out in distress. Now watch the context:

"But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went. "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. "I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD," declares the Lord GOD, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. "For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. "You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:21-28 NASB

The blasphemy stops when they receive the New Covenant through the Spirit, because they are no longer in exile.

Paul is saying, "You Jews are in exile, the promised redemption had not yet arrived." And as long as they rejected Jesus Christ they would remain in exile and would thus continue to blaspheme God until He judged and destroyed them. But if they realized that Jesus was the Christ and turned to Him in faith, then and only then would they be safe from the coming judgment. Their Jewishness will not save them from the coming judgment. Only if they become true Jews, through faith in Jesus, will they be safe from judgment.

Paul is telling them that these prophecies of Isaiah and Ezekiel are now being fulfilled in the new Israel of God--those with faith in Jesus. They must turn from their national trust to a trust in Christ.

Let me say this in closing. We who trust in Christ are the Israel of God. And it can be said of us: We bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law and boast in God, and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,

and are confident that we are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth.

Someone once said to Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher of the nineteenth century, "The Bible is the light of the world." Spurgeon objected, saying, "How can that be? The world never reads the Bible." He went on to say, "The Bible is the light of the church and the church is the light of the world. The world reads the Christian, not the Bible."

Good point. What do your friends discover when they read your life? Does your life point people to the Savior? Or does your life cause people to blaspheme His holy name?

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