Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Romans 2:17-29 (NIV)
The Jews and the Law
17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” 25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. 28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
Why is Paul (who is Jewish) so vocal about gentiles not having to become circumcised to come into the church?
Holy God, The Jewish people were to be the example of Your Holiness. They knew the law and physical circumcision was the outward and visible sign intended to reflect the inward and invisible attitude of their hearts. But their hearts were hard and they didn’t show the light of Your love to others. Lord, becoming a Christian is having Your mark on our hearts. It’s not a physical thing on the skin. It doesn’t matter what is happening on the outside if we do not have a soft heart. You recognize all who have a heart for You. Every person who has Your Holy Spirit living in their heart receives the same inheritance as the Jews. Help me accept Your Word and fill me with Your presence. Soften my heart and grow my love for You. Give me an awareness of how my behavior can detract or attract others from You. Increase my ability to give love and encouragement to others. Lord, fill my heart today with your Spirit, with love and compassion for every person I meet. Amen