We begin this week by reading Romans 2:17-24
Each of us has been created by G-d. There are no second-class creations. G-d loves each of us and wants us all to be recipients of His love. G-d does not evaluate us according to our external appearance. Scripture very clearly tells us that He looks at the inner person – our hearts, at the very essence of who we are (1 Sam 16:7).
v17: Called a Jew: There is an assumption that one who is Jewish is going to understand and have an affinity towards the Torah.
- Rest on the law: Rely, trust or depend on the law.
- Boast in G-d: Praise and acknowledge that He is great and worthy to be praised.
v18: Know His will: In Romans 2:17 there is an emphasis on the law, which is then followed up (in this verse) with an emphasis on the will of G-d. It is through the law (through Scripture) that we can understand the will of G-d. It is only when we submit to the Word of G-d that we will be following the will of G-d.
- Approve: To document or to prove
- Things that are excellent: G-d, through His will, wants us to live in an excellent way before Him – in a way that manifests His Kingdom.
- Instructed: Educated or taught.
- Instructed out of the law: The Word of G-d (His law) instructs us on how we are to live in a way that is excellent and pleasing to G-d.
v19: A guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness: These are individuals who know the truth and they are walking according to it. They are helping, impacting, and influencing others to also have a behaviour that is excellent and pleasing before G-d.
v20: The foolish: Those who do not know much. They do not have any background in the Word or commandments of G-d.
- Babes: Infants. Those who are young (or immature) in the faith. They do not yet know the Word of G-d or the expectations He has of them.
- Knowledge and truth in the law: Paul links truth and law together. Truth is found in the law. We know what righteousness and unrighteousness is through the law. It is only through the anointing of the Holy Spirit that we can behave in a way that manifests the righteousness (the righteous standards) of the law.
v21: Teach another: This is a good thing to do.
- Teach yourself: The good that we teach others is not only good for them to apply to their lives. This truth also needs to be applied to our own lives. We are not to place ourselves in a position over others, wanting to influence them, and instruct them on how to live etc without also acknowledging the truth of G-d and implementing it in our own lives. If we do not do this, then we are hypocrites.
v22: Abhor: Loathe
- Rob temples: People usually get involved in idolatry due to selfishness. They believe that the idolatrous practices are going to benefit them in some way. Paul is saying here that these people hate the idolatrous practices but they are willing to use idolatry to financially benefit themselves – eg selling the idols for profit etc
v23: Boast in the law: They tell others how wonderful the law is, how necessary it is to obey G-d and to do His will, to be rich in good works etc.
- You dishonour G-d through breaking the law: These people know how to use religious language. They know the lingo and the jargon, but their actions and behaviour paint another picture. They do not put the Word of G-d into practice in their own lives. Those who words do not match their actions dishonour G-d.
v24: You: Romans 2:17 started off this section by speaking to the Jewish community. G-d set apart the Jewish community for a very specific call and purpose – to be a light to the nations, to influence the nations in the ways of G-d (Gen 12:3). They had been given the truth of G-d and it was their responsibility to take this truth and share it with others, the nations, so that those in the nations could also live and behave in a way that brought about the promises and blessings of G-d in their lives. Not only were the people dishonouring G-d by transgressing the law, but they were also causing His name (character) to be blasphemed by those in the nations.
- It is written: An indirect quote from Isaiah 52:5 and Ezekiel 36:22-23