Bible study is going to have a little different format today. You will read a section of scripture and then I will explain what God wants us to understand. Then I will leave you with some “Ask Yourself” questions. I would love some feedback. Is studying scripture easier this way or how I have been doing it? Leave me a reply at the end of this blog. I would appreciate it.
We know that this world is a dark place due to sin. God is calling us out of the darkness. Up to now in studying Romans, God is wanting us to understand the depravity of sin. Today, we are going to study another aspect of our flesh, our human nature, caused by sin. Don’t let this deter you. In Christ, we have great hope and we are made new. God declares us, “Not guilty!”, when we believe.
Read Romans 2:17-29 for the first part of Bible study.
Jews were God’s chosen people. They thought the Messiah, God’s Son, was for them. God couldn’t possibly love the Gentiles, those other people they had to live around. But Jesus came to save all people, even the Gentiles. Read John 3:16 to understand the fullness of God’s love.
We read how the Jews thought they were above everyone else because they had God’s law. They relied on it and boasted about it. They thought they were the only ones to be the light for people to find God. We see Paul getting in their face. Reread verses 21-24 and notice how Paul is saying that they are guilty of committing the same sins as those they are trying to lead away from sin. This caused the Gentiles to condemn them for hypocrisy.
The last few verses is where we can apply these scriptures to our lives today and escape the fallacy that the Jews tripped over.
Think of Jews as religious people and the Gentiles as non-believers. God is saying that just because you were born in a certain denomination or have believing parents, this does not make you a believer. Even going through religious rites; for example, I was confirmed in the Lutheran Faith when I was 15, did not make me a Christian.
Paul states that a believer is “one whose heart is right with God.” “It is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit.” “A person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.” For this change to happen, we need to come to Christ and let Him lead our lives. Galatians 1:10 says, “I am not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
ASK YOURSELF: Do you find it easy to see the faults in others but difficult to see your own? Why are you a believer? Is it because your parents raised you in a certain denomination? Are you faithful in following religious things? What is the difference from how the Jews sought God and what Paul is telling us in verse 29 and Galatians 1?
Don’t be dismayed if this is causing some turmoil within you. We all start out separated from God. We are born in a sinful world. But guess what? I have great news! Christ receives anyone who desires to believe in Him and receive His salvation. Check out Galatians 2:20, 4:7 and Ephesians 2:4-6 to see who you become. Then live it out!
I recommend you memorize Ephesians 5:8. “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” What Paul is trying to tell us is that our behavior should reveal what has taken place inside our hearts.
Let’s continue on with Romans 3; read verses 1-8.
First, we will focus on how the Jews trip over themselves with their own reasoning. People become blind when they think for themselves instead of God’s Word directing their thoughts. Pay attention to what kind of questions Paul hears from people. What are they focused on?
They are wondering, “What’s in it for me?”
They had the audacity to say their sinfulness serves a good purpose. “Look, we are helping the Gentiles to see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair for God to punish us?” Paul says, “Of course not!” Yet, we see how people still argue him as he speaks biblical truth.
ASK YOURSELF: How are we seeing this wayward logic as we endure this pandemic? How are people trusting the opinions of others before trusting God? This is where division lies within the Church.
Now, let’s focus on the faithfulness of God. Look at verse 4, “Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true.” He is “qualified to judge the world.” Take a look at John 14:6 and Proverbs 30:5 for added insight. Also, read Acts 17:30-31 and Ecclesiastes 3:17.
God’s words will always prove true and right, no matter who questions them or rejects them. We are called to believe and receive the amazing gift of grace and mercy that is found in Jesus Christ. We are called to abide in Him and let Him lead us. There, we will discover unity in love.