Romans Chapter 2
Chapter 2, Verses 17-24
Rom. 2:17 "Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in
the law, and makest thy boast of God, 18 And knowest his will, and
approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of
the law; 19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the
blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20 An instructor of the
foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the
truth in the law. 21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest
thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou
steal? 22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou
commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law
dishonourest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the
Gentiles through you, as it is written."
Paul wrote to Timothy and warned him of some that "Having
a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn
away." Does a great knowledge of the letter of the law and how to
perform the ordinances therein and having the ability to teach others
make you righteous before God? There are many today who can quote many
scriptures, who can cite believer's creeds, who have written books, who
have taught classes in colleges, universities, and Sunday schools, who
can show forth the forms of religion and yet are not justified by the
works of the law.
The Jews rested in the law. They thought that through
keeping the law they were righteous. The Jew made their boast of God.
They boasted of a belief in God and boasted that they had the true God.
They believed they knew the will of God and they thought they approved
the things that are more excellent. They, themselves, had been
instructed out of the law and had become teachers of the law and
confident that they could lead the blind and lead the ignorant people
out of darkness. They had quite a form of godliness.
However, for all their form of godliness, they had not
the spirit of the law. While they taught that man should not commit
adultery, many of them were committing adultery. When they taught that
man should abhor idols, they themselves were worshipping and serving
idols. When they taught that a man should not steal, they themselves
were defrauding the people. Thus when they made their boast of the law,
through breaking the law they dishonored God. Furthermore, because of
their actions they encouraged the Gentiles to blasphemy the name of
So many today think that religion is just in the form.
They have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. Their
religion is all show and no substance. James said, "Pure religion and
undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and
widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the
world." (James 1:27) The religions of the world are a head, and form,
and show religion, whereas the true religion of Jesus Christ is to show
forth the work of the law in ones heart and manifest the love of God
through our actions.
Those who have a form of godliness and make a show of
religion often have great costly ornamented buildings. They have many
ceremonies, most of which are not scriptural. They wear many robes in
order to appear righteous. They hand out many titles in order to make
people feel important. They have many degrees in order to exalt their
positions to which they have attained. They have many unscriptural
auxiliaries. They make a great show of their religious exercises. Even
with all this, they have not established their own righteousness before
God. While they are going about trying to establish their own
righteousness they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of
God. Furthermore, they have a form of godliness in the letter of the
law, but they have not the spirit of the law.
Chapter 2, Verses
Rom. 2:25 "For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou
keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is
made uncircumcision. 26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the
righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for
circumcision? 27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it
fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost
transgress the law?"
Natural circumcision was given to Abraham by God as a
sign of the covenant that God had made with Abraham: Gen. 17:10 "This is
my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after
thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall
circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the
covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be
circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is
born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of
thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with
thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your
flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child
whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut
off from his people; he hath broken my covenant."
Circumcision was not the covenant that God made with
Abraham and his descendants, but was a token or sign of that covenant.
It identified those who were circumcised with the covenant that God had
established. Later God enjoined circumcision upon the nation of Israel:
Lev. 12:2 "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have
conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven
days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall
she be unclean. 3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall
be circumcised." Circumsion identified the children of Israel with the
covenant that God had made with them at Mount Sinai.
God had given the law to the children of Israel and they
were by covenant to keep the law. Circumcision was a token or
identifying mark that God had made the covenant with them and that they
were enjoined to keep the law. Neither the law nor circumcision was
given to the Gentiles. God had not made a covenant of worship with the
"For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law:
but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made
uncircumcision." The covenant was for the children of Israel to keep
the law. If they failed to keep the law they broke the covenant and
this was the same as being uncircumcised, thus their circumcision was as
though they were uncircumcised because they had broken the law.
"Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness
of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?"
Those Gentiles which were by nature uncircumcised who kept the
righteousness of the law (not the letter) were in far better condition
than those who were circumcised and yet did not keep the righteousness
of the law. Their uncircumcision was counted by God for circumcision.
"And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it
fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost
transgress the law?" The Jews thought themselves to be the judge of the
Gentiles and were condemning them because they had not the letter of the
law nor had been made a covenant people at Mount Sinai. Yet through the
actions of those Gentiles who kept the spirit of the law, the Jews were
actually being condemned by the actions of the Gentiles because the Jews
had failed to keep the righteousness of the law.
Chapter 2, Verses
Rom. 2:28 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly;
neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he
is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart,
in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of
With this passage Paul brings us to a great fundamental
truth taught in the scriptures: there are two types of Jews. There is
the natural Jew who has natural circumcision and there is the spiritual
Jew who has been circumcised in the heart, though he naturally be either
a Jew or a Gentile.
Natural circumcision identified one as being a natural
Jew. Spiritual circumcision of the heart identifies one as being a
spiritual Jew. The true Jew in the eyes of God is not the natural Jew
who has been circumcised naturally in the flesh. The true Jew is the
individual who has been circumcised spiritually in the heart. This
spiritual circumcision of the heart is described to us in Col. 2:11, "In
whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,
in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of
This spiritual circumcision is performed by Jesus Christ
and it is made without hands. Natural circumcision is made with hands
and involves the cutting away of the foreskin of the flesh. Natural
circumcision identified one with the covenant God made with the children
of Israel at Mount Sinai. Spiritual circumcision occurs when we are
born of the Spirit and it involves the putting off the body of the sins
of the flesh, which Christ did when he suffered and died for us at the
cross. This is a covenant putting away of sins for the elect.
Spiritual circumcision of the heart involves also the
writing of God's laws in our heart and setting up the courtroom of the
heart and mind. Spiritual circumcision of the heart identifies us with
the Covenant of Redemption stated for us in Rom. 8:29, 30, "For whom he
did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of
his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover
whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them
he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." When
we bear the fruit of the Spirit we are showing forth the evidence that
we have been circumcised with the circumcision made without hands: Gal.
5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there
is no law." Thus those who are bearing the fruit of the Spirit have
this evidence that God foreknew them, predestinated them, called them,
justified them, and glorified them according to this covenant he made
before the foundation of the world.