A railroad yardmaster called the telephone daily at exactly 11:45 to verify the time. After years of this ritual, the operator asked the yardmaster, “Why do you call each day at exactly the same time?” His reply, “I take my responsibilities very seriously, I call t … More
A religious person usually feels that he has a special standing before God, not only because of his intellectual assent to certain beliefs, but also because he keeps the ordinances, the rites, and the rituals of that religion. Paul shows in this passage that mere rituals will gain no favor in God’s sight. Like so many in churches today who consider themselves members of God’s family because of their baptism, the Jew thought his circumcision gave him special status with God.
The value of any divinely authorized ritual is directly related to the law that God has given. “For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made un-circumcision” (v. 25). In other words, no outward ceremonial act can have any value if it is not related in some way to a dynamic, personal, Scriptural, and spiritual experience.
A man who doesn’t practice any rituals may be more righteous than a man who is devoted to them (vv. 26,27). Paul’s argument is simply that if a religious person doesn’t live by the clear teaching of the Word of God, in effect he cancels everything for which the divinely given ritual stands. Paul is not saying that a divinely appointed ritual is without value. He is saying that the value is limited by the condition of a person’s heart.
It seems that it is easier for us to be satisfied with trying to keep the letter of the law, and to ignore its deep spiritual implications (vv. 28-29). However God looks on the heart and not on the outward appearance. The truth of the matter is that the mere rite of circumcision did not make a man a Jew. Today, when Jewish boys become thirteen they go through a ceremony known as bar mitzvah. At that time in life they are believed to have reached the age of responsibility and religious duty. However, performing the ceremony of bar mitzvah does not make a man out of a boy. In summary, it seems that Paul is condemning the Jews for putting their trust in ritual rather than in the reality of a true experience with God.
Attending church, being baptized, or being accepted for membership does not make me a Christian, just as submitting for circumcision was not enough for the Jew. God wants my heartfelt devotion and obedience to Him and to His word.
Warning: MagpieRSS: Failed to parse RSS file. (EntityRef: expecting ';' at line 49, column 103) in /var/www/html/familytimes/includes/magpie6-1/rss_fetch.inc on line 230
Warning: array_slice() expects parameter 1 to be array, null given in /var/www/html/familytimes/includes/rss/esvLookup.php on line 15
View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »
Romans 1:1-7Paul introduces himself to the believers in Rome
Romans 1:8-15The secret of heart to heart ministry
Romans 1:16-17Reasons for not being ashamed of the Gospel
Romans 1:18-23What does the phrase, "wrath of God” mean?
Romans 1:24-32A man becomes a slave to his idols
Romans 2:1-11God’s Indictment of All Hypocrites
Romans 2:12-16Not The Possession But The Practice of The Law That Counts
Romans 2:17-24Religion Will Not Take You to Heaven
Romans 2:25-29Mere Rituals Will Gain You No Favor in God’s Sight
Romans 3:1-8God’s Judgment Defended
Romans 3:9-20No One Is Good
Romans 3:21-31God’s Way of Accepting People
Romans 4:1-8Abraham Justified by Faith
Romans 4:9-25The Promise for All Who Have Faith
Romans 5:1-11What It Means To Be Acceptable to God
Romans 5:12-21Death in Adam and Life in Christ