Read today's passage here...
17 You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law, and you boast about your special relationship with him. 18 You know what he wants; you know what is right because you have been taught his law. 19 You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness. 20 You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth.
21 Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? 22 You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? 23 You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. 24 No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
25 The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God’s law. But if you don’t obey God’s law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile. 26 And if the Gentiles obey God’s law, won’t God declare them to be his own people? 27 In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God’s law will condemn you Jews who are circumcised and possess God’s law but don’t obey it.
28 For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. 29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people. (Romans 2:17-29, NLT)
When God chose Abraham, He set him apart to create a new people. Through his promised son, Isaac, followed by his son, Jacob (who became Israel), and followed by his twelve sons (who became the 12 tribes), we get the people through which Jesus came to earth.
But some Jews became reliant on their heritage alone... They boasted about being God's special people, but they didn't obey his commands...
This was still how it was by the time Jesus came to earth...
… And this is how it was even after Jesus had risen from the dead.
When Paul was writing these things in the book of Romans, he was speaking to the Jews who believed in Jesus but were still reliant on their own works. They thought they were better than the Gentiles because they were circumcised and because they were the people that God revealed the law to. However, Paul makes it clear that these things don't mean anything if a person doesn't actually obey the law.
Paul then goes on to say that being a Jew is about more than the country you originate from, or whether you're circumcised or not. Being a true Jew is about being God's people, people who have a new heart, which we know comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone...
So today, regardless of what country we come from, if we have been made right with God through Jesus, and seek His praise rather than man's, we are a true Jew.
Are you a true Jew?
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