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Thursday, March 12 2020

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

INTRODUCTION

This first major section of the book of Romans reveals mankind’s need for the Gospel. We see Paul laying a massive foundation upon which he will build our towering salvation. The taller the skyscraper, the deeper the foundation must be. Paul’s plan is to teach about the Gospel, that will soar to the heights of heaven, but first he must lay a firm base. You have to know the bad news before you can appreciate the good news. No one can be saved until they know their true need for the Gospel. In today’s study, Paul moves from addressing the Gentiles to addressing the Jews.

In verses 12-16, Paul focused on the one without the Law. This was referring to the pagan Gentile, who has never heard the Law or the Gospel. He said the Law was written upon their conscience and upon their heart. And that they are without excuse in their life of sin. In verse 17, the first word is "But," indicating Paul is making a sharp contrast from what he previously said. Paul shifts to addressing the Jew. He is putting his arms around all of humanity and reveals the universal condemnation of all mankind, both those who have never heard the Law and even those who have the Law.

Whether you are a Gentile or a Jew, whether without the Law or with the Law, whether you have never heard the Gospel or whether you have heard the Gospel, all people are under divine condemnation and in desperate need of the salvation that God gives in Christ Jesus. There are points in today’s study that will hit very close to home for us who live where the word of God is made known. We can put ourselves into the sandals of these Jews who have grown up in a privileged place of hearing the revelation of God. We must be wary of hypocrisy -  saying one thing and doing another! Paul will argue that if we do not act upon this knowledge and believe in Jesus Christ, then, in reality, we are worse-off than those without the knowledge of the Gospel. There will be a greater judgment for those who have the light of the truth but do not act upon it.    

  1. VERSES 17-18 - FOUR PRIVILEGES

But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely on the Law [for your salvation] and boast in [your special relationship to] God, 18 and [if you claim to] know His will and approve the things that are essential or have a sense of what is excellent, based on your instruction from the Law,”

Paul begins with a bit of sarcasm, "If you bear the name ‘Jew,’" he is implying that they are not true Jews. In other words, they are Jews in name only, but not in heart reality. A true Jew would be one who is born-again. A true Jew would be one who is not only circumcised in the flesh, but circumcised in the heart.  

  • Privilege #1: They Received the Law

The first privilege Paul mentions is they "rely upon the Law" (verse 17). This is their greatest privilege, because of the special revelation they have received in the Law. No one can be saved without special revelation, and the Law is a part of this special revelation. The Law can be divided into three sections: the moral law, the ceremonial law, and the civil law. The moral law is how the Jew was to live, the ceremonial law is how a Jew was to worship and approach God, and the civil law contains how the Jew was to function as a nation and society. When Paul mentions the Law in verse 17, he is referring to the moral law as stated in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are still directional for our lives today. All ten commandments are repeated in the New Testament, and nine out of the ten are still binding upon us as originally given. The only one that has been fulfilled is the Sabbath requirements.

  • Privilege #2: They Boast in God

The second privilege of the Jew who has the Law is that they can claim a special relationship with God. Paul continues that those with the Law " and boast in [your special relationship to] God" (verse 17). They boast in having this special relationship with God, because they have received the Law. God has revealed His will to the Jew, and they know the holy character of God.

  • Privilege #3: They Know His Will in the Law

The third privilege is that the Jew knows God’s will. Verse 18 says: “and [if you claim to] know His will”. The Law reveals the will of God for their lives; it reveals the way God wants them to live & conduct themselves.

  • Privilege #4: They Approve the Law

Fourth, the Jew gives hearty approval to, and fully affirm the teaching of the Law as from God. Verse 18b says: “approve the things that are essential or have a sense of what is excellent, based on your instruction from the Law”

THERE ARE FIVE MAIN PURPOSES OF THE MORAL LAW.

* It reveals the character and attributes of God: His holiness (distinguishing between the holy and unholy), His righteousness (promising His reward for obedience and punishment for disobedience); His sovereignty (making known His right to command our lives); His love (revealing the path that leads to abundant living); and His will. We learn much about God by simply looking at the Ten Commandments.

* It reveals the sinfulness of man: The Law is like ten plowshares that break up the hardened soil of our hearts. The Law prepares the heart to receive the seed of the Gospel so that it may be received into our hearts. When our heart is hardened by sin, the seed of the Gospel merely bounces off the surface. There is a necessary place for the use of the Law to bring about conviction of sin.

* It is a tutor to lead the sinner to Christ (Galatians 3:24): The Law is that which points us away from ourselves in order that we would look to Jesus Christ. Christ is the only One who obeyed the Law perfectly. Because Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law, He Christ alone can forgive our offenses against the Law. Christ alone can give His perfect righteousness that He achieved under the Law.

* It is a restraint to evil in society. It is a limited restraint, but nevertheless, it does serve to some degree as a restraint. That is why we want laws in a general way to say you cannot kill, you cannot steal.

* It reveals the will of God. It points us into the very centre of God's will. It tells me how I should relate to my parents. It tells me what I should teach my children. It shows me how I am to work. It shows me how I am to be content. It shows me how I am to use my mouth and my lips.

  1. VERSES 19-20 - FOUR PRACTICES

“and [if you] are confident that you are a [qualified] guide to the blind [those untaught in theology], a light to those who are in darkness, 20 and [that you are] a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the [spiritually] childish, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth”

Paul says in verse 19, “And if you are confident that you are” This confidence brings about a false assurance to the Jew. Just because they have the Law and are using it, even telling others about it, does not mean that they have taught themselves the Law. They are preaching it to others, but they have not applied it to their own life.

* A Guide to the Blind: The Jew is confident that they are, number one, a guide to the blind. To be a “guide to the blind” means to be a teacher to those who are without the Law. It means to bear witness to those who do not have special revelation in the written word of God. But the Jews were not doing this. So Paul was using sarcasm, almost prodding or shaming them.

* A Light to those in the Darkness: Second, Paul says they are “a light to those who are in darkness” (verse 19). God declared that Israel was appointed to be a “light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). Christ Himself became the ultimate fulfilment of this passage, when He declared, "I am the Light of the world" (John 8:12). In reality, they were not actually being light to those in darkness.

* A Corrector of the Foolish: Paul then says they are confident that they are "a corrector of the foolish" (verse 20). The “foolish” refers to those who have worldly wisdom. Those who sat at the feet of the Greek philosophers and presumed that wisdom was found in the brilliance of the Greek intellectual mind. Paul says that the Jew was supposed to be teaching the Law, the wisdom of God, to these foolish men.

* A Teacher of the Childish (Immature): The Israelites were to teach the younger generations, those who were immature, the Law of God (Deuteronomy 6:4,6-7) says: "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God; the Lord is one…. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them” Again they failed to be this to themselves.

  1. VERSES 21-22 - FOUR CHARGES

“well then, you who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal [in ways that are discrete, but just as sinful]? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob [pagan] temples [of valuable idols and offerings]?”

Paul is aggressive in exposing sin. Most preaching today pulls back from this kind of exposure. Most witnessing today pulls back from exposing of sin in the life of other people.

* Do You Teach Yourself? “Well then, you who teach others, do you not teach yourself?” (verse 21). The Jew was good at running everyone else's life. But Paul wants to know how they are at running their own life. 

* Do You Steal? "While you teach against stealing, do you steal?" (verse 21). It is as though Paul is putting the religious Jew on the witness stand and examines him with questions. Paul’s appeal in this statement is to the eighth commandment. He is still dealing with the moral Law.

* Do You Commit Adultery? " You who say not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery?" (verse 22). That is the seventh commandment in the Law. Paul will not let go of the Law. We need more appeal to the Law in our evangelism and Christian living. 

* Do You Rob Temples? "You who abhor and loathe idols, do you rob temples?" (verse 22). Again he is appealing to the Law in the first and the second commandment. “You shall have no other gods before Me” and “you shall not have a graven image by which you worship Me.”

  1. VERSE 23 - ONE JUDGMENT

“You who boast in the Law, do you [repeatedly] dishonor God by [f]breaking the Law?”

This now leads to one grand judgment, one great indictment, found in verses 23 and 24. These verses may have seemed to be somewhat difficult to follow. Paul writes, “You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonour God?” (verse 23). The Jew boasts in his possession of the Law. He boasts in his knowledge of the Law. He boasts in his ministry of the Law, in his teaching, preaching, and speaking of the Law. But despite all this ministry with the Law, the religious Jew is a lawbreaker, just like everyone else. He is no better than the man on the other side of the globe who has never heard the Gospel. He is in the same category.

VERSE 24 - CONCLUSION

For, “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written [in Scripture].

When our lives don’t line up with the Gospel we preach and teach, we bring shame to God’s name.  

What are we to learnt?

First, the necessity of personal, saving faith in Jesus Christ. To only know about God without coming to faith in Jesus will still condemn you. You must be born again.

Second, we should note the importance of personal obedience to the word of God. Be careful to practice what you preach. Your life should reflect the Gospel that you share with others.

Third, we see the importance of bearing witness with the word to those without the word. Jesus Christ has charged us, His followers, to share the Gospel with all the nations.

Culled from  http://www.onepassionministries.org/transcripts/2017/11/16/condemned-by-the-law-romans-217-24Bottom of Form

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:29 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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