We have been following along with Paul as he lays his foundation concerning sin and salvation. He started by sharing the root of sin and that God equates all sin as deserving of death. We also were cautioned that God will judge each of us in the end; good or bad we all will account for our actions. Today Paul deals with the fact that the law is not what created a righteous or unrighteous person. It is a heart condition.
God gave His written law only to the Jews but all of mankind recognizes that there are good and bad actions. Cain didn’t need the written law to know that killing his brother Able was bad; sin or an action against God. If he wasn’t ashamed of his behavior he wouldn’t have tried to hide it from God. If Pharaoh didn’t think it was wrong to have another man’s wife he wouldn’t have been upset with Abram for not telling him that Sari was already married to him.
Man has a God given conscious. He will ignore it at times, some more often than others. This is why Paul says that those who don’t have the written law “show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them” (verse 16). God doesn’t leave us ignorant an then punish us for breaking His statutes.
Paul’s argument with the Jews is that they HAVE the written law and have no excuse for not following God’s commands. They even have a physical representation in their own bodies as a testament to their allegiance to God’s law. Yet they break His commands too.
So what is it then that makes the man acceptable unto God? The possessing of the law or the exercising of a heart following God’s standards. It is not the law that makes the man right with God but the heart turned towards Him.
“But a Jew is on inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God” (verse 29).
While reading this last verse God spoke to my heart. God chose the Jewish people as His own. Paul’s message here equates the Gentile who follows God’s will as a Jew; His chosen one. He is telling me that I am not a step child but a legal heir. My heart makes me “Jewish” even if my bloodline doesn’t. And a bloodline Jew who rejects Jesus is a Gentile in spirit and separated from God.
Thank You Father for birthing me into Your Kingdom. My natural bloodline didn’t get me here, You did. You reached out and touched my heart. Then through Jesus, You made me Your child. Not a step child but an adopted heir to Your Kingdom. Thank You for placing in me a desire to do good; to show love and not hate. Thank You for developing my conscience to follow Your commands. Thank You that it is not a requirement of the law that makes me love You but my heart. It overflows with praise and thanksgiving to You. Thank You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!