Skip to comments.False Confidence in Law....Romans 2
Posted on 08/04/2010 1:04:31 PM PDT by pastorbillrandles
The False Confidence in Law Romans 2
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 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 God. (Romans 2:28-29)
Paul has been discussing the righteous judgment of God, warning those who rest in the Law that knowing and even prizing the law does not exempt one from judgment according to truth. This could apply as well to those raised in the christian milieu.
Neither baptism, nor circumcision can save us from the wrath of God, in fact they are meaningless unless the spiritual reality they point to is evident in the lives of those who claim it.
Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.(Romans 2:17-20)
Paul examines the psychology of self-delusion by which the religionist imagines he will escape the judgment of God.
*You rest in the Law- means that just by virtue of the fact that being a Jew (or a christian) gives one a higher moral sense than the rest of the world, they rest, concerning judgment.
*You make your boast of God- is akin to Jesus parable of the Pharisee and the publican,
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.(Luke 18:9-14)
Note the contrast between the boastful Pharisee, bearing the very false confidence Paul is warning about here, and the sinful publican smiting his breast(The heart is the very seat of sin) out of a bitter sense of distance from God.
*You know His will- The Law is a Revelation of God, it does teach the will of God. But rather than a source of self-confidence, the law should engender utter humility,and the fear of God. The Law should turn men to God,to seek cleansing and redemption.
*You are confident that you are a guide a light an instructor - Those who have been given the Word of God should be teachers and guides, but not in false confidence and pride. The complacency he is warning the religious of, is utterly damning.
Who is it that really gets the message of the Law of God? Knowledge of the Law and stewardship of it is an incredible privilege and enriching to any people. No wonder the psalmist burst out into exultation,O how I Love thy Law, it is my meditation day and night! (Psalm 119)
But the responsibility that comes with such privilege is sobering. Man will not be judged by what he doesnt know, only by what he does know. To whom much is given much is required. Those who have been blessed by the Word of God, and access to it, have a heavy accounting coming.
For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;(Romans 2:12)
Paul is in continuity ,not only with Jesus but with the warnings of all of the prophets of God to the people of the Word. Isaiah prophesied the true response to the knowledge of the Word of God, as opposed to the busy, empty, self-confident religiousity of the Israel of His day. Note his description of true Piety,
Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? For all those things hath mine hand-made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dogs neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swines blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.(Isaiah 66:1-4)
The real understanding of the Law, brings brokenness, self-doubt, utter filial fear of God, willingness to be humble, contrition( sorrow for sin), total love and devotion for forgiveness and redemption. This is saving Faith, approved of the Holy Spirit!
Busy, presumptuous religion, going about building a house for God(Look at what we are doing for God!), offering sacrifices as ritual, but with no real response to God, no listening and seeking to please God
When I called no one answered, this is religion which is rejected and disapproved.
We are saved by the work of Christ, not by our works. The law can only kill, but the Spirit makes alive. No one is going to be accounted righteous by trying to keep the law.
I like what you wrote there. I would add the following. The law, as David says in the longest chapter in the Bible is a delight. David uses 176 verses to tell us how much he loves the Law. Clearly it is not a curse to David as it is to Paul. The law was never meant to be a "saving tool" in and of itself for us. It is a means of serving the G-d of the universe, out of love. It is the blueprint for humanity to engage with the Creator of the universe. It is a means of elevating everyday, even mundane phusical things, to the spiritual. Even the simple act of washing your hands is an opportunity to worship G-d and thank him. Is that a curse? I suppose if ones motivation-priorities are out of whack, perhaps.
The law gives gives us an opportunity to elevate our relationship with G-d in numerous ways. When we perform the mitzvot, we are fulfilling G-ds will. And in the process, actively engaging in Tikkun Olam, repair of the world. When you love your neighbor as yourself, (Leviticus 19:18) that is making the world a better place. We are to following G-ds example; Deut 10: 18"He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing."
Jeremiah 22:3 'Thus says the LORD, " Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood......"
And of course the 10 mitzvot.
The other thing the law makes provision for, which is often overlooked is Teshuvah. G-d wants to forgive us when we sin (miss the mark)and bring us back into a relationship with him. Teshuvah is more than just repentance. It is repentance and "turning away from the sin" redoubling our efforts to never repeat the sin again. When this is done with a broken and contrite heart, G-d forgives and restores us. Teshuvah is a very holy act which spiritually is counted as a mitzvot.
We are constantly in a battle with our yetzer hara, our evil inclination. When we fight back with love, humbleness, prayer, repentance, charity, random acts of kindness, we are winning against the yetzer hara. It is a process, a life long process.
So certainly when the Law is done in a hypocritical, by rote or shallow way, G-ds sees that for what it is but it doesnt indict the Law. Many Christians struggle with hypocrisy as well. As you aluded to, the Prophet Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea etc had much to say about people who intentionally flout the Law. And how we can do it properly.
If one is doing the Law as intended, it certainly can. Did David go hell? Hezekiah? Moses? All the "OT" children of Israel? NO, they didnt go to hell. And if we follow David's example, neither will we. David was loved by G-d, considered a friend and a man after G-ds own heart. Was David under the Law or Grace? Actually, I would say we have always been under Grace. When God forgives sin under the Law, He is doing so by Grace. So that dispensation, if you will has always been a counterpart to the Law.
Thanks Blasaster- I ‘m sorry i haven’t gotten back to you laely- i still intend to its just crazy busy lately-
David certainly went to heaven, but not because of perfect Law keeping-By the Law he was worthy of death- Psalm 51”Purge me with Hyssop and I will be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow..” he trusted in the cleansing blood -Psalm 32 - His sins were not imputed to Him, he believed in the coming Messiah-
Exactly! He is the model of us all. Struggling with his sin like all of us.
he trusted in the cleansing blood
Actually he didnt, Funny you should pick Ps 51.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
And keep in mind, regarding David's sins, he intentionally killed Uriah, did he not? Animal sacrifices were primarily for UNintentional sins. Only a handful of intential sins are covered by Animal sacrifice: cheating your neighbor, bearing false witness and a few others. Murder is not one of them. Shed blood could not atone for his murder. How did King David obtain forgiveness? By using the above scripture. He confessed his sin with a broken and contrite heart. The prophet Nathan said HaShem has heard you and has ALREADY FORGIVEN YOU. No blood sacrifice.
I agree that he was aware of the messianic promise, through Solomon his Son, he would have NO cause to believe that the Mashiach ben David would be a hybrid god-man and that this god-man would sacrifice himself as a vicarious human atonement. David would have reviled such a thought as G-d in the form of a man.
Thanks...no problem...pastors are busy people!
“Wash me with Hyssop” is a direct reference to the blood of the Paschal lamb-
Nah....couldnt be. A) The Paschal lamb had no atonement. There was no covering of sin or forgiveness of sin with the Paschal lamb, David knew that. The Paschal lamb was a sacrifice of the Egyptian idol and god, the lamb. And B) David would be referring to the cleansing water sprinkled from the hyssop branch. In Numbers 19
18 Then a man who is ceremonially clean is to take some hyssop, dip it in the water and sprinkle the tent and all the furnishings and the people who were there.....The person being cleansed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and that evening he will be clean.
And David says: 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
David is clearly refering to the sprinkling and purification process in Numbers 19.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD " and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah
Just like he did when he asked for forgiveness for killing Uriah. No Blood. No Sacrifice.
See, blasater, you have to first accept the totality of the New Testament. Only then can any parts be understood.
Well, neither one saves. What saves is faith in HaShem,the G-d of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, the creator of the universe and worship Him Only. And for the Jew, do your best to follow the blueprint of life, the Torah and it's Law. When we do the Law, we are doing the will of G-d on earth and following the Law out love of G-d is a delight (Psalm 119) not a curse. Following the Law repairs a broken and fallen world. Following the Law by rote, superfically, hypocritically, without love and without faith in HaShem.....would be in vain.
Jesus Christ came to full fill the law completely where man could not, Jesus Christ satisfied all of the law's demands, man could not, nor can he ever full fill all of God's demands.
Jesus did not fulfill the Law. Nor is fulfilling the Law required of us for salvation. No where in Tanakh (OT) does it say they we have to observe the Law perfectly and if we dont, we are going to hell. Futhermore, no where in Tanakh does it say the Messiah will perform the Law perfectly on our behalf.
On the contrary, G-d forbids vicarious human atonement.
In Deuteronomy 24:16 it specifically says this:
The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the father. Every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
In Exodus 32:30-35, Moses tries to offer himself as an atonement for the sins of the people. To be written out of God's book, means to be written out of the Book of Life, which means Moses was asking to die for the sins of the People. God's response was "No, it does not work that way, each man dies for his own sin:"
And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Eternal; perhaps I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the Eternal, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the Eternal said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee...
The whole of chapter 18 of the book of Ezekiel is about this idea, that no one can die for someone else's sin. Further, this chapter of Ezekiel teaches us that all we have to do for God's forgiveness is to stop doing the Bad and start doing the Good, and God will forgive us. Nowhere in this chapter does it say that we have to have a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.
The word of the Eternal came unto me again, saying, What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Eternal God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Eternal God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.
When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. [Ezekiel 18:1-4; 20-24; 26-27]
To say that the law saves is to say that the shedding of Jesus Christ's blood was of no effect.... therefore, considering it as the same as animal blood.
It was of no effect. A) G-d forbids human sacrifice and B) Jesus death on the cross was not according the to the Laws of sin sacrifice or guilt sacrifice. His throat was not slit for rapid blood loss, his blood was not sprinkled on the alter and his fat burned. Jesus died by suffication, not blood loss at the throat.
In Deuteronomy, God calls Human sacrifice something that He hates, and an abomination to Him!
Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the Eternal thy God: for every abomination to the Eternal, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. [Deuteronomy 12:30-31]
In Jeremiah, God tells us that Human sacrifice is such horrible a concept to Him, that it did not even come into His mind
Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Eternal, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but The Valley of Slaughter. [Jeremiah 19:4-6]
And yet we are to then turn around and believe that God changed His mind, and required human sacrifice, and then it was the sacrifice of His own human son that God wanted? After telling the Jews to stay away from pagan practices, and pagan beliefs, God then changes His mind and says, "Okay, now go ahead and believe in a human sacrifice, just as these very pagans believe?"
Micah answers this question well:
Micah 6:6 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
7Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God
The book of Hebrews was written to show how much better the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was compared to the law, and animal blood sacrifice, how much better the New Convenient was than the Old that was passing away.
I am sorry but the book of Hebrews is just wrong. It misquotes the holy scriptures, it creates theology whole cloth with no justification and violates Deut 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
But Hebrews says: For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the Law. Hebrews 7:12
The Preisthood did not change. Jesus cant possibly be a Priest, he is not a Levite. Nor is he of the order of Melchizedek, who did have a genealogy, he was Shem and Shem was the forunner of the Aaronic preisthood. He recieved tithes because Abraham was still Abram at the time and had not recieved the final covenant nor gone through the 10 trials. There is no new preisthood.
The writer of Hebrews says: A new covenant, He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13
He is wrong. The era of the new covenant has not arrived yet. Look what Jeremiah has to say about it:
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out to the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My Law in their mind, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. Jeremiah 31:31-34
Do we not have to teach people about G-d now? Does everyone have a knowlege of G-d? From the least to the greatest? No. The new covenant has not happened yet.
Ezekiel words it a little differently:
Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone. Therefore say, Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. Ezekiel 11:16-20
Has the ingathering been completed? No. And as you can see, the people will observe the Law. The writer of Hebrews is wrong.
The writer of Hebrews intentionally misquotes Leviticus 17:11
22And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Lev 17: 10And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.
11For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
12Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.
Leviticus is saying "dont eat blood" If you do, you will be cut-off! Why? Because the only purpose of the blood is atonement...it is not food! It doesnt say, without the shedding of blood there is no atonement. Lev 5:11 makes it clear...no blood sacrifice is required...a flour sacrifice will forgive sin.
11But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any frankincense thereon: for it is a sin offering.
12Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, even a memorial thereof, and burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: it is a sin offering.
There are many other verses in the Tanakh that talk about forgiveness without a blood sacrifice. Prayer, repentance, fasting and charity are among the most often used means of forgiveness.