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Romans 2:12-29: Beyond the Surface

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They 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 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one 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.
— Romans 2:12-29 ESV

By Sarah Morris

      How often do we say we know the faith, know the Bible, know what is right and wrong and yet, not really do what we know is right? In this passage, Paul says that the Jewish people had the law down and memorized. But, were they really doing right if the belief didn’t match the action of what they believed? I have recently returned from Israel, and I have seen the interaction between people of different faiths. And I have also seen some people who claim to be of one faith act in a way that is contrary to what they believe. It made me wonder what they really believed. This happens all around us every day. But, there are many people who are genuine and authentic of their faith, and they live what they believe.

    So, we need to strive to have our actions reflect what God is doing in our souls. Of course we are not perfect; we are human. But we should be consciously aware that what we do is a window for others to see what we believe. Sometimes this window gets kind of smudged or dirty, and it is hard to see through. But if we rely on God, and give ourselves fully to Him, He will shine through us. That is how I want to be—so filled with the Holy Spirit that my faults will not cast a shadow over His love. I want the law of God, the law of His love, to be written on my heart, branded and etched deep into my soul and my very being. My faith needs to be who I am—not a mask that I can throw on once in a while.