Romans 2:25-27 (English Standard Version – ESV)
25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.
26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.
“Are you a Christian?” I’m quite sure that if you were to take a poll with this question in the town centre this weekend, the results would be quite surprising. I’d hazard a guess that the majority of people would answer yes. However, if you were to ask them how that Christianity is ‘worked out’ in their day to day lives, they would struggle with an answer. Some years ago, I remember asking a similar question around the houses in the town and I got some pretty obscure answers. Some people commented that they were Christian because their parents attended church. Notice here that they didn’t say ‘A Christian’. The generic term of Christian is meant to indicate an adherence to a religion and not a personal faith in Christ.
None of us can claim to be Christians based on our ancestry or heritage. I’m so grateful to the Lord that I have been born and raised in this country, but it’s not the culture nor my parents that make me a Christian.
The Jews had two particular grounds for their confidence in their privileged position: 1. The possession of the law or 2. The act of circumcision was enough for their salvation.
Paul in our verses today is stating that neither of these points are valid. Firstly, possession of the law without obedience is meaningless and it is a fact that no-one can actually keep the law anyway. Secondly, circumcision as an outward act is futile if one’s heart is unchanged. This is no better than an observation of the mere letter of the law. “The letter kills but the Spirit gives life”.
May we continually be grateful to the Lord for the immense privilege of living in a country like ours. It’s values and morals are a great heritage. However, my prayer is that we do not rely on our past to guide our future. Let us constantly surrender our lives to the Saviour and allow His Spirit to guide us.