ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 194


but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items
stolen from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you
dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles
blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God’s
law. But if you don’t obey God’s law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile. And if the Gentiles obey God’s law, won’t God declare them to be his own people? In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep
God’s law will condemn you Jews who are circumcised and possess God’s
law but don’t obey it.
For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents
or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a
true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not
merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced
by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God,
not from people.
Then what’s the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision? Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews
were entrusted with the whole revelation of God.
True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if
everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him,
“You will be proved right in what you say,
and you will win your case in court.”
“But,” some might say, “our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it
helps people see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair, then, for him to
punish us?” (This is merely a human point of view.) Of course not!
If God were not entirely fair, how would he be qualified to judge the
world? “But,” someone might still argue, “how can God condemn me
as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him
more glory?” And some people even slander us by claiming that we say,
“The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve
to be condemned.
Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not
at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles,
are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say,
“No one is righteous—
not even one.

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