Thursday, December 22, 2016

Romans 2:17-29 Self Righteousness Denied

Romans 2:17 – 22. These first 6 verses are a series of questions aimed at bringing self-righteous Jews to see themselves rightly. Paul starts off by playing on their pride, granting them the status they think they have – experts on the law, in good standing with YHWH, providing guidance to lesser folk. We see in the terms Paul used in this opening sentence that, in fact, the Jewish leaders of his day were condescending to anyone not in their group. Doug Moo observes that in the first two verses Paul has listed 5 blessings that Israel enjoyed as God’s temporal people, then he lists 4 prerogatives Jews enjoyed as regards other peoples – teacher, etc.

The apostle then gets to his rhetorical questions, diagnosing his kinsmen of the flesh. They who claim the honored status of being custodians of God’s law do not teach themselves. They do not follow the law they tell others is required. They are, as Jesus told them, blind guides rather than trustworthy guides. In fact, much of the Old Testament is filled with prophets rebuking and pronouncing God’s judgment on Israel and Judah because of just these things! Paul sounds much like an Old Testament prophet as he pronounces doom on the Jewish leaders.