Summary of passage: Paul calls out Jews who are hypocritical and believe themselves above others because of their beliefs. He asks them if they do the very things they preach against: steal, commit adultery, worship idols, etc. They are the ones blaspheming God’s name amongst the Gentiles because of their behavior (giving God a bad name).
9a) God chose the Jews as the ones to receive His law, abide by it, and teach it and in return receive blessings. It seems they have become lackadaisical and flippant, disregarding the law themselves but expecting everyone else to abide by it.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I can be hypocritical with my kids, using the fact I’m an adult as an excuse. I have begun to catch myself lately and reverse this however. Work in progress, as always!
10) Idol worship, stealing, committing adultery, and breaking God’s law. All of us say one thing and do another at some point in some way. Basically, every commandment God or Jesus says to do in the Bible is broken by man. We don’t love others; we’re not kind or compassionate; we don’t care for those in need; we do steal and lie and cheat and covet and commit adultery. We blasphemy God’s name. We puts things above Him. We all sin. Luckily, Jesus forgives.
11) Part personal Question. My answer: God judges. They stain Christianity and make it harder for non-Christians to come to God. I think we all violate God’s standards cause we sin. Our job is to shrink the number of times we sin, walking more and more towards the light, admitting our failures and faults, giving it to God, and rising tomorrow a better person. That’s all we poor sinners can do.
Conclusions: Good lesson, reminding us how we are being watched, how what we say and do does matter, how we do represent Christianity by default, and how God does hold us to higher standards. If we do nothing else in this world but live to His standards, we will convert others just by our examples even without evangelizing per se. We must diminish our desire to sin and be hypocrites and live by God’s ways. In the end, that’s all we can do and why God is the loving, forgiving God that He is.
End Notes: In first century AD, Jews looked upon themselves as special, chosen by God, given His law, and guaranteed salvation (as long as your heart was God’s). This was true (before Jesus). Once Jesus came you have to believe in Him to gain salvation. That’s not Paul’s point, however. His point is that this “specialness” belief has turned to boastfulness, pride, and superiority over others and is no guarantee of anything.
This presentation takes the form of a dialogue. Paul knew how a self-righteous Jew thought, for he had been one himself (who better to speak to this?). He cites on advantage after another that Jews regarded as unqualified assets. But those assets became liabilities when there was no correspondence between profession and practice. Paul applied to the Jews the principles of judgment laid out in verse 1-16.
Jesus explained in Matthew 5:19-48 that knowing the law does not justify anyone. The law applies to both our actions and our heart.
Paul implies that some Jews may have been profiting from idolatry.
Paul reminds the Jews how God said in the Old Testament that the failure of the Jew to obey the law causes Gentiles to blaspheme God (Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 36:22).