Romans 2:1-3:8; 1 Samuel 10:17-11:15; Psalm 56
One of the problems in the early church was the struggle between the Jewish roots of Christianity and the all-inclusive nature of the gospel message. Many Jews felt an extra sense of pride because of their original covenant relationship with God. The issue of circumcision became a source of contention with many of the Jewish Christians apparently considering themselves superior to Gentile Christians who were not circumcised. Paul had to deal with that attitude of superiority and Romans 2 begins that discussion. He makes this point near the end of the chapter: “No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.” (Romans 2:29) Outward signs do not make a follower of God. We have changed in that we think “being a Christian” gives us a source of spiritual pride much like the Jewish Christians had in the early church. The size of the Bible you carry around is not a measure of your faith. Attendance at church doesn’t measure your faith. Writing a cool blog about faith and having hundreds of followers doesn’t measure my faith. Our faith is measured by God as He looks at our heart. God knows our hearts and our attitudes. When we “do great things for God” but in our heart look for others to praise us, our praise comes from men and not God. God calls us to do great things, but He looks on our hearts to know if we are doing this for His sake or for our own glory. Whatever we do that comes from obedience to God and love for His ways brings praise from God, even if others don’t see it. When our heart is right, our relationship with God is right.
Lord, it’s so easy to think that I have special privilege with You because I said the right prayer so many years ago, and I go to church, and do many other things that outside observers would say that a good Christian does. Yet, You look on my heart. The idea that I might have special privilege is sin in and of itself. Heal me from that attitude and make my heart right with You.