Parts of the second and third chapters of Romans are easy for us Gentiles to take a little lightly because Paul is targeting the Jews. And, since I’m not a Jew, then surely this section has little to say to me; right? Try swapping out a couple of words in the passage below as shown and see if it might have more to say to you.
Now you, if you call yourself a Jew (Christian); if you rely on the law (Bible) and boast in God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law (Bible); if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law (Bible) the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law (Bible), do you dishonor God by breaking the law (Bible)? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles (unbelievers) because of you.”Romans 2:17-24 NIV (parenthetical comments added)
I have to admit that deep down there is a part of me that is guilty of the first part of this passage. I have the Bible, and have spent a lot of time with it. I believe I have an understanding of God’s will and his purpose for me, as well as the rest of creation. I am confident I can hold my own in most any doctrinal or apologetic discussion. What more could God want from me (cough, cough).
But there is a big difference between knowing and doing God’s will. Between knowing and obeying his instruction for me. I wonder sometimes just how different my life might be if I did not know God and did not have the Bible. Would it be significantly different? It should! Unfortunately there is a vast difference between what should be and what actually is. This world has way too much appeal for me, drawing my eyes away from the eternal.
More importantly, how do the people of this world judge God based on the way I live? Does the witness of my life turn people away from God, draw them to him, or does it have no impact? I would like to think that it is attractive, but I fear that more often it is neutral; good, but not necessiarily anything that would make people say “I want some of that”. It really should be a priority for me to ensure that God is honored by my life. How tragic it would be to stand before him at the end of this life and discover that I have failed to do so. And how much worse to find that my life has turned someone away from God. I pray that is not the case.