25 Because circumcision has its value if you are obedient to the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision has become non-circumcision. 26 For this reason, if the non-circumcised man obeys the righteous requirements of the law, would not his non-circumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically non-circumcised man who keeps the law condemn you who, despite the written code and circumcision, transgress the law? 28 Because a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision something that is outward in the flesh, 29 but someone is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart by the Spirit and not by the written code. This person’s praise is not from people but from God.
Paul was addressing a group of Christians in Rome who prided themselves on the outward show of their Jewish heritage. That pride needed to be broken down for the truths of the gospel message to “take” in their lives. So, Paul explains that real, inward Judaism was never a simple matter of external righteousness. The works of the law were always intended to be a response to grace, not a means of gaining it.
To make his point, Paul utilizes the etymology of the name Judah, which comes from the verb “to praise.” He argues that the praise is not coming from the Jew, but from God to the Jew. So, if God sees a non-Jew doing what he wants, he can bless that non-Jew with the same praise. The obedient non-Jew has inward Judaism. This inward Judaism is faith in the gospel, and it is what Paul wants all the Romans to experience.
LORD, thank you for blessing all believers with your grace. Thank you for the Judaism that counts, the praise that you give to all those who believe your gospel.
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