The Book of Romans : Chapter Two
A verse-by-verse commentary by Max Klein
Romans 2: Verses:
1 – 8. Judgment of Self-Righteousness
9 – 16. Judgment of evil
17 – 29. Judgment of the Jew
∆ιὸ ἀναπολόγητος εἶ, ὦ ἄνθρωπε πᾶς ὁ κρίνων· ἐν ᾧ γὰρ κρίνεις τὸν ἕτερον, σεαυτὸν κατακρίνεις, τὰ γὰρ αὐτὰ πράσσεις ὁ κρίνων.
Therefore, [the inference is self-evident] you are without excuse [without defense], O man [the self-righteous unbeliever], anyone who keeps on judging [the customary present denotes what habitually occurs when arrogance combines with self-righteousness to judge others.] for in which sphere you keep judging the other category, you condemn yourself; for you who keep judging practice the same things [the same sins of arrogance].
The presumption of the self-righteous unbeliever who decides to build up a system of righteousness to reach God often compares himself to the man in chapter one—the immoral, heathenistic type—and says to himself, “I don’t do those things.” Because he doesn’t do those things, he rationalizes that he is righteous. He compares himself to the immoral person instead of to the perfect divine standard of God. Self-righteousness is blind for you cannot build your righteousness on someone else’s unrighteousness.
“O man” is addressed to the self-righteous person who assumes in arrogance to have arrived at the point of unequalled human righteousness and so assumes that he has the right or prerogative to make pronouncements about others (criticises judges and maligns). Pride is the basic sin of the self-righteous person.
1. The self-righteous legalist whether it be a, Jew or Gentile is always judging those whose sins are more obvious.
2. However the moral or self-righteous type was born with the same imputation of Adam’s sin, and possesses the same old sin nature, therefore the same spiritual death.
3. The moral man is not the obvious sinner like his counterpart, the immoral man, because he hides his sins behind a façade of legalism and covers them with self-righteousness.
4. However, the moral self-righteous man is just as guilty before God as the immoral man.
5. But the self-righteous moral man has great arrogance, great pride of achievement, which expresses itself in judging, maligning, slandering, gossiping about others.
6. The self-righteous man finds his security in rationalizing away his sins which gives him a false sense of perfection. From this lofty status, he justifies his right to begin maligning and judging, and in this way he seems to build up a false sense of security with regard to his own life and, above all, his relationship to the Lord. Judging others is not only a sin, but it is a rationalization in which you build your righteousness on someone else’s unrighteousness.
7. The self-righteous man does not want to deal with the demand from God for perfect righteousness. Rather, he makes favourable comparisons with the immoral man; he rationalises himself into a state of having security by thinking that he is better than immoral sinners.
8. From making the favourable comparisons of rationalization in his morality against someone else’s immorality he comes to the blasphemy of judgment.
1. The self-righteous judge is as sinful as the object of his condemnation.
2. The moral man is just as sinful as the immoral man.
3. It becomes, then, a matter of category. One category of sins may be analogous to chicken droppings; another category may be analogous to cow pies, but dung is dung.
4. Only the integrity of God can correctly evaluate the life of any creature and so only God has the right to judge His creatures.
5. Jesus Christ is the supreme court judge in heaven. He is perfect; only a perfect judge can produce perfect judgment.
6. The self-righteous man assumes that he is perfect, but his judgment of others merely proves and demonstrates his imperfection, sinfulness, and hypocrisy.
Other important points:
1. The same concept is amplified in John 8:3-11 regarding the woman caught in adultery. It is interesting that self-righteous people often pick on helpless people.
2. The principle emerges: Imperfect people are not qualified to judge other imperfect people.
3. However, there are times when certain people have the right of judgment. In a church, when anyone intrudes into the privacy and the rights of other members of the congregation, the pastor-teacher certainly has the right of judgment. Parents have a right to judge their children. Senior officers have a right to judge those under their command. Officers in a company or business organization have the right to judge those who work for them. The judge on the bench has the right to function in the sphere of criminal law and justice.
4. Judging also reflects reversionism, especially self-righteous and legalistic type reversionism.
5.. Whether moral or immoral, believer or unbeliever, every member of the human race possesses and old sin nature.
6. The self-righteous person, not understanding the doctrine of sin thoroughly gives greater condemnation to some sins over others. All he knows is that there are certain temptations to which he would never acquiesce, and there are certain things where he fails, but he always compares in his rationalisation his strengths with someone else’s weaknesses. All personal sin originates from the same source, the old sin nature. However, environment and early influence develop a set of standards in the human conscience which are used to judge others who do not comply with those standards.
οἴδαµεν δὲ ὅτι τὸ κρίµα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν κατὰ ἀλήθειαν ἐπὶ τοὺς τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντας
But we have come to know that the judicial verdict from the God is according to truth against them who practice such things.
“But”is an adversative conjunction used to emphasises the contrast between the presumptuous of the self-righteous unbeliever in verse 1 and the perfect judgment of the justice of God in this verse. It sets up a system of connecting two contrasting clauses. The clause of the first verse describes clearly presumptive self-righteousness of man who has the audacity and the self-righteousness to put himself in place of God and start judging others. Whereas in this second clause we see the one who is qualified, the one who is perfect in His judgment.
1. The self-righteous type has the tendency to commend his own brand of sin while condemning the sins and weaknesses of others.
2. Self-righteousness and legalism rationalise sins by comparing hidden sins with the obvious gross sins of others.
3. While the self-righteous type sees himself favourably compared with others the justice of God condemns him with the entire human race.
4. At the expense of the immoral man especially the self-righteous type builds a system of human righteousness with which he seeks to gain the approbation of God.
5. God’s standard of Bible doctrine condemns the self-righteous types, along with the immoral type and all other sinners. Sin is sin, and God condemns sin.
“According to the truth”
1. Doctrine or truth is the thinking of God.
2. His knowledge is eternal, infinite, absolute, and unimprovable.
3. Doctrine is a part of God’s knowledge. Man learns the truth and man speaks the truth, but God is the truth.
4. God does not hold doctrine as something acquired or perceived, He is the truth, He is doctrine from all eternity-past.
1. God has absolute holiness from all eternity—righteousness plus justice.
2. The moral excellence of God is not attained but infinite, absolute and eternal.
3. His holiness is not maintained by His will or His sovereignty, but it is His unchangeable, immutable self.
4. God is immutable because of His perfect character. He can never at any time be better or worse than He was the day before. The being of God is unalterable, absolute, and totally consistent. When infinite holiness acts toward man, His judgments are perfect.
Judgment is the prerogative of God. What the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God executes. God has both the character and the information on which to function as a judge. So, don’t get in God’s way.
λογίζῃ δὲ τοῦτο, ὦ ἄνθρωπε ὁ κρίνων τοὺς τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντας καὶ ποιῶν αὐτά, ὅτι σὺ ἐκφεύξῃ τὸ κρίµα τοῦ θεοῦ;
And do you presume this, O man [the self-righteous unbeliever], who judges those who practice similar things, and are guilty of the same things, that you will escape the judicial verdict from the God?
1. Rationalism leads to hypocrisy. The self-righteous person excuses or minimises his own sins and failures by judging the more obvious sins of heathenism or the immoral man.
2. The overt sins of the immoral man are obvious while the mental and the verbal sins of the self-righteous person are hidden behind a façade of legalism and religionism.
3. Note the contrast between the two verbs, practice and do (prasso and poieo). The Greek verb translated to practice is for overt and obvious sins in contrast to the Greek verb translated to do for the hidden sins such as the mental attitude sins, and the sneaky sins such as judging, slandering, gossiping. An interesting twist: Self-righteous people, in building up their self-righteousness, always do it with mental sins and verbal sins. But sooner or later those sins make them vulnerable to the whole realm of sin.
4. Under the justice of God one type of sin is just as much condemned as another. Therefore, the moral and self-righteous person is no more justified than the immoral and unrighteous person. In other words, man’s respectability does not minimise man’s sins.
Or do you disparage [to treat with contempt; to care nothing about] the riches [the 40 assets received at salvation] of His gracious generosity [God’s attitude and actions toward the unbeliever; His impersonal love] and clemency and patience, not knowing that the graciousness of God brings [tendential present tense] you to a change of thinking [conversion]?
ἢ τοῦ πλούτου τῆς χρηστότητος αὐτοῦ καὶ τῆς ἀνοχῆς καὶ τῆς µακροθυµίας καταφρονεῖς, ἀγνοῶν ὅτι τὸ χρηστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰς µετάνοιάν σε ἄγει [tendential present tense];
The Greek word kataphroneo means to despise, to scorn, to treat with contempt, to care nothing for, to disregard, to think lightly of, to lower in rank or estimation by word or action. The present tense is retroactive progressive present which denotes what has begun in the past at the point of God-consciousness and continues into the present, the point of gospel hearing. The active voice: the self-righteous unbeliever produces the action of the verb, namely disparagement. He disparages or treats with contempt the wonderful blessings which would come to him at the point of salvation.
Clemency means a disposition to be merciful, an act of compassion or mercy. Clemency is seen in the restraint of divine judgment allowing everyone an opportunity of salvation adjustment to the integrity of God. Clemency is directed toward all members of the human race in the continuation of history. Though many people reject Christ as their savior, it does not remove the opportunity for others to believe. The existence of the heathenism in history does not infer the destruction of the human race. History moves-on regardless of negative volition at God-conscious and at gospel hearing, and in spite of heathenistic degeneracy and maximum evil.
The key to makrothumia is found in the works of Strabo. He wrote a book called “Geographica” where the word is used for a desperate patience in the extreme emergency of a siege. No stone was left unturned to avoid the inevitable end of the siege—violence, slavery, and destruction. The tremendous way in which they staved off destruction and held off the enemy is called makrothumia. It means to use every possible bit of ingenuity, every scheme, plan, tactic that will defeat the enemy. This helps us to understand the anthropopathism which ascribes to God a desperate patience to stave off judging us. He uses every plan, apart from compromising His integrity.
The Greek word ἄγει in this verse means “brings.” This is a tendential present tense used as an action which is not taking place but represents the idea which is intended. God intends to save everyone, but it doesn’t always work that way since people have free will and can say no to the graciousness of God. This is what God intends, but this is not what is happening in the context. The active voice: the graciousness of God produces the action of the verb in principle but not in reality. The indicative mood is the potential indicative, depending on the volition of the individual at the point of gospel hearing or any time, as long as he is still alive.
κατὰ δὲ τὴν σκληρότητά σου καὶ ἀµετανόητον [a two termination- adjective] καρδίαν θησαυρίζεις σεαυτῷ ὀργὴν ἐν ἡµέρᾳ ὀργῆς καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως δικαιοκρισίας τοῦ θεοῦ,
But on the basis of your scar tissue and obstinate right lobe [rejection of Christ even in Crisis Evangelism as a result of too much scar tissue] you [unbeliever] are storing up [depositing in your savings: every good deed] wrath for yourselves in the day of wrath [the Last Judgment], and the revelation of the righteous judgment of the God [The Lord Jesus Christ]
As a result of saying ‘no’ many times, the unbeliever builds-up a tremendous amount of scar tissue, sklerotes in the stream of consciousness. It also means maximum stubbornness. In this context the unbeliever is repeatedly rejecting the gospel.
Obstinacy, ametanoetos a hapoxlogomena means to be beyond the ability to change one’s thinking. Scar tissue is so great in the stream of consciousness that truth can no longer be believed-on through faith. Here we have an unbeliever who is still alive and technically could believe in Christ, but his faith has been destroyed or buried by scar tissue.
The Greek words ‘sklerotes and ametanoetos’ are talking about the same subject. We know this because of the ‘Granville Sharp Rule’. This rule states that if two nouns are joined together by the conjunction ‘kai’ and only the first noun has an article, it is the same subject.
A few points regarding this matter:
1. It is impossible for the judicial verdict from the justice of God to be unfair. The judicial verdict here is eternity in the lake of fire without recourse—alive, conscious, in pain forever and ever.
2. Unfairness is incompatible with perfect divine essence.
3. Since the self-righteous type prefers to stand on the accumulation of his human good deeds, these deeds will be used to indict him at the last judgment.
4. No sins can be mentioned at the last judgment since Christ has already been judged for those sins at the time of the cross. On the other hand, human good was not judged on the cross.
5. Human good will be the only basis for divine judgment of the unbeliever—Revelation 20:12-15.
6. The self-righteous unbeliever stores up human good, hoarding it for his defense at the last judgment. But no matter how much human good he has accumulated it is never enough.
ὃς ἀποδώσει ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ,
who [Lord Jesus Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment] will render judgment to each one according to his works [human good: Proverbs 24:12; Isaiah 64:6; Revelation 20:11-15].
Proverbs 24:12, “If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your soul know it? Will he not render to man according to his work?”
Isaiah 64:6, “All of us have become like one who is unclean [all are unrighteous in God’s sight], and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags [menstrual cloth]; we all shrivel up like a leaf [human good is a leaf on a tree and can be seen and admired, but becomes self-righteousness and legalism which shrivels], and like the wind our sins [usually not seen] sweep us away [from an unbeliever’s relationship with God, and from a believer’s fellowship with God].”
Revelation 20:11-15, “Then, I saw [constantive aorist: the eschatological vision of the last courtroom of human history] a great [the importance of the judge] white [the integrity of the judge] throne, and he [the Lord Jesus Christ] who was sitting on it [the judgment bench] from whose presence [face] planet earth and heaven [earth’s atmosphere and stellar space] fled [ingressive aorist: will attempt to escape figuratively from the justice of the Lord. Since the earth and heaven were the locations of many sins, pseudo good and evil, they must be destroyed.] Consequently, no place was found for them [culminative aorist: The earth and heaven (earth’s atmosphere and stellar space) will be destroyed. They will be replaced by the New Heaven and the New Earth]. (12) Then I saw the dead [all unbelievers of human history arraigned before the Supreme court in heaven], the great [famous and successful] and the insignificant [losers in history] standing [unbelievers in their resurrection bodies as a result of the 2nd Resurrection] before the throne [the Great White Throne]. Then, the books [which register the deeds of the unbelievers] were opened (to function as evidence that they are not righteous enough), and another book was opened which is the Book of Life [to verify that they do not possess eternal life]. Then, the dead [unbelievers] were judged from the things which had been written in the books according to their deeds [good deeds and accomplishments]. (13) Then, the sea [the sea prison of the Nephilim: half human-half angelic] gave up their dead which were in it, also Death [apparently those unbelievers, involved in the Gog-Magog revolution upon death (1st death) are changed from their mortal bodies directly into their eternal bodies (no need for them to be sent to Torments and given interim bodies, and then a short time later have their interim bodies changed into everlasting bodies) are arraigned before the Great White Throne Judgment ] and Hades [all unbelievers in Torments will be changed from their interim bodies to their everlasting bodies] gave up the dead which were in them [two locations: Death and Hades] and they were judged each one of them [individually] on the basis of their deeds [good deeds]. (14) Then Death [apparently those unbelievers, involved in the Gog-Magog revolution upon death (1st death) are changed from their mortal bodies directly into their eternal bodies (no need for them to be sent to Torments and given interim bodies) are arraigned before the Great White Throne Judgment] and Hades (the temporary location of the unbelievers now in their eternal bodies) were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the 2nd death, the Lake of Fire. (15) And, if anyone’s name having been written in the Book of Life [at birth] was not found in the Book of Life [at the Great White Throne Judgment], he was thrown into the Lake of Fire.”
To those, on the one hand [positive at God Consciousness], by the expectation [the time between God-Consciousness and gospel hearing] of a good work [the work of Jesus Christ on the cross] are seeking [Acts 17:27a, “that they should seek God; if perhaps they might grope for him, and find him”] eternal life [their response to the gospel], there is glory [at spiritual maturity the believer brings glory to the Trinity and receives glory as well], honor [for those who advance spiritually] and immortality [resurrection body],
τοῖς µὲν καθ’ ὑποµονὴν ἔργου ἀγαθοῦ δόξαν καὶ τιµὴν καὶ ἀφθαρσίαν ζητοῦσιν, ζωὴν αἰώνιον·
Actually, when one discovers that there is a God through the function of the soul via the Theistic Arguments, then, if he is positive at God-consciousness, there is a seeking for God, a thinking about God, a looking into the sky and wondering about God; the person wants to know about God and have a relationship with Him. So, he will keep seeking until he finds the gospel.
A few points regarding this subject:
1. In this phase of the angelic conflict, human volition is tested at two points: God-consciousness and gospel hearing.
2. At God-consciousness man becomes aware of the existence and the power of God through the function of his own mentality and human perspicacity according to Romans 1:20, 21.
3. There are two exceptions to reaching God-consciousness namely morons and those who die before reaching accountability. The exceptions are always automatically saved. 2 Samuel 12:23.
4. When a member of the human race arrives at God-consciousness, he is accountable to the integrity of God.
5. The age of accountability varies with culture, language, historical circumstance, environment, and civilization or lack of it.
6. If any member of the human race, regardless of geographical isolation or linguistic barrier, desires relationship with God after reaching God-consciousness then God will provide necessary gospel information by which that person can make instant adjustment to the integrity of God through faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 17:27)
7. At gospel hearing, man understands the gospel through the convincing ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
8. So “the expectation of a good work” is the anticipation of gospel information or communication of the work of Christ on the cross by which a further decision is made namely faith in Christ.
But to those, on the other hand [those negative at God consciousness], who from inordinate ambition also disobey the truth [reject the truth at gospel hearing] but continue obeying wrong-doing [trying to be saved by the accomplishment of righteous deeds], there is anger [divine judgment from God in time] and wrath [divine judgment for all eternity].
τοῖς δὲ ἐξ ἐριθείας καὶ ἀπειθοῦσι τῇ ἀληθείᾳ πειθοµένοις δὲ τῇ ἀδικίᾳ, ὀργὴ καὶ θυµός
The Greek word eritheia (ἐριθεία) is derived from the verb eritheuomai meaning to work as a day laborer (erithos). It also connotes a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means or to have the mental attitude of a lady of the night trying to entice a customer. It all adds up to the attitude of self-seeking person with an arrogant attitude preying on the weaknesses of someone else. It is used for those who are active in their own interest through arrogance, seeking their own gain. Finally, this word came to mean an aristocratic scorn for those who make an honest living, and therefore an arrogant, distorted mental attitude. We could translate this, “arrogant scorn” or “selfish ambition.” The Greek preposition ek (ἐξ) plus the ablative denotes origin, cause, or reason. The best translation of this noun is “from inordinate ambition”.
1. Here, then, is negative volition at the point of gospel hearing with the self-seeking promotion of the self-righteous unbeliever.
2. The self-righteous type has inordinate ambition which demands the use of his own arrogance related to his self-righteousness or legalistic modus vivendi.
3. Disobedience to the gospel, negative volition at salvation, means obedience to evil and the perpetuation of that maladjustment.
4. Such perpetuation of unbeliever reversionism causes the justice of God to adjust to the status quo of the maladjusted, and that means anger an anthropopathism denoting God’s punishment of the unbeliever’s rejection of the gospel in time, and wrath an anthropopathism for God’s judgment of the unbeliever for all eternity.
5. The justice of God is expressed, then, in two anthropopathisms namely anger, the judgment from the justice of God in time on both a personal and national basis; secondly, wrath, the judgment from the justice of God for eternity, the lake of fire. Either the unbeliever will adjust to the integrity of God, or the integrity of God will adjust to him. What the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God executes!
θλῖψις καὶ στενοχωρία ἐπὶ πᾶσαν ψυχὴν ἀνθρώπου τοῦ κατεργαζοµένου τὸ κακόν, Ἰουδαίου τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνος·
There is pressure [personal suffering] and distress [historical disaster] for every soul of man who produces the evil, especially with reference to the Jew but also to the Greek.
We are talking about a self-righteous evil, the worst kind of evil, a person who is evil but thinks he is good.
Racial or cultural things are never issues; evil is the real issue. The Jews are mentioned because they are the most important of the post-diluvian races. While the Jews are first and foremost in privilege, they are not exempt from the principle of adjustment or maladjustment to the integrity of God. The Jewish people have less of an excuse than others since they are the ones who wrote most of the Bible. They are the ones who wrote about the Laws of Establishment, the gospel, the spiritual life and Satan’s cosmic system of evil.
As individuals, Jewish unbelievers have more inner anguish than do gentiles since they are constantly looking their Messiah but are too blind to see Him. As a people and a national entity, they are under the 5th Cycle of Discipline. Luke 21:24, “They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
This is a reference to the Greek rather than to the Gentile generally because there is a cultural issue here. Helenos means a cultured person, a person who has great culture and language, and the expression of that in thought. So, the word is used in the broader sense of all who were under Greek influence and who accepted the Greek culture. Cultured people are not excluded from the issue of the integrity of God. Culture is not salvation, and culture is not the spiritual life. So, cultured people can be just as evil as non-cultured people as demonstrated by the Nazis in World War II.
δόξα δὲ καὶ τιµὴ καὶ εἰρήνη παντὶ τῷ ἐργαζοµένῳ τὸ ἀγαθόν, Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι·
But glory and honor and prosperity to everyone [those learning and executing the spiritual life] who attains the good [spiritual maturity] especially to the Jew [taking cognizance of their privilege as custodians of God’s Word], but also to the Gentile.
When the believer reaches spiritual maturity, he will receive his Escrow Blessing for time. This blessing not only brings glory to the three members of the Trinity, but also to the believer himself. When God is glorified and pleased, the believer is honored as the friend of God, the one who receives the fullness of blessing from God. This believer will not only be prospered in his soul, but also God will prosper him in some other more tangible way. For example, God made Job one of the wealthiest men on planet earth if not the most. God prospered Paul by making him the greatest man of doctrine ever.
οὐ γάρ ἐστιν προσωποληµψία παρὰ τῷ θεῷ.
For there is never partiality before God.
There is no partiality in the integrity of God, both Jew and Gentile believers have the same privileges and blessings in the spiritual life. This is the dispensation in which the distinction which existed in the Age of Israel no longer exists, and where Jew and Gentile have equal privilege in the spiritual life.
Galatians 3:27, 28 “For all of you have been baptized into union with Christ and you have clothed yourselves with Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; there is neither male nor female. All are one in Christ Jesus.”
In the spiritual life of the Church Age, there is perfect equal opportunity to advance to spiritual maturity and therefore, equal opportunity of promotion. No race or culture (neither Jew nor gentile), no social or economic status (neither slave nor free), no gender (neither male nor female) has an advantage regarding spiritual growth and promotion.
A few points for clarification:
1. Because of past relationship with God, the Jew often assumes that God will show partiality toward them.
2. Because of past relationship with God, the citizens of the U.S.A. often erroneously assume that God would never judge their country.
3. God is infinite and eternally perfect. Therefore, His justice is perfect. Divine justice administers whatever penalty divine righteousness demands. Furthermore, divine justice provides whatever blessing divine righteousness approves. God is impartial in these matters.
4. No matter how great human self-righteousness is, no matter how much accumulation of human good there is, no matter how sweet or how pleasing the individual personality, the justice of God is never influenced by these or any other factors. The justice of God, then, is impartial, without bias, without prejudice, without predilection.
5. The righteous standard for the function of the integrity of God is the courtroom scene of the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. From the divine viewpoint this righteous standard demonstrates that even though the love which existed between the Father and the Son was eternal, this did not hinder the justice of the Father from judging the humanity of Christ.
6. Self-righteousness is a part of spiritual death, and it makes no impression on the supreme court of heaven. Anything man can do from his own ability will neither save nor provide any blessing from the justice of God—Ephesians 2:9; Titus 3:5.
7. Only what God does impresses God. This fact alone eliminates partiality from the integrity of God.
ὅσοι γὰρ ἀνόµως ἥµαρτον, ἀνόµως καὶ ἀπολοῦνται· καὶ ὅσοι ἐν νόµῳ ἥµαρτον, διὰ νόµου κριθήσονται·
For as many as without the Law [the gentiles] have sinned, without the Law [without Christology and Soteriology] will also perish; and as many as under the Law [the Jew] have sinned through the Law [distorted the Law into a system of salvation] will be judged [at the Great White Throne Judgment].
1. Regardless of environment the entire human race is both sinful and spiritually dead. Some have the environment of heathenism, and some have the environment of the perfect Mosaic Law, but all are spiritually dead.
2. Nevertheless with or without the Mosaic Law all people have an old sin nature, have Adam’s imputed sin and commit personal sins. (1 John 1:8, 10).
3. With the Law, then, there is a tendency to distort it and develop self-righteousness and from that to accumulate maximum human good for the purpose of impressing God.
4. Not only does the Mosaic Law set up a standard to determine sinfulness and define hamartiology but the Mosaic Law also reflects the absolute standard of God’s eternal, infinite, perfect righteousness. In other words, the Mosaic Law reveals the integrity of God.
5. To adjust to the righteousness of God at salvation man therefore must discard illusions about self. He must discard self-righteousness in favor of receiving divine righteousness. This can only be accomplished by personal faith in Jesus Christ, which is known as instant adjustment to the integrity of God.
6. The more intensified the effort to be saved by keeping the Law, the more human good and self-righteousness is accumulated and the greater becomes his debt. Romans 4:4, “Now, to him who works for salvation, his wage [compensation] is not imputed on the basis of grace, but on the basis of debt [The more one works for salvation, the deeper one goes into debt].
7. Therefore, the self-righteous unbeliever is just as much under condemnation as the immoral or heathenistic unbeliever without the Law.
8. The integrity of God is impartial. It condemns the self-righteous type just as quickly as the immoral type without the Law. So, both Jew and Gentile unbeliever are equally maladjusted to the integrity of God and equally guilty before the judgment throne of God.
The self-righteous type represents the Jew under the Law. He is just as guilty before the justice of God with the Law as the Gentile is without the Law.
9. You cannot build your righteousness on the principle of snobbery which is arrogance plus self-righteousness.
10. Having the Mosaic Law made snobs out of the Jews. Illustration: the rich young ruler as per Matthew 19:16ff.
11. Distorting the Law into a system of legalism and self-righteousness led the Jews to substitute snobbery for integrity.
12.You cannot build your righteousness on someone else’s unrighteousness; neither can you build your righteousness on snobbery.
οὐ γὰρ οἱ ἀκροαταὶ νόµου δίκαιοι παρὰ τῷ θεῷ, ἀλλí οἱ ποιηταὶ νόµου δικαιωθήσονται.
(For you see the hearers of the Law [Jewish legalist distorting the Law] are not righteous before God, in fact, the doers of the Law [as a means of gaining salvation] shall not be justified [declared righteous and qualified to go to heaven].)
1. The principle stated in verses 11 and 12 was quite a shock to the self-righteous Jew or Gentile, but especially to the Jew under the Law.
2. To discover that he was as guilty as the immoral Gentile unbeliever before the integrity of God is unpalatable, totally foreign to his thinking. It was a shock to him to realize that the integrity of God regards him with his self-righteousness based on the distortion of the Mosaic Law in the same way as the gentile without the Mosaic Law.
3. To the Jew under the Law, the standards of the Law were distorted into a check list by which he could keep track of his self-righteousness and count his human good.
4. Such self-righteousness feeds pride, inflates the ego and gives momentum to arrogance and inevitably it leads to evil.
5. So, we have the student and the doers. Both are using the Law and distorting the Law, and both groups are rejected.
6. The hard-core self-righteous type contends that being taught the Mosaic Law, being a student of the Law is not enough; one must be a doer of the Law to gain God’s approbation.
7. The next two verses, 14 & 15, demonstrate that Gentiles who are neither students of the Law nor doers of the Law can produce an equivalent righteousness.
8. If apart from the Law, the Gentile can produce an equivalent righteousness then obviously the self-righteousness of the Jew under the Law is neutralized as far as adjustment to the integrity of God. So, this removes the Law as an instrument of justification.
ὅταν γὰρ ἔθνη τὰ µὴ νόµον ἔχοντα φύσει τὰ τοῦ νόµου ποιῶσιν, οὗτοι νόµον µὴ ἔχοντες ἑαυτοῖς εἰσιν νόµος·
For every time that Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively those things from the Law, these [Gentiles] not having the Law, are a law to themselves [they have the norms and standards of the Law in their souls without knowing the Mosaic Law].
1. This refutes the false notion that executing the Law qualifies the Jewish unbeliever for salvation.
2. Totally apart from the Law the Gentiles produce an equivalent righteousness. A certain number of Gentiles in each generation achieve the same standards of morality and righteousness as do the Jews with the Law. The Gentiles apart from the Law achieved what the Jews achieved with the Law.
3. Both Jew and Gentile are equally guilty before the Supreme Court of Heaven when they pervert morality into a system for obtaining salvation.
The works of the Gentiles produced apart from the Law and the works of the Jews produced by the Law cannot attain salvation adjustment to the integrity of God.
οἵτινες ἐνδείκνυνται τὸ ἔργον τοῦ νόµου γραπτὸν ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν, συµµαρτυρούσης αὐτῶν τῆς συνειδήσεως καὶ µεταξὺ ἀλλήλων τῶν λογισµῶν κατηγορούντων ἢ καὶ ἀπολογουµένων,
The very ones [gentiles] who demonstrate the accomplishment of the Law written in their right lobes, their conscience confirming the testimony, in fact, their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending themselves.
The two words, “accusing” and “defending” indicates, first of all, that the self-righteous Gentile without the Mosaic Law slanders and maligns and condemns others. They also get together with like kind and defend themselves; their standards and their norms before the integrity of God by saying that their righteousness, their self-righteous standards means that they should be accepted in heaven.
ἐν ᾗ ἡµέρᾳ κρίνει ὁ θεὸς τὰ κρυπτὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν µου διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
In the day [the period required for the Last Judgment] God [the Father] will judge the secrets of those men [unbelievers] according to the standard of my gospel through Jesus Christ [who will do the judging].
This last judgment is going to find millions and millions of people who are maladjusted to the integrity of God by rejecting the gospel which reveals the integrity of God to the sinful and spiritually dead human race. The gospel, then, becomes the issue regarding a decision from human freedom.
Revelation 20:12-15 informs us that good deeds will be the basis of indictment at the last judgment for the unbeliever, but this passage tells us that God will also indict them regarding their motives, thoughts, and decisions, their “secrets.”
Εἰ δὲ σὺ Ἰουδαῖος ἐπονοµάζῃ καὶ ἐπαναπαύῃ νόµῳ καὶ καυχᾶσαι ἐν θεῷ
If, on the one hand, you are classified as a Jew and you are, and not only rely on the Law [for salvation] but you also boast about relationship with God, and you do.
A few points:
1. There are three assumptions or delusions of the self-righteous Jew portrayed in these three verbs in the present tense. The first verb indicates racial pride “classified as a Jew”; the second indicates the standard of works “relying on the Law” on which the self-righteous unbeliever takes his stand, and the third indicates the arrogance of the self-righteous Jew in assuming a relationship with God “boasting about relationship” on the basis of his own works rather than on imputed divine righteousness.
2. The three verbs then combine racial, functional, and mental arrogance. They combine to produce self-righteousness and religiousness. Both religiousness and self- righteousness, either separately or combined, are resisted by the integrity of God.
3. However the religious, self-righteous Jews boast a relationship with God which they do not actually possess.
4. The three verbs combine to form an illusion of superiority which does not exist.
1. God loves His own righteousness and will not tolerate creature self-righteousness.
2. God’s righteousness demands equivalent righteousness. However, man cannot produce God’s righteousness, only sinfulness. When he tries to reproduce an equivalent righteousness, it comes out filthy rags, sinfulness and evil.
3. God’s righteousness condemns sinfulness which His justice judges. Before God can impute His perfect righteousness to a sinner, the sins of the sinner must be dealt with by the integrity of God which they were on the cross.
4. Self-righteous persons judge others by the use of slander, gossip, maligning, and criticism for they regard themselves as the favorites of God because of their conformity to the legal forms of the Mosaic Law.
5. Inwardly the self-righteous person is sinful, evil, vicious, despising the grace of God.
6. The day of the rejection of the gospel is the day of inward reversionism and the beginning of temporal divine judgment on evil in the self-righteous unbeliever.
7. These judgments from the integrity of God are a prelude to the awful eternal judgment of the self-righteous unbeliever at the Great White Throne Judgment.
καὶ γινώσκεις τὸ θέληµα καὶ δοκιµάζεις τὰ διαφέροντα κατηχούµενος ἐκ τοῦ νόµου,
And you know His will [the presumption of a legalistic Jewish unbeliever] and approve those superior things [the viewpoint of these legalist], since you are instructed from the Law [sarcasm].
Arrogance assumes to the point of presumption. It is presumption on the part of arrogant unbelievers to assume that they know the will of God based on the distortion of the Mosaic Law. In fact, they don’t know it at all. Paul uses sarcasm to reflect the delusion of the self-righteous Jew under the Mosaic Law.
1. This is the delusion of self-righteousness in Israel, that whatever the legalist approves is superior to all else.
2. The legalistic Jew or Judaizer has approved as superior standards that which is in opposition to the integrity of God.
3. They have approved a righteousness from keeping the Law as equivalent or superior to God’s righteousness. Therefore, they have rejected Christ as the source of God’s righteousness, the source of imputed righteousness. They have rejected the eternal, infinite, perfect, and incorruptible righteousness of God.
4. Furthermore, they take their accumulated righteousness to God and demand that it be accepted for salvation. Unfortunately for them, the integrity of God does not bend to human whims and human fantasies of self-centeredness.
Moreover you are confident that you yourself [the self-righteous religious unbeliever] are a guide of blind ones [other unbelievers], a light [the pseudo light of religion] with reference to those in darkness [unbelieving Jews and gentiles living in the cosmic system].
πέποιθάς τε σεαυτὸν ὁδηγὸν εἶναι τυφλῶν, φῶς τῶν ἐν σκότει,
This is a distortion of the true doctrine of Israel as a Client Nation. This distortion takes the maladjusted unbelieving religious Jew and gave him a role as a guide to the nation. totally incompatible with his reversionism and legalism. The evil Jew in his arrogant self-righteousness was contributing to the destruction of his Client Nation which destruction finally occurred twelve years after Paul wrote this verse to the Romans.
Judea as the last Jewish client nation before the Church Age was responsible for Bible doctrine and missionary activity. It had responsibility for the authorship, custodianship, and dissemination of the written Word. They eventually fell under the 5th Cycle of Discipline, and so during the time of the formation of the New Testament the Client Nation changed from Judah to the Roman Empire.
An instructor of the ignorant [Jewish viewpoint of the gentiles] a teacher of immature ones [gentile proselytes], having a superficial form of knowledge and doctrine in the Law [ritual but no reality].
παιδευτὴν ἀφρόνων, διδάσκαλον νηπίων, ἔχοντα τὴν µόρφωσιν τῆς γνώσεως καὶ τῆς ἀληθείας ἐν τῷ νόµῳ
1. This is the arrogant self-righteous teacher’s delusion, the arrogant emphasis on superficialities.
2. The primary purpose of the Mosaic Law is condemnation (to reveal that all are sinners), but the legalistic Jewish teacher in his arrogance turns it around into commendation (to be saved by keeping the Mosaic Law).
3. The Mosaic Law reveals how to adjust to the integrity of God, but the legalistic self-righteous Jew rejected the Christology and Soteriology as taught through the animal sacrifices, temple furniture and the priestly function. They distorted its contents into a system of arrogance and self-righteousness. Therefore, distorting something wonderful into a system of evil.
4. From Jewish legalism, came from the rabbinical traditions—the Talmud, etc.—where superficialities have varied the true doctrinal content of the Law. ****
ὁ οὖν διδάσκων ἕτερον σεαυτὸν οὐ διδάσκεις; ὁ κηρύσσων µὴ κλέπτειν κλέπτεις;
You therefore, when you teach another do you not teach yourself? You who proclaim in a loud voice ‘you shall not steal’. Do you steal?
1. This is the format question for the next three questions.
2. The self-righteous Jew emphasized stealing, fornication and idolatry almost to the exclusion of the other commandments dealing with hamartiology.
3. Therefore a format question creates a mould for the three things emphasized by Judaism.
4. The emphasis in this context will be on the inconsistency of self-righteousness.
If Jewish offspring refused to provide material provisions for their parents, it was a type of stealing. Mark 7:10-13, “For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' 11But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban' (that is, a gift devoted to God), 12then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."
Corban was a gift or offering consecrated to God as per Leviticus 27:16-24. Our Lord condemns the Pharisees for their false doctrine, inasmuch as by their traditions they had destroyed the commandment which requires children to honor their father and mother, teaching them to find excuse from helping their parents by the device of pronouncing "Corban."
How religion stole a person’s estate! A Jewish man could go to a priest in Jesus’s day with a piece of paper which said, “I dedicate my estate to God.” Corban! He could keep on using his money as before but if his parents came to him and said they were broke, starving, and could you help us, he could say no because my estate is Corban. While the fifth commandment required children to help their destitute parents, reversionistic children refused. The Corban justified the non-support of destitute parents. The Corban gimmick allowed a Jewish man to live-off of his estate without helping his parents, but after the young man’s death, the estate went to the Jewish religious temple. When the man dedicated his money to “God” in effect he was giving it to the religious leaders of Judea.
ὁ λέγων µὴ µοιχεύειν µοιχεύεις; ὁ βδελυσσόµενος τὰ εἴδωλα ἱεροσυλεῖς;
You [the legalistic self-righteous Jew] who say, ‘you shall not fornicate,’ [a reference to the 7th commandment found in the Decalogue] do you fornicate [Matthew 5:27, 28: the Judaizers were all guilty of mental adultery, and some of overt fornication]? You [self-righteous Jews] who persistently despise idols, do you rob idol temples?
The self-righteous Jew builds up his own self-righteousness through teaching, yet he was guilty of the same things. He was quoting the Mosaic Law correctly, but using it to commend his own self-righteousness, rather than to condemn his own self-righteousness. Anytime an unbeliever uses his righteousness to gain favor with God, he becomes arrogantly self-righteous; anytime a believer uses his own righteousness to gain love, blessing and eternal security from God, he is competing with God’s imputed righteousness, and likewise becomes arrogantly self-righteous.
Matthew 5:27, 28, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery [Exodus 20:14], (28) but [amplifies the 7th Commandment and takes it beyond the overt act] I [the final authority] say to you for your advantage that everyone who [the male Pharisees, scribes and Sadducees were the worst offenders in Israel at this time] looks [a quick glance to get an image of the woman] at a woman with lust [when the person gives the nod to lust from the sin nature, the sin nature gains control of the soul and develops mental fantasies, creating images] has already committed adultery with her in his heart [in the mentality of his soul].”
In verses 27-28 the seventh commandment is used to reveal self-righteousness and mental adultery. Self-righteousness is a sin which has tremendous arrogance associated with it. Wherever religion dominates as was true in Judea at this time, great self-righteousness was produced. Though being extremely arrogant, religious people are always the first ones to condemn overt acts of sin, though involved in the same sin mentally. Should they commit an overt sin, it would always be on the sly. The Jewish religious leaders enjoyed stoning to death those caught in adultery; it was an outlet for their cruelty and killer-lust. Most of the religious leaders wouldn’t think of committing overt adultery, but they in their religious finery would take a quick look at a beautiful woman and then quickly turn away as if they were beyond such a temptation. In fact, after turning away, they would then commit mental adultery with her. After their mental adultery had been completed, they would then go around and condemn those who had committed overt adultery. This was unadulterated hypocrisy.
John 8:3-11, The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery [what about the man] and having set her in the center of the court, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher [unbelievers addressed the Lord in this way], this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act [stated very piously]. 5 “Now in the Law [as if they cared about the Law], Moses commanded us to stone such women [since self-righteous people are always vindictive there may be more to this story than we know]; what then do You say?”6 They were saying this, testing Him [their true motivation], so that they might have grounds for accusing Him [since He revealed their self-righteousness, they want revenge]. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He stood- up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. 8 Again, He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I [the only one qualified] do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin [commit adultery] no more [for it is a criminal act that one can be sentenced to death].”
Many people deposited their assets at heathen temples which functioned as banks. Since heathen temples had idols, the religious Jews used this as an excuse and an opportunity to steal a portion of their bank deposits. They justified this stealing, a prohibition of the 8th Commandment by their distortion of the 2nd Commandment which prohibited idolatry.
ὃς ἐν νόµῳ καυχᾶσαι, διὰ τῆς παραβάσεως τοῦ νόµου τὸν θεὸν ἀτιµάζεις;
You who keep boasting in the Law through violation of the Law, do you dishonor the God?
By interpretation this is the legalistic Jew who uses the Law as the means of salvation, as per the book of Galatians. They contend that they are adjusted to the integrity of God because they have kept the Law perfectly. They produce at the same time a human good which they assume that will compare favorably with divine righteousness. Their presumption is blasphemous, an attack upon the integrity of God. The legalistic Jewish unbeliever has not only dishonored the integrity of God by his maladjustment to the integrity of God at salvation but at the same time he has added insult to his maladjustment by blaspheming, by violating or transgressing the very Law he uses as an instrument of salvation.
τὸ γὰρ ὄνοµα τοῦ θεοῦ διí ὑµᾶς βλασφηµεῖται ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, καθὼς γέγραπται.
Consequently the reputation of God is slandered among the Gentiles because of you just as it is written [Isaiah 52:5].
1. As a Client Nation, Judea in the time of Paul was responsible for the custodianship of the written Word of God, both its composition and its preservation, as well as its communication.
2. The self-righteous reversionism and legalism of the Judaizers resulted in the distortion of doctrine, therefore the distortion of the integrity of God. Note: If you distort the Word of God, you automatically attack the integrity of God.
3. This distortion was detected by the common sense and discernment of the gentiles who could penetrate the self-righteous facade of Judaism.
4. Instead of attributing such hypocrisy to the failure of the Jews who were maladjusted to the justice of God at salvation the Gentiles ascribed the legalistic evil of the Jews to God. In this way they maligned and slandered God.
Isaiah 52:5, “Now therefore, what do I have here?” declares the Lord. ‘For my people have been taken away without cause, and those who rule them mock,’ declares the Lord. And all day long my name is constantly blasphemed.”
Two major questions are raised for the rest of this chapter. First question: What is the significance of ritual circumcision? Second question: What is a true Jew?
περιτοµὴ µὲν γὰρ ὠφελεῖ ἐὰν νόµον πράσσῃς· ἐὰν δὲ παραβάτης νόµου ᾖς, ἡ περιτοµή σου ἀκροβυστία γέγονεν.
Circumcision has value if you observe the Law, but if you break the Law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised.
It is very important to realize that in the beginning circumcision was very meaningful. The first man circumcised was Abraham who had maximum doctrine resident in his soul as a mature believer. The Lord commanded Abraham to be circumcised after which He would make Abraham the father of a new race. Circumcision was just the ritual; Abraham’s spiritual maturity was the reality. By contrast, Abraham’s son, Ishmael was also circumcised on that very same day as per Genesis 17:23. Every time Ishmael looked upon his circumcision, it should have reminded him of the necessity of trusting in Jehovah Elohim, the one who would take on humanity and go to the cross to be judged for the sins of the world, and then to grow in grace and knowledge as did his father, Abraham. The ritual of circumcision is meaningless without the reality.
1. Ritual without reality is meaningless. The whole purpose of the Jewish race is relationship with God. This blessing which came from Abraham’s maturity adjustment to the integrity of God, or maximum doctrine resident in the soul, was a part of the promise that Abraham would have a son from his own loins, and from this son would come a new race which would be the means of bringing the Messiah into the world.
2. Ritual circumcision was to motivate one to move-on to circumcision of the heart, but these Jews rejected the reality while clinging to the ritual. So, they remained in the status of ‘uncircumcised of heart’ and or maladjusted to the integrity of God. There is no reality in ritual; the reality always lies in the doctrine that makes the ritual meaningful.
So, then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? Yes [the question introduced by the Greek negative ou demands an affirmative for an answer].
ἐὰν οὖν ἡ ἀκροβυστία τὰ δικαιώµατα τοῦ νόµου φυλάσσῃ, οὐχὶ ἡ ἀκροβυστία αὐτοῦ εἰς περιτοµὴν λογισθήσεται;
Always in every generation there are certain people who have never heard of circumcision, who have never heard of or seen the Mosaic Law, and yet these people produced the righteousness of the Law; and many others believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and advance to spiritual maturity and obtain ‘circumcision of the heart (soul)’ without physical circumcision.
καὶ κρινεῖ ἡ ἐκ φύσεως ἀκροβυστία τὸν νόµον τελοῦσα σὲ τὸν διὰ γράµµατος καὶ περιτοµῆς παραβάτην νόµου
The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
1. The legalistic Jew who spends all of his time judging the grace-oriented gentile who will be used by God to condemn the self-righteous Jew.
2. Because of self-righteousness the legalistic Jew who has no right to judge, judged the gentile for not being circumcised and for not keeping the Law.
3. But the Gentile who was not circumcised, who did not keep the Law, but who had adjusted to the integrity of God at salvation, through spiritual growth and finally maturity will in turn do the judging.
4. Therefore, it is the mature Gentile believer who through his spiritual attainment will judge the arrogant, self-righteous, maladjusted Jew.
οὐ γὰρ ὁ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ Ἰουδαῖός ἐστιν, οὐδὲ ἡ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ ἐν σαρκὶ περιτοµή·
A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.
1. Distorting the Mosaic Law into legalism which is the practice of Judaism is not the true reason or purpose for the Jewish race.
2. By placing a distorted emphasis on circumcision as a ritual, and keeping the Law for salvation, the racial Jew lost the true meaning and purpose for Israel as custodians of doctrine, as a Client Nation.
3. Therefore there emerges historically a false Jew. Physically he has the genes of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but spiritually he does not follow the pattern of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
4. The false Jew is both racially and nationally a Jew, but spiritually he is maladjusted to God through the externals and superficialities of Judaism.
The false Jew had no relation to the integrity of God, and no greater demonstration of this than that which occurred on Palm Sunday which occurred exactly one week before the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the first Palm Sunday was one of the greatest tragedies in Jewish history for it led to the downfall of the Judea. The Jewish people and leaders wanted the crown before the cross. So, they wanted Jesus to use his power of miracles to throw off their Roman rulers. They had already rejected Christ as their savior. In the name of political reform, the politicians, who were the members of the Sanhedrin, and the people of the land were now turning to Jesus because they wanted Him to drive out the Romans and to bring in the 2nd Advent. This they wanted without the cross. But what they failed to realize was that the cross had to occur before the crown. When the integrity of God is not involved there is no such thing as permanent political reform.
In nation building, the self-righteous American politicians wanted to provide for Iraq and Afghanistan the crown without the cross. These Muslims had rejected the Laws of Establishment, the cross and subsequent spiritual life, yet these politicians pushed as it were God aside and assume that by pumping in trillions of dollars that somehow without any truth, any integrity as a base, that great nations would emerge in the Middle East. This is a lot more than failure; it was insanity.
ἀλλí ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ Ἰουδαῖος, καὶ περιτοµὴ καρδίας ἐν πνεύµατι οὐ γράµµατι, οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλí ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ
No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly [has a relationship with God through regeneration]; and true circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God [one receives God’s praise through salvation and advancing to spiritual maturity].
The only way the believer can have blessing and total relationship in glorifying God is by acquiring maximum doctrine in the soul analogous to circumcision of the heart whereas physical circumcision as a ritual merely removes unnecessary skin which is analogous to the removal of human good and evil.
God the Holy Spirit is the agent of regeneration, not the letter of the Law, nor circumcision. The Holy Spirit regenerates those who make instant adjustment to the integrity of God by faith in Jesus Christ, not those who try to manufacture a system of doing good. Regeneration then is the difference between the true and the false Jew.