17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God 18 and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law, 19 and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, 21 you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:17-24)
– Authority to teach requires that one obey what is taught!
– Verse 19 sounds like… sarcasm? Irony?
– Paul here corrects hypocritical teachers and those who claim to be judge of others
– What is the significance of Paul’s questions? Is this intended to be a self-reflection?
It’s tempting to read such passages and think “Well I don’t do that” and move along. But do I? Am I living the words I speak or teach or claim to be true?
Verses 19 and 20 really trouble me today. They suggest a lack of humility, a lack of love, a self-importance that comes from me and not from real holiness or real grasp of God’s truth.
I am so quick to judge, to apply my standards to others. I need to be quicker to apply them to myself – to ask what I am doing or not, who I am in Christ rather than who others are.
Lord of Law and Grace, hear my confession this day. I am the one who proudly makes myself judge and teacher and prophet. My own life is so far from your way and my own life so dissonant too. May I not say or do anything that would cause anyone to blaspheme the your name because I have blasphemed it in my deeds and words. Amen.