In Romans 2:17-33, Paul is setting forth a discourse for the Jews in Rome, telling them that faith or belief in Christ is what makes a Jew a Jew. They were the ones to receive the Law of Christ and had an obligation to it and to share the Law of Christ with others.
Rom 9:6–8, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac your descendants will be named.” 8That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.”
Rom 9:31-33, “but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him (Jesus Christ) will not be disappointed.”
Rom 11:7-8, “What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; 8just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes to see not and ears to hear not, Down to this very day.”
As a result, Paul emphasizes that salvation is based on faith, whether you are a Jew or Gentile.
Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Being a Jew in race, does not give you a free pass to heaven; only faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross gives you entrance to the promise of heaven.
Rom 2:28, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.”
Rom 10:12, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Gal 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” w/ Col 3:11
Now in our text of Rom 2:17-21, Paul also provides certain principles or guidelines that indicate whether you are truly a follower of Christ or not.
Paul Begins with Six Examples of Preparation for the Believer in Verses 17-18
- “Bear the name Jew” = Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be willing to be identified with Him.
- “Rely upon the Law” = Faith Rest Drill, trusting the Word of God.
Rely Upon = epanapauē – ἐπαναπαύῃ, “to rest upon anything, to settle upon, fix its abode upon.”
- “Boast in God” = Giving glory and praise to God
Boast = kaucavomai – καυχάομαι: “To glory (whether with reason or without), to glory on account of a thing, to glory in a thing.”
Glory is the revealed righteousness and justice of God. When we reflect God as lights of the world by apply His word to our daily situations, we are revealing His glory. Therefore, through our application of God’s Word, we are boasting in Him.
- “Know His will” = Knowing God’s plan for your life, having a Personal Sense of Destiny.
Know = ginóskó – γινώσκω; “to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of, perceive, feel.”
- “Approve the things that are essential” = Steadfastness in belief due to experience in the application of the Word of God to your life.
Approve = dokimazo – δοκιμάζω; “to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals, to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy.”
- “Being instructed out of the Law” = Learning the Word of God academically from your right Pastor-Teach inside your local church.
Instructed = katécheó – κατηχέω; “to teach by word of mouth.”
Kata – κατά = “Down, against, or according to;” Echeo – ἠχέω = “to make a loud noise.”
Paul then Gives Us 6 Examples of Christian Application in Verse 19-20
- “Are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind” = Having been taught, you now teach others. Teach the gospel to unbelievers.
Guide = hodégos – ὁδηγός, “a conductor (literally or figuratively – teacher, guide, leader.”
All the other instances of this word in the Bible are in the negative sense, Acts 1:16; Matt 23:16; Matt 23:24; Matt 15:14. They refer to Judas and the Pharisees as “blind guides.” That is the application; the blind leading the blind. So, this is a gut check for the Jewish and Roman believers and for us today, “are you like Judas and the Pharisees or are you true teachers of Christ?”
- “A light to those who are in darkness,” = Reflecting the light of Jesus Christ onto the lost and dying world through your good works.
Light = phós – φῶς; “Light, bring to light, illuminate.”
Mat 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15“nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
- “A corrector of the foolish,” = Train those without Bible Doctrine resident in their soul or those not applying the doctrine in their soul how to apply it correctly.
This is similar to the principle found in Eph 5:11.
Eph 5:11, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;”
Corrector = paideutés – παιδευτής = “teacher, one who disciplines, a trainer.” The root word PAIDEUO – παιδεύω means, “to instruct children.” This is also where the word PAIDION – παιδίον (children) is from. The prime root PAIO – παιὁ means, “to strike or to sting.” This word is only used here and in Heb 12:9.
Heb 12:9, “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
Foolish = aphrón – ἄφρων = “Those without reason.” PHREN – φρήν is the root = “heart.” So, it means those without the Word of God in the right lobe of their soul. “Foolish” applies to both believers and unbelievers.
Eph 5:17, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
1 Peter 2:15, “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.”
PAIDEUTES is directed to all spiritually mature believers in Rom 2:20. All mature believers should be instructing and training those who do not have the Word of God in their soul (believer and unbeliever) about the things of God.
- “A teacher of the immature,” = Instructing new and immature believers in the things of God.
Teacher = didaskalos – διδάσκαλος; “teacher, instructor.”
DIDASKALOS is used for Pastor-Teachers in: 2 Tim 4:2; Titus 1:13; 2:15
2 Tim 4:2, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Immature = népios – νήπιος; “an infant, a simple-minded or immature person, child, childish.” Metaphorically, “childish, untaught, unskilled.”
Gal 4:3, “So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.”
Eph 4:14-15, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.”
- “Having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,” = Confidence in the Word of God as power and truth for life. Having the full Armor of God and living the Christ-like life.
Embodiment = morphósis – μόρφωσις; “the form befitting a thing or truly expressing the fact, the very form.”
This word is used in the negative sense in 2 Tim 3:5.
2 Tim 3:5-19, “Holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”
Eph 3:16-19, “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
- “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?” = The reality that all good Pastors know. When you teach others, you are learning from the Holy Spirit at the same time. The same goes for the mature believer applying the 1st five principles of verses 19-20.