Religious Law and Ritual Can’t Save

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Bible Text: Romans 2:17-29 | Series:

Religious Law and Ritual Can’t Save

Romans 2:17–29


The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel of Christ - Romans 1:16–17

  • God’s righteousness is not revealed in mankind - Romans 1:18-32 (v. 1:18)
  • God’s righteousness is not revealed in the Jews - Romans 2:1-16 (v. 2:1)
  • God’s righteousness is not revealed in the law - Romans 2:17-24 (v. 2:23)
  • God’s righteousness is not revealed in circumcision - Romans 2:25-19 (v. 2:25)
  • God’s righteousness IS revealed through faith in Jesus Christ - Romans 3:21-26


Jews who are self-righteous will be judged because they break the law of God and not even the religious ritual of circumcision will save them (2:17–29).


Self-righteous Jews depend upon their status before others - v. 17–18

  • rest on the law - affirm and embrace the law of God
  • make your boast in God - claim to know the true God
  • know His will - know how to follow the right way
  • approve the things that are excellent - able to discern what is right or wrong
  • being instructed out of the law - know right teaching about the things of God


Self-righteous Jews have a sense of superiority over others - v. 19–20

  • confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind - leading others to God
  • a light to those who are in darkness - know what others need
  • an instructor of the foolish - telling others what they need to do
  • a teacher of babes - helping others to grow to maturity
  • having the form of knowledge and truth in the law - really know God’s word


These questions are meant to expose the self-righteous Jew as guilty before God.

Do you practice what you preach (21–24)? What is your self-assessment?


Self-righteous Jews cling lastly to religious ritual - v. 25–29

  • Circumcision is a God given ritual (ceremonial procedure that carries a religious message). Circumcision alone was never meant to make one right before God.
  • Uncircumcised (Gentiles) have trusted and called upon God and He accepted them.
  • Physical circumcision was meant to point to the need for spiritual circumcision of the heart that only God could perform - Deuteronomy 10:16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. 
  • A Jew is one who is circumcised inwardly of the heart by the Spirit not one who is only circumcised outwardly according to external technical legalities of law keeping.


Self-righteous religious people make conformity to external religious standards and practices more important than an inward heart-changed relationship with Christ. Faith in Christ is the righteousness of God - For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." Romans 1:17

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