Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 7
24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
1901 ASV Translation:
24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, even as it is written.
25 For circumcision indeed profiteth, if thou be a doer of the law: but if thou be a transgressor of the law, thy circumcision is become uncircumcision.
There are no textual variations between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26 in verses 2:24-25.
March 15, 2005
- I. Paul addresses the "stinking hypocrisy" of legalism as to its "fruit".
- A. Perhaps the saddest commentary on the state of Judaism in the first century is given in Paul's accusation that the very people who were supposed to represent God to the world were the reason the world blasphemed Him.
- B. He also claims that this is a "standard" truth; one that "stands already written".
- 1. 2 Samuel 12:14 is one place where the principle is stated in application to David's transgression.
- a. This example may be the reason Paul went immediately from the accusation to the statement of 2:25 because the example is one of "transgression" of the Law and "circumcision" is a "commitment to keep the Law".
- b. The problem here is this: no one lives without "transgressing"; so, is the accusation that "you are giving the enemies reason to blaspheme" applicable to all? David's example argues that the answer is "yes".
- 1) EVEN those who embrace Paul's Gospel do not always "perform" well, so is there anyone who does not, on occasion, give the enemies a reason to blaspheme? Doesn't seem to be.
- 2) Why does Paul accuse the "Jews" of something he admits is also true of "believers"?
- a) Doesn't anything he says of "their" failure lose its "punch" if his own message does not provide consistent "success"?
- b) The answer lies in the foundations: giving the enemies a basis for blasphemy is inexcusable in a "system" where acceptance is rooted in obedience, whereas giving the enemies a basis for blasphemy is not a basis for condemnation in a "system" where acceptance is rooted in forgiveness by grace.
- c) Paul's "objective" is not to "exalt" the performance of "believers" over "unbelievers"; it is, rather, to undercut the proud confidence of "legalists" who not only think their performance is better than that of others, they think God will accept them on the basis of it.
- i. The issue of the Gospel is not that those who "believe" in it will do a better job of "obeying" (though they will, in relative terms).
- ii. The issue of the Gospel is that no one who rejects it will be given the Life of God because that Life begins with repentance, which disallows both pride and despair. The only way pride can be put away is by means of "salvation by grace"; and the only way despair can be put away is by means of "salvation because of love". The Cross establishes both. Circumcision denies both.
- 2. There is never any "excuse" for blasphemy, but neither is there ever any "excuse" for giving someone an opportunity to blaspheme.
- C. The connection between the "Jewish" religion and the blasphemy among the nations is inherent.
- 1. One cannot embrace the self-righteousness (pride) of the legalist without guaranteeing that his own failures will become ammunition in the arsenals of the enemies of God.
- 2. Nor can one embrace the self-righteousness (pride) of the legalist without guaranteeing his own failures.
- a. Once a person accepts his "responsibility" before God, he is "responsible".
- b. The problem with being "responsible" is that failure is inevitable: the Law is the strength of sin.
- 3. Nor can one "preach to others" what is "necessary" and not create a blasphemous backlash...
- a. Because, on the one hand, preaching what is necessary is preaching the Law...
- b. And on the other hand, preaching the Law guarantees the eruption of Sin.
- D. Only the preaching of Christ can break the connection between the failure of the people of God and blasphemy by the adversaries.
- 1. In the preaching of Christ, the issue is that of forgiveness, not personal triumph.
- a. Any preaching of personal triumph leads to failure and, thus, to blasphemy.
- b. All preaching of forgiveness assumes the fact of failure and makes humility genuinely possible.
- 2. In the preaching of Christ, the forgiveness leads to the expression of true life as it is rooted in confident humility.
- a. The expression of true life does not always "attract", but it does always remove any sense of legitimacy from the blasphemy that is inevitable among the enemies (1 Peter 2:15).
- b. The expression of true life is the expression of the indwelling Christ, Who does indeed draw some to Himself through that expression.