Tuesday, May 21
Scripture: 1 Kings 6, 2 Chronicles 3, Psalm 97, Romans 1
Romans 2:24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
Paul is challenging the Jews of his day who believed that their “Jewishness” (their possession of the Law of Moses as God’s chosen people) was enough. But Paul points out that it is not enough to simply have the Law of Moses; they must obey it. When they boast of having the Law without doing it, they are not being truly Jewish. An uncircumcised Gentile who obeys the Law is more Jewish than a circumcised Jew who doesn’t obey the Law.
To say one thing and do another is hypocrisy, and hypocrisy is repulsive. Which leads to verse 24: “As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’” Their disobedience dishonored God.
Paul is citing Isaiah 52:5 (from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures): ‘The Lord says, “Because of you my name is always blasphemed among the Gentiles.”’ Israel’s disobedience, idolatry and rebellion resulted in their captivity in Babylon, and brought dishonor upon the God they claimed to follow. Paul quotes this verse to suggest that Jews who brag about being Jewish and having God’s law without obeying are doing the same thing: they are bringing dishonor on God. They give Gentiles a reason not to believe.
The same could be said of Christians who proclaim their faith without living it. If we claim to be Christians, but don’t do what Jesus says, we bring disrepute to our faith and dishonor God. We give people a reason not to believe.
2 Peter 2:2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
We must remember that others are watching us and making their decision about Jesus based on what they see in us. My behaviors have consequences far beyond me—they ripple out and affect others, for good or bad. We are living advertisements—what does your life say? Are you a good ad for Jesus? Does your life make others want to know Him? Or does your disobedience give people a reason not to believe?
Prayer: Remind us Lord of the impact of our lives, and help us to make choices with this in mind: others are watching and making decisions about Jesus based on what I do.