Wednesday, May 20
Scripture: 1 Kings 7, 2 Chronicles 4, Psalm 98, Romans 2
Romans 2:24 No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
In the early chapters of Romans, Paul lays out the gospel, starting with the need: the universal sinfulness of human beings. In this chapter, he shows that both Jews and Gentiles have sinned, one with God’s law and the other without it. Later, in 3:9 he summarizes: “Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin.” And again in 3:23—“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” We have all sinned; we are all under God’s just judgment. (He gets to the solution later in chapter 3!)
The last half of chapter 2 deals with the Jewish confidence that they were fine because of their covenant with God, circumcision and the law. Paul takes them to task, shows how they have failed to keep the law, breaking the covenant and invalidating their circumcision. Then this telling judgement in v. 24: “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
Their failure damaged the reputation of God. Rather than repping God well and attracting Gentiles to the Lord, their behavior pushed them away and became an excuse to reject God. This was a massive failure of their fundamental calling through Abraham to become a blessing to the whole world. (Genesis 12:1-3)
We, as followers of Jesus, can learn from this. We too are called to be a blessing to the world. Are we living in a such a way that our neighbors are attracted to Jesus or repelled? Every Christian is a walking advertisement for Jesus. What kind of ad are you? Do people see you and want Jesus?
Jesus told us to let our lights shine “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Paul wrote Titus to instruct slaves to live in such a way that “they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” Titus 3:9-10
And Peter wrote: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:12
In each of these (and other passages), one of the reasons for doing good is so others will see and honor God. It’s about God’s reputation, not ours.
Here’s a great question to consider before we act: How will this action reflect on God? Does it represent Him well?
What kind of a rep are you?
Prayer: Lord, help us to represent you well. Help us to think less of ourselves and more of You.