Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The "You" of Romans 2

Pretend you are a Jew in the first century. When you see the word "you" in this post, think, "He is talking about me, a first century Jew."

You have two things the rest of the world does not: a special sign and a special revelation. Let's talk about the special revelation first.

The Special Revelation

Only you have the special revelation of what God wants you to be and do. This special revelation spells out exactly what it means to conform to God’s character, to be righteous.  In the previous post, we defined righteousness as conforming to the character of God.  God wants your character to be like his character.  So God gave you a special revelation of what that is supposed to look like. He calls it The Law.

The rest of the the world has only a general revelation. By means of the world God made, people know enough about God to hate him and want a different God. But they do not have the special revelation of what God wants them to be. Only you have that.

That does not mean that the rest of the world does not have some idea of what God wants them to be. We will learn from a few later verses in this chapter that non-Jews know enough about what God wants them to be that God is absolutely just to judge them for disregarding what they know. They do indeed have notions of what they are supposed to be, but it has not been spelled out for them like it has been for you.

You however have had this spelled out more clearly than it has ever been spelled out before. Now think about what that means for you. The world is without excuse without the special revelation. You have the special revelation. How much more accountable do you think you might be? Scary thought, isn't it?

The Special Sign

You also have the special sign that designates you as belonging to the special group of people who have received that special revelation. That sign is circumcision. It marks you out, and the two go together. You have the sign, and you have the special revelation. The rest of the world does not. Be careful. You might be tempted to think that you get special exemptions because you have the special sign.

That is the "you" of Romans 2.

Now go read Romans 2 and see if this makes it easier to understand. 

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