“Then what’s the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision? Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God. True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him, “You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court.” “But,” some might say, “our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair, then, for him to punish us?” (This is merely a human point of view.) Of course not! If God were not entirely fair, how would he be qualified to judge the world? “But,” someone might still argue, “how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him more glory?” And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned.”
Romans 3:1-8 NLT
The Jewish man can recognize the value of his circumcision because it symbolizes the covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis 17:9-14. The act of circumcision was a very important part of the Jewish religious heritage. The Jews are the ones who received the spoken Word of God. Christianity was birthed from Judaism (the Jewish religion). Jesus was born from Jewish lineage. However, we must not determine that we are "ok" with God just because we have gone through a religious ceremony or have been the recipients of a religious heritage.
Just as we cannot equate religious association with salvation, we cannot say that our sinful conduct brings God more glory because it magnifies His Holiness.
On one hand we have the religious man. On the other hand, we have the wicked man. Both are under a misunderstanding of their own hearts. No matter what we do religiously or what we think rationally to excuse our irreverence, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Ceremony, or the absence thereof, without the true knowledge of salvation both result in the same thing: a lost soul. We must recognize that we can only be saved from our sin through the atoning work of Jesus. Once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, we are called to depart from our sinful acts. The presence of the Holy Spirit within us enables us to overcome (Romans 8:1 and 2). 2 Timothy 2:19 says "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (KJV).
We cannot say that we know the Creator and walk distinctly opposite of His ways. We need to adopt ways of life that enhance our respect, reverence, and awe of God's Holiness but we must never confuse our "ways" with salvation. Truly knowing and loving Jesus results in a changed life, but the things we do can never achieve salvation. Christ Alone has accomplished this. Salvation is received, not achieved. Gifts are accepted by the recipient at no cost to them. However, the price of the gift was paid by the giver. Jesus paid our price!!
(See Ephesians 2:8-10 and Romans 5:15,16,18; 6:23).
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Rev. Curtis Norris