Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?(Rom 2:21-23)
In these verses we get to the heart of why the law does not make us right with God. He asks the jewish person that boasts in their heritage, and in the moral law if they are practicing the things that they are teaching. They boasted in the law, but are they keeping the law that they boasted in. They taught the law, but are they keeping the law that they were teaching. Look at the specifics of what he asked them:
- Do you steal?
- Do you commit adultery?
- Do you commit sacrilege?
This is exactly what Jesus asked, and He went further. When Jesus talked about the law in the sermon on the mount, He taught that God expected inward conformity to the law and not just external conformity to it. Notice what He said in Matthew 5:27-28.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart(Mat 5:27-28)
If you were to ask the typical Jew in Paul’s day if they had ever committed adultery, the vast majority would say no. From the perspective of having had an affair physically with someone they would have been honest in that answer. But according to God’s standard, if they have ever looked with lust they had committed adultery.
The same was true about murder.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire(Mat 5:21-22)
“Do you practice what you preach?”, Paul says. The reader best not answer too quickly. Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes God’s case that we do not. The only One who ever did is Jesus Christ, Himself.
The point of this passage is to point out that no one does perfectly practice what they preach. We all are sinners. Every person holds others to a standard that they themselves do not perfectly keep. This is why we need a Savior. We are guilty before God.
For those who understand this, and have called on the name of the Lord to be saved, we stand forgiven. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit to help us to align our beliefs with our behavior. So, the question for us is this. Is there any area of your life where your words and your beliefs do not match your behavior? If there are, repent, and seek the Lord for His help in doing the right thing.
If you don’t know Christ as your Savior, know that your sin is a bigger issue than you think. We all sin in many ways. You need a Savior.
Is there unconfessed, unacknowledged sin in your life? Repent!
Do you know Christ as your Savior? If you don’t, today is the day of salvation. Read this or contact me if you have any questions!