Romans 2:17-24 “But if you…rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
2 Types of Religious People
- Better Than You
This person is described in the passage above. These religious individuals believe they have it all figured out and claim that God is on the same page as them. What the Scripture above states is that these people are actually hypocrites who think that they are good because they “know” what is right and are able to teach others. However, what is lacking is action. Instead of action that stems from truly having the Spirit of the Lord which compels them to love others, these people are content to actually put other people down who do not believe what they believe and judge them for doing the bad things that thy do. They do not have any desire to help them. Actually, it is better for them if people remain outwardly doing bad things so that they can continue to put them down and make themselves look better. Ironically, the individuals that they judge may be acting out of a form of ignorance, having not been taught the truth, when these religious people are dishonoring God by knowing the truth and not even following their beliefs themselves. See, the key here is that these people look down on others and condemn others instead of reaching down and having compassion on them. What these people need is to repent of their pride and realize that if they indeed know the truth, that the only thing they should be prideful about is God’s forgiveness for such a vile and persistent sinner as them. The boast would be in Jesus’ sacrifice, not in their knowledge.
(*Interestingly, you may know people who do not believe in God but possess this same pridefulness. The concept is the same, but the platform is different. They consider themselves to be their own god, but they ignore the standard of goodness established by God in nature which allows them to even begin to put others down.)
The delusion here is that they believe that by obeying the standard of goodness laid out in the Bible, they are considered good. But they forget about all of their failures to meet that standard which turns and condemns them. Yet they never condemn themselves. They always cover up these shortcomings. Why? Because if they did not they would need to be held accountable and their image cannot afford any blemishes. Thankfully there is another way–THE RIGHT WAY!
- Love You
Here it is. These religious people are known by their humility. They are gentle and they seem to care more for you and others than you would think they should. When wrong, these people do not have a problem admitting their faults because they understand the truth–which is that they are just as guilty as everyone else in the world. They do not need to pretend that they are perfect because they rely on Jesus’ forgiveness to be accepted and not the appearance of their own sinlessness. Namely because they know it is impossible to be sinless. Their lives focus on gratefulness for the Lord’s righteousness and humility because of their own bad behavior. If they have any knowledge of the truth they are content to teach others while simultaneously being aware of their own need to repent from mistakes that they make. There is no delusion in them about their tendency to walk in darkness and the reliance on God to lead them by His Spirit.