Daily Worship

Shaping our thoughts and actions

Dr Iain Jamieson June 16, 2022 0 1
Image credit: Unsplash
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Romans 2: 17-29 (NRSVA)

17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God 18 and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law, 19 and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, 21 you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You that boast in the law, do you dishonour God by breaking the law? 24 For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’

25 Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. 29 Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.

It’s really easy to get the whole thing turned around with religion isn’t it.

It's compelling to think that if we carry out the right rituals and sing the right hymns, give to the right charities that we’ll somehow unlock to the keys to heaven. Like it’s a celestial computer game, get the right moves and “level up”.

I doubt that’s the way it works though. The external manifestations of our faith have evolved to imbue and strengthen what’s inside of us — not the other way round.

They are amuse-bouche of a meal that gets richer, deeper and more intense the more we explore. The chattels of religion are mere shadows of the real deeper experience of faith.

And what of our intent. I think that’s where the law mentioned in the passage is important. The law is there to help us guide our intent, to avoid us getting all tangled up in knots  — the road to hell may well be paved with good intentions but the law is there to guide us away from even laying a slab.

God calls us I think to be real, the Spirit enables us to walk in sympathy with his ways and helps keep our intent pure and the way straight before us.

The most beautiful thing though is God knows your heart. He knows you deeply and intimately and most of all he gets you — flawed, warts and all. I think when you realise you are truly known and more than that, truly loved for who and what you are the inward person becomes the outwards person and brings forth the witness of one who is at one with the creator.




Abba, Father

You know me

Let me be known

Forgive me

Let me forgive

Love me

Let me love

As you work on the inside

Shine on the outside

And let us be as one with you and all creation