Romans 2:17-24 (The Message)
17 -24 If you're brought up Jewish, don't assume that you can lean back in the arms of your religion and take it easy, feeling smug because you're an insider to God's revelation, a connoisseur of the best things of God, informed on the latest doctrines! I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know God's revealed Word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others, who is going to guide you? I'm quite serious. While preaching "Don't steal!" are you going to rob people blind? Who would suspect you? The same with adultery. The same with idolatry. You can get by with almost anything if you front it with eloquent talk about God and his law. The line from Scripture, "It's because of you Jews that the outsiders are down on God," shows it's an old problem that isn't going to go away.
The apostle writes that it is not religion that saves a person. For even though the law was preached to many those responsible for preaching the law did not uphold it themselves. The same people who said, don�t steal, don�t commit adultery, part of God�s commandments, did so anyway causing others to stumble on this religious hypocrisy.
John Ortberg , in the sermon The Way of Wisdom recalls, �My friend, Jimmy, and his son, Davey, were playing in the ocean down in Mexico, while his family�his wife, daughters, parents, and a cousin�were on the beach. Suddenly, a rogue riptide swept Davey out to the sea. Immediately Jimmy started to do whatever he could to help Davey get back to the shore, but he, too, was soon swept away in the tide. He knew that in a few minutes, both he and Davey would drown. He tried to scream, but his family couldn't hear him. Jimmy's a strong guy�an Olympic Decathlete�but he was powerless in this situation. As he was carried along by the water, he had a single, chilling thought: My wife and my daughters are going to have to have a double funeral. Meanwhile, his cousin, who understood something about the ocean, saw what was happening. He walked out into the water where he knew there was a sandbar. He had learned that if you try to fight a riptide, you will die. So, he walked to the sandbar, stood as close as he could get to Jimmy and Davey, and then he just lifted his hand up and said, "You come to me. You come to me."
If you try to go the way your gut tells you to go�the shortest distance into shore�you will die. If you think for yourself, you will die. God says, "If you come to me, you will live." That's it�death or life.