Romans 2:18 NASB
“and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,”
Continuing in this thought, Paul affirms their adherence to the will of God and following the essential teachings of Jews. They are informed, well versed, established in God’s ordinances. Do you see the pattern here? Paul is inflating the ego of the Jew, addressing any qualms they might have of their self righteousness before God.
This is the danger we can also be in, a self righteous attitude that presumes we are justified before God because of x, y and z. It’s interesting, that the more prideful and self righteous the Jews were, the more easily they were offended at Jesus and the things He taught. It wasn’t the righteous ones that followed Jesus, it was the humble ones who knew they weren’t good enough to be justified before God.
Years ago, my mentor Dr. Steve Schell told me something that I will never forget. He said that as Christian’s the longer we follow God, typically we are less burdened by sins that manifest as ugly things such as sexual sin and drunkenness. What mature Christians often fall into is the sin of pride. Pride comes when you’ve overcome the sins that less mature Christian’s still struggle with. Pride comes when you know Scripture better then others. Pride comes when you know what your pastor is going to say before he even says it. And the once humble and contrite heart towards God often becomes callous and cold. If we are not careful, we take the gifts God has given us and turned them into a burden upon ourselves.
The warning he was giving me was that as we progress in our walk with the Lord, we must always keep a humble and servant like attitude lest we become like the Jews Paul is addressing and rebuff the righteousness of God over our own.