“and he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?”
This passage can seem confusing but it is Paul continuing his thought pattern on hypocrisy from the Jews. Let’s break down this passage in order to make sense of Paul’s wording and phrasing:
1. “he who is physically uncircumcised” – this is referring to the Gentile who is not circumcised or bound by the Mosaic Law
2. “if he keeps the Law” – this is not referring to the actual written Law of Moses but the Law written on the heart as referenced in v14-15
3. “will he not judge you” – this is a rhetorical question as Paul knows the answer. He is inferring that Gentiles who keep the Law written on the heart will judge the Jew’s
4. “though having the letter of the Law and circumcision” – meaning Jews who have who have both the actual written Law given by Moses in the Torah and the sign of the covenant given to Abraham initiating God’s plan to set His people apart for Himself.
5. “are a transgressor of the Law?” – this question all relates to this simpl phrase of transgressing the Law. The Jew has essentially become an embarrassment in their failure to uphold the Law even though they are the most blessed and knowledgeable people of the One true God.
This passage underlines Paul’s message to the Jew that they have been the most blessed people (receiving the Law, God dwelling in the tabernacle and temple, miracles signs and wonders and the sign of their covenant with God which is circumcision). They have all these wonderful things and the expectation from God that they should be faithful to Him and unfortunately they fail.