To Tell the Truth (Lent 6-2013)

I’ve been going down Memory Lane for a while now.  Do you remember the TV show To Tell the TruthThere were three contestants (one contestant being the guest described who had to tell the truth), but the other two were imposters and could tell things that were not true in order to convince the celebrity panel they were the real guest contestant.   Peggy Cass, Orson Bean and Kitty Carlisle were frequent panel celebrities trying to discern who the real guest was and who the imposters were. It was not often easy because the imposters looked much like they could be the guest.  The suspense ended when the host Bud Collyer asked,

“Will the real [insert guest’s name] please stand up?”

Today’s passage is kind of like that.  There are two groups (Jew and Gentile) and two behaviors (obeying and not obeying the Law).  Paul’s point in this passage is that the Jewish people had been given a grand and glorious privilege in having been given the Law and the Covenant promises.  But externals aren’t enough.  One needs to be faithful through and through, day after day.

Romans 2:13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

Paul isn’t telling us anything new.  Plenty of the chosen people died in the wilderness because they had all the external rituals and national pedigree, but absolutely no obedience.  Scrape away the externals of heritage and going through the motions, and all that was left was a core of rebellion, a lack of trust in God.

But God knows men’s hidden secrets and therefore, He knows who is authentic (obeying the Law) and who is an imposter.   Sometimes the least likely people are the ones with true faith.  Gentiles by birth might be among the obedient ones, counterintuitive as it may be, they might trust God more than some of those with every historical reason to do so.  In asking, “Will the real Jew please stand up?,” we might be surprised at the answer when we are pressed To Tell the Truth.

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Give it up for Lent: Relying Upon Externals and Inconsistent Living

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For further study, read Romans 2:9-29 .

Questions to think about:

  1. What are some ways I might be relying upon a family member’s faith or my pedigree?
  2. In the full passage of Romans 2:9-29, it talks about first for the Jew and then for the Gentile.  Why does God do that if He shows no favoritism?
  3. In what ways do we give God a bad name when we live and act in ways contrary to what we know?  It has been said that our Christian life is the only Bible some people will ever read.   Take time today to confess ways you’ve been hypocritical as well as for the bad witness that has been.  Receive God’s forgiveness knowing, 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on February 19, 2013

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