Romans Lesson 6 Day 2
My answers to BSF study questions
3. Bragging about spiritual things
There was a certain kind of Judaism which kept a kind of profit and loss account with God. In the end a man often came to a frame of mind in which he rather held that God was in his debt. Paul’s position was that every man is a sinner and God’s debtor, that no man could ever put himself back into a right relationship with God through his own efforts and that grounds for self-satisfaction and boasting in one’s own achievement no longer exist. William Barclay
Paul is addressing the Jew’s pride in their exclusive heritage. The Message translation keys in on this point:
So where does that leave our proud Jewish insider claims and counterclaims? Canceled? Yes, canceled. What we’ve learned is this: God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade. Romans 3:27-28 MSG
The Jews don’t have a corner on prideful behavior. Examples abound:
Exaggerating: Overstating what actually happened at a church meeting, the numbers in attendance, the number of people who responded, etc. The purpose isn’t to make God look good.
Name dropping: Christian celebrities in one’s family or people we’ve had dinner with, know personally, etc.
Testimonies: It’s tempting to share a testimony about someone we prayed for or witnessed to in a way that brings attention to ourselves instead of giving glory to God.
Spiritual achievements: Bible college graduate, ordination, titles, etc.
I think that can also go the other way, trying to appear or sound really humble on purpose.
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. (ESV)
Boasting is glorifying ourselves instead of glorifying God. He alone deserves all the glory.
James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
4. Self-justification defined
A self-centered attitude by which people defend their actions and beliefs without reference to God. Scripture insists that the confidence and ultimate justification of believers lie with God, and condemns those who look elsewhere for these. Dictionary of Bible Themes
Secular definition: The act of making excuses to justify one’s actions or behavior.
Note on Job 32:2 “Literally, he [Job] justified his soul, נפשו naphhso, before God. He defended, not only the whole of his conduct but also his motives, thoughts, etc.” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible).
Some common excuses:
I didn’t do it.
It’s not my fault.
It’s not my responsibility.
I’m not as bad as most people.
I shouldn’t have lost my temper, but they shouldn’t have blah blah blah. In other words, it’s the other person’s fault, not mine.
If all else fails, lie. Deny that we had a wrong motive or attitude.
Oh my, I do hate to look bad.
So I’m often working on my story. It’s easier to just hide, too. Relationships are hard work. Things get taken the wrong way, or sometimes the right way because someone knew what I was thinking even when I didn’t actually say it.
I feel more convicted all the time. I try to keep my mouth shut, and the thing I knew I shouldn’t say comes out anyway. I REALLY don’t want to keep doing that. (I’m mostly thinking of my husband and family.)
5. Righteousness isn’t a DIY project.
“A term that has come to designate moral living as a way of salvation; or as a ground for neglecting the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Related to legalism)
Secular definition “convinced of one’s own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others: narrow-mindedly moralistic” Merriam-Webster
I have zero percent bragging rights to my righteousness.
I must remember the true source of my righteousness—Jesus!
The only thing I had to do with it—I accepted the gift.
If I brag about it, that means I’m taking the credit for doing it myself.
“Above all else, guard [my] heart, for everything [I] do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 NIV
Stay close to the Lord. He convicts and corrects me when I wander into pride.
Examine my own heart. Am I trying to figure out a way to boast about something but still sound humble? I’ve caught myself doing that.
I’ve also boasted or thought, “I would never do THAT” and later had to repent for doing the same thing.
“Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” Psalm 26:2 NIV
I am “confident of this, that he who began a good work in [us] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV After all, “He is the author and the finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2 NIV
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MY answers — not THE answers — to BSF study questions on Romans Lesson 6 Day 2 ~ Romans 3:27-28