Several years ago a very prominent evangelical leader in the United States was at the "top of his game". He was the pastor of a very large church and the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals. He was also one of the loudest voices in the country denouncing homosexuality. All of that ended abruptly in 2006 when a male prostitute revealed Pastor Ted was a client and had been for 3 years. He also revealed he sold him Crystal Meth. Other "sins" came to ligh...t later. I don't say this to rehash the tragedy of a man's life but to point out that while he was a religious leader representing Jesus to thousands if not millions he was putting down "greeks" while "greek" himself. In my experience as a pastor which is stretching to 16 years and 20 if you count intern work, a pattern has emerged. Those in religious circles who denounce sin and sinners the loudest have much in their own closets. One example was a man who was cheating on his wife while criticizing young people for what they were wearing. There are more extreme examples I could share but I won't.
I'm not sure if you noticed yesterday but we essentially finished chapter 2. Paul used it to emphasize and re emphasize that when it comes to our need of the gospel there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek which in our modern culture would be between church goers and everyone else.
This is an offensive message. Our pride resists it. We like to flatter ourselves that stepping into church makes us a step above.
In fact that whole last section of chapter 2 is an exposure of our religious hypocrisy. We preach at others but do we follow what we preach? He goes a step further and says there are many in the world who don't even have the written code of God's laws as the Jews did yet they follow His voice through their conscience. I am being gentle. Read the section from verse 12 to the end and you will see Paul was much less gentle.
Why is Paul being so harsh on the hypocrisy that religion too often is? Again he is not doing it to be mean or critical. As we plunge into chapter 3 we'll clearly see where all this is going. For now take a look at yourself and the world around you and ask "do I think myself better than others?"
See you tomorrow.