Paul’s frustration with the Jewish people was not that they were imperfect, after all, we are all imperfect. Paul’s frustration centered on the way the Jewish people loved to wear the tag of Judaism; but they were unwilling to live the life that came with it. The Jewish people were God’s chosen to become a nation of priests and bring God’s message of hope and redemption to the world.
The Jewish people had become instead a legalistic nation that claimed to align with the Law and would not dare mix with others and make themselves “unclean”. Paul was livid. He had been one of them. A Pharisee and a persecutor of the people of faith. He knew all about wearing the tag but not being the brand.
God changed Paul. He showed Paul that the “brand” was being a selfless servant. The brand was drawing the world to God; not setting God apart from the world. Paul also understood that being God’s chosen was never about fulfilling all the jots and tittles in the law; Instead, it was understanding that the Law was and is that we fall passionately in love with God and love others and make them the center of the universe–not ourselves.
Paul was saying in effect, don’t wear the tag; be the brand! The same holds true for us. We need to live lives as children of God. It is not putting a sticker on your car. It is not checking off your attendance record for church. It is not having KLOVE as the number 1 station on your radio or playlists.
Being the brand is as simple as Luke 9:23, ” Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” As with the people of Israel, we are called to step back, love God and serve and love others. That is the brand. That is taking up one’s cross daily and following God.
Help me, Lord to not simply wear the tag of Christian; instead, help me to be the brand.
God Bless You
The Jews and the Law
17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”[b]
25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the[c] written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.