Sunday, 10 February 2013
…and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, Romans 2:19
This is a continuation of the previous verse and will carry on through the next verse. The Jews rested in the law, made their boast in God, and knew His will. They were able to discern what was right because of their instruction out of the law. Because of this, they were confident that they were a sufficient “guide to the blind” and were “a light to those who are in darkness.” But the law is not an end in and of itself. It is only a means of understanding God’s perfection and man’s fallen state.
“Darkness” as used in the Bible often refers to a state of spiritual blindness and a life apart from God. When a person trusts that they can meet the demands of the law apart from a reliance on God’s mercy, it only lead to self-blindness. This inevitably will result in leading others astray as well. Jesus shows time and again that this is exactly what happened to the leaders of Israel, such as is seen in Matthew 15:14 –
“Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
The light which is found in Scripture is only suitable for someone who is willing to use that light for self-illumination first. As the Psalmist implored, so should each person who desires to be instructed from God’s word –
“Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.” Psalm 119:18
The Jewish people had every assurance that they were the stewards of God’s oracles and that through them would come all the riches of God’s promises to the world, but this assurance merely led them to trust that they were somehow excused from God’s wrath and judgment. The law to them became a manipulative tool which they used to lord their supposed superiority over the gentiles. However, because of their incorrect use and instruction of it, Jesus shows the opposite was the result –
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” Matthew 23:15
The law never had the intent or purpose of making people perfect before God. As noted in a previous verse, the fact that the Day of Atonement was given as a part of the law proves this. What the law was meant to do was to lead the people to a humble walk before God in the eager expectation of the Messiah who would reveal the glory of God to the world. This was prophesied in the Old Testament and revealed in the New –
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16
Life application: When you read the Bible and see stories of people committing grievous sins, do you see yourself next to them or do you see them as more vile that you? Understand that erring in any part of the law breaks the entire law and therefore you are as guilty as they are. The judgment they received is the judgment you deserve. Take time today to thank God that your punishment was transferred to Jesus. It was a high cost paid for your sin.
Heavenly Father, I look to the cross and wonder how You could have done this for me. May I never presume that I somehow deserve salvation and eternal life, but that it is Your great grace and mercy which was poured out abundantly on me. Thank You for Jesus; thank You for His cross; thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit; and thank You for Your word. Amen.