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CHAPTER   SIX

 

THE SPIRITUAL INVASION OF

COMPLACENCY

AND THE DEFINITION

OF DELIVERANCE

 

DIVINE INITIATIVE

Romans 1-3
with reference to 4

 

THE PRELUDE

Paul gets right to the point. Jesus Christ, in line, graphic exposition and fulfilment of the prophets, has sent the descendant of David as ordained long ago, and here He is, He has come. Not only is He the predicted son of David, but no less than the Son of God. It was in being BORN of the seed of David, that He gained the human receptacle for divinity. There He was, thus He came, and it is done.

Secondly, He has been DECLARED to be the Son of God, not only by prophetic intimation as to come, but by powerful acclamation, both in fact, through the resurrection from the dead, and in DEMONSTRATION by the Spirit of holiness. What was to be, has come to be. Prophecy has made it to history. His name is Jesus Christ our Lord, in the mouth of believers, and in fact.

Thirdly, through Him there is call to "obedience to the faith among all nations."
 

THE OUTSET

This is the base of the Gospel, which is "the power of God to salvation" (Romans 1:16), His dynamic leading to it, moving to it, and for it. Here is revealed the righteousness not of man, but of God, and its mode of acquisition is by faith. Moreover it moves "from faith to faith," from the faith of the prophets who so aptly propounded it while intimating the coming of the Saviour (and ONLY God is Saviour - as in Isaiah 43), to the faith of those who in this way receive both Christ and His pardon, thereby becoming 'the just',  this in and through His name, now fulfilled in what it has proposed, in that it has become what He has performed, as always active according to His word (as in Psalm 32, 51).

This as the power of God to salvation gives enormously, so vast is the need of man to whom it is given. This Gospel grace and gift, it is no superfluous bounty or feed for the greed of man, but an antidote to the profundity of the infamous and wilful wickedness of this race, which has moved from mere rebellion in one (as itemised in Romans 5), to massive decline en masse. It is guilty of actually and actively suppressing the knowledge of God (Romans 1:18), so that this necessary gift from God is no mere matter of filling in gaps in the knowledge of man. Rather when they knew God, they "did not glorify Him as God," and they failed abysmally in this. Instead, they worshipped and served, became manipulees and devotees of naturalism, foundering on worship indeed of the creation not the Creator, fabulous exhibits of inane and devastating revolt.

The result of the revolt ? (and whatever does not accord with the remedy is in revolt against both diagnosis and remedy from God): it is this.

"Professing to become wise, they became fools" - 1:22. The eternal power and Godhead of their Creator, this they declined to register, indeed the knowledge of this, a manifest thing (Romans 1:19), they devoted themselves to suppressing, seduced into scorn, and borne in this darkness as if born to it, so that "their foolish hearts were darkened" - Romans 1:21.  Thus what was true in spirit, soon became true in body, mind and social modes, with sexual perversion one index, so that what was the natural  course for progeny, became a captive to seduction, to shame, they thus "receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due," Romans 1:27.

Their minds acquired operationally, the very taint foundationally which led them to founder in body. This double evil now became theirs amid their distortion, so that mutual inter-personal relationships, arising from this rebellion, had its own grievous and unworkable results.

These, became as clouded as physical ones; for clearly, if the race as one whole do not "like to retain God in their knowledge," then of necessity their very MINDS will be affected in their aims as well as practices, in their evaluations and desiderata, so that they become victims of "a debased mind", all sorts of wickedness arriving as if by special post.

Backbiters they become, nibbling in obsessive degradation at each other, yes fighting, disobedient to parents, untrustworthy, proud, boastful, inventive with a false and fraudulent initiative, evil their quarry, folly like clay in their slurry. Unforgiving, as they abort forgiveness, they become unmerciful. Aware that the judgment of God is on this debased and delusive departure and decline, they not only do this sort of thing, but acclaim their practice.

That is the setting for Chapter 2 of the Epistle of Romans, the surge and sweep of the declaration from God by the apostle Paul, in Romans 1. Where therefore any nation makes it a crime to expose these things as Paul has done and the Bible consistently does, then NOT ONLY, as he says at the end of Romans 1, are they involved in such things, but they set their seal to those who practise them.

Indeed, they now move further, in advanced degradation, blighting those who expose these causes of divine wrath, in design depravity and woeful inter-personal dealings, and even daring to imprison, fine or degrade them. In this way a nation can become not only ungodly, but devilish, bringing not hell fire but human fire on the exponents of mercy. It is at times almost as if they are seeking to have a measure of equality, in this world dispensing fire in order to allay their thought of the judgment to come for themselves, unless they repent and believing the Gospel, receive the Word of God incarnate, and follow Him.

Do they then lament when their time comes ? May it not be, lest this nation grow into a nursery of delusion, fired by unholiness, sedated in ungodliness, RSPV sent post-haste to God, for their fitting reward. How much that is wonderful has been done here, and with what sacrifices our liberty has been humanly advanced; but when one chooses to blight the word of the Commanding Office, yes Commanding Creator, the Lord, one might about as well tweak the nose of one's CO, and kick his pants, while pouring brandy in his eyes.

The point is by no means exaggerated; for if a mere army commander has his place, what is that of the Creator of the race, when in spirit, so treated! In fact, the delusion even there, on the part of those who do not like to retain God in their knowledge, makes the case merely the more profoundly provocative by those who play on the patience of God. Some even go so far as to object to the amazingly restrained response of God!

It is as with Noah and Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, as a darkened nation brought profound shame on itself, being as the world now is , inauspiciously unthankful, and godlessly innovative with what has no basis, backing or rationality at all. This was exposed in some detail in terms of this very suppression of the knowledge of God, now moving into society and things academic with such pomp (cf. Possess Your Possessions Volume 8, Ch. 5, and in particular certain explicit statements).

Thank God therefore for the DIVINE INITIATIVE. HE did not lapse, but acted. In life in Christ, WAIT on Him, for He is the God who acts for the one who waits for Him, by faith (cf. Isaiah 64:5), for His dealings. Such is the lot of the Christian.

 

THE ONSET

 

With such a prelude and outset, Paul moves to the "THEREFORE" in Romans 2:1.

Who are these temporary, self-installed judges then, who erect citadels for their mouths and condemn others for doing precisely what they do themselves! he queries. If you adopt a righteous posture as if your works, ways and stature were the ground for assessment of others, you merely deceive yourself.

In fact, when it is not grace, mercy and peace through pardon through the salvation of the Gospel, but a self-declaiming basis which comes to mind, when you are assessing others, you are merely despising the forbearance of God. YOU have so far, he is saying, escaped judgment by forbearance of God, and instead of realising this and acting at last, you detour into specious condemnation from your own lips, of others.

What is really happening in the abundance of God's mercy to you, is that He is leading you to repentance, one not to be repented of, capable in Christ of great things. Thus, amid patience, on HIS part, not yours, you wait... and condemn others as if by some appointment to the moral bar!

Such a travesty of truth is to be sure, a dealing in treasure, as in the best traditions of an immoral world, but it is one of a specious kind. By so becoming basic instead of proclaimer and possessor of the Gospel grace, you are  "treasuring up for yourself wrath". When ? God is quite able to wait in His goodness, but the eventual outcome is "in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God," Romans 2:5.

Such is the message at the outset of Romans 2.

Now our purpose here is to see the sweep of Paul's inspired presentation, and to this we are now ready to attend.

In Romans 2:1-5, we find this:

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NONE CAN ACT AS JUDGE SINCE ALL ARE FALLEN.

In  2:6-9, we find that actualities become realities, sowings inherit reapings, there being no room for contra-factual dreaming.

In 2:10, we see that

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ROOTS PRODUCE FRUITS,

just as the genetic structure of a good tree leads on to fruits (as in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7), so that spiritual basis of one's life does no less, once it is there.

While then

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FRUITS DO NOT DIG FOR AND INSTAL ROOTS

(works do not produce godliness, results do not make causes,
crops do not cultivate the earth or plant the seed),

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they DO ATTEST ROOTS.

Thus what goes on, is on the path to wrath or eternal life.

God does not erect devils to delight, or select the godly to doom. As your heart is set, and as you receive from Him whom you seek or dismiss, so your constitution, character and nature is or is not changed, according to the case.

Seek ? you will then find, if you seek Him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:11-13), and if you do, what you find is the Gospel of grace, as you come, recipient of grace, amid regeneration. "There is no partiality with God," Romans 2:11. Children of light and of the devil can be discerned with a deadly divine accuracy, or a delightful divine knowledge, according to the case.

In fact, says the apostle (Romans 2:12-15), in that expatiatory pause, the case is quite and justly devastating. Sin without law ? good, then perish without it. That is the case for gospel-free man, natural man, contending man.

That is not for you ? You want law ? Very well, have the law and be judged by the law. DO IT. If you want standing, to acquire it, to manufacture it, then DO IT. Be perfect and perfectly free of sin, rejoice. But ARE you thus ? Do not deceive yourself. Even the Gentiles, at that time just beginning to be awakened to the Gospel, do better than many who pose as teachers of babes and religious experts, a cultural fault in many of the Gospel-rejecting Jewish people (Romans 10). Gentiles can exceed this self-righteous distortion of the word of God.

This is better than nothing or distortion; but it is still not good enough, a seething, coming and going morass of morals and murals, hopes and failings.

While then they are indeed damaged goods before God, yet the imprint of His image from the first creation of man is still active, if deranged. Thus many have active consciences, in which they are excusing or accusing their own lives, seeking to find solace, righteousness, goodness, acknowledging error, or finding a fund for hope; and while hopeless without the Gospel, yet they give a better testimony than do the opinionated for whom the culmination of the Gospel from the many preludes, Christ Himself as He is, is too much to take! Paul sums this point further in Romans 10:3ff..

That then has been the onset. Things are one way with man, or the other, but EITHER way, in defiled efforts that are better than lordly self-confidence, or in knowledgeable ignorance through distortion of divine grace, man is lost. There is nothing there. Neither pretext nor imperfection, amid stewing thoughts, suffice; and though some measure of sincere looking exceeds in goodness mere haughty religious distortion, yet neither has hope, as Paul goes on to sum up in Romans 3:10ff.. There is a worm in the apple, and its juice is flawed. Even seeking can be unyielding in the very heart where it comes (as in Hosea 7:14). You must seek what is there!

This then is the position for man, and it comes to its end "in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel," Romans 2:16.

What however is this mode of judging when God Himself acts, and how does this Gospel come into this gloomy goading, this unyielding expose of the pollution of the heart and way of man!

That is provided in detail in Romans 3:23ff., which logically is the resumption of the case, for here the application of the Gospel of grace is made manifest, and just how it meets the so far hopeless seeming case of man,  is exposed.

In the meantime, however, Paul has an INTERIM, an excursion into the exposure of pretext, the dismissal of irrelevance, what used to be called, the removal of a false hope. Its point is the direction to the workable hope to the actual revelation of God, and not to some substitute, baneful because blighting the acceptance of the only, because divinely moulded, solution. It is stripping bare the predilection for pretext, and resembles open heart surgery, when some faulty part is being replaced.

Thus far then, we have had the PRELUDE in stating what it is all about, the revelation of Jesus Christ. Then has come the ONSET, showing the hopeless case in which man is placed, and diversifying different ways of reaching such a homeless transience in this world, in misapplied self-righteousness or by lawlessness itself.

It is to proceed to the OUTCOME in the Gospel, as just noted, in 3:23ff.; but before this, there is a matter on which to focus special attention.

 

THE INTERIM

We look for the sweep of things, therefore, at Romans 2:27-3:22, the interim.

1) Jewish formalists are exposed, already adversely noted as worse than many Gentiles. (2:17-24).

2) Sacramentalists do not meet spiritual standards. Thus a godly, uncircumcised person is better than a presumptuous one who is circumcised. The godly is, in fact, as if circumcised to the extent he has in himself what circumcisions REPRESENTS. Symbols and forms are not intrinsic in this way, but representational; it is what they represent that matters (2:25-29).

Jewishness avails only when it betokens an inward spirituality - Romans 2:29. Circumcision is in the heart and spirit of man, and it is there that is to be placed the substance for which it is symbol (cf. I Peter 3:21).  It involves the "answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ," as in Hebrews 9:14-15. There we have this:

"How much more shall the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot
to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
 
"And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament,
that by means of death,
for the redemption of the transgressions
that were under the first testament, they who are called
might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."

Such things are not a matter of mere formal physicality, which saves no one: teaching is not doing (cf. Romans 3:29). While the doing is the work of the Lord (John 6:29), in taking the initiative for man, to implant grace through faith, it is not something to be voided, even if by using a symbol INSTEAD of that to which it refers! In this sense, a Jew is one who is a Jew inwardly (Romans 2:28), in the heart, in the spirit. In such a case, it is by no means a matter of being praised by men for your cultural conformity, but of being praised by God in this, that you have become a true child of God, founded in mercy and grace through faith, in Him, not confounded by cultivating the carnal congratulation of the blind.

Here the term 'the letter' is used in a context requiring 'due performance of what the law requires in outward conformity', just as in Romans 7:6, 'newness of  the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter' means precisely the same. That is: you are to serve God in an enlightened heart, made wise to salvation by grace, and the gift (Romans 5:17) of His righteousness as a founding contribution, realising the meaning of pattern and symbol, but not staying on those very things, as if they were the divine grant, rather than a pictured way to behold it. It is like saying this: Love your wife in newness of understanding in the spirit of mutual adoption on which your marriage is built, not on an engagement ring. Is then an engagement ring false ? Of course not, but false is the heart which stops there, and worse still, the one which stops at it, and uses it as central focus, while defiling what it stands for, and even then, setting up as a model for marriage!

3) We move in the interim, now to Romans 3, at the start of it. It is a matter of DISMISSAL of plausible but impious objections.

Someone might object: Why bother to be a Jew at all then ? What is it for, what is in it!

This is the usual false dilemma which Paul despatches. It is not either all or nothing, but having a PLACE in the overall perspective which is in view. Thus being a Jew has much: for did they not, as a nation, both receive and pass on the very oracles of God, without which man moves to that lost position on which Paul was moved to dwell at the first! They have been given and passed on the key, however little they may have addressed it to the keyhole, when it came to the point in the day of Christ, or in their many revolts before that!

It must be conceded that false meritoriousness, is merely meretricious. It is the same that began to occur in England: a sense of the fruits of Christianity, of being BETTER inherently began to take control, so that the ESSENCE, the ROOT of the fruit was ignored or bypassed, or de-emphasised, as in the Boy Scout Movement, exporting the best of Britain, as it were, without the foundation which produced it!

Thus the apostle is led to proceed in this way: If Israel did indeed pass on the oracles of God (a vast service, a wonderful task!), this is neither to validate nor to enable self-righteousness, as in an imposing spiritual people, teaching babes! (the Gentiles).

Far from it: God is righteous and no default lies in Him; and moreover, not believing does NOT equate to divine unfaithfulness but human sin (Romans 3:3). Let us be reasonable: Does the avoidance of remedy invalidate it, or merely make a comment on what does the avoidance! If you die of thirst because you refuse the water of life, are you to blame either the water or the One who made it available! Scarcely.

But again comes the notional objection, which Paul articulates for consideration. If then, one might say, the result, at God's hand, on the ways of unbelief, shows His righteousness, in judging such a slide:  is this not sufficient ? Why, the objection proceeds, why blame the party which, by default, ignored the gift of grace, for it enabled God to show in His rebuke how right He is... That broadens the application of His rule and justice, so why should the one who gives Him this opening be called a sinner, wrong!

This is a memorable effort! Suppose then that His judgment is truth, and it comes the more because of my sin, is this an excuse for sinning, or is it not merely fallacious! His competence is not my excuse!

If you make that sort of argument into a principle, it comes to this:

Let's do evil so that its rebuke will produce more good! or even more simply,

Do evil so that good may come! And this indeed, says Paul, is just such a slander as some indulge in, when referring to the Gospel work which he is carrying out, a criticism from people who neither understand nor cover their own sin by such inane excuses.

What an atrocious slander! If you do not understand the heart of the matter, that is not to remove its blessed presence in the Spirit of Christ,  from those who have been changed: you cannot have a heart excision, a cardiectomy simply by someone else's ignorance. If God therefore gives a new heart, imagining the thing in terms of its absence is like trying to fly without the airplane! That is not the actual position, nor is it being recommended here. And what is in the heart makes all the difference (Colossians 1:27, on the one side, Ephesians 4:17ff. on the other.  The new hearts with its grace and faith, dynamically operated by the Lord, with the results in regeneration, all in one piece! (Romans 7-8), that is what is in view in actuality. Other models are proposed; but this disposes of them. Criticism must know what it is talking about.

So then, there is no spiritual superiority just in belonging to the Jewish race.

Psalm 14, cited by the apostle in his inspired discourse from the Lord, sums up all that is not inwardly at peace with God through the Gospel and its preludes that spoke of it, through faith. No one is exempted. ONLY the redeemed are delivered, and that not by omission of the case, but because it has been acted on, in their regeneration and restoration, pardon and cover in Christ. It is Christ or exclusion, Christ an in-law or man an outlaw.

Thus all humanity is guilty before God (Romans 3:19). Therefore, says Paul as God gives him decisive utterance (I Cor. 2:9ff.), "by the deeds of the law, no flesh shall be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin." The law successfully counts the sin, advises the course, but does not discount the need which it creates. It depicts the mercy, but that in itself by routine action ('the letter'), does not save.

What God has to GIVE, is as it always has been (as outlined in Romans 4 from Abraham), a matter first and foremost of having such faith in Him that His righteousness is accorded to you, the faith which receives being the active component in the reception of His mercy by sacrifice. HE in this is the active Agent.

In Him, it all has reached its culmination, climax and indeed both vindication and victory. In all things,  Christ has the operational pre-eminence (Philippians 2:1ff.). He it is, who does the actual paying; but it is as it has been, a matter of reception and restoration, by faith. It is, as Paul goes on to show, in THE OUTCOME, as noted below, a matter of gratuitous grace. By active faith, it is received; and by merciful disposition of deity, it is made available.

That ends the interim.

 

THE OUTCOME

But now!

Thus comes the dnouement!

We have therefore to bow to receive "the righteousness of God without the law" (Romans 3:21). Does this mean that the law is being aborted, dishonoured, dismissed in kind ? Not at all, rather, says Paul, "we establish the law" - Romans 3:31.

In fact, it is precisely this which is "witnessed by the prophets" (3:21).  What better formulation in precise simplicity and essential beauty than that of Isaiah 50-55 for example, from which Peter makes various citations! (I Peter 1-2). Indeed, the predicted coming of the great prophet is found in the Law, Deuteronomy 18, where he supersedes the Mosaic prelude with Himself.

This is as it has been (Romans 4), a matter of having your faith (that is what you envisage and deal with as by faith, Christ confessed in heart, His Gospel applied by His Spirit), the receiving agency of His justifying power. He works from outside you to within you to residing in your being by His Spirit.

This gratuitous grace and mercy through faith (you recall, in Genesis 15,  the ram used as a sacrifice by Abraham, as provided by God, showing that even a child is no fit sacrifice to cover sin, but ONLY what the Lord HIMSELF provides, as in Psalm 49), was a matter "not written for his sake alone", that is that of Abraham as in Genesis 12. It was not for himself alone,  "that it was imputed to him, but also for us."

It shall be, Paul is led to proceed, "imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up for our offences, and was raised for our justification." - Romans 4:23-24. In Greek, the preposition here is dia used with the accusative, giving the reason, cause, that on account of which or for which something is done.

Thus for the reason that we were to have sin's guilt discounted to nothing, He was delivered up, the 'nothing' for us being 'all' for believers, on Him! Similarly, the raising up was for the reason that we are to have His righteousness delivered up to us, just as our sin was delivered up to Him. It is this which justifies, since "by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified in His sight" (Romans 3:20). This is a double transfer.

What more then ?

It is this. The raising up first authenticated Him, so making the transaction just, effectual and true, as in the validation of a cheque; secondly it testified of His power to cover the case, as in the amount of a cheque; thirdly, it provided Him alive from the dead (Revelation 1:18), to administer and look after what He had bought so that nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" - Romans 8:39, John 10:27-28, Ephesians 1:11.

As to this faith (Romans 3:22) and its reception as in Romans 5:15ff., of the righteousness of God, it is all one, with no distinction between Jew and Gentile (cf. Galatians 3:28). The Jew is not a favourite to have his paper marked more leniently, and the Gentile not a total outcast as if to have a harder trot to the line. It is by grace through faith worked by God and nothing resides in Jew or Gentile to make the slightest racial difference, at this point and in this fundamental spiritual affair: if it is a racial matter, then it is in this alone, that it concerns the WHOLE human race. It levels to one ground, just as Christ was lifted on one Cross, dumped into one earth!

To start, are you a human being ? Then you are part of the "all" who have sinned. You likewise join the chorus who might well chant, we have "fallen short of the glory of God," Romans 6:23.

Is this where you are, and do you have the faith to receive the remedy ? Then that applied, you belong to those

"being justified freely by His grace
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,"

 Romans 3:24. In other words, sinners you are, but for all that, you have a new status as a believer, being justified without charge, re-instated without loss, by faith, the transaction chargeable to Himself. What lawyer is like this! for we have a barrister in charge who for those so receiving His Gospel leading to Himself by faith,  has born the charges Himself (I John 2:2, Isaiah 53:4-6), and this with the express consent of the Judge. Indeed, He both sent Him, and charged Him further with the judgment of man (John 5:19ff., Acts 17:31), as the Saviour who paid, coming from heaven to do it (Isaiah 48:16ff.). In short ? status, fallen. New status, received. Reason: being justified freely by His grace. Procedure: He bore the sin, and paid the ransom price accordingly (Matthew 20:28, Galatians 3:13,24-25).

That is the dynamic the result of which, your justification, is noted in Romans 5:1.

How precisely is it obtained ? It is summed in Romans 3:24-25, that it is by grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus,

"whom God has set forth as a propitiation
by His blood, through faith,
to demonstrate His righteousness,
because in His forbearance,
God has passed over the sins that were previously committed,
to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness,
that He might be just and the justifier
of the one who has faith in Jesus."

To propitiate is to render harmless the due wrath in store for violation and vileness, while to provide His blood, is the physical expression of the fact it is not a philosophic justification, but a sacrificial one, God in the dock, in His Son on the cross, in the grave, risen breaking death, alive to demonstrate truth and mercy, and the reality of eternal life. Given in willing grace, He is thus gifted once more with body, but what a body, that of the resurrection! as you see in Luke and John, for example, and that, it was before He was glorified. How delicious therefore is the exposition from the Lord by Paul, in I Corinthians 15, as in II Corinthians 5.

There is the demonstration:

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faith provides the medium for acquisition,
 

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grace the governing control which makes sure
that since it is freely imparted, it is freely gained (as in Ephesians 2:1-10),
 

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forbearance comes as what God has shown
in allowing it to come to this head, this Head instead of to the tail;
 

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substitution arises in His being excluded
on the part of the ALL who have SINNED, sin-bearer,
and in that sin, found guilty before God (Psalm 22:1, II Corinthians 5:17ff.),
who being righteous,  raised Him from the dead, victor even over death.

Triumph thus comes for truth, the lie doubly dishonourable, fatally inadequate, grossly contemptible (II Thessalonians 2:4-10).

With this, it is not only the power, the grace and the efficacy of God which is shown, for it is also the mode of actually demonstrating that God is both just (not ignoring sin) and the Justifier of the one who by faith receives what He has to offer. This, in turn, , it is because He has already once and for all, offered Himself, giving eternal redemption through one act, once for all, never to be repeated, one efficacious action containing all, achieving all (Hebrews 7-10).

The outcome is thus. It is NOT in boasting. HOW CAN YOU BOAST, whoever you are, if your condition, your sin led to this to redeem you. You can boast, not in terms of achievements in the law, as often falsely done, but in terms of the "law of faith" (Romans 3:27), which accredits Christ with a role, because of which His servants might well make great boast OF HIM! (Galatians 6:14, Ephesians 2:10, 3:8).

You can be circumcised or not, but there is one God who does the justifying. You can run hot or cold; but there is one God who provides pardon. You can multiply or not, but there is one singular event in history, by which sin is purged (Hebrews 9:12-10:14), without which, or polluting which, leads to intrusions unthinkable, horror unimaginable, as if the only remaining antibiotic were mixed with tar!

Again, you could be culturally circumcised, to apply the symbol, that is given Gentile blessing for your acclimitisation and accommodation of Gentile concepts of one kind or another, on conformity to some folly or other, and so praise yourself or rejoice in culture's praise. Yet that will achieve for you, before God, PRECISELY NOTHING.

In that case, your case is again in the realm of the hopeless, the hapless, unless and until you take the remedy of grace through faith, accommodating not this world or yourself, but God in reception that has repentance for its salt and thankfulness for its savour.