My Privilege

When people believe in something better than themselves, they generally behave better. That being said, plenty of awful things have taken place in the name of religion. I agree with Chuck Swindoll when he said, “If I could preach one message to a group of Christians, it would be, ‘How to be a Christian without being religious.’”
Isn’t being a Christian being religious? As most people understand the word Christian, yes; but as we read Paul’s letter to the Romans, no.

So many Christians have the idea that faith is like a treadmill. Every day you climb onto the religious demands that have been placed on you. Faster and faster, working, striving, hoping, pleading, and praying that you might just please God one day.
With so much distance between the perfection God demands and where we stand, you’ll have to work hard to close the gap. That’s religion.
Fortunately, genuine Christianity has nothing to do with religion.
Christianity is all about grace! Grace is something great you don’t deserve. To be a Christian you must accept that no amount of effort on the treadmill will bring you closer to God. Only grace through faith will.
God’s grace provides salvation we cannot earn, favor we do not deserve, and kindness we cannot repay.

In chapter 1 of Romans, Paul demonstrated that Gentiles have condemned themselves by chasing false gods. In the first section of chapter 2 he proved that pursuing the One True God on one’s own terms is no better. Now, Paul turns his attention to the most religious group of all: the Jews.


  • Their title
  • Their possession of the law
  • Their unique relationship with the Creator
  • Their knowledge of God’s will
  • Their responsibility to instruct the nations

Many Jews thought mere possession of the truth automatically gave them superior ability to accomplish the task. The dark side of these blessings was pride. Paul’s purpose was to show that their religion did nothing to transform them.
Behaving on the outside will do nothing to cleanse the inside. The disparity between inner and outer righteousness leads to hypocrisy.
The Jew cannot, any more than the Gentile, claim exemption from God’s judgement on the basis of personal holiness or religious heritage.

After this, Paul went to the heart of the Jewish heritage: circumcision. Circumcision represented a Jewish man’s participation in God’s covenant with Abraham. However, circumcision is only an outward symbol of what should be true on the inside.
A classic sign of treadmill religion is the overemphasis of secondary things and the neglect of primary things. We think we can handle outward stuff on our own, like circumcision. But circumcision of the heart requires a kind of surgery beyond our pay grade. The outward symbol of this is obedience.

The Religious Test

  • I’m religious if I emphasize the physical over the spiritual
  • I’m religious if I emphasize secondary matters while ignoring matters of utmost importance
  • I’m religious if I promote self-interest above everything else

The privileges enjoyed by the Jews are now the same privileges of the Christian. Each of these made me ask a question.


1. My title. 
We should wear the title of Christian proudly. But when we wear this title, who receives the glory? God or you?

2. My possession of the scriptures. 
Do you behave as though God’s truth doesn’t apply to you or that you have risen above the need for grace?

3. My unique relationship with Christ. 
In what ways are you assigning credit to Him?

4. My knowledge of God’s will. 
God’s will is to reclaim His creation from evil. Are you actively taking part in God’s plan to reach the world with the good news?

5. My responsibility towards the nations. 
As you teach, memorize, and quote Scripture, do you practice the truth you preach so that the world might be won?
Pastor Chris Williams
To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at  and make sure you subscribe to receive these biweekly encouragements in your inbox.




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