This morning as I read this passage in Romans 2 the picture of God’s circle of safety was coming to mind once again. In this passage, God isn’t making a distinction between believers and unbelievers based on faith, but based on how they live. Now, obviously their faith, and the source from which they live, is a significant factor. But I just thought it’s interesting that Paul is basically saying, “If you stay inside the circle of safety by listening to what I have said and obeying it, you will experience honor and peace.” (Rom 2:7, 10) But if you choose to live outside the circle, and you live for yourself, doing what you want instead of what God wants, you will experience tribulation and distress! (Rom 2:8-9)
He goes on to say, “It’s not those who just hear my words who are righteous before God, but those who do them.” (Rom 2:13) I think I have been so afraid of “legalism” at times, that I have avoided the clear teaching of God’s word that God does call us to obedience. It’s not obedience for salvation, nor is it obedience to maintain, or make God happy with me. It’s obedience because I know that’s the best place to live! Choosing to live inside the circle of safety is the only place I will experience the peace of God that passes all understanding! (Phil 4:7)
It’s interesting that Paul makes a big deal about the fact that the outward appearance is not what God is after. Whether Jew or Gentile, what makes a person righteous is not outward circumcision, but inward obedience. “A Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart.” (Rom 2:29)
The place of greatest rest… the most peaceful place on earth, is in God’s circle of safety. I can be there, even when the circumstances are out of my control. Because it’s a heart following after him. This reminds me of what Ian Thomas said in chapter 20 of “The Indwelling Life of Christ,” “ When it comes to the point of obedience to God’s clear instructions, the Life of Jesus Christ within you makes human circumstances irrelevant; for to share His Life now as He once shared His Father’s Life on earth is to know, as Jesus did, that Someone else is taking care of the consequences. What I am urging is simply that you become delightfully detached from the pressure of circumstance, so that it ceases to be the criterion in the decisions you make. You will not need to know what He plans to do with you … you simply need to know Him.”
- God expects my actions to follow what I have said… not just lip service to His laws, but actually doing what He says. (Rom 2:13) I choose to live according to these truths today.
- My circumcision is a cutting away, separating, setting me apart in the heart… not just on the outside. He wants my heart… my whole heart (Rom 2:29). I surrender my heart to you today. Show me when and where my heart is not completely yours today.
- The place of greatest rest… the most peaceful place on earth, is in God’s circle of safety. I can be there, even when the circumstances are out of my control. I want to become delightfully detached from the pressure of circumstance, so that they cease to be the criterion in the decisions I make. I am so glad I don’t need to know what He plans to do with me … I simply need to know Him. I want to rest in His control today. (Gen 11:6 Luke 1:37; Luke 18:27) I acknowledge today that nothing is out of his control.