Having reminded the Jews of their advantages, both real and those they presumed, the apostle now sticks a pin into their balloon of pride with a direct accusation of hypocrisy.  He has said that the Jew, being knowledgeable in the law of God, considers himself an instructor of the foolish and a teacher of babes.  But he pointedly demands, “Are you not teaching yourself as well?”  It is no good to teach students how to conduct themselves, if we are living the exact opposite way.  Such hypocrisy is quickly realized, and a bad example will prove more influential than the most brilliantly composed and delivered lesson.  Consistently throughout scripture, and in particular in those pastoral sections of the epistles, it is insisted that those who are positioned as leaders and teachers of the Lord’s people, must vindicate their doctrine by a blameless life.  Paul is here to tell the Jew that, while he rightly propounds the law of God as the highest form of morality to his ignorant hearers, he himself is a violator of that very law, and therefore just as much subject to its sanctions as the ignorant heathen.

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He provides a few instances to back up his point.  He says that the Jew teaches the 8th commandment, that a man should not steal.  That is all very good, of course.  But what if the teacher is himself a thief?  We know that such glaring hypocrisy has often been common.  Teachers of religion and morality have often found to be plying their trade for no other reason than to fleece the people.  Such a man is a robber not only of the goods of his fellow men, but also of the glory of God.

 

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