21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
1901 ASV Translation:
21 thou therefore that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
22 thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou rob temples?
23 thou who gloriest in the law, through thy transgression of the law dishonorest thou God?
There are no differences between the texts of the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26 in 2:21-23.
I. Paul takes on the arrogance of the "self-proclaimed" Jew with a series of questions of contradiction.
A. Does the teacher not embrace his own teaching?
B. Does the preacher not adhere to his own preaching?
C. Does the "doctrine communicator" not practice his own "doctrine"?
D. Does the "idol hater" not accumulate idols?
1. The idea of the word referring to the "Jew's" attitude toward idols seems to stem from the physical imagery of something that "stinks" (and we can add, to High Heaven if we insert Luke 16:15).
2. The word Paul uses to accuse them of hypocrisy is a word that indicates the willingness to take advantage of the material worth of gold and silver "idols" by trafficking in the acquisition and sale of such items. See Deuteronomy 7:25 and following.
E. Does the "Law-boaster" not dishonor God by transgressions?
II. The nature of the questions.
A. They are not "seeking information" as though Paul did not already know the answers.
B. They are "accusations" of hypocrisy because Paul already knew the answers.
C. They are put out as "questions" to attempt to make the reader acknowledge his own failure.
III. A universal truth: all men, without exception, violate the heart of their "teaching".
A. Paul is not an "apostle" of a Gospel of "no personal hypocrisies".
B. Paul's Gospel is a message of salvation on a different basis than personal performance.
1. It is one thing to be a hypocrite within a system that treats hypocrisy as a foundation for condemnation.
2. It is quite a different thing to be a hypocrite within a system that treats hypocrisy as a failure that needs to be corrected because it is a hindrance to the experience of the life of truth.
3. The Gospel of God acknowledges the evil of hypocrisy without permitting it to deny the efficacy of the Savior's redemptive work. In other words, hypocrisy is addressed as the evil it is, but it is not treated as something that will bring condemnation upon its perpetrator; rather, it is treated as something that will bring disciplinary correction upon its perpetrator by the God Who has taken on the identity of "Father" to a wayward child.
IV. The "Jewish" Problem: a theology of salvation by personal performance.
A. Under a theology of salvation by personal performance, there is no hope for the person who fails to "perform".
B. Thus, "hypocrisy" is an offense unto condemnation.
V. A "difficulty" with the "Gospel": it retains "condemnation" for personal failure at one point.
A. Nowhere does Paul allow anyone to think that his "Gospel" is not a Life or Death issue -- rejection of it will bring on the Day of Wrath and Righteous Retribution.
B. How is this not a "Gospel of Performance"?
1. Does not any message the puts Life and Death before a person and insists that the person "do" something to embrace the Life and escape the Death end up being a message of "performance"? Even if the "do" is "only" a matter of "unconvincing himself of everything he has always believed" and "convincing himself that the 'new' theology is really the truth"? Answer: Yes.
2. How, then, is the Gospel not a Demand for Performance?
a. The Gospel does not require a person to "unconvince himself of what he has formerly believed": it assumes that his "convictions" are only tenuous attempts to "make life work" that, on a regular basis, "don't work". In other words, the person is not really all that "convinced" of the correctness of his "beliefs".
b. The requirement of the Gospel is that a person simply stop resisting what is established in his own heart and mind as true already.
c. But, no matter how much we water it down, is this not a message that demands, with eternal condemnation executed upon those who reject the demand? Yes.
d. How, then, is it different from all of the other "demand" theologies "out there"? In this regard: the Gospel is an offer by God to do for the one under demand what is demanded so that what is demanded is actually fulfilled. In other words, the Gospel is Promise. But promises don't work for those that do not believe them, nor for those who resist faith in them, not because they are not seen as true, but because they produce a restoration of the Creator/creature reality that dethrones the creature. It is this that makes a person unwilling to embrace what he knows is true. So, the Gospel "demands" that a person stop resisting a definition of life that includes embracing creaturehood and allow God to bring His Life into the person's experience. Thus, Promise actually requires that people stop "doing" rather than demanding that they start "doing". This makes the "demand" a requirement for non-performance rather than a demand for performing. This makes the accusation by Stephen in Acts 7:51 the basic issue.