You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law, and you boast about your special relationship with him.
You know what he wants; you know what is right because you have been taught his law.
You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness.
You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth.
Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal?
You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples?
You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it.
No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God’s law. But if you don’t obey God’s law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile.
And if the Gentiles obey God’s law, won’t God declare them to be his own people?
In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God’s law will condemn you Jews who are circumcised and possess God’s law but don’t obey it.
For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision.
No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.