In Paul’s day, the religious Jews were turning to legalism. They thought because they practiced such things as circumcision, they were right with God. Now, God had commanded circumcision for Jewish males, so it was an important rite.
But the apostle Paul called them out when he said, “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” (Romans 2:27 NLT).
The “uncircumcised Gentiles” Paul referred to were essentially nonbelievers who came to faith in Christ. Paul was saying, “If they’re doing what the Word of God says, then they’re better off than you who have been circumcised and aren’t doing what God’s Word says.”
In other words, doing outward things won’t save us.
Paul went on to say, “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” (Romans 2:29 NLT).
In our day we might say, “I was baptized” or “I was raised in the church” or “My parents are Christians.” I’m glad to hear that. And I’m glad your parents are Christians. But those things don’t make you a Christian.
In fact, Jesus criticized the Pharisees for publically doing spiritual things so they would receive applause from other people.
It’s never about the things we do that make us right with God. Rather, it’s about what God has done for us. God sent His Son to die on the cross in our place and make us acceptable to Him, not through what we’ve done, but through what Christ did for us.