28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
I had journaled on this passage, but my thoughts were kind of jumbled on it, so I want to give five quick points to take away from these two verses.
1)Being made right with God is because of what He does. Our justification is because of His work in our hearts. Therefore we have no reason to fear His wrath or losing our right standing with Him because it doesn't depend on us, but all on His grace. "So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy." (Romans 9:16)
2)The appearance of Godliness must mirror a humble heart that acknowledges any good work is by God's grace. All that we are and all that we will ever accomplish is by God's grace. On our own we can accomplish no good work. "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." (1 Corinthians 15:10). Once we become well acquainted with our hearts and our own sinful natures we will know that any good work we do isn't of ourselves, or our own strength, but all by God's grace working through us. The true Christian lives a life empowered by God's spirit because Christ dwells within his heart seeking to sanctify him daily.
3)Our lives should be lived for the praise of God. We should live only for the audience of one. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) If no one can bring a charge against us, then why should there opinion or approval matter? Instead, let us live boldly with our hearts desire to be to hear, "well done good and faithful servant," instead of an empty praise from others.
4)The highest praise we can live for is God's. All awards, monetary gains and anything else from man is temporal and considered dung compared to the eternal worth of God's praise. If we ever find ourselves craving man's approval more then God then we've formed an idol. Our God is a jealous God and any idols in our lives take away from the true worship of the God who sent His Son to die for us so that we may have life and have it to the full. All idols are useless with power to save (1 Sam 12:21).
5)Because we are living for God and by His grace, we should not fear being transparent and sharing our weakness. Since God's praise is more important then that of men, let us live open and transparent lives that are characterized by humility because we can take joy in weakness knowing that His grace will be sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). What is outward has no weight, but instead what we shall prize is what God is doing inward. Let us show off our outward failings, knowing that inwardly the power of Christ is our delight.