In these passages Paul continues to speak of the Jewish leaders who rely on their position and appearance to save them from going to Hell. They believe that just being a Jew gives them favor with God; and what they think, say or do will not be problematic for them. However, Paul points out that the thinking, saying and doing are all important.
Paul says that the uncircumcised or non-Jewish person is a Jew inwardly when he obeys God. The Jewish people are indeed God’s chosen people, but they must still obey God to gain His favor. In this regard, Paul says the following: “But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from man, but from God.”
I believe that many religious leaders today are guilty of trying to be popular with the people by avoiding the difficult parts of the Bible. They preach ‘feel good’ messages and grow the population of their churches for personal financial gain. They appear to be righteous but are not truly righteous before God. As humans they are tempted to sin and give themselves over to their sin, thinking that their religious position and standing will save them. But it won’t. God knows our hearts and tests us to see if we are truly faithful to Him.