“Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the Law, shall not his un-circumcision be counted for circumcision?”

            “Therefore if the uncircumcision”
            Literally:  “If, then, the uncircumcision.”  If those who are not circumcised, i.e., the 

                        UNCIRCUMCISION:  (Grk.–akrobustia)–Meaning the heathen; anyone who is not a Jew.

            “keep the righteousness of the law”
            Literally:  “Keeps the demands of the Law.”–Keep that which the law of Moses commands.

 could not be supposed that a heathen would understand the requirements of the ceremonial Law; but reference is had here to the moral law. Paul does not expressly affirm that this was ever done; but he presents such a hypothetical case, to show the true nature and value of the rites of the Jews.

            KEEP:  (Grk.–phulassō)–Literally: “guard; keep under guard; keep; obey; follow; keep safe; protect; defend.” To guard the commandments of God with kind     concern lest it be broken; doing this by carefully observing them.  This is in the present perfect tense which speaks of habitual action.

Walk according to the Law. If Gentile is found to act according to the spirit and purpose of the Law, his acting thus uprightly, according to the light which God has afforded him, will be reckoned to him as if he were circumcised and walked agreeably to the Law.       

“shall not his uncircumcision”
Literally:  {Will} not his uncircumcision.”  Or, shall the fact that he is uncircumcised stand in the way of the acceptance of his services? Or, shall he not as certainly and as readily be accepted by God as if he were a
Jew?  Or, in other words, it does follow      logically that if an uncircumcised person did keep the righteous requirements of the Law, they then would be regarded as though they were circumcised.

         If the Jewish law-breaker can annul his circumcision thus, then if the uncircumcision (the Gentiles) keep the righteousness of the law, his uncircumcised state will not be counted against him. Paul supposes the possible case of a Gentile who might render such obedience to the moral precepts of the Law as a pious Jews could render, and argues that his uncircumcision would not make his obedience less acceptable.        

         Circumcision is not really the thing that the Gentile needs, but righteousness.  Paul teaches the doctrine that acceptance with God does not depend on a man's external privileges, but on the state of the heart and life. The disobedient Jew virtually becomes a Gentile, and the obedient Gentile virtually becomes a Jew.  It is one’s actions, not his physical features that count before God.
         Here Paul comes close to home to the self-confident Jews, and touches them in the most sensible part.  It was the hardest saying that could sound in a Jewish ear, to affirm, that  circumcision which is outward in the flesh, profits nothing; for they so gloried in it, that they accounted it equal to the keeping of all the commandments of God:  Here Paul takes away the very foundation of their boasting and glorying, by a plain and true distinction. 

“be counted for circumcision”Shall he not be treated as if he were circumcised?  Shall his being uncircumcised be any barrier in the way of his acceptance with God?

         COUNTED:  (Grk.–logisthesetai)-Meaning:  “to count; compute; calculate; to put to one’s account.  That which is commonly rendered “to reckon, to impute;” and its use here shows that the Scripture use of the word is not to transfer, or to charge with that which is not deserved, or not true.  It means simply that a man shall be treated as if it were so; that this want of circumcision shall be no bar to acceptance.

There is nothing set over to his account; nothing transferred; nothing reckoned different from what it is. God judges things as they are; and as the man, though uncircumcised, who keeps the law, ought to be treated as if he had been circumcised, so he who believes in Christ agreeably to the Divine promise, and trusts to his merits alone for Salvation, ought to be treated as if he were himself righteous. God judges the thing as it is, and treats men as it is proper to treat them, as being pardoned and accepted through His Son.

“And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the Law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the Law?”

“shall not uncircumcision which is by nature judge thee”
Literally:  “And will {not} the uncircumcision by nature judge you?”–Which is the natural state of man; his condition before he is admitted to any of the peculiar rites of the Jewish religion. 

            BY NATURE:  (Grk.–ek phuseōs)–Literally:  “out of nature.”  This does not mean “physically” but refers to those who by birth belong to a people who do not practice circumcision.  

Shall not the Gentile, who is ek phuseōs (out of nature), who, according to the custom his country; who is, by his birth, not obliged to be circumcised.  If such an one keeps the essential principles of the Law, his obedience is a rebuke to the Jewish transgressor who has covenanted to keep the law.

        “judge thee,”
         Literally:  “judge you”– Condemn you as guilty.

            JUDGE:  (Grk.–krenei)–Literally: “pass judgment; condemn; decide;  regard.”  Condemn you as guilty.  As we say, the conduct of such a man condemns us.  He acts so much more consistently and uprightly than we do, that we see our guilt. For a    similar mode    of expression (see Matt. 12:41-42).

If such a person acts according to the spirit and purpose of the Law; condemn you, who, you do enjoy the letter, the written Law, and bear in your body the proof of the circumcision which it requires, yet transgress that Law?

“if it fulfil the Law”     
Literally: “continually completing the Law”–If they who are uncircumcised keep the Law; literally: continually fulfilling to the end–meaning the substance of the Law.

If such a person act according to the spirit and purpose of the law; judge or condemn you, who, while you do enjoy the letter, the written Law, and bear in your body the proof of the circumcision which it requires, do transgress that Law?

“who by the letter and circumcision”
Literally:  “The {one who} through the letter and circumcision.”  The meaning here  is, the letter of the Law accompanied by, or with the advantage of

       BY:  (Grk.–dia)–Here means, ”through, accompanied by, with the advantage of.”  Who having the bare, literal, external circumcision, transgresses the Law.

        LETTER:  (Grk.–grammatos)–Literally means the mark or character from which syllables and words are formed. It is also used in the sense of writing of any kind (Luke 16:6-7; Acts 28:21; Gal. 6:11); particularly the writings of Moses, denoting, by way of     eminence, the letter, or the writing (Rom. 7:6; II Tim. 3:16).

         The translation here is not clearly expressed. It is really difficult to determine its full meaning. The evident meaning of the original is, “Shall not a heathen man who has none of your external privileges, if he keeps the law, condemn you who are Jews; who, although you have the letter and circumcision, are nevertheless transgressors of the law?”  F.F. Bruce says, “The shortcomings of an unworthy Jew will be shown up by the example of a Gentile, who, with none of the distinctive Jewish privileges, nevertheless pleases God.” 
         As Jesus said to those who asked for a sign, “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the Judgment with this generation and condemn it” (Luke 11:32).  To put it simply, conduct wins over doctrine.  Faith that does not express itself in action is counterfeit.
         Paul often contrasts the letter against the Spirit: but in this place, the circumcision which is according to the letter is the cutting off of the foreskin, but the circumcision of the Spirit is the circumcision of the heart; that is to say, the spiritual result of the ceremony is true holiness and righteousness, by which the people of God are known from profane and heathen men.

“dost transgress the Law”
Literally:  {Becomes} a transgressor of the Law.”  Who having the bare, literal, external    circumcision,
transgresses (sins against) the Law.

In the last two verses of this chapter Paul summarizes what is meant to be a real Jew and what kind of circumcision was considered to be real.

“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh.”

“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly”  
Literally:  “for he is not a Jew that {is one} outwardly”–In the most important sense, that   is, one of God's beloved people. He who is merely descended from Abraham, and is circumcised, and externally conforms to the law only, does not possess the true character,      and displays the true spirit, contemplated by the separation of the Jewish people. Their
separation required much more.

He is not a Jew, in the religious sense of one of God's chosen people, who is one only outwardly.  Paul is saying that people were not Jews if their Jewishness was no more that outward appearance.  In other words, the name of “Jew” and the rite of “circumcision” were simply outward symbols of a separation from the irreligious and ungodly world unto holy devotedness in heart and life to the God of salvation. Where this is realized, the signs are full of significance; but where it is not, they are worse than useless.

“neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh”
Literally:  “nor the circumcision visible in the flesh.”  The true circumcision, that which makes one a member of God's covenanted people.  Neither does it meet the full reason for the rite of circumcision, that it is externally performed. Circumcision is a rite which    represents a spiritual thing, that is. the change and purification of the heart, as may be seen, (Jer. 4:4, 6,10; 9:26; Ezek. 44:7, 9).

“But he is a Jew, which is on inwardly; and circumcision, is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

“But he is a Jew which is one inwardly”
Literally:  “But he is a Jew who {is one} inwardly.”–That is, truly one of God’s people.   He comes ujp to the purpose of the Jewish institution; that is, he truly displays what it is to be a Jew.

          WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY:  (Grk.–toi kruptoi)–In the secret recesses of his soul.   whose heart is given to God;  Who has his heart purified, according to what God has uniformly prescribed by his prophets; see above: for circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit.

Who is in heart a Jew?  Who has the true spirit, and fulfills the purpose of their being separated as a peculiar people? This passage proves that the reason for separating them was not merely to perform certain external rites, or to conform to external observances, but to be a people holy in heart and in life.  It cannot be denied that this purpose was not generally understood in the time of the apostles; but it was abundantly declared in the O.T. (Deut. 6:5; 10:12,13; 30:20; Isa, 1:11-20; Micah 6:8; Psa. 51:16; 50:7-23). This inward or inside Jew who lives up to his covenant relation with God is the high standard that Paul puts before the merely professional Jew described above

“and circumcision is that of the heart”
Literally:  “And circumcision {is} of heart.”–That is, that circumcision which is acceptable to God, and which meets the purpose of the institution, is that which is attended with a
holiness of heart.  That is, with the cutting off of sins; and with a pure life.

         The purpose of circumcision was to be a sign of separation from the heathen world, and of consecration to the holy God. And this purpose implied the renunciation and forsaking of all sins; or the cutting off of everything that was offensive to God. This was a work peculiarly of the heart.
         This purpose was often stated and enforced in the writings of the O.T. (Deut. 10:16, “Circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff necked”  (Jer. 4:4; Deut. 30:6).

         Circumcision of the heart is a figurative expression for inward purity, as old as the book of Deuteronomy (see Jer. 9:26). This circumcision is not an outward mark in the flesh of the body.

         “in the spirit”

          Literally:  “In Spirit.”  (Grk.–en pneumati)—Literally:  by the Spirit of God, Who is the Author of all spiritual affections and holy purposes.  Everything here is to be understood spiritually, and not literally; for without holiness NONE can please God, and without holiness none can see Him.

         “not in the letter
         Literally:  “not in letter.”  That is, not only according to the literal, external command. Not literal; not in the external ceremony.

LETTER:  (Grk.–grammati)—Older writers often took this to indicate the literaly sense of Scripture and pneuma as its spiritual sense.  However, in this sense, grammati refers to the Law and pneuma to the Spirit.

“whose praise is not of men”
Literally:   “Of whom the praise {is} not from men.”  Whose object is not to secure the praise of men.

         One of the main characteristics of the Jews in the time of Christ was a desire to secure honor among men, as being exactly scrupulous in the performance of all the duties of their religion. They prided themselves on their descent from Abraham, and on their regular conformity to the precepts of the law of Moses (Matt. 3:9; 6:2, 5; 23:23; Luke 18:10-12).
        Circumcision is of the heart, meaning in the spirit. In short, common sense, as well as their Law and their prophets, taught every considerate man among them that God could be pleased with their rites and external performances no farther than they led to holiness of heart and righteousness of life.

         God therefore will judge all nations according to the use and abuse they have made of His Word, whether it was written in the heart, or written on tables of stone.  As God is no respecter of persons, all nations are equally dear to Him; and he has granted and will grant to them such discoveries of himself as have been and will be sufficient for their salvation.

“but of God”
Literally:  “But from God.”–The
Jews, as we have seen, made their boasts, and raised their privileges, but though the true Jew, such as Paul describes, shall be ill-spoken of by men, he shall have “praise of God,” the only true Searcher of the heart.

“Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart,” (I Sam 16:7.  The praise of God can be bestowed only on those who conform inwardly, and not only externally, to His requirements. The remarks which are made here respecting the Jews, are also strictly applicable to professing Christians, and we may learn:
1.      That the external rites of religion are of much less importance than the state of the heart.
2.      That the only value of those rites is to promote holiness of heart and life.
3.      That the mere fact that we are born of pious ancestors will not save us.
4.      That the fact that we were dedicated to God in baptism will not save us.
5.      That a mere profession of religion, however orthodox may be our creed, will not save us.
6.      That the estimate which men may put on our piety is not the proper measure of our true character and standing.
7.      It is an inexpressible privilege to be in possession of the Word of God, and to know our duty.
8.      It is also a fearful thing to neglect the privileges which we enjoy.
We shall be judged according to the light which we have; and it will be an awful event to go to eternity from a Christian land unprepared.

9.      Whatever may be the destiny of the heathen, it is our duty to make preparation to meet God. 

Do not confuse this Chapter 2 with Revelation Chapter 20. 
At the Judgment of Rev. 20
there will be no preaching and reasoning  with men,
as Paul is doing here in Romans 2.

Then there Will only be DAMNATION!