Most commentaries will interpret these verses correctly, as it is so obvious what Paul means. Much of the Bible is written in what can be styled as "different levels." In terms of ceremonies, there is a physical and a spiritual level. The ceremonies have not been done away, but they have been raised—elevated—from their physical application to a spiritual application.
Many names and words carry a literal meaning as well as a symbolic meaning, implying that God intends a spiritual application too. Jesus used many parables in this dual way quite effectively. In addition, many prophecies have both a literal, former fulfillment and a final, latter fulfillment. It is easy to see that there is a physical level and a spiritual level to this subject of "the Israel of God" (see Galatians 6:16).
God's promises to Abraham have both a "race" (national) and a "grace" (spiritual) aspect to their fulfillments. Thus, Abraham's physical descendants—Israel—are greatly blessed with material wealth, but all of mankind is spiritually blessed through Abraham's one great Descendant, Jesus Christ, and so the grace aspect is gradually being fulfilled as each judgment unfolds.
Here in Romans 2:28-29, Paul is using "Jew" in its spiritual sense. In this sense, "Jew" includes any converted person—even a Gentile. It indicates the church as the body of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18), when we recognize what is written in Hebrews 7:14: "It is evident that our Lord was of the tribe of Judah." He—Jesus Christ—was a Jew by birth. Therefore, since He was a Jew, and we are part of "the body of Christ" in the Bible's imagery—therefore we are spiritual Jews. And because we are spiritual Jews, we are spiritual Israelites.
It does not matter what race or ethicity we are. If we are converted, we are a Jew in the eyes of God because we are part of Christ's body. That is the spiritual application. If we are a Jew, we are an Israelite too, and because the promises were given to Israel, the descendants of Abraham, the promises then apply to us.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Sabbathkeeping (Part 3)
"The uncircumcision," here referring to non-Israelites, is ethnos in Greek—those of a different ethnic background. Paul asks, "Shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?" as if he were an Israelite, and part of the Covenant. The one "who . . . [is] a transgressor the law" is the Jew or the Israelite.
Paul is carrying the pattern that God established through Israel to a clearly higher level than it had been before. The real Jew—Israelite—is what one is inwardly.What is he talking about? Spiritual conversion. This neatly ties with Galatians 3:26-29.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 11)
The law he is writing about here is obviously the Ten Commandments. Within this context is the Bible's definition of what God means by circumcision. Circumcision is broadly defined as "when one keeps the law." Uncircumcision is "when one breaks the law." He does not mean an occasional breaking of the law but consistently breaking it as a practice or as a way of life.
It was the shocking disparity between what the Pharisees urged others to do and what they did themselves that ignited Jesus' strong rebukes against them. Here, Paul accuses the typical Jew—not necessarily the Pharisee, the scribe, or the Sadducee—of bringing blasphemy against God by doing the same thing the Pharisees did. They taught and demanded one thing of others and did something else.
The Jews, then, had acquired a bad reputation throughout the Roman Empire by teaching one thing and doing another in the business of life. Thus, Paul says that, spiritually, they were uncircumcised. The average Jew was externally in conformity with the Covenant, but inwardly, as shown by the way that he lived his life—how he conducted his business, his family life—he may just as well have been as uncircumcised as a Gentile! There is a powerful lesson in this for us.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 7)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Romans 2:28: