Romans 10:1-4 ESV
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Paul’s heart and desire was for the salvation of the physical nation of Israel, i.e. the Jewish people, the people of his own nation, race, and religious heritage. They were his friends, his neighbors, his family members, and the people of his community among whom he lived, and with whom he had once joined together in worship of God. But, the vast majority of them now refused to believe in Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Lord. They refused to accept the true gospel of salvation from sin. And, this burdened his heart.
I, too, have that same burden for the people of my nation (the USA), for my neighbors, friends, and family members. I am burdened, too, for the many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, but whose lifestyles speak the opposite. For, they, as well, are ignorant of the righteousness of God and are seeking to establish their own. Theirs, though, is not a righteousness based on legalistic performance, but it is still one based on the flesh of humans. For, it is still in opposition to the gospel taught by Jesus and by his NT apostles.
So, whether we are trying to earn our own salvation via religious performance, being convinced that if we follow a set of religious rituals, and if we do “good deeds,” that we will inherit eternal life with God, or whether we believe that we can continue to live however we want, being convinced that God’s grace covers it all, and so how we live doesn’t matter to God, we are still not submitting to God’s righteousness, but we are following human-based religion, controlled by the flesh, and not by the Spirit of God.
Romans 10:6a, 8b-11 ESV
But the righteousness based on faith says… “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
This message here cannot be taken superficially. And, it has to be read and interpreted in the context of the whole of Romans, not just interpreted based on a few verses taken out of context, which is what many are doing.
Many are using these few verses here (vv. 9-10) as the totality of their gospel message. So, they are giving people the impression that if they make a verbal confession of Christ as Lord – which may be merely a title given to his name – and if they have some superficial belief in his death and resurrection, that this constitutes that they are now saved from their sins. And, then they are promised eternal life with God, and that their lifestyles have no bearing whatsoever on their eternal security.
First of all, though, we have to realize that if a Jew verbally confessed Jesus as Lord of his life, this could cost him his life, literally. For, this was no glib confession. This was saying to his fellow Jews that he now acknowledged Jesus Christ to be the fulfillment of the prophecy of scripture with regard to the Messiah (the Christ) who was to come into the world to save them from their sins. And, to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, was to acknowledge him as God of his life, as his owner-master-ruler.
As well, to believe in Jesus’ death on a cross for our salvation from sin, and to believe that he was indeed God, and that he was raised from the dead, that we might have eternal life with God in Him, would have been heresy for a Jew. So, this was no light matter. This was a serious step of faith for a Jew, one that could cost him life, friendships, family ties, and careers, etc. For, it was total commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord (ruler) of his life.
Yet, In America Today
Yet, for many Americans, to confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and to believe he died and rose again takes not much faith at all, and little commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord (owner-master-ruler), if at all. And, that is largely because Christianity is the primary religion in the USA, and it is socially acceptable to be a Christian here, at least on a surface level.
But, again, as I said, these verses have to be interpreted in light of the whole of Romans, not just these few verses. The whole of Romans makes it quite clear that faith in Jesus Christ is not some mere verbal confession or some mere intellectual assent to his death and resurrection. What Romans, as a whole, makes clear is that true faith in Jesus Christ means that we die with Christ to sin, and we now live with Christ to his righteousness, as a matter of lifestyle, i.e. that our faith is evidenced by what we practice.
But, it doesn’t stop there. It also lets us know that, if we want to inherit eternal life, we must make righteousness our practice and sin should no longer be our practice. For, if sin is what we practice, then we don’t have the promise of eternal life with God, but eternal damnation to hell is what awaits us, instead (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
Romans 10:14-21 ESV
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for
“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”
But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”
But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
So, for people to truly be saved from their sins, to have eternal life with God, and to be headed for heaven as their eternal destiny, they need to be told the truth of the gospel, and not fed a bunch of lies which coddle them in their sins. They need to hear that faith in Jesus Christ means death to sin and living to righteousness, and that our lifestyles do matter to God, and, in fact, if we profess to be in fellowship with God, but we are still living to please our flesh, then we are liars who don’t live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:5-9).
But, that message is not going to be met with a lot of support and “likes.” In fact, preaching that message will be met with a lot of criticism, rejection, hatred, abuse, false accusations, persecution, and perhaps even death. Or, we may just be largely ignored and ostracized, and the silence may then speak loudly to us regarding how the message of the cross is being received.
For, we may be preaching to a whole lot of disobedient and contrary people who are holding on to their sinful lifestyles and who have embraced the cheap grace gospel which permits them to continue in their sinful addictions while promising them heaven as their eternal destiny.
So, if you are preaching the truth, don’t be surprised if that truth is rejected by a large majority of people, even in a so-called “Christian” nation. For, many have bought into the lies that their lifestyles don’t matter to God, and all that matters is that they make some verbal confession and have some superficial faith in what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins and in being resurrected from the dead, in order to give us life eternal with him.
In fact, the truth of the gospel is definitely under fire, not just here in the USA, though, but across the world, especially as this one-world religion is being formed, and the preaching of the cross is now being treated as though it is a hate crime. But, don’t lose faith, and don’t give up! If you are preaching the truth, it will be rewarded. People’s lives will be saved. We just have to keep persevering, even in the face of much rejection. And, we have to keep our minds focused on our Lord and not on our circumstances.
Look to God
An Original Work / November 11, 2016
Fear not. Look to God.
He will strengthen you. He is your Rock.
He’ll meet all your needs.
Rest in Him, and be filled with His peace.
When sorrow fills your life, pray to the Lord.
Believe His promises. Trust in His Word.
He’ll lead you each day.
Give your life to Him. Follow His ways.
Lean on Him today.
He will comfort you. Trust Him always.
Read His Word and pray.
Tell the world of His love and His grace.
When trials come your way, be not afraid.
God watches over you. Be not dismayed.
He’ll work all for good,
For the called of God. Jesus, they love.
Sing songs. Praise your Lord.
Lift your voice to Him. Shout out His Word.
He forgave your sins,
Cleansed your heart. You are made new within.
When you are faced with temptation to fear,
Remember God will be with you. He’s near.
He’ll take care of you.
He will keep you in His love, tis true.
Thursday, April 18, 2019