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.
As I, as led by the Spirit of God, am presently examining the subject of our salvation from sin, the Lord has directed me to this passage of scripture from Romans 10, for this is yet another passage of scripture which has been misinterpreted to mean something it does not mean.
So, what is the crux of this passage of scripture? It is that the Jews, or most of them, had rejected God’s plan of salvation for their lives, which was through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and they were seeking to establish their own gospel of salvation from sin based on their own man-made criteria. But, their ignorance was not out of lack of knowledge of the truth, but out of a refusal to believe and to follow the truth.
And, so it is today within the institutional church, too. Many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ are following a man-made gospel, which is a substitute or a replacement for the true gospel of Christ. They do so either out of true ignorance or due to willful ignorance so as to establish their own gospel of salvation from sin intended to gratify the flesh and to give them liberty to continue in their sinful practices without guilt or remorse.
For, whether you are following a works-based salvation that seeks to earn one’s salvation via works of the flesh, or you are following a gospel message entirely absent of good works and which says we do nothing and God does it all, both are still of the flesh, and they both seek to establish their own path to righteousness with God. And, they are both wrong!
Why are they both wrong? Because they are both opposed to what Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught regarding our salvation from sin. They are both of the flesh, they are both man-made, and they both seek to win God’s acceptance through means other than what God has established. And, that really is the bottom line. For, they don’t submit to God and to his purposes, but they make up their own gospel to suit their own purposes.
The Cheap Grace Gospel
Ok, so the cheap grace gospel people interpret this passage of scripture to say we no longer have to obey God’s commandments, and that it is only by faith that we are saved, and so we do nothing. We don’t have to repent of our sins and we don’t have to walk in obedience to Christ, nor do we have to submit to the Lordship of Christ over our lives. All we do is just “believe” and God does the rest, and now we are guaranteed heaven when we die.
With all deception, though, there are elements of truth in the mix, so this isn’t entirely wrong. But, it isn’t all right, either. So, if something is intentionally half true and half false, it makes it false, because the intention is to deceive naïve minds who don’t know any different.
So, let’s break this down. First of all, they are ignorant of the righteousness of God. And, what is his righteousness? It is holiness, godliness, moral purity, faithfulness, truthfulness, sobriety, self-control, and uprightness, etc. So, they are either unaware, which no one is (see Romans 1), or they are unfamiliar or unaccustomed to his righteousness, due to refusal to submit to Christ’s righteousness for their lives. So, they seek to establish their own.
In the case of the cheap grace gospel, they have devised a gospel which requires no righteous living on our part at all, and they get away with it by accusing such righteous living as being works-based salvation, which it is not. Again, let me remind everyone here that the standard here for righteousness is God’s standard, and the dividing line between a true gospel or a false gospel is whether or not that gospel teaches a way to salvation from sin according to what God has established.
Lastly, they did not submit to Christ’s righteousness, and this is where “the rubber meets the road,” because the cheap grace gospel doesn’t submit to Christ’s righteousness, but it submits to the flesh of man, instead. It is all about appeasing the flesh of humans, and it has nothing to do with submitting to Christ’s righteousness, because they think they don’t have to.
Jesus, the End
So, Jesus Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For, he is the completion or he is the fulfillment of the law. For, the law (Mosaic) was put in place to lead us to Christ. And, now we have Christ. But, this does not mean we don’t have to obey Christ’s commands to us. We aren’t free from having to follow his commands and his instructions to us or his moral laws. The New Testament scriptures make that abundantly clear.
But, we don’t obey to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We are not trying to be good enough to win God’s approval. We obey because the faith that God requires of us for salvation is God-given faith which submits to God’s will and purposes for our lives. And, his will and purpose is that we live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him. It is, too, that we forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, that we are born anew of the Spirit of God, and that we now walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God.
[See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9]
So, here’s the deal. We can’t do anything to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Nothing we can do, in our flesh, will ever be good enough to meet with God’s approval. So, it is absolutely the truth that it is only by God’s grace through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, which are both gifts from God, that any of us can be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God.
BUT… and this is where it gets critical here that we know what the scriptures teach… it is also true that the faith it takes to be saved from our sins, and to have eternal life with God, submits to God’s purposes for our lives (see: “Saved by Grace through Faith”).
And, again, we have to read scriptures in context to get the true picture of what they are saying. For, Romans 10 has to be read in the context of the whole of Romans, and most especially in the contexts of Romans 6 and 8. For there we learn more completely God’s plan of salvation for our lives. It requires that we die with Christ to sin and that we live with Christ to his righteousness if we want to have eternal life with God.
In fact, in chapter 8 it states that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk, not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. And, this really is the crux of it all. For, the difference between a man-made gospel and the true gospel is that the true gospel submits to Christ’s righteousness. True belief in Jesus Christ surrenders our lives over to Jesus Christ, and we are no longer the ones controlling our lives, but Christ is.
Yet, there are a lot of folk who plead ignorance to this truth, and they have established their own way to God. Some will perform well for others so that people will think well of them, and so they will give off the impression that they are living righteously, but they are not. Behind closed doors they are secretly addicted to all sorts of wickedness, just like the Pharisees.
Others feel the liberty to keep on in their sinful practices without guilt, and so they don’t hide that fact, for they feel God’s grace gives them free license to keep on in their sinful practices while promising them heaven as their eternal destiny. For, they have convinced themselves that God’s grace requires nothing of them other than some obscure “faith” which is not biblical faith at all, for it does not submit to God or his purposes.
And, so we have a whole lot of people in our church congregations who are living for the flesh convinced that heaven is their eternal destiny and that God is smiling on them even in their willful rebellion against him. But, the scriptures make it quite clear that if we walk (in practice, in lifestyle) according to our flesh, we are going to die in our sins, no matter what we profess with our lips. So, don’t be fooled! We will all reap what we sow (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
An Original Work / December 17, 2013
Based off Revelation 2-3
To the angels of all the churches write:
These are the words of your Lord and your God.
I know all your deeds, and your witness, too,
And who holds to My words and tells what’s true.
I know all your hard work and your perseverance,
Yet I hold against you: you’ve forsaken Me.
Listen to what I say to you.
You have people there who deny My name,
And who put the cross of Christ up to shame.
They entice the people to Me, profane,
And their worship of Me is all in vain.
They are so adult’rous as they chase their idols,
And you put up with them easily enough.
Listen to what I say to you.
You give off an image of godliness,
But what you present is so fraudulent,
Or else you lack passion for Jesus Christ,
So you look to others to tell what’s right.
I say turn from your sin, or you will face judgment.
He who overcomes will have eternal life.
Listen to what I say to you.
I know your afflictions and poverty;
How you suffer for your Lord patiently.
Do not fear the devil and company.
You be faithful to your Lord endlessly.
I know all your weakness and your dedication.
You have kept My Word and not denied your Lord.
I will write on you My new name.