My Heart’s Desire and Prayer

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.”

Establishing Own Righteousness

We who are following Jesus Christ with our lives should have the same heart’s desire as Paul had for his people, only for those in our nations who are not submitting to God’s righteousness, but who are seeking to establish their own. They are those who make an outward profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but whose lives do not bear the fruit of being those who are truly delivered from their slavery to sin and who are living godly and holy lives.

They could be legalists who are merely following forms of religion, who are following a set of man-made rules regarding what is external, not internal. They are zealous for their religion and their religious practices, but not for God, for they do not submit to God’s righteousness. And, his righteousness is what is holy, pure, upright, godly, truthful, faithful and obedient to Christ.

But, more likely they are those who have sought to establish their own righteousness by creating or accepting a cheapened form of God’s grace and a diluted gospel of Jesus Christ. For, it allows for the flesh to still reign supreme and for sinful lifestyles to continue without guilt or remorse. And, they are the offspring of the worldly adulterous church who wants the freedom to continue in sin while holding on to the promise of heaven.

Rather than exchange their lives of sin and wickedness, via faith in Jesus Christ, for God’s righteousness, for freedom from slavery to sin, and for eternal life with God, they hold on to their sin, and they do not let it go. And, thus they continue on a spiritual and moral decline, because they won’t let go of their sin and follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands.

Their walks of faith in Jesus Christ are not walks according to the Spirit of God, but they are still walking according to the flesh. And, the steps they are taking are taking them deeper and deeper into sin, and further and further away from God and his righteousness. Yet, they feel they have the liberty to do this because they are being told that they are free to continue in sin.

So, the Scriptures teach that they are going to die in their sins, not have eternal life with God, for they are not really children of God, but they are still of the world (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).

Let Go of the Junk

Another aspect of this, though, is that some of them will try to clean up certain parts of their lives, but they are still operating in the flesh. They won’t let go of the junk, the trash in their lives, and so that hinders their ability to ever be free from their sin. For, although many of them do really know the truth, and they know the truth has been altered, they willfully choose to forget the truth they know to follow after the lies, instead.

Thus, they don’t get their strength and support for their “Christian” lives from the Lord Jesus and his righteousness, but they are relying on a false grace gospel to be their support, which can’t support them, and so they will fall. For, it coddles them in their sin, and it convinces them that their sins no longer matter to God.

And, so many of them will continue on a sinful course, and they will hit rock bottom before they ever finally let go of their baggage of sin. And, it will cost them much. But, it will take much pain and suffering before their hardened hearts are softened enough to finally surrender to the Lord Jesus and to allow him to exchange their sins for his righteousness.

And, for some of them, they may barely escape the fires of hell because they waited until the very last second to let go and to let God have control. But, know this. There is no guarantee that the “last second” will be an option for anyone. So, don’t fool around. Get right with God today, while you still have today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed any of us!

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.”

Tell Them the Truth

For those of us who have truly trusted Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, there is something we need to understand here. There are many people in this world who are following after lies instead of the truth. Some are following a form of legalism, like the Judaizers of Paul’s day. And, some are establishing their own righteousness by removing the offense of the cross from the gospel so that they can continue to live in sin guilt free.

So, even if they confess Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives and say they believe in their hearts that he is raised from the dead, they aren’t saved. For, they may have a form of zeal for God, but not in truth, for they are trying to establish their own righteousness by not submitting to Christ’s righteousness but seeking their own way to God and to salvation from sin that is contrary to God’s plan of salvation for our lives.

So, they need us to tell them the truth. Yes, we must model it before them. There is no point in us trying to tell them the way of Christ’s righteousness if we are living the opposite. So, we have to be submitted to God’s righteousness ourselves first, before we try to point them to the right way.

We Must Understand This

Yet, we must understand that God’s grace, which brings us salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. And, Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24).

And, the truth that is in Christ Jesus is that we must forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, and we must put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).

And, the truth, too, is that if we continue living sinful lifestyles, and we don’t walk (in practice) according to the Spirit of God, and we don’t walk in obedience to our Lord because we think we don’t have to, that we are going to die and go to hell, not end up in heaven (Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8).

And, this is the truth that we need to be telling the people of this world, and including all who profess faith in Jesus Christ, too. For, many are not saved who think they are saved, but they aren’t going to know that if we are not willing to tell them that.

If We Don’t Tell Them

But, it may mean that we are holding forth the gospel to those who are disobedient and contrary to God’s righteousness. And, it isn’t that we force our will upon anyone, but we also don’t stop speaking the truth just because not many are responding right now. For, if we don’t tell them, who will?

Living the life before them is not enough, although it is the prerequisite. But, we have to be speaking the truth with our lips, so that many can hear, and so that they can turn and be saved.

For, although we are not all called to be missionaries or evangelists, we are all called to be his witnesses, and we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are all to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light, and we are not to hide our lights, but we are to let them shine before men.

And, we are not to be ashamed of Christ and his gospel. For, we have been called of Jesus to go to the world with the gospel, for as the Father sent him so he sends us. And, we are to do the works Jesus did, and even greater works than he did, the Scriptures teach. And, we are to walk the walk that Jesus walked, too.

And, we are his representatives to the people of this world. And, we are to be imitators of God, and to walk in love. And, the greatest love is if we lay down our lives and our reputations to see others be free from their slavery to sin and to walk in holiness.

[Acts 1:8; Matt. 5:13-16; 1 Pet. 2:9; Mk. 8:38; Rom. 1:16; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Jn. 20:21; Jn. 14:12; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Eph. 5:1-2]

Where is Jesus?

An Original Work / May 22, 2011

Fishing, swimming, boating, sailing,
Driving, hiking, camping, trailing,
Bowling, golfing, TV watching,
Videos, movies and talking –
Where is Jesus found?

Friends and Facebook chat and email,
Internet, blogs, news sites, retail,
Magazines, books, sports and music,
Laptops, I-Pads, smart phones, texting –
Where is Jesus now?

Jobs, careers, and data bases,
Business, money, many faces,
Get ahead of everyone who’s
Competition; always running –
Where does Jesus fit?

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