Ignorant of God’s Righteousness

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.”

Children of the Promise

Paul was expressing his thoughts here with regard to his fellow Jews who were Israelites by physical lineage from Abraham. And this is a continuation of chapter 9 where he said that not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham just because they are his physical offspring. For it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise.

And the children of promise are not those who are merely physical descendants of Abraham, but they are all those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior. For, Jesus is the promised seed of Abraham through whom all nations are being blessed. So, if we belong to Christ, then we are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

[Gal 3:16, 26-29; Rom 9:4-8; Gal 4:22-31; Eph 2:14-18; 1 Jn 2:22]

The problem here, though, is that some (or most) of the Jews did not believe in Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Messiah. They were trying to earn God’s graces by works done in the flesh hoping that would make them righteous before God. But they did not have faith in Jesus Christ, which was their only way to righteousness with God.

And that faith in Jesus Christ is from God, it is authored and perfected by Jesus Christ, it is a gift of God, and not of ourselves lest we should boast. It also means to be persuaded by God as to his righteousness and holiness and of our need to be delivered from our slavery to sin and to be given new lives in Christ Jesus our Lord to be lived for his praise and glory.

Therefore, when we believe in Jesus Christ with this kind of faith we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For, Jesus delivered us from our bondage to sin so that we could now be slaves of his righteousness and so we would no longer live under sin’s control.

When we have this God-given faith in Jesus Christ we submit to Christ as Lord (owner-master) of our lives, we leave our lives of sin behind us, and we now follow the Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, but that we are living for the Lord and no longer in sin and for the flesh. For, Jesus delivered us from our addiction to sin.

[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Rom 12:1-2]

Seeking to Establish Their Own

But there are still people who claim to be Christians who are seeking to establish their own righteousness through works done in the flesh, as well as there are those who claim Jesus as their Savior who deny Jesus by their works because they are still living according to the flesh, and they are not living according to the Spirit. So their “faith” is of the flesh, not of God.

So, whether you think you can be righteous through doing “good works” of your own choosing, according to your will, or whether you think no works are required of you, not even the works of God which he prepared in advance that you should walk in them, your “faith” is of the flesh. It is not of God because it does not honor God and his commands (New Covenant).

For, God has always coupled faith and obedience together, and lack of faith (unbelief) he has coupled with disobedience, both in the Old and in the New Testaments. Faith in Jesus is not determined by us but by the word of God, which must be read in context. We can’t interpret Romans 9 & 10 outside of the whole of the book of Romans, in other words.

For, we read in Romans 1 that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (includes women), who by their unrighteousness (by their unrighteous deeds) suppress the truth. For, although they knew God, they did not honor him as God, but their foolish hearts were darkened. So, they are without excuse.

And we read in Romans 2 that God “will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” (Rom 2:6-8).

And we read in Romans 6 that we are not to continue in sin that grace may abound, for we died with Christ to sin that we might walk in newness of life, not like our old lives. If we believe in Jesus, our old self was crucified with him so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, and so we would no longer live under the control of sin, but so we’d be slaves of righteousness.

And we read in Romans 8 that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in practice, in conduct) no longer according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and that if we live according to the flesh that we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God if we do not submit to God’s law, his gospel of salvation, his righteousness.

Can’t Just Name it and Claim It

So, we can’t just do “good deeds” and think that is going to make us righteous before God. And we can’t refuse to obey the Lord, and refuse to turn away from our sins, and think we can claim faith in Jesus Christ and that it will make us righteous, either. Both are of the flesh, for both are created by humans who do not want to submit to Christ as Lord.

Therefore, what this is saying is that there are many people claiming to be Christians who are not truly saved from their sins and bound for heaven. Some are relying on their good works to save them while others are relying on a confession or a profession of faith which is lacking in the works of God which he planned in advance that we should walk in them.

They may be zealous to some extent for what they regard as their faith in Jesus Christ, though many are not zealous for the Lord at all. But they are both ignorant of the true righteousness of God and are seeking to establish their own, of their own flesh. And either end will fail them and will not result in true salvation and eternal life with God.

So, if we want to be certain of our salvation, then we must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness in the power of God, but not just once, but daily. We must surrender our lives to him, forsake our sinful practices, and walk in obedience to his commands. For, if we do not, we will not inherit eternal life with God.

[Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]

Do You Love Me?

An Original Work / July 24, 2013

Do you love Me now?
Will you seek My face?
I have given you
My love and My grace.
Will you walk with Me
Ev’rywhere I lead?
Will you find in Me
All of what you need?

Won’t you meet with Me
Down upon your knees?
Will you obey Me,
And do what I please?
Will you hear My voice
Speaking now to you?
I am couns’ling you
To abide in truth.

I have died for you;
Taken all your sins –
Crucified with Me,
You have been forgiv’n.
I have set you free
From your slavery,
So that you can now
Live in victory.

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