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.”
So, what are the main issues here? Why are they not saved?
• They have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge
• They are ignorant of the true righteousness of God
• They are seeking to establish their own righteousness
• They do not submit to God’s righteousness
So, what is the righteousness of God? The word also means justice, divine approval, God’s judicial approval, which refers to what is deemed right by the Lord after his examination, i.e. what is approved in his eyes (source: biblehub.com). So, what is approved in the eyes of God? Not sin! All that is holy and just and godly and morally pure and honest and faithful, etc., God approves. God does not approve of sin. If we are walking in sin, we are not walking in righteousness. The two don’t mix.
In Romans 1 we read that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them… So they are without excuse.” And so God gave them over to do what ought not to be done for it was in their hearts to do evil and to not live righteously (Romans 1:18-32).
In Romans 2 we read, “He 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” (Romans 2:6-8).
In Romans 6 we read, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16).
And in Romans 8 we read, “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:3-4,13-14).
Do you see a common theme here in all these verses? Obedience is a big one for sure! We have to obey the Lord Jesus. The wrath of God is definitely second. For if we lack obedience to our Lord and we are walking in disobedience, instead, we will face his wrath. Also what we do and how we live matters for eternity. If we walk in holiness and in righteousness, we have eternal life. But if sin is what we obey, in practice, it will end in death, not life eternal. So we need to take this to heart.
So, if they are ignorant of the righteousness of God, they are willfully ignorant of his holiness, godliness, and moral purity, and of his righteous requirements of those of us who profess him as Lord and Savior. And if they are seeking to establish their own righteousness, they are ignoring Scriptures like the ones quoted above and they are making up their own gospel which suits the lifestyles they want to live. And if they do not submit to God’s righteousness, it means they did not submit to forsaking their sins and to following Jesus Christ in obedience, but they choose their own path.
Now, in their case, they were trying to be saved by the Old Covenant liturgical, ceremonial, and dietary laws and restrictions. They were teaching Christians that they had to be circumcised and that they had to obey some of those Old Covenant laws and ceremonies. But today the primary righteousness people are seeking to establish for themselves involves no repentance and no obedience to the Lord, but full liberty to keep on living in deliberate and habitual sin, often without conscience.
But the New Covenant frees us from our slavery to sin so we will now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. And the New Covenant requires death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness. And it demands obedience to our Lord and to his commands (New Covenant) and the forsaking of our sins. For if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God regardless of the faith we profess with our lips.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
The Kingdoms of Earth Pass Away
Lyrics by Henry R. Trickett, 1887
Music by James H. Fillmore, 1887
The kingdoms of earth pass away one by one,
But the kingdom of heaven remains;
It is built on a rock and the Lord is its King,
And forever and ever He reigns.
The tempest may rage and its anger acclaim,
Yea, the wind and the torrents may roar,
And the strong gates of hell may assail it in vain,
Still the kingdom shall stand ever more.
The kingdom of God is now open to all,
E’en the vilest may now enter in;
There’s a welcome for all who will turn to the Lord,
Full salvation and pardon for sin.
Chorus: It shall stand, It shall stand,
Forever and ever and ever,
It shall stand, It shall stand,
Forever and ever. Amen and Amen.
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