February 5 - Romans 10:1-13

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Romans 10:1-10 – Salvation for All

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. 

Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.”  But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

Even with all that Paul has just declared regarding the Israelites, there is no doubt that he loves them deeply. It is his heart's desire and prayer that they may be saved. He sees their zeal for God, but their methods are misguided because they sought to gain righteousness on their own, rather than submitting to God.

There is a lesson, even in these words for each of us. Paul never stopped praying for those he knew were lost. Rather than writing them off, he expressed a desire for their salvation. We already know that he would have sacrificed his own place in heaven if the nation of Israel could have been brought into its glory. Oh, that we would be as willing to love those we don't understand or agree with.

In verse 5, Paul lays out the argument that justification is scriptural. He wants to make sure that it is understood that God has always accepted people in this manner and begins by quoting Leviticus 18:5 – the one who does these things (obey the rules of the law) will live by them. In other words, if a person abides by all of the words of the law, they will achieve life. Now, it is obvious to most that no one can live up to the requirements of the law. It was meant to reflect God's character, not to achieve God's favor. Judaism transformed the law into a way to gain God's favor – based on personal achievement.

Paul goes on to say that righteousness based on faith doesn't require us to bring Christ down from heaven or up from the dead (from Deuteronomy 30:12-13, Psalm 107:26 – Paul is liberal with his use and adjustments of scripture). We do not have to do these incredible feats to know the will of God. Jesus is here. He is alive and has risen from the dead. Faith is available right now for those who will believe and confess that Jesus is Lord.  Faith is as close as in our mouth and in our heart.

In Romans 10:11, Paul quotes Isaiah 28:16. "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame" to cement the argument that Jews and Gentiles both have access to salvation through Jesus Christ. All it takes is faith. He quotes Joel 2:32 in Romans 10:13 – "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." This is comprehensive. There is no limitation based on race or creed. The Lord's salvation is available to everyone.