The Apostle Paul begins this chapter by expressing his heart's desire and prayer that Israel would be saved. He attests that they are zealous for God, but they have no real knowledge of Him. I found that very interesting. How can someone have a zeal for God but no knowledge of Him? Why would you be zealous for someone you knew nothing about? Could their zeal be based on the fact that they were called God's chosen people? Was their enthusiasm more of national pride, like Americans are zealous for their flag, or Canadians are passionate about hockey? Was their zeal more of a "status" thing than an intimate knowledge of God?
Paul says in Romans 10:3 that the Israelites were ignorant of God's righteousness. How is that possible? They received the Ten Commandments from Moses. They had whole books in the Torah dedicated to God's requirements for righteous living. They had a huge Temple smack dab in the middle of Jerusalem, where they believed God resided in the Holy of Holies. How then were they ignorant of Him? Is it possible they had forsaken the commandment written only for them, that they MUST read their Torah and obey it (Leviticus 18:4-5; Deuteronomy 11:19)? Today, like many Christians, did they simply stop investing time in reading God's Word?
What happens when we stop reading the Bible? A shift in our thinking occurs, and we forget that we serve a righteous and holy God. Our attitudes change, and before we know it, we agree with the world. Paul explains it this way: "Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness" (Romans 10:3). In other words, they did whatever felt right to them. They developed their own sense of righteousness. And like today, right became wrong, and wrong became right, all because they stopped reading the Torah and submitting to God's righteousness.
Before the Law was given, the Jews had no sense of right and wrong. They were like wild children. God literally had to spell right and wrong out for them in the Ten Commandments and the Levitical Laws. Unfortunately, as Romans 10:3 suggests, not all of them submitted to God's plan of righteousness. In fact, the Jews are the only people or nation who have been called by God to actively study the Torah. However, many miss the blessing God intended for them by not doing so. So He created a new way to attain righteousness.
Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be
Jesus fulfills the Law many Jews have so desperately tried to keep to attain righteousness. All it requires is putting your faith into action.
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,
So does that mean anyone who believes in God is saved? No. Even demons believe in God and tremble in fear over Him (James 2:19). So what else is needed to be saved? The Bible is very clear, "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."
You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do
Both apostles agree that faith requires action. Paul says in Romans 10:17 that faith comes from hearing the message, and that message is heard through the Word about Jesus. But if no one preaches that message (putting their faith into action) in the first place but keeps that knowledge to themselves, then what good is that faith? It is not genuine faith.
There are many in the world today who profess a belief in God. Yet these same people are unwilling to put that faith into action and verbally acknowledge Christ as their Saviour. They believe that if they live good lives, do good deeds/works and believe in God, they will be going straight to heaven when they die. If good works were all we needed to get to heaven, then there would be no need for Christ's sacrifice on the cross. It's like saying to God, "You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours. I've done my good deeds now let me in."
But faith in action will do good deeds because of God, and while doing those deeds, will share the love of Christ with all who will listen. Why? Because genuine faith cannot stay quiet about Christ's redeeming love. It is faith in action.
© 2014 Laura J. Davis. All Rights Reserved.