Summary: What is your heart’s desire, zeal without knowledge, knowledge without zeal

ROMANS 10:1-13 (YABS, 26/03/04)

What is your heart’s desire? (1)

Compare 9:1, 10:1 and 11:1. What do the first two verses tell you about Paul’s attitude towards the Jews, and what does the last one tell you about his hope for them?

What is your heart’s desire?

Zeal without knowledge, knowledge without zeal (2)

“…people who are under the judgment of God, and yet have a zeal for God” (RC Sproul).

Read John 16:2,3; Acts 8:3; Acts 23:12; Philippians 3:6; 1 Timothy 1:13. Paul could identify with these Jews, since he was once like them. What were you zealous about before you became a Christian?

Consider Jehu in 1 Kings 10:16,17,30,31. What sort of things we are tempted to be zealous about ‘on God’s behalf’, either without proper knowledge or without consistency, and what are the dangers of this (cf. Proverbs 19:2)?

What sort of things do we have proper knowledge about, and are tempted to be lazy about, and what are the dangers of this (e.g. Proverbs 3:27,28; Ezekiel 3:18)?

Earn your own or receive another’s? (3,4)

“The first step to obtaining the righteousness of God is to renounce your own righteousness” (Uncle John Calvin). Jesus is the “end” (telos) of the law, which means he is the culmination (100% righteous, dude!) or the termination (i.e. the law is abrogated- it is no longer the way of getting right with God; see 6:15). “Once we have grasped the decisive nature of Christ’s saving work, we see the irrelevance of all legalism” (Leon ‘Theological Hitman’ Morris). But verse three says that we need to “submit” to God’s righteousness, as if receiving this particular blessing was actually quite difficult and unappealing to us in some way.

If someone came along and said, “Here, have one million pounds, nothing on your part needed except to take it,” and you checked it out carefully, and it really was kosher, you’d probably take it, wouldn’t you?

If someone came along and said, “Here, have a clean slate before God, nothing on your part required except to take it and to stop cleaning the slate yourself,” and you checked it out carefully, and it really was kosher, what reasons would prevent you from taking it?

Law-for-life exam. Pass rate: 100% (5)

Read James 2:10; 4:17; Galatians 3:10 and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. We give out a tract sometimes called ‘Do good people go to heaven?’ and it has two tick boxes for Yes and No. The answer, technically, is Yes. This is because good people have not done anything wrong that deserves punishment, and perhaps more importantly they have never failed to do something right (which would also deserve punishment). They have always loved God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength, and they have always loved their neighbour wholeheartedly and consistently. They have always rejoiced, prayed continually and given thanks in every circumstance. Who is this good person? As Jesus points out, no-one is this good person except God alone (Mark 10:18). And since Jesus is this good person, He must be God-made-flesh. He kept the law in every respect (he is the end of the law) and loved God and others 100%. If we were like this, we would go to heaven based on law-keeping. As it is, we continually fail to love God or others as we should, and break the laws of God in thousands of ways by thought, word and deed even in one day. If by some miracle, we were only to fail to love God for one second of one day, we should still be utterly guilty before Him, because He “cannot look on wickedness” (Hab.1:13). So anyone who goes about trying to establish law-based righteousness is doomed to failure as soon as they fall once. They will not pass their law-for-life exam. They will die forever.

Someone comes to you and says (this happened to me on Sunday), “Well look, I haven’t done anything seriously wrong. How can God judge me?” What do you say?

If Jesus has passed (got 100%) in the law-for-life exam, why should we even bother to keep the law? If righteousness is a perfect gift, why try to add to it ?

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