Summary: A devotion for young believers/seekers
“FOR WHOEVER KEEPS THE WHOLE LAW AND YET STUMBLES IN ONE POINT, HE HAS BECOME GUILTY OF ALL.”
“FOR MOSES WRITES THAT THE MAN WHO PRACTICES THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS BASED ON LAW SHALL LIVE BY THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS. 6 BUT THE RIGHTEOUSNESS BASED ON FAITH SPEAKS THUS, “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (THAT IS, TO BRING CHRIST DOWN). 7 OR ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (THAT IS, TO BRING CHRIST UP FROM THE DEAD?’.” 8 BUT WHAT DOES IT SAY? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART” - THAT IS, THE WORD OF FAITH WHICH WE ARE PREACHING, 9 THAT IF YOU CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH JESUS AS LORD, AND BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, YOU SHALL BE SAVED; 10 FOR WITH THE HEART MAN BELIEVES, RESULTING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND WITH THE MOUTH HE CONFESSES, RESULTING IN SALVATION. 1 FOR THE SCRIPTURE SAYS, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 12 FOR THERE IS NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN JEW AND GREEK; FOR THE SAME LORD IS LORD OF ALL, ABOUNDING IN RICHES FOR ALL WHO CALL UPON HIM; 13 FOR “WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED”.”
One old time preacher asked this question: “If a man hangs over a cliff, holding on to a chain with ten links, how many of those links must break in order to dash that man to his death?”
Well, the answer of course, is “only one”.
That’s what James was writing about in chapter two, verse 10.
But now look at Romans 10 verse 5. Remember that the word “righteousness” means to be ‘right with God’.
This is the one exception. In all of the New Testament, here in Romans 10:5 is the only time that a different Greek word was translated to be “righteousness”. The word used in verse 5 does not refer to a way of being right with God; it is a word that means ‘self-righteousness’. In other words, Moses was telling the people:
“The man who thinks to be right with God by keeping the Law of God in his own strength, will be required to keep the whole Law perfectly”
Can’t be done. That’s why James gave his warning in the verse I gave you at the top of this page. In these passages and many others in the Bible, God warns people that no one can be saved by the keeping of the Law (or doing things right). The Law was given to show us that we cannot keep it perfectly; that’s why Jesus had to die.
(see verses 9-11?)
The Bible doesn’t say: “Whoever gets his act together shall be saved” or “Whoever cleans himself up and stops drinking and taking drugs shall be saved” or “Whoever works hard and pays his bills shall be saved” or “Whoever stops hitting his wife and goes to church shall be saved”.
Nope; doesn’t say any of those things.
It says: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The Law leaves us hanging over that cliff; and sooner or later one of those links will break. But Christ lifts us back onto solid ground and places our feet on a rock that shall not be moved. Then, after He has set us securely in favor with God, then He starts teaching us by His Holy Spirit how to live a Holy life; pleasing to the Father. It is a school we will be in for eternity, and His lessons are not hard.