Summary: LORD God communicated His love to the world in His Son Jesus Christ. Now is the time for sinners saved by His grace to communicate love for God and His Son by confessing with our mouths and believing with all our hearts.
SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH IS A MATTER OF THE HEART
Give me that me that man that is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him in my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee. (Hamlet Act 3, scene 2)
“Like the heart of an artichoke, the heart of Hamlet’s heart is its tender part. He reserves this region of his affection for men who aren’t slaves to their passion, who are governed by reason, like his friend Horatio (whom he addresses here) and, indeed, like Shakespeare himself, the author of this famous play.”
“Heart” as used in the Bible is a comprehensive term for “the authentic person” - that part of ourselves wherein we desire, deliberate, and decide. We often refer to it as our “innermost being”.
“Heart” is an all-inclusive term - describing the origination and depth of our feelings . . . desires . . . passions . . . thoughts . . . understanding . . . will.
For example, if someone says, “I have you in my heart”, what they mean is “I have feelings of affection for you” . . . “That touches my heart”, what they mean is “I am moved by what I just saw or heard”. We sing “In my heart there rings a melody of love”, meaning God’s love and mercy for us, the sacrifice Jesus made on the Cross to atone for our sins.
We firmly believe that salvation by grace through faith is a matter of the heart - our desire to be saved . . . our intellect . . . understanding . . . will.
You might say (and this occurred to me when my mind was absorbed this past week with thinking about and praying through our Bible study for today) that it would be good to ask ourselves two questions: “What makes me tick? What motivates me to live life the way I do?” After all, “what makes me tick” is what keeps me going in life!
There was no doubt in the Apostle Paul’s mind about what kept him going - in spite of all his trials, tribulations and troubles. Paul was motivated by his total commitment to Christ his Lord! In Paul’s heart there rang this melody:
Saved by grace through faith, and that not of myself, not of works lest I or any of my former friends of legalism should boast, but, of God’s desire to save me and all mankind so that we might become God’s children who would glorify Him and enjoy fellowship with Him forever!
And folks, God’s desire ought to be my desire . . . the desire of all Christians . . . a heartfelt desire that moves you as well as me to pray that all sinners might be saved – Romans 10:1-3 . . .
“Let me set the record straight” is basically what Paul sought to do in this section of his epistle to the Romans.
Now, Paul admired their zeal, and told them so. He complimented them for their intent to please God to such an extent that they went overboard - seeking to establish righteousness in ways that meant giving glory to themselves rather than glory to God.
Shouldn’t we honestly admit that, at times, we have been tempted to get caught up in that same type of self-acclaimed scenario: if not exalting ourselves, in one way or another exalting some other saint whom we admired - their tireless energy, generous giving of resources, unwavering support for whatever the cause might have been?
Paul knew that, whereas religious activity might have served a purpose for a brief period of time, and even perhaps met a need for a moment, to become so fixed on such (that it became legalistic and thought to be an “end” in and of itself rather than a “means” to an end) would be a costly mistake.
Misguided zeal could harden hearts and cause zealots to miss the mark of God’s righteousness.
Eugene Petersen’s “The Message” has an interesting paraphrase of verse 3:
“They don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is true salvation is God’s business, and a most flourishing business it is!
“Yet, right across the street they set up their own salvation shops and noisily hawk their wares. After all these years of refusing to deal with God on His terms, insisting instead on making their own deals, they have nothing to show for it.”
Folks, any attempt of any human institution or nation or denomination to establish its own standards of righteousness will fail because they are inadequate and incomplete. God’s Way through Christ is the only way to have (possess, receive, be granted) a right standing before God.
“Okay. Got it. Understood. God’s Way is the only way of salvation. Now tell us how. What must we do to be saved?” “Glad you asked because the Word of Faith which we are proclaiming to you is as near as your mouth and your heart” – Romans 10:9-13 . . .