Summary: Our Bible Lesson explores two ways of trying to develop a relationship with God. One way is a legalistic way. The other way of having a relationship with God involves faith. It involves basing your right standing with God on the righteousness of Christ i
ROMANS 10: 1-7
STANDING RIGHT WITH GOD
Travel back with me to your high school days in English class. Do you recall a poem by Robert Frost titled, The Road Not Taken? Listen to the poem:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost talks about living life in two different ways. He chose to live a different way than most people: perhaps a more challenging way, one requiring more of a personal investment and commitment than the other.
Our Bible Lesson explores two ways of knowing and discovery, two ways of trying to develop a relationship with God. One way is a legalistic way. It's the way of zeal for traditions of law and man. It is a way that follows rules, of faithfulness to the expectations of men and religion. The other way of having a relationship with God involves faith. It involves believing in the Son of God and receiving His love and righteousness. It involves basing your right standing with God on the righteousness of Christ instead of our own righteousness (CIT).
The Jews refused to submit themselves to God and receive His righteousness. The Jews refused the Way of God because they were:
I. MISINFORMED, 1-2.
II. MISDIRECTED, 3-4.
III. MISGUIDED [MISSING THE MARK], 5.
IV. & MISTAKEN [MISUNDERSTOOD], 6-7.
In verse 1 Paul again expresses his concern for the salvation of his people. "Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation."
You may remember this heart's desire from chapter 9, where Paul said he would be willing to be separated from Christ if it meant his brothers in Israel would be saved. This reflects the heart of God, which is willing to give up anything for the salvation of others.
Now the Jews didn't think they needed saving at all. They were trusting in family heritage, traditions, and works. But they were not trusting in Christ.
What will happen to the Jewish people who BELIEVE IN GOD but not in Christ? Since they believe in the same God, won't they be saved? If that were true, Paul would not have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to teach them about Christ. Because Jesus is the most complete revelation of God, we cannot fully know God apart from Christ; and because God appointed Jesus to bring God and man together, we cannot come to God by another path. The Jews, like everyone else, can find salvation only through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
As a converted Jew, Paul grieved over their lost spiritual condition. So great was his burden he even expressed the wish that he himself might be "accursed from Christ" if that would result in their salvation (Rom. 9:2,3). How he longed that they might be saved! For all the hard-headed, hard heartedness of the Jew, Paul would not stop praying for them.
We still think Jewish people are highly resistant to the gospel, and for the most part they are. But God's Spirit can penetrate their spiritual blindness. According to Sam Nadler of Chosen People Ministries, Jews in Russia are responding to the message of salvation.
Many of us know very little about today's Jews, the descendants of the people we love to read about in the Bible. There are an estimated 19 million Jews in the world, less than 1 percent of the earth's population. And about 8 million of them live in North America.
Bible-believing Christians are to reflect the attitude of the apostle Paul, who had a deep love for his fellow Jews. He longed for them to discover, as he had, that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Savior of people of all nations. Perhaps we need to share Paul's burden by adding the people of Israel to our prayer list and pleading with God "that they may be saved."
Paul was broken and burdened over his kinsmen he had desire to see them saved, to see them born again, by God's amazing grace. I ask you do you have that desire to see your family and friends come to know Christ?