Summary: A teaching message on Romans 9:30-10:21
Romans Series # 44 June 26, 2002
Title: The #1 Reason People Miss Heaven
Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. We are currently at the end of Chapter 9 of Romans as we continue with message #44 of our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Romans.
Read Romans 9:30-10:21
The Bible makes very clear that many, many people will not be in heaven because they never were saved. Multitudes will be eternally lost and separated from God because they never entered into a righteous relationship with him. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:13, ". . . wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it."
Why will so many miss heaven? This is the subject of today’s message and Scripture passage. In this passage Paul tells us why the people of Israel did not attain righteous standing with God. In doing this, he is also showing us why people in general do not enter into a right and healthy relationship with God. The terms "saved" and "righteousness" in this passage refers to a healthy relationship with God. It is that healthy and right relationship with God which results in eternal life in heaven, so in essence this passage tells us the reason why so many people will miss heaven.
Why will people miss heaven? Is it because some people do not try hard enough? No, verses 2-4 tell us the Jewish people were very zealous, which means they were very diligent in their efforts to be right with God, but they were not saved. Will people miss heaven because God’s way of salvation is too hard for some people? No, in verses 6-8 Paul makes clear that everyone can be saved and that salvation is not too hard for anyone. Do people usually miss heaven because they never heard the Gospel? No, in verses 14-18 Paul makes clear that this is not usually the problem. People have heard the Good News but have not accepted the message. Perhaps some people miss heaven because they can’t understand God’s way of salvation? No, in verses 19-20 Paul says that a people without understanding, i.e. spiritual insight, responded to the Gospel so the problem is not a lack of understanding. Perhaps the people of Israel and other people will not be saved because God doesn’t want them to be saved? Again the answer is "no." In verse 21 we’re told that God is not holding people back but rather he is holding out his hands all day long with the offer of reconciliation and the desire for salvation. There is no reluctance on God’s part for anyone to be saved.
None of these are the reasons why people will not go to heaven. Then what is the reason people won’t go to heaven?
1. The number one reason people are not going to heaven is pride.
It was pride that kept many in the nation of Israel from responding to the Gospel and it is pride which keeps many from responding today. In their pride, people are unwilling to admit their need for a Savior. In their pride, people are unwilling to admit their inability to save themselves. Pride was certainly the reason Israel rejected the Good News of Jesus Christ, as we can see in these first few verses.
Read Verses 9:30-33
First Paul acknowledges that many Gentiles, who were not religious and not even "pursuing" or trying to have a right relationship with God, had "obtained it." At the same time the people of Israel who were religious and who were trying to have a right relationship with God had "not attained it." This does not seem to make any sense. Why wouldn’t the people who were trying the hardest attain a healthy relationship with God? Paul answers that question in verse 32 where he says they missed a healthy relationship with God "because they pursued it not by faith (trust) but as if it were by works." In other words they rejected a right relationship with God on the basis of trusting in Jesus and instead insisted on working their way to heaven.
Why would anyone insist on working for something which they could get for free? The answer is pride! Why would anyone refuse God’s offer of help? Pride! In our pride we do not want to admit when we need help. This pride is exemplified in many aspects of our lives. For instance it is pride which keeps a man from asking for directions when he is lost. He doesn’t want to admit he needs help. It is pride which keeps families from accepting financial assistance. For instance, my wife’s family pays for half of my kids’ private Christian schooling. I appreciate it tremendously but it also bothers me because I want to be able to take care of it myself. I am troubled in receiving their help because of my pride. People refuse God’s free offer of salvation and miss heaven for the same reason. It is because of pride that people will miss heaven. Many will insist on trying to work their way to heaven instead of admitting that they are messed up sinners in desperate need of a Savior.