Summary: Paul confronts some of the lies that were hindering so many of his fellow Jews from being saved. There were many truths that they embraced from God’s law, but they missed the free nature of grace and how accessible salvation is to all who call on the Lord
The Accessible Savior
Intro: Perhaps you’ve heard of the game, 4 truths and a lie. It is often used as a mixer for people to get to know each other better. You write down 5 things about yourself, and they are all true but one. The other person tries to guess which one is not true.
-Well, Paul was confronting some of the lies that were hindering so many of his fellow Jews from being saved, or made right before God. There were many truths that they embraced from God’s law, but they were deceived regarding the nature of God’s plan to make people righteous so they could have fellowship and eternal life with Him.
-One of those lies was that they could keep the law well enough to establish their own righteousness. The truth they focused on was that they were zealous for God! That was biblical, but only to the degree that their zeal aligned with who God is, not who they tried to make Him out to be. Another lie was that salvation was designed primarily for Jews- God’s chosen people. They had been given the law of God through Moses and figured that everybody else would have to become Jewish to be saved. Paul and other leaders of the early church spent considerable time battling against this lie. And especially in Romans, Paul is writing to this mixed group of believers (Jews and Gentiles), telling them that God is reaching out to everyone, and whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!
-So in Romans 10 Paul pours out his heart again regarding his burden for his Jewish brothers and sisters who refused to be saved on God’s terms and were trying to do it their own way. I’d like to share 4 simple statements that Paul was making about getting right with God.
1. Stop looking for a different Solution
1 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. 5 Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them."
-It is commonly believed and accepted in our culture that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. “I won’t disrespect your beliefs if you don’t disrespect mine.” Unfortunately, this PC precept has caused many people to stop challenging people’s assumptions – even if they are clearly erroneous. It doesn’t take a college degree to know that two completely opposite claims cannot both be right. Granted, not everything in life is binary. Sometimes we disagree with others because they are looking through a different lens than we are, perhaps while describing the same thing.
-But Paul wasn’t concerned about being popular or accepted by his fellow Jews. He was pretty confrontational at times. Just read Galatians! So Paul said the Jews (as a whole) were zealous for God, but their zeal was based on false assumptions. They were so busy trying to establish their own goodness through conformity to the law that they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
-They couldn’t see the forest for the trees! They got so engrossed with all the trees (the law) that they missed the forest (God’s overall plan to save people). Jesus and the message of salvation was woven all throughout the law. Jesus and true salvation by faith in Him was really what the law was aiming at all along.
-1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
-Bottom line, the only way we can get right with God is to trust Him and His way more than we trust ourselves and our ways. There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (Prov. 14:12).
2. Stop looking for a different Savior!
6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
-Paul is quoting from Deuteronomy 30:11-14 “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” Note that Paul is quoting this OT passage as an expression of the word of faith or the word from God which we are to believe.