Summary: To establish that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness; and that all believers are “justified by faith and obedience” through the gospel of Christ; and not by the Law or the works of human righteousness.
1. The Righteousness of Israel
2. The Righteousness of God
3. The Righteousness of Christ
1. In our lesson today we are going to be discussing the theme: “the righteousness of God.” We will establish that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness; and that all believers are “justified by faith and obedience” through the gospel of Christ; and not by the Law of Moses or the works of human righteousness. Isaiah said that: “All of our righteousness are as filthy rags,” Isaiah 64:6. Paul: “There are none righteous, no, not one,” Romans 3:11.
2. First, we will consider the righteousness of Israel. Paul writes: “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is this; that they might be saved. For I bear them record, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge,” Romans 10:1-2. Israel was seeking their own form of righteousness – which was found in the Law and the traditions of the fathers. Like many today; which who are not seeking the God’s righteousness through the gospel of Christ; but through their own wisdom and man-made traditions.
3. Second, we will discuss the righteousness of God. Paul continues: “For they (Israel) being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, having not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God,” Romans 10:3. Paul affirms: “That their lack of righteousness is due to their ignorance of God’s will and form of righteousness”; that can only be found in Christ. Paul speaks of this to the Corinthians where he writes: “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart... the vail shall be taken away,” 2 Corinthians 3:14-16.
4. Lastly, we will investigate the righteousness of Christ. Paul finally notes that: “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” He told the Philippians, that he desired: “To be found in him (Christ), not having his own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by (the) faith,” Philippians 3:9. Christ has come to redeem us from the law of sin and death. We have been made free from sin; and granted the “righteousness of God by faith.”
BODY OF LESSON
I THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF ISRAEL
A. Paul’s heart desire was that Israel might be saved. The apostles had concerns for his countrymen; he prayed and had hopes that they might be saved. Someone in this community is praying for you, and is hoping that the word of God being preached in this meeting; might enlighten your eyes to the love and grace of God: That you might embrace the gospel of Christ and “save your soul.” Jesus said: “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” Mark 8:36. This will be the “theme” of this meeting the entire week: “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
B. Paul continues, “I bear them record, they have a zeal of God.” He could testify that they had zeal in their religion. Notice:
1. First, Israel had a ferver and conviction in the law and in their attempts to keep it. Supposing in some fashion this would earn them righteousness before God. This characterizes many today in the religious world.
2. Further, they have zeal and conviction in their pursuits to honor God with their lips. But they were totally and ignorantly blinded to the righteousness of God. Hear Jesus: “Well hath Isaias prophesied of you hypocrites (speaking of Israel's leaders), as it is written, this people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men... Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition,” Mark 7:6-9.
3. Finally, Paul testifies of his righteousness in the traditions of the fathers: “For ye have heard of my conversation (manner of life) in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood (man),” Galatians 1:13-16.