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  • Writer's pictureBrian O'Kelly

35 - Romans 10 - Easy Believism

Updated: Feb 4, 2023

4. Introduction- In this chapter Paul gets into the meat of his discussion on soteriology. He gets very specific on the nature of faith vs works in terms of the salvific power of either. We must remember that there were no chapter divisions in the original letter. What we can see from the flow of ideas is that in the beginning of the book Paul is expressing that everyone is guilty, then he expands on the idea that sin is part of human nature, now he is in a section where he is eliminating concepts of salvation through lineage and ethnicity.

5. Paul reinforces the idea that these chapters are about salvation not end times

5.1. 1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

5.1.1. He wants his “brethren according to the flesh” to be saved as he indicated in the beginning of Chapter 9. For this reason, he goes on to explain how this can be accomplished not only for his brethren the Jews but for you and I too.

6. Zeal is not enough

6.1. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

6.1.1. Paul himself knew that there were zealous Jews. He had been one of them. Remember that Paul was a persecutor of the fledgling church.

6.1.2. Acts 9:1-2Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

6.1.3. One of the most dangerous things in the world is zeal without knowledge. We’ve all seen the damaging effects of someone who has more zeal than wisdom. These are often where religious fanatics come from. Judas was a “zealot”. The Zealots were a group that wanted to overthrow the Romans by force. This may have been a part of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. It’s possible that he was fed up with Jesus’ pacifism. They also were the group who committed to kill Paul in Acts 23. I believe this is what Paul means when he says “zeal for God, but not according to knowledge”.

7. Jesus is the end of the law

7.1. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

7.1.1. This is one of the many places that Paul explains that the law is over “for righteousness”. This means that it no longer works for being in a righteous position before God. While the law never did work for the remission of sins, a man could be considered to be righteous if he would believe God and follow the law. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin” Hebrews 10:4. “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness” Genesis 15:6

7.1.2. There are those who would indicate that we still need to keep the law to be righteous before God. These people are part of the Hebrew roots movement who can otherwise be called modern day Judaizers.

7.1.3. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

7.1.4. “that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. Philippians 3:9

8. We don’t have to do it, because he has already done it:

8.1. 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

8.1.1. It’s the righteousness of faith that speaks like this “Do not say” – As though it was on us to bring Jesus down or bring him up. It’s not something we need to do, but something God has already done for us.

9. God is close to you if you have faith:

9.1. 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

9.1.1. What does it mean that it is in your mouth and in your heart? The word is Jesus and if he is in your heart then he is in your mouth too.

9.1.2. “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” James 3:10-12

9.1.3. When you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit it is wholesome things that issue forth from within.

10. The too simple solution:

10.1. 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

10.1.1. How can it be this easy? All we have to do is to say it? No, it’s more complicated than just the statement, it’s confess AND believe. So what does it mean to believe that Jesus is Lord? Is Lord just a title like captain or admiral? If you believe you have a Lord, you will serve the Lord.

10.1.2. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. James 2:19

10.1.3. It’s not just believing in the fact of the resurrection and calling Jesus Lord. Your understanding that the resurrection is the evidence of His Lordship. Evidence of His majesty and evidence of His divine nature. Your belief is a kind of consent. You’re not just stipulating a set of facts. You’re agreeing to the implications on your life. You’re agreeing to a life of total servitude to Jesus.

10.1.4. Have you heard the expression “Walk the talk”? Meaning, do your actions match your words? It’s one thing to say you’re not afraid of Lions. It’s another thing to jump into the Lion exhibit at the zoo.

11. How:

11.1. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11.1.1. Belief happens in the heart. Now in the bible the heart is synonymous with the mind. It’s the same thing. It’s the place of knowledge and decision making.

11.1.2. I’d like to propose that too many Christians including myself live far too often with only a lip-service to the idea of Jesus being Lord. When we really believe in something we act on it. Most of us believe in God, but we don’t in fact believe God. There’s an important distinction here. It’s one thing to believe that God exists, it’s another thing entirely to trust him in all.

11.1.3. Do you really believe that God will supply all of your needs?

11.1.4. Do you trust Hie completely with regard to your relationships and family members? I’m going through this time with my mom dying of cancer right now. Will I trust Him that this is the best thing for her? For me? For my kids and grandkids? Can you honestly say that you will trust him and not shake your fist at him in the face of an unexpected tragedy?

11.1.5. Do you believe what Paul said before? And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. Would you trust God with the life of your son or daughter as Abraham did? Could you trust God if he told you to do what he told the rich young ruler and to “sell your possessions and give to the poor? Or would you be like he was and go away sad? Following Jesus isn’t easy, but for certain it means at least doing what he says in all areas.

11.1.6. For example, I’ve just recently read Francis Shaffer’s book “The mark of the Christian” which I highly recommend. It’s an expansion on Jesus telling the disciples “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35. Many of us have a difficult time with this, after all there are so many unlovely people in the world. But here Jesus is, telling us to love them anyway.

11.1.7. When asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus said: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40. All the law and the prophets! That’s a lot, isn’t it? Does love here sound optional?

11.1.8. This is one of the many commands of Jesus that too many Christians see as optional. After all, we did an altar call and came forward when we were eleven, so we’re saved right? All we have to do is make that confession and that does it right? Well, not so fast, Jesus said “46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was [j]founded on the rock. 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it [k]fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49

11.1.9. And it’s reasonable to ask who he is talking about when he says: 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23

11.1.10. Believing is manifested in action. “14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without [f]your works, and I will show you my faith by [g]my works. James 2:14-18

11.1.11. Don’t think this is me recommending or even acknowledging the idea of a “works righteousness” I don’t believe that at all, but what I do believe is that if you are confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and not living as though He is, you are not fooling anyone. Or at least even if you are fooling some of the people, you are not fooling Jesus at all. I’d even go a little beyond that and say that you might even be doing the kingdom some damage if people who observe you don’t observe the love of God in all that you do and say.

12. What happens:

12.1. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

12.2. What about Christian martyrs? People have given their life for their faith. Have these people been “put to shame”. If we define being put to shame as being held in low esteem by man, then yes. However, if we find being put to shame as going to hell and being separate from God, then you have your answer.

13. God is not a racist:

13.1. 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

13.2. God could care less what lineage you are from. Who your daddy is or who was your grandfather or great-grandfather has no impact on how God views you. In this letter, Paul is addressing the Jewish Christians in Rome who’ve taken the position that their Jewish blood makes a difference in the eyes of God. Today there are two groups which claim to be Christian groups which are also race-based. One of these groups are the Anglo-Israelites who claim that the lost tribes of Israel went to England and that white Europeans are the offspring of Abraham Isaac and Jacob and for this reason are the preferred group of God. The other group are the Afro-Israelites who claim that the original Jews had black skin and that Jesus was black and therefore black people today are the true Israelites, the true offspring of Abraham. All of the evidence we have is that the Jews in Jesus were Middle Eastern and of Semitic origin. But even if it could be determined that the Anglo Israelites or the Afro Israelites were correct, it wouldn’t matter at all. Paul is indicating here that there is no racial or familial preference on the part of God. The preference is for those who call on the name of the Lord.

14. Faith comes by hearing:

14.1. 14 “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

14.2. This section argues strongly for the idea of sending missionaries. Jesus himself sent missionaries. The word apostle means “sent one”. “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.’ ” John 4:34 so we can see that Jesus himself was sent from God. Sending missionaries is important work. The danger in interpreting this verse in that way only is that we may get the impression it’s not our job too. “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” Matthew 28:19

15. Has everyone heard?

15.1. 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.”

15.2. Because of the evangelistic tone of this section some Christians, in their effort to raise funds for missions or to encourage missionaries have communicated the idea that if we don’t send those missionaries then people may go to hell and it might be your fault for not supporting those missionaries or for not supporting some kind of an outreach ministry like the footlight broadcast. These people have either forgotten or ignored what Paul has told us in the first chapter of this very book of Romans “because what may be known of God is [e]manifest [f]in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [g]Godhead, so that they are without excuse” Romans 1:19-20

15.3. “The heavens declare the glory of God;

And the firmament shows His handiwork.

2 Day unto day utters speech,

And night unto night reveals knowledge.

3 There is no speech nor language

Where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19:1-3

16. The Jews especially have heard:

16.1. 19 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”

16.2. Here God is saying he will provoke Israel to jealousy. Jealousy can be a bad thing but is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s appropriate to be jealous over things that are our rightful possessions. God himself says in the first commandment “you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,” Exodus 20:5. All the peoples of the earth are God’s rightful possession. He is the creator and giver of life to all. In verse 19 God is pointing out that Israel should have been the first people in possession of the kingdom and that he will use the Gentiles who possess the kingdom to provoke them into desiring to possess the kingdom. This doesn’t indicate that the kingdom can be passed back and forth like a possession since all can possess the kingdom including you and I.

17. The reward goes to the listener, not the hearer.

17.1. 20 But Isaiah is very bold and says: “I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” 21 But to Israel he says: “All day long I have stretched out My hands To a disobedient and contrary people.””

17.2. In concert with the verse back in chapter 1 about “without excuse” Paul is indicating here with the words “made manifest to those who did not ask for me” that everyone whether actively seeking God or not has sufficient evidence to know that they should be obedient to God. Everyone has some light in God requires people to be obedient to the light they have. This is why a Bible teacher or church leader has a greater responsibility than a brand-new Christian or even someone who hasn’t even heard of Jesus but yet knows right from wrong because of natural law.

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