What about Righteousness that Is Based on Faith? (Rom.10:5-13)

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Moses writes in Leviticus 18:5 concerning the righteousness based on the law that THE MAN WHO PRACTICES THESE THINGS OF THE LAW WITH ALL ITS DEMANDS, MUST LIVE BY THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Rom.10:5). So, if you want to live by the law and find life through it, then you must obey it completely and perfectly, and you also will be judged and held accountable for everything that the Law requires.

In contrast to the system of works, the righteousness that God provides is not unattainable, it is not difficult and complicated, and it comes from faith [Rom.4:11,13; 9:30] in Christ, and speaks in this way in Deuteronomy: YOU SHOULD NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART [Dt.8:17 & 9:4], WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN [Dt.30:12] (10:6) in order to bring Christ down from there to earth, as if still He still needed to die for us?; or say, WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS [Dt.30:13] where the dead and hostile powers are (10:7)? In other words, who will descend in order to bring Christ up from the dead, as if it were possible to do that, or even necessary for Him to be raised again?  Christ has accomplished all that is necessary for man’s salvation. He descended to earth, died on the Cross and rose from the dead!

But what does the righteousness that comes from faith in Christ really say?  It means that it is available and accessible, and you don’t have to make a trip anywhere to get it! It is as close as the message as is stated in Dt. 30:14: THE WORD SPOKEN [rhema] IS NEAR YOU, THAT IS, IT IS CLOSE AT HAND AND READY TO HELP. In fact, the message is ON YOUR LIPS AND IN YOUR HEART–that is, the Gospel message of the Faith that the apostles are proclaiming–that of the righteousness that comes by faith. (10:8)

So, in professing allegiance to the Lord, if you confess with your lips Jesus (as) Lord [II Cor.4:5], and believe in your heart that God already raised Him from the dead, you will be saved [Acts 16:30-32] (10:9), for it is with the heart that a person believes in Christ’s resurrection, resulting in righteousness [Rom.4:2-3; 9:30; 10:3-5] and it is with the lips that a person confesses that Jesus is Lord, resulting in salvation [II Cor.7:10; II Tim.3:15] (10:10). The Scripture says in Isa.28:16, EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME (10:11) for there is no difference made between Jew and Gentile–He deals equally with both–because the same Lord is Lord of all and is spiritually rich to all who call upon Him in faith [Rom.3:22; 11:32] (10:12)  for WHOEVER CALLS UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD (AFTER HEARING THE MESSAGE AND BELIEVING [Rom.10:14]) WILL BE SAVED (10:13).    Hallelujah!!      * Acts 9:13-14,21*

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How Far Is Righteousness (Rom.10:5-13)?

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Christ has brought the law to any end as a means of righteousness (Rom.10:4). Moses writes in Lev.18:5 concerning the righteousness based on the law that THE MAN WHO PRACTICES THESE THINGS OF THE LAW WITH ALL ITS DEMANDS MUST LIVE BY THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS (10:5). So, if we want to live by the law and find life through it, then we must obey it completely and perfectly. We also will be judged and held accountable for everything that the Law requires.  *Gal.3:11-12; Lk.10:25-37; 18:18-24; cf. Gal.2:21; ct. Rom.3:21//Ezek.20:11-14,20-22; cf. Ja.2:10*

In contrast to the system of works, the righteousness that God provides is not unattainable, is not difficult and complicated, and it comes from faith ([Rom.4:11,13; 9:30] in Christ. It speaks in this way in Deuteronomy: YOU SHOULD NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART [Dt.8:17 & 9:4], WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN [Dt.30:12]. That is, who will ascend in such a difficult undertaking in order to bring Christ down from there to earth (10:6), as if He still needed to die for us? Or say, WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS [Dt.30:13] where the dead and hostile powers are? That is, in order to bring Christ up from the dead (10:7), as if it were possible to do that, or even necessary for Him to be raised again!  Christ has accomplished all that is necessary for a person’s salvation. He has descended to earth, died on the Cross, and has risen from the dead!

What does the righteousness that comes from faith in Christ really say?  That it is available and accessible, and you don’t have to make a trip anywhere to get it! It is as close as the message, as Dt. 30:14 says: THE WORD SPOKEN [rhema] IS NEAR YOU, THAT IS, IT IS CLOSE AT HAND AND READY TO HELP. In fact, the message is ON YOUR LIPS AND IN YOUR HEART–that is, the Gospel message of the Faith [or, the word that calls for faith] that we are proclaiming–that of the righteousness that comes by faith (10:8)   *I Cor.1:22-23*

In professing allegiance, if you confess with your lips Jesus as Lord [II Cor.4:5] and believe in your heart that God already raised Him from the dead, you will be saved [Acts 16:30-32] (10:9);  it’s with the heart that a person believes in Christ’s resurrection, resulting in righteousness [Rom.4:2-3; 9:30; 10:3-5], and it’s with the lips that a person confesses that Jesus is Lord, resulting in salvation [II Cor.7:10; II Tim.3:15] (10:10) for the Scripture says in Isa.28:16, EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME (10:11)

Why will they not be put to shame? Because there is no difference made between Jew and Gentile. God deals equally with both because the same Lord is Lord of all and is spiritually rich to all who call upon Him in faith (10:12) for WHOEVER CALLS UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD (AFTER HEARING THE MESSAGE AND BELIEVING) WILL BE SAVED (10:13).

“believes” (10:10)–pisteuo—(from pistispistos) means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust. To accept as true, genuine, or real. To have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something or someone. To consider to be true. To accept the word or evidence of. (PA). Vincent notes that pisteuo “means to persuade, to cause belief, to induce one to do something by persuading, and so runs into the meaning of to obey, properly as the result of persuasion.
“put to shame” (10:11)—Kataischuno (from kata = down but here intensifies meaning of verb aischuno = to shame) means primarily to put to shame, to humiliate, to disgrace (1Cor 11:45) and as used here, to disappoint or to frustrate one’s hope (Ro 9:33noteRo 10:11note1Pe 2:6note). In the passive voice it can mean to blush with shame at one’s predicament. (PA)

 

God Is Not Prejudiced (Rom.10:5-13)!

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In our last blog the apostle Paul said that Christ is the end of law for attempting to obtain one’s own righteousness based on works for everyone who believes in Him (Rom.10:4). Paul now explains this by using Lev.18:5 in reference to the righteousness that is based on law: THE MAN WHO PRACTICES THESE THINGS (OF THE LAW WITH ALL ITS DEMANDS, MUST AND) WILL LIVE BY THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS (10:5). So, if you and I want to live by the law and find life through it, then we must obey it completely and perfectly, and we also will be judged and held accountable for everything that the Law requires.   *Gal.3:11-12; Lk.10:25-37; 18:18-24; cf. Gal.2:21; ct. Rom.3:21//Ezek.20:11-14,20-22; cf. Ja.2:10*

But in contrast to the system of works, the righteousness that God provides is not unattainable; it is not difficult and complicated, and it comes from faith in Christ, and  speaks in this way in Deuteronomy: YOU SHOULD NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART , WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN in such a difficult undertaking in order to bring Christ down from there to earth, as if still He still needed to die for us (10:6)!

Or say, WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS [Dt.30:13] (where the dead and hostile powers are) in order to bring Christ up from the dead (10:7), as if it were possible to do that, or even necessary for Him to be raised again.  Christ has accomplished all that is necessary for man’s salvation. He descended to earth, died on the Cross, and has risen from the dead!

But the apostle asks, “What does the righteousness that comes from faith in Christ really say?” It “says” that it is available and accessible, and you don’t have to make a trip anywhere to get it! It is as close as the message, as Dt.30:14 says: THE WORD SPOKEN [rhema] IS NEAR YOU (THAT IS, IT IS CLOSE AT HAND AND READY TO HELP). In fact, the message is ON YOUR LIPS AND IN YOUR HEART–that is, the Gospel message of the Faith [or, the word that calls for faith] that we are proclaiming, that of the righteousness that comes by faith (10:8), for if you confess with your lips Jesus as Lord [II Cor.4:5; cf. I Jn.4:2-3,15], and believe in your heart that God already raised Him from the dead, you will be saved [fut.act.pass.; Acts 16:30-32] (10:9);

for it’s with the heart that a person believes in Christ’s resurrection, resulting in righteousness [Rom.4:2-3; 9:30; 10:3-5], and it’s with the lips that a person confesses that Jesus is Lord, resulting in salvation [II Cor.7:10; II Tim.3:15] (10:10) for the Scripture says in Isa.28:16, EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME [or, BE ASHAMED] (10:11)

for there is no difference made between Jew and Greek [or, Gentile]. God deals equally with both, because the same Lord is Lord of all, and is spiritually rich to all who call upon Him (10:12) in faith,   *cf. Acts 2:21; 9:13-14,21*

13 for WHOEVER CALLS UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD (AFTER HEARING THE MESSAGE AND BELIEVING) WILL BE SAVED (10:13).   

believes” (10:10)–pisteuo—(from pistispistos) means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust. To accept as true, genuine, or real. To have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something or someone. To consider to be true. To accept the word or evidence of. (PA). Vincent notes that pisteuo “means to persuade, to cause belief, to induce one to do something by persuading, and so runs into the meaning of to obey, properly as the result of persuasion.

“put to shame” (10:11)—Kataischuno– (from kata = down but here intensifies meaning of verb aischuno = to shame) means primarily to put to shame, to humiliate, to disgrace (1Cor 11:45) and as used here, to disappoint or to frustrate one’s hope (Ro 9:33Ro 10:111Pe 2:6). In the passive voice it can mean to blush with shame at one’s predicament. (PA)

 

 

What Burden of Prayer Do You Have (Rom.10:1-4)?

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Many of us have different burdens of prayer–our family, friends, work, the unreached for the Gospel, etc. Taking a look at one of the apostle Paul’s burdens is revealing:

His heart’s desire was for Israel, and his urgent prayer to God was  for their salvation (that results from hearing the gospel [cf. II Tim.3:15], repentance [II Cor.7:10], faith in Christ [I Pt.1:9] and confession of their risen Lord [Rom.10:8-10]) (Rom.10:1).    *Rom.9:1-3; cf. Acts 13:46-48; II Thes.2:13*

Paul could testify about them that they had a zeal for God (just as he used to have [Phil.3:6]), but it wasn’t according to knowledge of the truth [I Tim.2:4; II Tim.2:25; 3:7]; their which comprehension was lacking (10:2). 

Israel was voluntarily ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God. They should have known God’s way of justification since it was before them and they overlooked it [Rom.9:4-5; & their Scriptures]). Instead, they deliberately sought to establish and validate their own earned righteousness based on works [Isa.57:12]. They, therefore, did not submit themselves to the saving righteousness of God through faith [Phil.3:8-9] (10:3).     *Rom.2:4; I Tim.1:13; Acts 13:36-27; Rom.1:17; 3:5,21-22*

To everyone who believes in this Christ who justifies [Rom.4:2-5; 1:17], Christ  is the end or termination of using the system of O.T. law for attempting to attain one’s own righteousness based on works. In this way, Christ, therefore, has brought the law to an end. (10:4)   *Eph.2:15; Col.2:14; Rom.6:14; Acts 13:38-39; Rom.9:31; 3:21; Gal.2:21; Phil.3:9//Gal.3:24-25; I Tim.1:9*

“end of the law for righteousness”– Expositors differ as to the sense: 1. The intention, aim, or goal of the law (Chrysostom, Cranfield) was to make men righteous, which was accomplished in Christ, or that the law led to Him as a pedagogue (Galatians 3:24).  2. The fulfillment (Eusebius, Jewett): Christ fulfills all the types, ceremonies and requirements. Mt. 5:17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill,” including the entire OT Covenant. It could be referring to that fact that all the types of the Old Testament pointed to Christ. He is the One to whom the Levitical cultus pointed, being the burnt offering, the peace offering, the meal offering, the sin and trespass offerings, the Passover, etc. (cf. Heb 10:1). But fulfillment does not provide anyone else with saving righteousness (MacArthur).  3. Most commentators take the word “end” in the sense of termination, finish, wind-up (Dunn, Moo, Schreiner, Murray): To believers in Christ the law has no longer legislative authority to say, “Do this and live; do this or die” (Morison & Vincent). “The immediate context, and the fact that the Mosaic Covenant was broken and has become obsolete (Jer 31:3132Heb. 8:13), favor understanding telos to mean that the law has been terminated or abolished as a means of righteousness.” “Paul is insisting, not on the connection, but on the incompatibility of law and faith, of one’s own righteousness and the righteousness of God” (Denny). “Belief in Christ as Savior and Lord brings to an end the sinner’s futile quest for righteousness through his own imperfect attempts to fulfill the law” (MacArthur).

 

Good Questions…

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In light of the OT prophecies discussed in our last blog (Rom.9:25-29), the apostle concludes this section, asking, “What shall we say then since the Gentiles who were not earnestly pursuing righteousness by trying to make themselves right with God, nevertheless attained it when it was preached to them? Paul is talking about a righteousness [righteous status in God’s sight] that comes from faith [cf. Gal.2:16] and not from the law, in order that it might be according to God’s grace. (Rom.9:30)

In contrast to the Gentiles, the people of Israel who pursued using the Mosaic law for the securing of righteousness, did not arrive at or attain it [cf. Rom.3:21-22; Gal.2:21; 3:23-24] (Rom.9:31). Why did they fail to reach the goal of righteousness that they were pursuing? Because they didn’t seek it by faith, but as if they could get it by works of the Law that they had done [Titus 3:5; Rom.3:20]. So, they stumbled over the Stumbling Stone that causes offense (Rom.9:32). Being disobedient to the Word [I Pt.2:5-8], they rejected the Stone, just as it is written the book of Isaiah, “Behold, I lay in Zion a Stone of Stumbling and a Rock of Offense [Isa.8:14]; and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame” [cf. Isa.28:16]. (Rom.9:33).

How many people do we know or have heard of who try to obtain a right relationship with God in order to get to heaven by using their own works and actions to merit in some way God’s acceptance? In the Romans passage above, the apostle makes it clear that it is only by faith in the true Rock can we truly have a genuine relationship with God through Christ that ultimately will take us to heaven for all eternity.

Don’t Blame Me (Rom.9:19-29)!

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From our blog last month, someone could say in objection to the fact that if God shows mercy and hardens whomever He wills regardless of human choice and actions, “Why then does He still find fault, and accuse and blame me, and make me responsible, since He does what He wants to do? For after all, who has successfully resisted His will or purpose?  Those are the questions the apostle Paul  in Romans 9:19 raised to one who would make such objections.

Paul’s response? How preposterous! On the contrary, you–who do you think you are, o man who replies by refuting and talking back to God in such an unjustified and argumentative way? In other words, You have neither the right nor power to call God to account in this manner. In fact, God is infinitely wise and good, and you dishonor Him for His just and righteous decisions. Paul then asks, “Does the object molded by the potter say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me in this way?’  (v.20). The craftsman does have the right to fashion his work according to his own views of what is best.

Or does the potter not have the right, as well as the authority, over the clay to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for honored use [II Tim.2:20-21] and special occasions, and the other piece for dishonorable, that is, common and ordinary use, as seems good and pleasing to him (v.21)?

And so, what reply do you have to make, Paul asks, if God, having every right, and is willing [Rom.9:18] or desiring to show His wrath, as in the case of sinful Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and to make His power known in all the earth, yet endured by means of great patience and mercy [Rom.9:16-17] these vessels of wrath fitted  for destruction or ruin [II Pt.2:1-3] because of their persistence in evil, unrepentance, rebellion, and obstinacy and have stored up for themselves wrath to be manifested on the Day of Wrath [Rom.1:18-19; 2:4-9; Eph.2:3; 5:6 & Col.3:5-6] (v.22)?

And what if God mercifully and with great patience showed such restraint in order that He also might make known the abundant riches of His glory upon the vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory and eternal life, after they had been called [Rom.9:24] through the gospel and were justified by faith apart from works of the law (v.23)?    *Rom.2:4-9*

Including us, the apostle says, in making known those riches known, whom He also has called through the gospel for salvation by the Spirit and belief in the truth [II Thes.2:13-14], not only from the Jews, but also from the Gentiles (v.24)

Just as also in the book of Hosea 2:23, when God turns temporarily from Israel to the Gentiles, He says, I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, MY PEOPLE (THROUGH THEIR FAITH [Rom.9:30; Gal.3:22]; AND I WILL CALL HER BELOVED, WHO HAS NOT BEEN BELOVED (v.25),

AND IT WILL BE IN THE VERY PLACE THAT INSTEAD OF THEIR BEING TOLD THAT YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE, THEY WILL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD [Rom.8:14]. (v.26).

And Isaiah also cries over Israel in Isa.10:22-23, THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL, THAT IS, HER DESCENDANTS,  BE AS INNUMERABLE AS THE GRAINS OF SAND OF THE SEA, ONLY THE SMALL SURVIVING REMNANT OF THEM, WHO REPENTS, PUTS THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST [Rom.9:30,32; Gal.3:22,26; Eph.2:8] AND CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD [Rom.10:9,13; 11:26-27] THROUGH THE PREACHING OF THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL [Acts 10:36]) WILL ESCAPE AND BE SAVED FROM THE WRATH TO COME [Rom.5:9] (v.27).

BECAUSE THE LORD WILL FINISH HIS WORK OF JUDGMENT, AND CARRY OUT HIS SENTENCE OF DESTRUCTION ON THE EARTH, DECISIVELY, QUICKLY, COMPLETELY, AND WITH FINALITY (v.28).

And just as Isaiah has foretold in 1:9: UNLESS THE LORD OF HOSTS HAD NOT LEFT US SURVIVING OFFSPRING, WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WE WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE LIKE GOMORRAH (v.29).

Oh, the mercy, compassion, and love of God!

 

Is There Injustice with God (Rom.9:14-18)?

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In our last blog, God chose Jacob over Esau, who was the first-born. So God unjust in making such a choice? The apostle Paul says, “In no way!”  (Rom.9:14)  In fact, the case of the twins was a matter of mercy, not injustice or unrighteousness. So was it unjust for God to choose Jacob and his posterity to be the lineage of the Messiah, and to inherit the promises, rather than Esau and his posterity? No. Besides, God is righteous in proclaiming His Name and showing His glory through His goodness, grace and mercy. In fact, whenever God has mercy on anyone, it is pure mercy, without any human merit contributing to it. 

In showing that God’s actions are not unfair, Paul cites Ex.33:19, where in showing His glory, He caused all His goodness to pass before Moses. It was at that time that God said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” (v.15)  In other words, God will show mercy and pity to anyone in misery that He wants to, and He will show compassion and sympathy to anyone He chooses!  

So, then, we can see that in regards to these choices of God in showing mercy and compassion, it doesn’t depend on the one who is willing (like Ishmael), nor on the one who runs (like Esau, or a devote Jew in his intensity of devotion), but it depends on God who has and shows mercy [cf. I Pt.2:10]. (v.16)

Regarding God’s mercy and choices, and that His actions are not unfair, the Scripture says to the cruel and oppressive Pharaoh in Ex.9:16, “Therefore, for this very purpose I have raised you up (to your position and role) so that I might demonstrate or show My power through you, and that in this way My Mane might be proclaimed and known in all the earth.” (v.17)

So, then, as in Pharaoh’s case, with righteousness and justice God exercises mercy on whomever He wills [Ps.115:3; 135:6; Rom.9:22; I Tim.2:4]; and on whomever He wills, with righteousness and justice He hardens [cf. Pv.21:1], thus causing the heart to be unyielding [Ex.7:3; 9:10-11]). (v.18). 

Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Ex.7:13-14,22; 8:18-19;  9:34-35); the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart to not let the people go in order that He would multiply His signs and wonders in Egypt (Ex.7:3; 9:12; 4:21; 10:19:20,26-27; 11:9-10; 14:8); the Lord hardens the Egyptians’ hearts so that God will be honored through Pharaoh and his army (Ex.14:16-17). God hardens other hearts: Dt.2:30; Josh.11:19-20. Man hardens his own heart or it is already hardened: Jer.19:15; Dt.10:16; II Kgs.17:14; II Chr.30:8; 36:11-13; Neh.9:16-17,29; Ps.95:8; Pv.29:1; Jer.7:26; 17:23.