Romans 10:5-13 “TWO WAYS TO TRY TO BE RIGHT WITH GOD”
INTRO: Paul had a difficult question to answer:
‘If the gospel is God’s promised salvation to His people—foretold in the OT—why were a vast majority of Israel NOT experiencing it?’
-Paul takes 3 chapters to answer this question for us in Romans 9-11.
-First, we saw this heart: broken over the lost
-Then Paul gave the first part of his answer:
‘Not all Israel is Israel. Only those who are elected by God from ethnic Israel and the Gentiles.’ (We should not expect all ethnic Israel to believe in the promised Messiah)
-Last week we saw the beginning of the 2nd part of the answer:
‘Israel sought to get right with God through the WRONG way, the way of relying on their own works.’
-The EMPHASIS was on what the WRONG way looked like, but he lightly touched on the right way: faith in Christ.
-THIS week, Paul’s EMPHASIS is on the right way: the way of faith.
MS: There are basically two ways to try to get right with God, and one way is FAR better.
1. CONTRAST; 2. CONTENT; 3. CONCLUSION
1. CONTRAST: Doing vs Believing (5-8)
SWIMMING? Big difference between in the water and on the beach = CONTRAST
In this first part of this section Paul wants us to see the clear contrast between two ways to approach getting right with God: a righteousness through works (DOING) or a righteousness through faith (BELIEVING).
-This is the contrast between biblical Christianity and nearly every other human religion
-Reliance on our works/efforts (Islam, Mormonism, JW, Hindus) vs trust in the work of Jesus (Biblical Christianity)
I. WAY #1: A Righteousness Through Works (5) [“doing”]
Paul quotes from Leviticus 18:5 to explain the righteousness that comes through works:
Description: “righteousness based on the law” =obedience to God’s law which leads to a right standing before God (righteousness)
Condition: -“person who does the commandments” =our DOING, our working and acting
Result: “shall live by them” =eternal life before God.
-There was in the law a principle: if we obey God’s law perfectly we will live eternally before Him.
CLARIFICATION: OT believers were saved by faith, just like NT believers (see Romans 4).
-God graciously provided sacrifices that atoned for sinned as they pointed forward and looked to Jesus
-With arrival of Jesus, the Mosaic covenant was fulfilled and over.
-Thus: Jewish believers needed perfect obedience or God’s sacrifice given freely in Christ.
BIG PROBLEM ALL OF US HAVE: None of us can keep the Law of God.
NCC 13: Q: Can anyone keep the law of God perfectly?
A: Since the fall, no mere human has been able to keep the law of God perfectly, but consistently breaks it in though, word, and deed.
CONTRAST WITH OUR CULTURE: People are not basically good, but all of us sinners, and law-breakers! (Rom 8:7)
II. WAY #2: A Righteousness Through Faith (6-8) [“believing”]
Paul now wants us to consider the way of the gospel: a right standing with God that is ours through faith
Description: “righteousness based on faith”
-It is a way of being right with God (“RIGHTEOUSNESS”),
-It is different because is it is BASED on FAITH
Different from Righteousness based on works: NOT based on our DOING (6b-7):
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 abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
-Quote from Deuteronomy 30:14-15, but viewed in light of the gospel.
-DON’T SAY: who will DO this impossible thing.
-KEY: It is not based on our “doing”
Different in it its accessibility, and nearness, and rooted in faith
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
-It is NEAR. “in your mouth and heart”
-“The word of faith” is the gospel
IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION: Paul quotes Deut to confirm that righteousness by faith was testified even there! (see Rom 4)
MOO: “Central to the Reformers’ teaching about salvation was their distinction between “law” and “gospel.” “Law is whatever God commands us to do; “gospel” is what God in his grace gives to us. The Reformers uniformly insisted that human depravity made it impossible for a person to be saved by doing what God commands; only by humbly accepting, in faith, the “good news” of God’s work on our behalf could a person be saved. This theological “law”/”gospel” antithesis is at the heart of this paragraph, as Paul contrasts the righteousness that is based on “doing” the law (v. 5) with the righteousness that is based on faith (vv 6-13).”
–We must learn to distinguish the difference between a righteousness by works and faith.
-We must teach our children.
-Luther says we must learn it in our feelings! Preaching it again to ourselves.
LUTHER: “Whoever know well how to distinguish the Gospel from the Law should give thanks to God and know that he is a real theologian”
-Isn’t justification by faith alone so much better than relying on our good works?
-It comforts us as we all fail to “do” the works of the Law (5)
-It is based on God’s grace and not our efforts (5-8)
2. CONTENT: What does “faith” believe? (9-10)
Paul now explains the content of what a person believes to experience the righteousness of faith.
-Believing and Faith DOES NOT MEAN believe in whatever we want to believe (popular view in society today)
-Faith is only good as the object it is placed in (chair vs broken chair)
-To experience a righteousness through faith we must believe and put our trust in Jesus. He is object of our faith!
CONDITION OF FAITH: “Confessing…Believing…”
-NOT two different things, but believing, trusting, in the heart (which will naturally come in your mouth)
CONTENT OF FAITH:
-“Jesus is Lord” =Jesus is your king; Your God. He is FIRST in your life and heart.
-“God raised him from the dead” =gospel! Jesus’ death is assumed, and here resurrection is emphasized.
RESULT: “you will be saved!” = Saved from hell and guilty verdict before God.
-Getting right with God is a matter of heaven and hell!
RESTATED and ELABORATED in v10:
For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
–NOTE: Justification “Being declared right before God” is clearly brought out.
-Faith in JESUS is how we might be saved and made right with God.
-NOT a vague or a general faith, but a faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
-Instead of our own good works, we look to Jesus and rejoice that in Him we made right with God
LUTHER “A Christian is not someone who has no sin or feels no sin; he is someone to whom, because of his faith in Christ, God does not impute his sin.”
3. CONCLUSION: What is the Result of Faith? (11-13)
Conclusion is the end of a matter or where things are headed. ILLUSTRATION: Harry Potter books, working toward end.
Where does faith in Jesus Christ lead us? What is the conclusion?
-Paul wants us to be assured that the conclusion of faith in Jesus is salvation!
-Quotes from Isaiah 28:16 to confirm this conclusion (v 11)
–11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
-“no shame” refers to SHAME at the Day of Judgment
-All “who call on him” are richly blessed (v 12)
-Jews and Greeks [non-Jews]
-Jesus is “lord of all”
-“bestowing his riches on all who call on him”
-Riches of eternal life, adoption into family of God, Holy Spirit filling,
-EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved! (13)
-quotation from Joel 2, originally referring to Yahweh.
-Here Paul quotes this about Jesus; Paul is identifying Jesus with the God of Israel!
-Jesus is God! And because He is God he is able to save everyone who calls on him in faith.
App: WONDERFUL CONCLUSION OF FAITH RIGHTEOUSNESS: Salvation, eternal life.
NCC 29: Q: How can we be saved?
A: Only by faith in Jesus Christ and in his substitutionary atoning death on the cross; so even though we are guilty of having disobeyed God and are still inclined to all evil, nevertheless, God, without any merit of our own but only by pure grace, imputes to us the perfect righteousness of Christ when we repent and believe in him.
CONCLUSION: There are basically two ways to try to get right with God, and one way is FAR better.