Chapter 10 of Romans explains more fully the difference between "the righteousness which is of the law" and "the righteousness which is of faith."
We will see the apparent failure of the promises of Jehovah God to Israel, but weíll see that the promises have not failed, that Israel has only been set aside for a time because of their unbelief.
Romans 10:1: "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved."
The apostle Paul is the writer and he opens this chapter with a familiar request similar to the first verse in chapter nine, the request for the salvation of his people. I am sure nearly everyone will agree that there has never been a more zealous or more religious people on this earth than the Jews. Although they were devoutly religious, Paul knew that his people were not saved.
Verses 2 and 3: "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."
His people tried to establish themselves righteous before God through works. Many of them thought themselves to be righteous because they were Godís chosen people. Had they known the meaning of God's righteousness, they would have obtained it by faith because they were zealous to please God. Yet in unbelief they held to the works of the law and refused to accept the grace of God, and that is brought out in the next verse:
Verse 4: "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
The Law couldnít provide righteousness based on works but God provided righteousness through Christ, based on His grace in response to faith.
If you have Jesus in your heart, you have the hope of glory and heaven, and Christ in you is victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. The Jews are not the last to refuse to accept that verse. We have preachers who preach God's grace and then they put men under the ten commandments. They neglect to preach and practice salvation by grace through faith, plus nothing.
If a person is right with God, that is, if he is born again and loves God with all his heart and soul, he wonít do those things that displease God. If heís not born again, there isnít much that will keep him from doing such things.
Israel promised, "We will keep all of your commandments, we will obey all of your laws, we will practice all of your statutes!" Shortly after this they were molding a golden calf to worship. Human nature hasnít changed, it wonít ever change.
Law and grace wonít mix. If itís law, itís law; if itís grace, itís grace. They wonít mix. The Jews failed to submit themselves to the righteousness of God when they rejected the Lord Jesus Christ who IS the righteousness of God and who is "the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth." The Messiah was promised to Israel in the Old Testament in Jeremiah 23:6. "He shall be called the Lord our righteousness." But when the Lord, their righteousness, appeared, they refused to believe Him.
Nevertheless, there is a day coming when the Nation of Israel will receive "the Lord our righteousness," and in that day they will experience the fulfillment of the new covenant that is recorded in Jeremiah 31:31-34.
Verse 5: "For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them." The legal righteousness of the law is described by Moses in this verse which is a quote from Leviticus 18:5.
No man ever kept the law except the Lord Jesus Christ. He didnít come to do away with the law but to fulfill the law, and He fulfilled every jot and tittle of it. Matthew 5:17-18. ďThink not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.Ē
Romans 10:6-8: "But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach."
It wasnít necessary for anyone to ascend into heaven to bring Christ down, nor could anyone. It also wasnít possible or necessary for anyone to descend into the deep to bring Him up from the dead. He is alive and omnipresent (everywhere). The Scripture says, in Deuteronomy 30:14, ďthe word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.Ē
Here is a quote from the noted Bible commentator, Charles Ryrie. ďThis scripture emphasizes the initiative of divine grace and humble reception of Godís word. Paul applies this truth to the Gospel, which is near, ready for a man to take on his lips and into his heart.Ē
Godís Word was there with the Children of Israel in the wilderness. It was given on Mt. Sinai. The Gospel, the message from God that salvation and righteousness come only through faith in God, is here right now. There is no need to bring Christ down from heaven or up from the grave. Faith is knowing that God exists and believing Who He is.
I am so glad that we are saved by God's grace through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We will never know this side of heaven how important the Word of God is. The faith that brings saving grace becomes ours through hearing the Word of God. Romans 10:17 states: ďSo then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.Ē
Satan encourages man to do everything in their power to discredit the Word of God. Christ is the Word. We donít ask where God is, or if Christ came down from above, or if He came back from the deep when we accept the Word. We know He did because the Word of God tells us He did.
Now we come to one of the greatest Gospel statements in the Word of God, Romans 10:9-10. Verse 9: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Verse 10: "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Hebrews 6:18 assures us that "God cannot lie." He boldly declares that any person meeting the conditions of Romans 10:9 can be saved. What conditions are presented here?
Verse 9: "That if thou." In other words, this truth pertains to whoever reads it; ďThat if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus...Ē That doesnít mean to simply say you believe there is a Jesus. The devils believe that (James 1:19), and they tremble.
Under life threatening conditions, I believe true atheists are few and far between. People want to be noticed, so they say they are atheists. Itís amazing what people will do or say to get a little attention. I donít think there are many people who donít believe there is a God existing somewhere, even the heathen have their gods and their religion. They know there must be a Supreme Being somewhere, but they only believe with the head. God deals with the heart.
Jesus lived a sinless life, He was arrested, condemned and crucified. He died on the cross, shed His blood, not as a religious martyr, but for the remission of your sin. Verse 9 points out that you must believe that He died and was buried, and that ďGod raised Him from the deadĒ on the third day. He rose again bodily, not as a spirit, but as a man. That is what it means to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
If Jesus was God's Son, then Jesus was God in the flesh, and He came to do exactly what God said He would do. God wants us to believe that Jesus is God's Son and He wants us to believe everything the New Testament teaches concerning the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God. "And shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead."
The Bible is the only book on earth that gives any hope of a resurrection. What else do we have to go by? If the Bible isnít God's Word, or isnít true, then weíre all hopelessly lost.
In I Corinthians. 15:12-19, we read: "Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."
These verses point out that if Jesus didnít rise from the dead, then our preaching is a lie, our faith is empty and those who preach the resurrection are false witnesses, we are still in your sins and weíre all going to hell.
Anyone that claims that Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead is preaching a lie and is a minister of the devil.
The greatest stumblingblock to an unbelieving world was the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ because they couldnít explain it away.
The last phrase in verse 9 says this: "Thou shalt be saved!" In other words, if you confess Jesus with your mouth, and you believe on Him in your heart, "Thou shalt be saved.Ē
Here is another scripture confirming the way of salvation from I Corinthians 15:1-6. "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve, after that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once: of whom the greater part remain unto the present, but some are fallen asleep".
The bodily resurrection of Jesus ChristThere have been many religious leaders and many men who have founded "religions." Confucius left his mark on the world, you canít deny that fact, or that Mohammed left his black mark on the world. Other religious leaders such as Judge Rutherford, Mary Baker Eddy and others, but not one of them has come back from the grave.
is the very heart of salvation.
Jesus rose bodily from the grave and appeared in the flesh to men, and He talked to them and He ate with them before He ascended back to heaven. Now there is a Man in Heaven. "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the MAN, CHRIST JESUS" I Timothy 2:5.
If you believe with all of your heart that Christ died on the cross for your sins and that He rose again, then confess that with your mouth and you are saved!
Verse 10 goes on to explain that it is with the heart that man believes unto righteousness, not with the head. Man canít work his way into righteousness. It is not through our mental power and reasoning that we can plan a life of righteousness. The only way to become righteous is to believe with the heart that Jesus is the Christ of God. Man doesnít become righteous through works, or through paying, or giving, or doing. The only way a sinner can become righteous in the eyes of God is through believing in their heart, not mental assent.
There is no such thing as a born again person who refuses to confess Jesus Christ. I donít mean that all Christians preach or pray publicly; but all believers confess with their mouth that Jesus is the Savior of their soul, whether audibly or inaudibly, when they accept Christ.
Jesus says, in Matthew 10:32-33. ďWhosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.Ē
So, we believe the Gospel with the heart, and God accepts that unto righteousness and we confess with our mouth that we have been saved and that we are God's child.
Verse 11: "For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed." In the paragraph in the Bible that closes with this verse we have one of the very important statements in all the Word of God, from Genesis through Revelation.
The Holy Spirit brings the two righteousness into the sharpest contrast possible, God's pure righteousness, and man's righteousness by works.
Man's righteousness by works is called "the righteousness which is of the law.Ē Itís the result of human efforts and itís described in Isaiah 64:6. ďBut we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.Ē
The other is Godís righteousness and it comes by Godís grace of unmerited favor. It comes through faith "to everyone that believeth." Itís righteousness that comes from pure faith, not by sight or by works. It is the gift of God in Christ Jesus, to all who will receive Him.
Israel failed at this point. They refused to accept Jesus Christ as their righteousness. Israel rejected God's righteousness and tried to establish their own righteousness. They refused to accept the fact that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. He came and offered Himself to them as their Savior and they refused Him. They wanted a robber named Barabbas. They said ďLet HIS blood be upon us and upon our children!"
There is no passage in all the Word of God that sets forth the fundamental propositions through which salvation comes, any clearer than it is here in
Man, by nature, is unrighteous. That is very clear and emphatic in the Word of God. Man doesnít want to face that fact because itís humiliating to face manís natural corruptness.
God has made it very clear that "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" Jeremiah 17:9
Man, apart from God, is definitely unrighteous. We donít need to turn to the Word of God to learn of manís depraved nature. The history of the human race proves that.
Romans chapter one points out that because of the wickedness of man, God gave them up. Romans 1:24. ďWherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:Ē
Then, in Romans 3:21-23 "There is none righteous, no, not one!" "There is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God!" In those verses, God puts us all in the same category: Jew, Gentile, whatever! All non-believers are "dead in trespasses and sins."
Romans 8:7-8. "The mind of the natural man cannot be subject to the law of God--therefore "cannot please God."
I Corinthians 2:14. ďBut the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.Ē
God says that the unsaved are "by nature the children of wrath even as others"
Man is unrighteous by nature. We have to know Christ first to know the righteousness of God. The standard of righteousness is God's righteousness. If itís right according to God, itís right. If not, itís wrong.
God is unchanging and He canít forget His promise. "In Him there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" James 1:17.
The difference between God and man is, "God" is not a man, that He should lie" Numbers 23:19.
The unsaved person is continually attempting to bring God down to the level of man but that will never happen. Ask the unsaved man on the street what are God's requirements of man to be righteous. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred heíll say, "do the best you can because all God can rightfully expect is for us is to try to do whatís right. Thatís not what God said.
The natural man's ideas of right and wrong are not Godís ideas. In Old Testament times, the Jews fell into this and established the Rabbiís traditions as equal to the Scriptures. Christ condemned them many times while He was here on earth but they persisted while He was here and they still exist among religious Jews today. It will not always be so. When Christ returns to earth the Nation of Israel will return to God and Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Greater Son of David, will rule the earth in righteousness.
God hasnít forgotten His promises to Israel in the covenants. He is righteous and He will keep His promises. True, they are set aside now because of Israelís unrightesness.
Godís election of His people is of His own free choice and not based on human merit, however, the elect are not saved without believing the message that is preached by those He sent.
We will continue in the next message in Romans 10, message #4, with how God goes about to establish His own righteousness according to His divine will.
to establish His own righteousness according to His divine will.