Read Romans 10
1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that is by faith 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 deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:
“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.”
19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,
“I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”
20 And Isaiah boldly says,
“I was found by those who did not seek me;
I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”
21 But concerning Israel he says,
“All day long I have held out my hands
to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
Paul begins Romans 10 by proclaiming his heart’s desire: That Israel might be saved. Paul doesn’t just care about his fellow Jews, he is pleading to God on their behalf that they might come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The Jewish people “have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (v. 2) Paul goes on to say in the next verse that they are seeking to establish their own righteousness being ignorant of the righteousness of God.
Paul can adequately speak to this because it is a perfect description of his own life prior to his conversion on the road to Damascus. He goes on to lay out the message of salvation for all people (both Jews and Gentiles alike) as he continues to draw the distinction between God’s righteousness (based on faith) and our own attempts at righteousness.
Righteousness is a big word that can be defined as the quality or state of being free from guilt or sin. The Jewish people were falling back to their old ways of striving to gain this righteousness through keeping the law and commandments. But Paul is imploring them to understand that belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior ends the need for these futile quests for righteousness.
Paul clearly states in verse 9 “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” In Greek, confession translates “to say the same thing” or “agree with someone.” So Paul is telling us that when we confess that Jesus is Lord, we are agreeing with the Father’s declaration: that Jesus is God, that He is Messiah, and that His work on the cross is the only way for salvation. Believing that in our hearts is the only requirement for salvation and receiving God’s righteousness.
After hundreds and hundreds of years of following rules and regulations to be declared righteous, it’s hard to ignore how simple this is: “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” What is required of us is to recognize Christ as our Savior and call upon Him. What we receive in response is God’s grace as we depend on our Creator and Redeemer.
It was a hard concept for the Jews to learn and it’s a hard concept for us to remember. But we can be confident as the Message version of verse 10 reminds us “That’s it. You’re not ‘doing’ anything; you’re simply calling out to God trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation.”
- Are there any rules or regulations that you feel like you have to follow in order to receive the gift of salvation from the Lord?
- “Calling on the name of the Lord” indicates having personal interaction and a relationship with the Lord. Do you feel like you have this type of relationship?
- Spend some time journaling and recording about the time in your life when you confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord.
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