Romans Chapter X: Overview: Israel stumbles again and rejects Christ as they did the prophets. They traded works for grace; they do not nor will not understand righteousness. Yet, Paul once again shows his intense longing for Israel's salvation! He shows they have "zeal", but it is in the wrong place, in their Law, not in their faith. The object of their faith became skewed from God to what they can do. Paul also confirms what he said before, that Jews and Gentiles are on the same terms (but with different calls and purposes). The gospel must be preached to the world, including the Gentiles so they can believe in Christ as Lord and Savior. Then Paul concludes with statements from the prophets who predicted the rejection of the Savior by Jews, and the call, but not the replacement of the Gentiles.
General Idea: Oops. They did it again! The Jews messed up their call, they rejected their Lord, and they did not see the good news God had for them. The idea is presented, if we can we get right with God ourselves, or do we need Help? And we cannot get right with God by ourselves. And this unbelief of Israel was predicted by Isaiah. The Jews tried to seek God on their terms and merits only whereas the Gentiles received God on His terms. The Jews were given the opportunity to also receive the grace, but they rather stick it out with their own means. The Jews had righteousness handed to them on a platter, whereas the Gentiles had to seek it by faith. Both were the works of the Spirit, and both have purpose in God's will. Yet, the Jews stumbled on their own pride and ways seeking ceremony and works and not God Himself. They thought they were right with God but they were not. They did not understand righteousness or faith. Yet, Paul was still passionate as is God, that the Jews be saved and spends His Christian life proclaiming Christ to them even though they reject him, so they can really be right with God.
1. Righteousness is conformity to God's Law, both from our heart and deeds, inside and outside (Rom. 1: 10; 17). We cannot attain it apart from perfect adherence to the law; Christ was the only one in all of human history to do it. Paul's point is the Jews rejected true righteousness, yet God is merciful to them anyway.
a. Law of righteousness refers to the Mosaic Law. What the Jews pursued was not wrong mostly, it was how they pursued, their refusal to see and use faith.
b. God's mercy endures forever; however, our only hope is in the Person and Work of our Lord.
c. Pursuing the law, the Jews could not see what real righteousness was. Thus, their unbelief was rooted on their faulty thinking on how they saw righteousness. The Jews saw it through works only, their efforts, but their very own Torah said it only pointed to their depravity. And, the point even then was to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, as in trust Him not what you can do. The O.T. law was to be only a glimpse in a window to the Savior to come, our depravity, what we are saved from and a governing principle of what faith is.
d. The Jews were indulging in self-righteousness; do not some Christians today do the same (1 Pet. 2:8)? We trust in what we can do instead of trusting in what God can do in us and with others through us.
e. They were trying to earn their way to Heaven. The problem was not what they were pursuing, but how they were going about it. Pride is one of the biggest barriers for us to hurdle (Phil. 3:1-11).
f. The Jews had faith in their traditions and not in their Lord!
2. They did not seek it; it is God who seeks us! We do not seek God! The Jews sought the Law and added greatly to it, but they missed the point of the law! They were consumed by works and not interested in what God really wanted, faith (Rom. 3:23; 8:2; 10:5-8)!
a. Many Churches are into the "seeker movement", as a way to evangelize. This is mostly about semantics and terminology, and not about theology. However, if it is taught that we seek after God and not God who seeks us, then it is wrong Biblical teaching!
b. We must pursue our relationship with God with passion and zeal as Paul preached (Acts 26:1-11; Gal. 1:13-14; Phil. 3:4-6).
c. We must beware of our intentions and attitude toward God and others in His Name, that Christ's character is our goal (Gal. 3:24), not our
righteousness, because we have none!
d. The Gentiles gained the Jew's place of salvation by faith, and not by law. Christ fulfilled the law for us, so we are not to seek any purpose or plan elsewhere.
e. They stumbled; here the Jews had a hard time with the concept of justification by faith because the generations of law and tradition clouded their thinking, just as it does today with some denominations.
3. Behold, Paul is merging several texts together from Isaiah (Isa. 8:14; 28:16). This was a common literally devise for the Jews and Greeks. But it may have been only the Jews who understood this. The point? The same stone they worshiped is the stone they stumbled on because they refused to understand it.
a. Brethren, Paul seeks to generate sympathy for the Jews by making an earnest passionate appeal. Paul wants them saved!
b. We are not to turn away from each other when we find fault, as Christ did not do with us!
c. Zeal, is it wrong? No, zeal is important; it is where it is placed in then it can be wrong, wrong avenues or in Him?
d. Paul was frustrated, but not bitter. His heart longed for them, even though they rejected him personally. He wanted them released from their bondage, but they refused.
e. God's Righteousness, is His character that vindicates His people. His people are to show their faithfulness back to Him (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; 2:5-16; 3:22; 5:10; 9:30).
f. End of the law means the climax. The law's goal was to show the need for Christ, the law was fulfilled by Christ (Gal. 3:24). We no longer need to establish our own righteousness now that we Have Christ's imputed to us, this is called "propitiation."
g. In the Greek this passage is extremely passionate and shows Paul was no pretender, he rally loved the Jews who hurt and rejected him and our Lord! Like grace they did not deserve this passion, yet Paul has it for them anyway!
Ironically Israel was crucial in redemptive history and now rejects what their purpose was all about! They rejected God and they rejected Paul. He handles rejection by becoming more passionate and seeks what is best for them. We have to ask ourselves, "How do I handle rejection?" Like the princess who rejected the knight after he rescued her from the evil warlord?! That is do we reject what is good and right for us for selfish or pride driven reasons? If you feel stale and dry of love and sympathy in your life, especially with God, you may have a big problem! Drop to your knees in surrendered prayer and seek His face! (Keep in mind emotional levels differ with each person's personality, God does not care about our emotional level, but our faith and trust and response for what He has done.) Seek what is blocking you from understanding others and having sympathy? A true test of our election is the amount of love and sympathy we have for each other and the lost. This is what leads us to prayer, even for those we do not like. When you have faith in God, then you must have faith in His Word and will be against everything that stands against it!
Learning Outcomes: a. Identify with God and what He had to do with His Son. b. Be aware of your witness and how you are characterized by others.
1. What mistakes have you made in life?
2. Have these 'mistakes' been a hindrance to your growth in Christ, or did the Lord use them to your advantage?
3. What have you rejected in your life that you should not have, such as a stock tip, a car deal, a job offer?
4. Have you been rejected; if so how did it feel?
5. How do you handle rejection?
6. Have you ever been handed something good 'on a platter'; what did you do?
7. What is faith? What does it mean in your daily life and walk?
8. How does faith provide the "substance" of your relationship with our Lord?
9. What is the stone the Jew's stumbled over?
10. Why would God's mercy endure forever?
11. What is real righteousness?
12. What kind of faulty thinking goes on in some churches today or in the minds of Christians?
13. Why did the Jews reject Christ?
14. If you were a Jew in the 1st century, how would you react to the Gospels? (Be honest and keep in mind that the Law is all you would have known and been taught, and your family for numerous generations have been faithful Jews.)
15. What is the barrier(s) to witnessing to Jews today?
16. What is self-righteousness? Can you give an example of others self-righteousness impacting you and how it effected the events in your life?
17. Read 1 Pet. 2:4-8. How does self-righteousness cause the rejection of Christ in your church and/or in your life?
18. What can you do to guard against self-righteousness?
19. Why would some people today try to earn their way to Heaven instead of accepting the Gospel of Christ?
20. Read Phil. 3:1-11. How is pride one of the biggest barriers for us to hurdle?
21. Have you ever pursued something good, but have gone about it in the wrong way?
22. How and why does God seek us?
23. Why can we not seek God?
24. How can you pursue your relationship with God with passion and zeal?
25. What should you do to keep in check your real intentions and attitude toward God and others?
26. How and where does Christ's character show up in your daily life?
27. Why do so many people try to seek a purpose or plan for their life elsewhere when Christ fulfilled it?
28. Why did (and do today) the Jews have a hard time with the concept of justification by faith? (That Christ paid our dept of sin, that our justification is only by what He has done, and that we receive it by faith alone.)
29. The Catholic Church as well as some other denominations do not accept that Christ paid it all. They add 'works of? righteousness' to their beliefs, that we have to add our effort into it for a place in eternity. So why would they teach this?
30. Why would Paul have such a passionate heart for the Jews, even though they rejected him personally?
31. If you ever have wondered if you have been saved? A true test of this (our 'election') is the amount of love and sympathy you have for others and the lost. So how much do you have?
32. How much prayer do you do for those you do not like?
33. Why would this above question be a gauge to see your spiritual commitment level?
34. What would praying and loving your enemies lead too?
35. Why would a church or Christians turn away from others when they find fault in someone or something (of course, there are times we are to turn away, such as unrepentant sin), as Christ did not do with us!
36. What governing principles can help you with living out what faith is on a daily basis?
37. If you feel stale and dry of love and sympathy in your life, especially with God, you have a big problem! So what can you do about it?
38. When you have faith in God, then you must have faith in His Word and be against everything that stands against it! How can you do this?
39. Faith is a two way street. We receive it from God, and reciprocate it back as trust, like a lake which has a source and an outlet. If we only have an outlet, we will dry up. If we just have a source, we become like the Dead Sea, lifeless and void. How can your faith be a flowing stream in your life with the Source (God) empowering you and an outlet (ministry) to serve?
40. How can you keep God's will and sovereignty in balance with your responsibility?
"Faith": We are committed to Christ by faith. Thus, we as Christians must live by faith (1 Cor. 1:22-30)! Christianity is not based on fairy tales or superstition. Faith is based on knowledge given by God. Our faith is based on historical evidence, logical reasoning, and valid testimonies. We have a wide body of knowledge, 66 books written over a 2000-year period of time by dozens of authors all inspired by the Holy Spirit. There are millions of personal testimonies and thousands of volumes of works by gifted authors and teachers. Faith is not just simple trust, and faith is not blind trust because we know the One who is leading! Faith is still trusting what is not seen and believing our God (1 Cor. 1:16-32; 5:1-11; 10:14-17; Gal. 3:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9; James 2:14-26)! Faith provides the "substance" of our relationship with our Lord, looks to our future and is our hope. Faith is a two way street. We receive it from God and reciprocate it back as trust. It is like a lake, which has a source and an outlet. If we only have an outlet, we will dry up. If we just have a source, we become like the Dead Sea, lifeless and void.
© 1998, 2001, 2004 R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org