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Your Day in Romans - 10:1-15

Started by Al Moak, December 06, 2004, 02:40:22 PM

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Al Moak

The Thirteenth Sermon
Romans 10:1-15
A Gospel That Can Handle Our Problem


Do you care whether or not you please God in your life?  Are you really concerned about it?  If so, then I think we'll learn some very important things about that relationship in the tenth chapter of Paul's Roman letter.

First though, we need to be aware of God's requirements, because His requirements are very high and very strict.  The fact is that He requires perfect righteousness in every aspect of our lives. And we need to see that He has every right to enforce such requirements upon us.  After all, it's His universe that we live in. He can require exactly what He wants to require from His creation. 

I don't mean to characterize God as a hard taskmaster - He's not that.  The problem isn't with God at all.  It's with us.  When human beings were first created it wasn't difficult to be righteous.  He created man with a good and righteous disposition (Eccl. 7:29).  At the beginning, righteousness was very natural. In fact, the relationship we had with God was a congenial one, and of course that couldn't have been so if man wasn't entirely righteous.  But since then we've made it difficult for ourselves.

Obviously, then, any restoration of congeniality would require restoration of righteousness and and removal of sin with all its results. When confronted with this need, though, fallen and rebellious mankind responds in one of three ways: 1) he disagrees with God's indictment of him as an unrighteous sinner, 2) he goes about to establish what he considers to be a satisfactory righteousness, or, 3) he prostrates himself before his Maker and cries out, "I can't do it!  I am a sinner!  I'm a slave of sin and can't change!"  Dear people, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be of value only to the last of these.

But that's not the response of many members of God's specially chosen nation  of Israel.  See what Paul says here about them - about his own countrymen the Jews.  He says, "they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge . . . seeking to establish their own righteousness . . . they have not submitted to the righteousness of God (the righteousness He requires)." 

But the problem wasn't and isn't only with the Jews.  We've all responded similarly.  Many people imagine a lower standard of righteousness than God requires, so they miss the mark.  Others assume that, since they're "no worse than some others," they will therefore be good enough.  They too miss the mark.

You see, God's requirement is absolute righteousness - absolute conformance to His law - and that hurdle is much too high for any of us - Jew or Gentile, ancient or modern - because we're all  slaves to our nature, which is fallen.

But there are a few in this world who, by the grace of God, thankfully accept and receive something called Gospel righteousness - a righteousness that God Himself provides for them - and they're immediately in an entirely new and different category.  In the present chapter, Paul says that, for them, "Christ is the end (fulfills the purpose) of the law for righteousness." Careful attention to the meaning of the Greek words of this verse allows us to paraphrase: "Christ is the termination of (the need for) law-righteousness for those who believe."  What he means is that those who receive Gospel righteousness, in total contrast to everyone else, no longer seek to justify themselves as keepers of God's law.  Instead, they entrust themselves to the law keeping of Christ their Substitute, and His righteousness then becomes their own.  They become entirely righteous by faith alone through grace alone.  They've quit depending upon their own keeping of the law.

The problem with our attempt to keep the law in order to be righteous is made clear when Paul quotes Moses as saying, "The man who does these things shall live by them."  The keyword is "does."  It means that if the intent and letter of the law is perfectly kept throughout one's life, then it will indeed be adequate righteousness.  But our Lord's summary of the law in Matthew's gospel makes clear what is involved in such law keeping.  He said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself."  That just means it has to be done perfectly!  It means all the time, and it means with everything we've got.  So you see, it's not merely a matter of occasional religious exercises or works of charity - it's a matter of heart motivation in all of life and a motivation of love to God at the very core of all thought and action.  There can't be any deviation.  I hope it's obvious that we all fall extremely far short of such a standard!


I hope that we all realize, in fact, the absolute impossibility of such a standard.  I pray that you, right now where you're sitting, are saying one of two things in your heart of hearts.  I pray that you're saying, "I don't trust my own righteousness, but I trust entirely in the righteousness of my gracious Savior Jesus Christ."  If you're not saying that, then I hope that you're at least saying, "I'm lost!  I can't keep God's law, though I know He's right to hold me to it!  I don't know what to do!"  If you're saying either of these things, then the Gospel will do you everlasting good!

But Gospel righteousness isn't for anyone who lives his or her life in unbelief.  Paul tells us about such people.  He tells us that some don't believe Christ has really come into this world as the Savior at all.  He tells us that they say, "Who will ascend into heaven (that is, to bring Christ down from above)."  Or others just don't believe He's risen from the dead.  They say, "Who will descend into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." He's just telling us that the Gospel will be of no value to any who don't really believe it.  It's necessary to really believe that Jesus is the Christ, that He's sent from heaven, that He really came, really lived a life of perfect righteousness, really suffered death and alienation from the Father as the only Substitute for His people, and really rose from the dead to be their Savior forever.  The keyword is "really" - there is salvation in the Gospel only for those in whose hearts Jesus Christ really lives and saves.

See what Paul says here: " . . . if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."  Paul is making the important point that salvation depends upon genuine faith, and that such faith sees Jesus as present-day Lord because He was raised from the dead. 

Real faith acknowledges  Jesus as the real and living Lord of the believer's life.  Such faith submits to the daily activity of the Savior, working in the life to save it from actual sinning.  One who has such faith cares about his relationship to Christ in an eager and urgent way.  He calls out to his Lord and Savior for help in daily life – and he gets it!   Do you?

What this is telling us is that salvation is really something quite different from what most people think it is.  It isn't believing that Jesus is a great Benefactor Who is begging you to accept His offer of happiness every day as well as "pie in the sky by and by."  Instead, it's believing that He's really risen from the dead and that He's really become Lord of all.  It's believing that He's really willing to receive you if you come and fall at His feet, surrender, and submit to Him as Lord of every aspect of your life.

This is all quite plainly stated here in Romans 10, Verses 8-10.  It says, "But what does it say?  The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." 

Paraphrasing verse 9 makes this even more clear.  An accurate paraphrase would say, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is LORD, and if you believe in your heart of hearts that God really raised Him from the dead (so that He's at the right hand of the majesty on high) - right now - if you're entirely willing to bow at His feet as the Lord of your life - then you will be saved."

But the problem is that much of modern Christendom doesn't even begin to realize what salvation is.  They think of it as being merely a relief from sorrow and trouble in this life and a way out of Hell and damnation for the next. It's far, far more!  It's deliverance from sin and rebellion right here in this life!  It's admitting that you've been in rebellion against God, that you've broken His law, and that you're worthy only of eternal damnation.  Then it's coming to His throne, bowing low before Him as your Lord, and saying something like, "I've been a sinner.  I'm coming to You now to save me from it and to be Lord of my life.  I ask You to receive me as a member of Your kingdom."  He isn't begging us to receive Him, but telling us that we need to be received BY Him!  It's telling us that we are the beggars, not the choosers!

So - do you know, every day, that He's is indeed alive?  Do you talk to Him, telling Him of your sinful tendencies, asking His help, thanking Him for walking with you?  Has He completely terminated your attempt at law righteousness, your attempt to please Him by what you do on your own?  Do you know your total helplessness apart from Him, and do you experience His grace to help in time of need?  In summary, is He a living, active, Lord and Savior to you - today?


Chris & Margit Saunders

                               To be religious.
To think we can live perfectly even after being saved is fanciful at best and disparaging to God at the worst.
To live this way says that the Saviour is now redundant and we can live a very high religious standard of a life.
Yes, God says to sin not,and that He expects sinlessness, but He also has given us a Saviour- Redeemer in Jesus for the very fact that we are saved sinners but sinners always.
For any Christian to look down on someone for sinning brings to mind the true saying " there but for the GRACE of God go I "
Humility is one of the most beautiful graces to be seen in a Believer..
God bless you bro, great teaching.
:)