Thursday, June 22, 2006

Romans 10:5-21 Men's Bible Study Primer

This is the off-week primer for Men's Bible Study. We wil study Romans 10:5-21. Here is the text with some things to consider:

5Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.” [Leviticus 18:5] 6But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ [Deuteronomy 9:4, 30:12]” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ [Deuteronomy 30:13]” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” [Deuteronomy 30:14] that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:

This passage offers several interpretations, and we will look at 5 different views next Tuesday evening. The jist is this: Moses' "gospel" is not really "good news," because no one obeys the commands of God. Yet God has given us a gospel that truly is "good news." Jesus Christ has done the work required of us and has paid the price for our failure to do it; we would be foolish and stubborn to try to do this work for ourselves. The word of faith, which is near to us and by which we lay claim to Jesus Christ and join in union with Him, is proclaimed here by Paul using the Old Testament.

9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Compare v9 to 1 Corinthains 12:3. Notice the reversal of order made by Paul in v9-10. The reality is that we must first believe in our hearts inorder to offer a genuine confession from our mouths (see v14). Pray for zeal (v2-3) in your public confession of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.”[Isaiah 28:16] 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” [Joel 2:32]

Praise God for this glorious and comforting truth! Paul has repeatedly exclaimed the truth that both Jew and Gentile are equals in God's eyes. All are sinners, and all have the same salvation. Picture the Jews of Paul's day exclaiming that they do cry out to the Lord. But Paul is saying that the name of the Lord is none other than Jesus Christ, and any other attempt to approach God the Father is invalid. Think of some people in your life who have no problem using the name of the Lord, meaning God, yet who cannot and will not cry out to Jesus, the Lord. Pray that God would bring them to call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and so be saved to the glory of God the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit.

14How, 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? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent?

4 Questions: How can the name of Christ be called on if people don't believe in Jesus Christ (that's the correct order as revealed in v10)? How can Christ be believed in and trusted from the heart if people don't hear the gospel? How can people hear the gospel of Christ if no one preaches? How can the gospel be preached if no one is sent? Paul will answer these questions in reverse order as he continues to explain why the majority of the Jews are not being saved.

As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” [Isaiah 52:7] 16But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” [Isaiah 53:1] 17Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ. 18But 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.” [Psalm 19:4] 19Again 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.” [Deuteronomy 32:21] 20And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek Me; I revealed Myself to those who did not ask for Me.” [Isaiah 65:1] 21But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” [Isaiah 65:2]

Paul quotes Isaiah to answer the fourth question above. God has sent messengers, and they have beautiful feet because of their message. But the people still didn't beleive. Yet they did indeed hear the message that was preached. Read Psalm 19 and notice the revelation of God both from creation and from His law. Paul is saying that all people have heard the message. But people still didn't believe. Yet they did understand the message, and Paul quotes from the law and the prophets to show that the people understood. They had a form of understanding (intellectual assent) that did not include love and trust from the heart (experiential understanding). What we see here is that the people did not call on the name of Jesus as Lord because they didn't believe from the heart.

And you might wonder where Paul is going with this claim. Romans 11 will proceed to Paul's third answer to that original question (What about Israel? or Why aren't all the Jews being saved?). His first answer from chapter 9 was God's sovereign and unconditional election. His second answer from chapter 10 is man's accountability and failure to believe. And his third answer, as we will see, Lord willing, is that the non-belief of the Jews was and is part of God's eternal decree, His plan to make for Himself a people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, united as one body, the Bride of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom all things were made and by whom all things are sustained, and for whom all things exist to His glory. Amen.

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