Sean Duncan speaking on Romans 10:1-13. He talked about the importance of seeing that only Jesus is righteous, only Jesus is Lord, and that only Jesus saves.
Romans 10:1-13 is the start of one of the most evangelical sections of the bible where paul starts with expressing his desire and his prayer, for those who do not yet know Jesus to come to him and be saved. Paul’s heart aches for the lost as we in Romans 9:3 where he wishes he could give up his salvation so those who do not submit to God’s righteousness in Jesus Christ may be saved from eternal judgement and shame. Here now in the beginning of Romans 10 we see paul plead with those in Rome, as well as us now, not to miss what the Israelites were missing.
- Only God is righteous, we are not.
- Only God is Lord, we are not.
- Only God saves, we do not.
Only Christ is righteous, only Christ is Lord, only Christ saves.
I used to Pole vault in high school and in college and one thing that was very clear was that it didn’t matter how passionate you were about pole vault, if you didn’t know what you were doing, if you didn’t have a coach, if you didn’t have the right gear, if you didn’t understand the mechanics of pole vault, you were going to fail. And throughout my Pole vault career I saw a variety of this. I got to watch Renaud Lavillenie who had the world record of 20’2.5” which was absolutely incredible (look it up on youtube) but I also saw lots of people run down and have disastrous outcomes because they weren’t quite doing it right. They were missing something (look up pole vault fails for a laugh).
However, both types of people shared something in common. Both had a passionate and enthusiastic energy towards pole vault, but many didn’t do it with knowledge. And this is what paul is seeing in the israelites, and even the gentiles around him, although here paul is primarily talking about the israelites.
1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
The Israelites who don’t profess Jesus as Lord and Savior
- They had a zeal, which means great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective, that object being God.
The people of israel had an enthusiastic and great energy in pursuing God, but see how paul says “but not according to knowledge”. They wanted to know God, they wanted to be right with God, but they didn’t know how. They missed it. And maybe you’ve been here. Maybe you are here. Maybe if you were asked to make dinner, let’s say enchiladas, but the internet was down and no one left you directions, maybe you could figure it out. It’s just meat and cheese in a corn tortilla right? Well, despite your best effort, you’re probably missing something. Or maybe you want to start doing wood crafts, making lamps, tables, chairs. But, you don’t know the first thing about a jig saw, sanding grade, or even how to operate a lathe, and maybe that language sounds completely foreign to you. How far do you think you’d get unless someone taught you? Not very far. Maybe you recognize that there is something not right between you and God, that there is a separation and you want that relationship to be reconciled. You want to be right with God. but you have no idea how. If this is you, then my prayer is the same as Paul’s, that you would see Christ as the righteousness of God. That you would see Christ died on a cross bearing all the punishment of your sin and mine, and lived a perfect life so that He could give you and I a perfect image before God the Father, and he sealed this with his death and resurrection three days later for all who believe Him to be Lord and savior.
Passionate effort without instruction leads to failure
And for the israelite, as well as you and I, Passionate works without sound doctrine also leads to failure.
All other religions – Do this (insert works), and you will achieve salvation
Christianity – Christ Did this (death on a cross), so you could receive salvation
Passionate works without understanding/knowing truth leads to failure
The thought that you can be right with God based off of what you do for him is called legalism. The symbol of Legalism is a Ladder.
Someone who is legalistic isn’t necessarily a bad person, often they have very good intentions.
They have good conduct, but they have Bad theology
They think their good works will save them.
On the flip side we may have some who actually have really good theology but their living is all messed up.
Good theology, but bad conduct.
They are an intellectual. That they think having the right answers can save them. We would even call that intellectualism.
So on one side we have legalism, and on the other side we have intellectualism.
One thinks acting rightly will save you, the other thinks that right thinking will save you.
So, (one side) Good living, bad doctrine, here (other side) bad living, good doctrine
But they are Both wrong.
And the Gospel is right in the middle.
The Gospel Gives us good theology but it also motivates us to live rightly.
So throughout Romans paul goes after both of these groups, but primarily here in chapter 10 paul is going after the legalists.
The symbol of legalism is a ladder.
But the symbol of Christianity is the Cross.
The Gospel is not “do good for God” the Gospel is “God did Good for you”
The Gospel is not “Climb up the ladder for God” the Gospel is “God climbed up onto a cross for you”
3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
The Israelites were lacking the awareness in general of the righteousness of God not seeing it for how majestic and beautiful it was. Reading the Law of the OT not seeing that it was pointing to the perfection of God. so they sought their own. What were they missing? What were they not aware of? Paul answers in verse 4.
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
What the Israelites were missing is the same thing we are missing until we call on the name of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The thought that we have or could attain our own righteousness, instead of seeing God’s righteousness in Christ. “For Christ is the end of the law”. What does it mean for Christ to be ‘the end’? It means that Christ is both the Goal and the Finish.
The Goal and the Finish
The Goal of the Law
Every time we read the old testament the goal is Christ.
We call that Christocentric reading, Christ is the center.
- Noah’s ark doesn’t point you to obey everything that God commands, it points to God’s judgement being poured out onto those who disobey God and their NEED for an ark to deliver them. The ark is just a symbol of God’s deliverance from judgement and points to the greater ark, Jesus Christ, who delivers us from the greater judgement.
- The story of David taking down the giant Goliath is not to tell you “be more like David” and fight your impossible battles. No, the story of David and Goliath is showing you that you need someone to fight and win your impossible battles for you. You need Jesus to fight your war with sin that you lose on your own.
- The story of Jonathan in 1 samuel when he defeats the philistines, is not to tell you to be fight an army by yourself, it’s to show you that you need a jonathan who can fight a whole army and win by himself. Jonathan was a prince ment to bring peace. Jesus is The Prince of Peace.
- The story of Jonah is not telling you that you need to go into the depths of the abyss for the people of Nineveh and warn them of destruction and lead to their deliverance by God, but that you need Jesus to be buried for 3 days and be raised to warn you of your destruction and to provide your deliverance.
- You should read the OT and think “I need Jesus”
- The Law (the old testament) points to Christ
The Finish of the Law
- Christ perfectly fulfilled the stipulations of mosaic covenant so we don’t have to
- We can eat pork
- We can wear mixed fabric clothing
- We don’t have to give guilt offerings or sacrifices
- Being the finish it does not mean we throw out ⅔ of our bible
- We read those ⅔ knowing that Christ completed all and satisfied all so that we are no longer bound by them.
The entire old testament, the promises given to abraham, to isaac, to jacob, the 613 laws given to the israelites through moses which we call the Law, all were to point us to the righteousness of Christ, not so that we could have righteousness of our own.
Christ is righteous, we are not.
5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
Verse 5 is talking about Salvation by law keeping
The bible presents, at least hypothetically, that you could be saved if you kept ALL the law. But its hypothetical, no one has, no one will, no one can, except one (Jesus). And we know that it’s hypothetical because even the old testament attests that all have sinned just as Romans 3:23 states “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 1 Kings 8:46 says “there is no one who who does not sin.” But the reality is, we can’t keep all the law perfectly, so we need another kind of salvation, a Salvation that is by Grace through Faith.
6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down)
Okay, what’s going on here.
We need righteousness based on faith not by works. We need grace, therefore paul is quoting Deuteronomy. We need grace, not works.
Deuteronomy chapter 9 starting in verse 4 says “Do not say in your heart,” sound familiar?
Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me into possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
Paul is Referencing try to show that grace has been around since the beginning, righteousness by the Law works for no one, But righteousness by grace works for all because it is dependant on God, not on you.
The second scripture that paul quotes is from Deuteronomy 30 when he says “who will ascend into heaven?” In the context of Deut. 30 the people of Israel are complaining because they see that it is so hard to please God, so they are saying “maybe if we could just ascend into heaven, maybe if we could just climb a ladder into heaven we could please you” (general idea). “Or maybe if that wouldn’t do it, maybe we could just die and go into the depths of the earth to please you”
So paul references these two passages reminding the people that it has never been salvation by law, it has always been salvation by grace. He references the standing grace in Deut. 9 and the impossibility of you getting to God and pleasing him by ascending into heaven.….Don’t say in your heart…Don’t say in your heart that you have to go up to heaven to please God, because God has already done the impossible through Christ who was brought down to us, (that is, to bring christ down).
No, it is not you climbing your way up to heaven that will save you, it’s Christ coming down to you and climbing onto the cross that saves you.
7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
Just how it is not you climbing your way up to heaven that will save you, it’s also not you going down into the grave that will save you, It’s christ who went down to the grave for you and was raised on the 3rd day.
You can’t please God by going to heaven, but even still, Christ came down for you.
You can’t please God by dying and going to the grave, but even still, Christ went to the grave and was risen from the dead for you.
Verses 6 through 8 are teaching, pointing, encouraging, and pleading with us to see that salvation is not something we achieve but something we receive.
Salvation is not something you achieve, it is something you receive.
The Gospel, is not something you achieve, it is something you receive.
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
Characteristics of the word
- The word is something that goes into you.
- The word, what saves you is not something you do but something you receive into your heart.
- It comes through your ears, into your heart, and then out your mouth.
- The Gospel is a message of Salvation by Grace.
It is not us climbing our way to heaven
- It is not a ladder, it’s a cross.
It’s not us going into the dirt somehow by death, no, it’s Christ who did that for us and resurrected 3 days later
Salvation is and always has been by Grace
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. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Confession without change is just a game, it’s just lip service. Saying something without adhering to it yourself often tends to be meaningless. Remember that Good theology with bad conduct is intellectualism. Having the right answers but bad action, and thinking that how your right answers will save you is dangerous. For us there’s not a lot of weight to confessing Jesus as Lord. Maybe you say it to your friends that at church of youth group “oh, jesus is lord”..cool. At worst maybe some kids at school think you’re the weird christian kid because you say Jesus is Lord.
But Do you know the cost for confessing this for the romans? Roman citizens had to proclaim that Caesar is lord. The romans put literally their neck on the lines over confessing this. Paul is writing Romans to a collection of house churches in the heart of the Roman empire, living right under the emperor’s nose and boldly declaring the lordship of a Jewish man executed by the Romans as a common criminal. It’s provocative because the Roman emperor was the one hailed as Kyrios which was translated to ‘Lord’ ‘Master’ or ever ‘God’ by both citizens and ever religious figures across the empire such as pagan priests or jewish rabbis. In John 19 The Israelites and Jewish leaders shout out “we have no King but caesar”. Declaring your allegiance carries a lot of weight. At the time that Romans is written, archeologists also find inscriptions in stone, papyri (which are scrolls), and even scraps of pottery all with the writing “Nero is Lord”. Christians at the time this was written when confessing this were in direct rebellion with the culture, the tradition, and the law around them.
- Nero is not Lord. Jesus is Lord.
- Caesar is not Lord. Jesus is Lord.
- Queen Elizabeth I is not Lord. Jesus is Lord.
- Trump is not Lord. Jesus is Lord
To confess Jesus is Lord is to publically declare one’s allegiance.
- You can’t have the Kingdom without the King.
- You can’t be justified without the Justifier.
- You can’t be saved without the savior.
- You can’t be redeemed without the redeemer.
- You can’t be delivered from evil without the deliverer.
The risk these romans ran when declaring that Jesus is Lord was execution or martyrdom. Romans were beheaded at times for declaring this! So again The roman citizens put literally their neck on the lines over confessing this.
But know that it is not necessarily even the confession itself that saves, what saves is the heart behind the confession. The person who is willing to lay down his life because he loves Christ so much and wants to confess Him as Lord and doesn’t want to confess caesar as lord..? That person believes. They believe truly in their heart the God raised Jesus from the dead.
Christ is Lord, you are Not.
The reason we believe in Christ, the reason people become Christians, the reason I became a christian wasn’t necessarily because I loved the teachings of christianity and thought they were appealing, or that’s at least not how it started. The reason we’re Christians is because Jesus rose from the dead. Because our savior is alive. He is not in the grave. He lives even now at the right hand of God the father in heaven. Jesus lived a perfect life for us who couldn’t. Jesus died and conquered death so we wouldn’t have to suffer death. Jesus paid the penalty of sin so we wouldn’t have to.
Christianity is not an empty faith. Not just empty intellectualism. Not just Legalism. Christianity is something that is true to the heart and changes everything inside, and changes everything outside. Don’t just say Jesus is Lord with your lips, but say it also with your life, and with your heart. Your deepest held convictions shape how you think, live, talk, and act.
And what happens when you believe in Jesus?
11 For the Scripture says,“Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
On the final day Christ will come to right all wrongs, to renew creation, to judge all, and in that all who believe will not be put to shame. But, those who do not believe in him WILL be put to shame. Matthew 10:26 “nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” On that day God will make ALL things known. All your secrets, all your mistakes, all that you feel guilty about, will be revealed on that day and you will be put to shame. . . if . . you don’t submit to God’s righteousness. If you continue how the israelites were and seek after your own righteousness before God instead of seeings that Christ’s righteousness is the Goal and the Finish you will be put to shame. On that day when someone who did not believe in Jesus meets God and tries to give him their moral resume just like the Jews were as we saw in verse 3, they will be put to shame because all the earth, all the cosmos and all of creation will see just how bad they really are in comparison to the standard, the glory of God, Jesus Christ. When they thought they were good, they will be dwarfed in comparison to The perfect, holy, and righteous God.
That’s a heavy thought. Those who do not believe in Jesus christ as Lord and savior will be put to judgement and shame. So paul reminds us of an important truth of the Gospel. There is no distinction for those who can call upon Jesus.
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Three very important words.
Everyone. calls. Saved.
That first word. Everyone. Everyone means EVERYONE and anyone, for there is no distinction. God is God of all. The same Lord is the Lord of all.
- Doesn’t matter if you jew or greek
- White or black
- Guy or girl
- Short or tall
- Rich or poor
- Popular or unpopular
- Outspoken or quiet
- From marist or from south
- Young or old
- Raised in a christian house or raised without religion at all
Everyone who calls on Jesus will be saved.
The second word is call. That word call means to cry out in distress for help. That’s where we should all be emotionally for God.
There has been a war going on in syria now for 6 years. The war started in 2011 and by 2015 here are some stats, that have now only grown.
- 50% of the syrian population has been displaced
- 36% of hospitals had been destroyed
- 2 million homes had already been destroyed
- 4000 schools destroyed
- 1549 places of worship destroyed
- 50% of syria’s major cities destroyed
And these numbers have gone up in the last two years
- And now, nearly half a million have died.
Throughout all this waring buildings are being destroyed left and right, and the saddest part, is that people are often in the buildings. People, men, women, kids, small children, are getting buried under the rubble, trapped by cement and rebar from the building unable to escape. And they are not strong enough to rescue themselves, they can not push the building off, they can not dig their ways out. All they can do is cry out in distress for help and for someone to come save them. Help me. Help. Please someone help.
That should be our posture to God. crying out in distress. Help me. Help me Lord Jesus for I am not strong enough, not good enough, not cool enough, not smart enough. I need you to help me.
Christ saves, you do not.
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
There will be no shame for anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior.
Jesus is righteous, Jesus is Lord, Jesus Saves.
So what then is our response to this? What are we to do with this information? We just saw that Everyone who Calls on Jesus will be Saved. So paul gives us how we should respond. Paul follows this by a plead for us, you and I, to be sharing the Gospel, the fact God is reconciling helpless sinners to himself through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Starting in verse 14, the very next verse “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?” No one can call upon Jesus for help if they don’t know who he is or have never heard of him. And that is where both you and I come in. The Gospel is the most precious thing we have to offer. Our fellow students, the people at the grocery store, the mechanic changing our oil, maybe even our family members. If they do not hear about Jesus, about who he is, and what he has done for them, they will never be able to believe and call on him for help. And without Jesus they will suffer judgement, shame, and eternal separation from a perfect God. Are you sharing the Gospel? Do you see the weight of eternity for those who don’t have Christ? How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?
My heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may hear the Gospel and be saved.