Exercise Faith In Christ
4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Paul stated in Romans 9 that he had a yearning for the salvation of Israel. His heart was full of compassion and he carried a heavy burden for his people.
Romans 9:2, 3
2That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: How deep is our desire for the salvation of others? Do we have the burden and do we lose any sleep in praying for their salvation?
Paul recognized the good intentions of Israel. They meant well in what they were doing but they were spiritually blind. If anyone knew what the mercy of God could do, the apostle Paul did. Of himself he wrote in
1 Timothy 1:13, 14
13Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
What the Jews thought was righteousness was really self-righteousness. Paul knew that Christ could bring them out of that and give them a divinely provided, all-sufficient righteousness.
The passage in today’s lesson, Romans 10 (above), is one of the most significant texts on the way of salvation in all of Scripture. It has, perhaps, been used as much as, if not more than, any other passage in recent times to lead souls to Christ. It directs the hungry and searching soul to the essentials for committing one’s soul to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Verses 4-7 of Romans (above)
Israel as a nation should have been eagerly expecting the arrival of their Messiah. They should have been prepared to receive Him. They had known for centuries the Old Testament prophesies concerning His coming. They had practiced the how, which was a “school master” to lead them to Christ.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
God had sought to prepare them, but when Christ came, they rejected Him. The apostle John records in
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
There was a remnant in the nation that anticipated His arrival, such as Simeon and Anna, Luke 2:25-38 but the nation as a whole was not ready when He came.
25And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against. 35(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. 36And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Paul readily acknowledged that the Jews were zealous for God, but he observed that their zeal was misguided. If zeal is directed toward an appropriate goal, then zeal is commendable.
But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
As it concerns salvation, zeal is necessary for all who would show themselves approved to God.
1 Corinthians 14:12
Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
The Jews’ total approach to seeking and serving God was based on a meticulous obedience of the Law. The Jews felt that through such obedience to the law, a man put himself into a right relationship with God through the keeping of the Law, that this would earn him credit and favor, but this is misdirected zeal and there’s danger in misdirected zeal. This was illustrated in the life of Paul.
Note the havoc he created in the Christian church prior to his conversion. He thought his motives were pure. He felt he was doing an appropriate service to God.
Galatians 1:13, 14
13For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of traditions of my fathers.
If there had been a law given that could have given life, certainly righteousness would have been by the law, but this being impossible, God proclaimed the Law from Mt. Sinai. He did this to show men how greatly they had departed from it and also to drive them by its terrors to that “Refuge” He had prepared for them.
It is true that the ceremonial law was appointed to make atonement for sins, but this was to screen the transgressor from the penalties that were to be inflicted by the civil magistrates.
The Law never really took away sin. As the writer says:
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Verses 8-10 of the same book of the Bible teaches that self-righteousness is deeply rooted in the heart of man. Its workings are numerous and subtle and its dangers far-reaching. Self-righteousness robs God of His glory.
8Above when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Self-righteousness subverts the foundation of the Gospel. It usurps the office of the Savior and it invaded the inalienable prerogatives of God. For this reason it is not a light sin. Because of man’s tendency to develop his own plan of salvation, Paul identified the terms on which salvation is offered to us. Two things are necessary for our salvation.
First, we must exercise faith in Christ as our crucified and risen Savior. The Lord Jesus Christ was sent from God to be the Savior of the world. All that was necessary for man’s salvation he accomplished on the cross and by His resurrection. Second, we must make a public confession of the Lordship of Christ. No confession of ours can add anything to the finished work of Christ, yet we are required to confess Him openly.
This is because His glory and the good of man demand it. If we should conceal our faith in Him, who would benefit? In what respect would He be glorified?
Jesus Himself required all who would benefit from Him to take up their cross daily and follow Him and if we fail to do this He will not acknowledge us as His disciples.
Luke 14:27 (Jesus speaking)
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.
To understand what it means to believe on Him, let us consider what it means to believe on anyone. In everyday situations, to believe on someone means to accept such a person as being all he claims to be and to depend on him to do all he promises to do. When we deposit money in the bank we believe in the government or when we commit ourselves to a surgeon, we believe or trust in him in the situation. The same type of reliance must be exercised in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
It is interesting to note how the Jews divided all mankind into three classes. Those who were good had a balance on the right side. Those who were bad had a balance on the left side. Those who were in the middle need one more good deed to become good, but all this was a matter of works. It was all a result of man’s effort. This is what Paul was condemning when he said:
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Paul meant that Jesus is the end of legalism.
In Romans 10:14, 15 (above): These verses are often used as the basis for sending missionaries to carry the Gospel to other lands and justly so, but its first application was to the nation of Israel. The only way unbelieving Jews can be saved is by calling upon the Lord. Before they can call upon Him, they must believe. For the Jew this meant believing that Jesus Christ of Nazareth truly is the Son of God and the Messiah of Israel.
It also meant believing in His death and resurrection. Read Romans 10:9,10 (above). In order to believe they must first hear the Word for it is the Word that creates faith in the heart of the hearer. This meant that a herald of the Word of God must be sent, and it is the Lord who does the sending. At this point, Paul could well have been remembering his own call to preach the word to the Gentiles.
1Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 3And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
God’s Word tells us that not all of Israel would obey God’s Word. People do not still, believe it, nor do they obey it. Trusting Christ is not only a matter of believing, but also obeying. Not to believe on Christ is disobeying God. According to
…God…commandeth all men every where to repent.
True faith must touch the will and result in a changed life; however, individuals must first hear the Word of God. Someone must take the message to them. As long as there are lost souls, unredeemed individuals, anywhere in the world, the church has a responsibility to them.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
The apostle Paul was instructing them that it was not by zealous knowledge or the creating of righteousness by laws that brought salvation. Salvation was by believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Salvation may come quietly, but we cannot remain quiet about it. It brings such joy!
The difference on The Day of Judgment, as to our final eternal destination, will be what we have done with the Christ of the Gospels, and not who we are or what we have, not our social standing or our educational status, but whether or not we have taken Christ as our Savior and Lord. We have a choice and we will have made a decision.
Without question, it is the responsibility of the people of God to send forth people to proclaim the Gospel but this can only be done after the individual has been called of God to preach the gospel.
Those called to proclaim the good news will need assistance in many ways. The obvious need is financial support, but there are many other ways they can be assisted. They need prayer support and words of encouragement.
BELIEVING ON CHRIST. John 3:11-18
Meditation—There are people who believe in a Supreme Being, but they believe they can approach Him through such men as Mohammed or Buddha; however, the Bible is very clear on this point. You must believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God to be saved from your sins. If we accept the Bible as the Word of God, we must accept Jesus Christ as the only way to be saved.
John 3:11-18 (Jesus speaking)
11Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? 13And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. 18He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.