The Wrong Righteousness
The Reasons for Their Rejection (Rom. 10:1–13)
You would think that Israel as a nation would have been eagerly expecting the arrival of their Messiah and been prepared to receive Him. For centuries they had known the Old Testament prophecies and had practiced the Law, which was “a schoolmaster” to lead them to Christ (Gal. 3:24). God had sought to prepare the nation, but when Jesus Christ came, they rejected Him. “He came unto His own and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). To be sure, there was a faithful remnant in the nation that looked for His arrival, such as Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25–38); but the majority of the people were not ready when He came.
How do we explain this rejection?
Paul gave four reasons:
1. They did not feel a need for salvation:
v.1: It was clear that Paul wanted them saved, but they weren’t interested, they saw no need.
· There was a time when Paul would have agreed with his people, for he himself opposed the Gospel and considered Jesus Christ an impostor. Israel considered the Gentiles in need of salvation, but certainly not the Jews. In several of His parables, Jesus pointed out this wrong attitude: the elder brother (Luke 15:11–32, Prodigal Son) and the Pharisee (Luke 18:9–14) are two examples. Israel would have been happy for political salvation from Rome, but she did not feel she needed spiritual salvation from her own sin.
2. Their Zeal was not based on knowledge: v.2
· Ever since Israel returned to their land from Babylonian Captivity, the nation had been cured of idolatry. In the temple and the local synagogues, only the true God was worshiped and served, and only the true Law was taught. So zealous were the Jews that they even “improved upon God’s Law” and added their own traditions, making them equal to the Law. Paul himself had been zealous for the Law and the traditions (Acts 26:1–11; Gal. 1:13–14).
When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman in John 4:22, He said "You worship what you do not know..." I believe that this is the state of many churches and many people in the Christian community today. Many People try to worship Christ without knowing Him. In many churches worship is based solely on emotion, which can easily lead you astray. A true encounter with God will be characterized by a changed life, not a moment of emotion.
· It is amazing to me how many people who claim to be Christians are ignorant of the Bible, yet it is the Scripture reveals Christ.
John 5:39 (NKJV)
39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
· Without knowledge of the scriptures, you will not be able to know Christ. You cannot build a relationship with someone you do not know.
· The better you know the scriptures, the better you will know Christ. The better you know Christ, the deeper and more stable your relationship will be.
· Don't be like the Samaritans, get to know Christ and trust Him with your life. Pray and study the Bible daily, and build a deep relationship.
· The alternative is either no relationship at all (not good, eternity in Hell) or a very shallow relationship that will crumble under the slightest pressure.
3. They were proud and self-righteous: v.3
· They were willfully ignorant of God’s righteousness (it was not because they hadn’t been told.)
· Instead, they were proud of their own righteousness, and they trusted in their own works.
Romans 3:20 (NKJV)
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
4. They misunderstood their own law: v.4
· They refused to understand the Christ was “the end of the law.”
· “end” (in the Greek) = end, result, purpose, intent or goal
· Christ was the end of the law, the result of the law, the purpose of the law, the intent of the law, and the goal of the law.
· Christ is the fulfillment of the law:
Matthew 5:17 (NKJV)
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
· Christ is love, and love is the fulfillment of the law:
Romans 13:10 (NKJV)
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
· Christ is righteousness for all who believe (we have no righteousness of our own).
Isaiah 64:6 (NKJV)
6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
v.5: If you live by the law and place your trust in the law (that is trusting in your own works, no faith in Christ), you will be judged by the law. You WILL get a fair trial, and you don’t want that.
· You can either accept your wages (what you have earned and deserve), or you can accept the gracious gift that you do not deserve. The choice is yours.
v.6-8: One doesn’t need to ask that Christ be brought down from Heaven or raised from the dead, its already happened. Christ is already near in your mouth and heart (v.8). That’s the message of faith.
The faith of salvation: v.9-10
· It is nearness of Christ in the mouth and heart, which brings confession unto salvation.
Deuteronomy 30:14 (NKJV)
14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
v.11: “. . .not be put to shame.”
· “shame” (in the Greek) = disgrace, dishonor, or shame.
Romans 8:33-34 (NKJV)
33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
v.12-13: No one is excluded from the offer of salvation!