Human Responsibility to Choose
March 24, 1996
Scripture: Romans 10
I. Paul's Burden for Israel Concerning Their Self-Imposed Alienation From the Gospel.
(This section provides an outline for the chapter.)
A. Paul's appeal to God for the salvation of the Israelites (implies salvation by faith): the gospel is within reach of all - accessibility by faith.
1* Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
B. Paul's testimony that their knowledge of God is a misguided willful pursuit of self-righteousness (zeal but no submission): the gospel has not been obeyed by all - accountability through knowledge.
2* For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.
3* Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.
C. Paul's response that it is Christ alone who fulfills all righteousness for everyone who believes (implies the grace of God): the gospel is offered to all - universality through grace.
4* Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
II. Paul's Argument That the Gospel is Within Reach of All: Accessibility.
A. Righteousness through observing the Law is not within reach of all.
5* Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them."
1. No man is able to obtain righteousness by observing the Law (Gal. 2:16).
2. The man Christ Jesus was able to obtain righteousness for all who would believe in his accomplishment and not in their own efforts (Rom. 4:5).
B. Righteousness through the submission of faith is within reach of all.
1. Righteousness by faith is not obtained from any external effort or action (which would result in pride).
6* But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down)
7* "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
2. Righteousness by faith is obtained by the internal conviction of believing (which results in salvation).
8* But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
9* That 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.
10* For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
a. The internal conviction of total surrender from the heart:
(1) The heart believes in the sufficiency of Christ for sin.
(2) The sufficiency of Christ for sin satisfies God's justice.
b. The internal conviction of total acknowledgement from the mouth:
(1) Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Lk. 6:45).
(2) The confession of the mouth evidences the Lordship of Christ in our heart (1Cor. 12:3).
c. The mouth and the heart become mutually supportive in the testimony of salvation.
III. Paul's Argument That the Gospel is Offered to All: Universality.
A. All who truly seek God will find salvation in Christ: we call on God.
1. All who desire to trust God will find confidence in Christ.
11* As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
2. All who desire to submit to God will find the blessings of unity in Christ.
12* For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
a. Unity with each other.
b. Unity with Christ.
3. All who desire to escape the destruction of God's judgment will find salvation in Christ.
13* for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
B. God makes sure that all who truly seek him find salvation: God call on us.
1. He enables the one who is called to believe the message.
14* How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?
2. He provides the hearing of the message.
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?
3. He provides the message.
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
4. He provides the messenger.
15* And how can they preach unless they are sent?
5. Both the messenger and the message are beautiful to those who would hear and believe the good news of salvation - the bearer and the hearer rejoice together at what God has done.
As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
C. Mankind is left without an excuse before God (Rom. 1:20).
IV. Paul's Argument That the Gospel has not been Obeyed by All: Accountability.
A. Not all the Israelites have been obedient to the knowledge they possess about Christ.
1. They did not accept the message of the cross that Christ gave them.
16* But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?"
2. The message of the cross (even in Is. 52-53) would have given them saving faith if they would have believed it.
17* Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
B. Neither were they obedient to the testimony of later gospel preachers (apostles) whose proclamation went forth like the standing testimony of all creation.
18* But 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."
C. Their envy proved their understanding of the message enough to be envious, and their anger proved their unwillingness to submit to that understanding.
19* Again 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."
D. Their refusal to submit to God even though he sovereignly chose them will result in their temporary displacement in favor of those who would now choose God.
20 And Isaiah boldly says, "I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me."
E. Their displacement cannot be said to be God's fault for lack of patience.
21* But concerning Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people."