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"TAKING THE NATION BACK BY TAKING JESUS TO THE NATION"

Supported by individual churches of Christ

Sunday Auditorium Class

Elmore Church of Christ

Don Myers, Teacher

2/19/17

 

Paul’s intense heartbrokenness over the failure of unbelieving Israel to arrive at imputed righteousness as a free gift from God through faith in Christ caused him to write that he would be willing to forfeit his soul if they could be saved. The failure of unbelieving Israel to attain righteousness was not because they failed to zealously seek to abide by God’s law, but because they did not understand the path through which righteousness is imputed as a free gift through faith in the perfectly righteous Christ (cp. Romans 2:17-3:20) and not by works of merit under law (cp. Romans 2:27 – 3;20; 3:21 – 5:21).

 

The Law of Moses was predicated on the axiom that if a man perfectly kept it, then he would LIVE—that is, he would not be separated from God (the Fountainhead of life) by his sin (Gal.3:12; cp. Lev.18:5). The law demanded righteous perfection (Gal.3:10; James 2:10). Yet, only the person who had been driven to the understanding that he could not earn his right standing with God through law-keeping (cp. Acts 13:38, 39) was moved to come to faith in Christ (cp. Romans 9:30-33). Thus, only the spiritual Israel of God (men and women of faith through time and including Christians of Paul’s day, cp. Romans 9:6ff) had been set free from the condemnation of law and brought under grace (Romans 10:4; cp. 9:30-33; 3:21; 2:17-29; 6:14; 3:27; 8:1-4). Since unbelieving Israel were had not come under grace, then under what would they have remained (cp. Romans 6:14)? If a Gentile Christian allowed false teachers to bind circumcision on them, what law would they be a debtor to keep in whole (cp. Gal.5:1-4)? In 56 A.D., what law was Paul saying the non-believing Jew broke by his sin (cp. Romans 2:17 – 29)?  By what law did Paul quote to show the unbelieving Jew condemned in A.D. 56 (cp. Romans  3:9 - 20)? Christ is the end of the law to them that believe.[1]

 

Paul, then, puts law and grace (cp. Romans 6:14; also called the law of works or the law faith in 3:27, or the law of sin and death and the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus in 8:1, 2) in sharp contrast. The former extended righteousness based on law and the latter extended righteousness based on faith—hence, righteousness was and is the issue (10:1-10).[2]

 

Concerning the Law of Moses, earned righteousness could only be maintained by the person who perfectly practices the law (Gal.3:10) and would have rendered to him LIFE –that is, unbroken fellowship with God (Romans 10:5; cp. Gal.3:12). The other path to LIFE (fellowship with God) was through imputed righteousness (to be as one ought to be and have the approval of God) based on faith (Romans 10:6a). Faith must have an object—and the object of the Christian faith is the perfect Jesus whose righteousness is imputed, reckoned, or placed to the account of the believer (Romans 3:21 – 25a). Justification or right standing with God is not just some future blessing, but a present reality (cp. Romans 5:1f).

 

If man was to be able to attain righteousness through human power, it would require him to ascend into heaven to bring Christ down and to descend into the abyss to bring Christ from the dead—for the only one who could save the sinner was the Christ who came from heaven, lived a perfect life, died, and was resurrected to save the sinner.[3] How utterly impossible for a finite sinner to perform these feats to save himself, yet this is exactly what it took for God to save the lost world—Christ coming, His perfect life, His death for the sinner, and resurrection from the dead. The only two paths for lost man to be saved are either to perform these impossible feats of salvation or to trust He who performed them—namely, Jesus Christ.


Setting in stark contrast (on the one hand) the impossibility of a man to perform these works of salvation with (on the other hand) his attaining them by faith, Paul continues his quote and adaptation of the words spoken by Moses (cp. Deut. 30:11-14) regarding the easy accessibility of the word of God comparing it with the easy accessibility to salvation by faith in Christ through the word of faith. He writes:

 

THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART—that is the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10:8-10).

 

In contrast with falsehood and lies, those who place their faith in the Lord (the unmovable, Chief Cornerstone) will not be disappointed (Romans 10:11; cp. Isa.28:16). Salvation is a universal offer from God through Christ with no discrimination based on race. Any and all who call on His name can be saved—Jew or Gentile.[4] Yet, in order to call upon the Lord one has to believe; for one to believe in the Lord one has to hear the good news; for one to hear the good news a preacher must speak the word of God to them; and in order for a preacher to speak he must be sent. The path to faith is through hearing the word of God.[5]

 

Did the preachers fail to proclaim the gospel in Paul’s day? No, the gospel was spreading worldwide.[6] Had unbelieving Israel failed to know the nature of the gospel they heard? No, they had understood enough to be brought to jealousy over Gentile conversions.[7] Was the gospel so difficult to understand, since unbelieving Israel had not come to faith after hearing the gospel? No, previously uninformed Gentiles without 1500 years of Jewish heritage (cp. Romans 9:1-5) had found faith in Christ while Israel had missed He who they had been waiting for generations!

Thus, what was the root cause of Israelite rejection of Paul’s gospel? It was because unbelieving Israel was disobedient (meaning not allowing themselves to believe) and obstinate (meaning contradicting and declining to obey).

 

 

 

 


[1] End means termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time), or the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose.

[2] Righteousness (dikaiosynē) is the state of a man who is as he ought to be and concerns the doctrine of the way a man attains the approval of God—whether by works of law or by faith in Christ. But, mark this, it cannot be by both or a mixture of the two (cp. Romans 11:6; 7:1-4; 3:21f).

 

[3] A class discussion will take place as to how Paul quotes portions of the context of Deuteronomy 30:11-14 comparing the accessibility of the word of God in Deuteronomy 30: 11, 12 with the accessibility of faith in Christ through the word of the Apostles, Romans 10:6-10.

[4] Romans 10:9 – 13 seems to be the central passage causing many in the denominational world to deny baptism as an essential step of faith putting a believer into Christ, yet Paul has no such intention of teaching such a false idea (cp. Romans 6:1-6). On the other hand, any view that makes baptism a work of merit is a heresy (cp. Col.2:12; Romans 11:6; Gal.2:11-21 with Gal.3:26, 27).

[5] God through Isaiah spoke of the Messianic age when the Christ would be exalted and salvation would be revealed to the nations through the beautiful feet bringing the message of salvation (see Isaiah 52:7; 52:1 – 53:12).

[6] The universal spreading of the preached word is compared by Paul to the universal language of creation, itself, speaking worldwide the truth that there is a God and He is alive!!

[7] In Deuteronomy 32:21, God was moved to jealousy due to His people’s idolatry and foretold a day when the inclusion of Gentiles would make Israel jealousy. All of this was in His eternal plan to save all spiritual Israel (cp. Romans 11:11 – 36).

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ANTIOCH Initiative

Elmore Church of Christ

P. O. Box 95

470 Ceasarville Rd

Elmore, AL 36025

Local Contact

Valley Cities Church of Christ

Arthur Barry

Missionary-Evangelist: Sayre, PA

Interested? arbry21@gmail.com

Call Me: 607-280-1732

 

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