Call to Faith

Explore the Bible Series

December 11, 2005

 

Background Passage: Romans 9:30-10:21

Lesson Passage: Romans 10:1-4; 8-18;21

 

Introduction:

Like all great writers and teachers, Paul returned to his thesis statement in Romans 1:16-17.  Romans 9-11 expand on this grand theme.

 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

 

The apostle states at least three principles in these two critical verses.

  1. The gospel is the power of God to salvation to all who believe.  Faith in Christ is the essential distinguishing mark of those who are saved. The dynamic of salvation rests in the gospel itself.  Paul was not ashamed to repose in the gospel itself as the power of his apostolic ministry.
  2. All men who experience God’s powerful work of salvation, Jew and Gentile alike, must come to God through faith in Christ alone. The Jews were first in historical priority.  John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles preached the gospel to the House of Israel first. Then, having fulfilled the promise to the Hebrews, Christ opened the gospel door to the Gentiles.
  3. The gospel is not of human invention.  It is revealed from God. Paul quoted from the Old Testament (“the just shall live by faith”), in part, to demonstrate that his gospel was anticipated in the Law and Prophets. He wasn’t preaching some new thing.  Paul made clear in Romans Nine that the gospel has been brought near to us by Christ and proclaimed by God-sent preachers (heralds). 

 

I.                    The Present Condition of Israel (9:30-33)

A.     The Gentiles, who did not seek righteousness, have received justification by faith in Christ (v. 30).  God’s sovereignly opened Gentile eyes to the glories of Christ and savingly drew the nations to genuine faith.

B.     The Jews did not receive the righteousness of God by faith; rather, they sought God by means of law-keeping (vv. 31-32a).

C.     Ultimately, the Hebrews stumbled over the person and work of Christ (vv. 32b-33). These verses reminds one of Isaiah 8:14 and I Peter 2:4-8.

 

 

 

 

II.                 Christ Is the End of the Law for All Who Believe (10:1-4)

A.     The Jews made four errors in their quest for salvation (vv. 2-3)

1.      Misguided zeal (vv. 2-3): Their spiritual quest had a proper object; that is, they had a zeal for God.  The quest was earnest and passionate; nevertheless, it lacked one essential ingredient.  It was not, by Paul’s reckoning, according to knowledge.  They failed to understand the nature and purpose of the Law.  The Law did not affirm their righteousness; it pointed out their sinfulness before God’s perfect standard.  They sought God with ardent passion, but ultimately they failed to understand the way to the righteousness of God.  They failed in spiritual discernment.

2.      Spiritual blindness (v. 3): The particular kind of blindness that characterized the Jews related to their ignorance of God’s righteousness.  They closed their eyes to God’s means of saving sinners.  This verse draws the reader’s attention back to Romans 1:18-19, “…who suppress (hold down) the truth…” 

3.      Self-righteousness (v. 3b): They sought to establish their own righteousness by law-keeping. 

4.      Rebellious (v. 3c): They refused to submit to the righteousness of God.

B.     Christ is the end (Greek word “telos”) of the Law (v.4): This could mean one of three things.

1.      “Telos” could mean Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.  Christ fulfills all the demands, symbols, types, promises, and ceremonies of the Law.  The Law reveals and points to Christ, and he perfectly fulfilled the Law. 

2.      “Telos” could mean Christ is the goal or purpose of the Law.  The Law, according to this view, revealed the holiness and sacrifice of Christ.  Many of the Reformers and Church fathers held to this view. 

3.      “Telos” could mean that Christ brought an end to the demands and indictments of the Law toward those who believe.

 

III.               Christ is the Object of Saving Faith (vv. 5-13)

A.     Only those who live perfectly by the Law will be saved by the Law (Paul alluded to Leviticus 18:5). 

B.     Christ has brought the gospel near to mankind (See Deuteronomy 30:11f).

1.      Christ has come near in his incarnation (v. 6).

2.      Christ has come near in his resurrection (v. 7).

3.      Christ has come near in his exaltation and lordship (vv. 8-9)

C.     Men receive salvation by faith and confession (vv. 9-11).

1.”with the heart one believes”

2. “with the mouth confession is made”

                                 D. Salvation is offered, without distinction, to all who believe (vv. 11-13)

 

IV.              Christ Will Be Preached in All the Earth (vv. 14-21)

A.     The centrality of preaching (vv. 14-15): Paul raised four rhetorical questions.

1.      “How shall they call on him whom they have not believed?” (v. 14a)

2.      “How shall they believe in him whom they have not heard?” (v.14b)

3.      “How shall they hear without a preacher?” (14c)

4.      “How shall they preach unless they be sent?” (v.15): Paul referenced Isaiah 52:7-10.

B.     The response to the preacher (vv. 16-21)

1.      Some will harden their hearts and will not hear (vv. 16-19).  They are stiff-necked, disobedient, and contrary.  The sending of the preacher seals their judgment.  The preacher’s presence is the final “nail in the coffin.”  They hear, but they will not listen.

2.      Others, often among the least likely, will find God and his salvation.  The herald’s message comes to them like food and water to a dying man.

 

Conclusion: Perhaps this is a fitting occasion to review a brief summary of the message the preachers must proclaim. I offer this with all humility as I attempt to express the gospel in this fashion.

  1. Christ came into the world, born of a virgin, to reveal the person and character of the Godhead.  To understand Jesus is to understand God.  He alone is God’s incarnate Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  He lived as a man: experiencing all human infirmities, tempted as we are, impeccably obedient to the Law of God, and the perfect revelation of God to man.
  2. Christ died for sinners: vicariously (as the sinner’s substitute), redemptively (to pay the sinner’s debt and ransom), and sacrificially (to provide a covering for sin).
  3. Christ rose from the dead, thus conquering the great enemy of mankind.  After appearing to his disciples, Christ ascended to heaven where he now reigns in glory at the right hand of the Father.  Angels delight in him and adore him with ceaseless praise.  He is King of Kings and Lord of lords.
  4. Christ will return one day, perhaps even today, to assert his sovereign prerogative over the earth, to take vengeance on his enemies, and to vindicate his people.
  5. Christ will judge all men according to their works.  The unrighteous he will condemn, and he will cast them into hell where they will experience complete alienation from God, know everlasting torment, and be punished with everlasting destruction.  To the righteous he will give eternal life, unending bliss and glory.  They will know his joy, blessing, and approval forever.  In addition, they will receive a glorious inheritance and reward. 

 

You may receive the righteousness of Christ by repenting of your sins and trusting in Christ alone for your salvation.