Romans 10:1-11

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

April 28, 1999


Paul has been talking about Godís purposes and plans, His sovereignty. Heís talked about how God has chosen certain ones to follow Him. The Jewish mindset had always been that they were exclusively Godís chosen people. But Paul has been showing in the Scriptures how even though Israel would be as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a "remnant" would be saved. And Paul has gone a step further to show that God had even included the salvation of those filthy Gentiles in His plans.

Paul now takes a step back to make sure that any Jewish person reading this might not think that he really, secretly hates the Jews.

:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

desire Ė eudokia Ė will, choice; good will, kindly intent, benevolence; delight, pleasure, satisfaction; desire

It would be Paulís greatest delight to have the Jews saved.

prayer Ė deesis Ė need, indigence, want, privation, penury; a seeking, asking, entreating, entreaty to God or to man

This wasnít the kind of prayer that is part of some "wish list". This is an earnest prayer, one based on true need.

:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

zeal Ė zelos Ė excitement of mind, ardour, fervour of spirit; zeal, ardour in embracing, pursuing, defending anything

knowledge Ė epignosis Ė precise and correct knowledge; used in the NT of the knowledge of things ethical and divine. Not "knowledge" as in what is acquired through "understanding" (oida), but "knowledge" on the basis of having experienced the truth, having come in contact with the actual thing. Itís not knowledge as in understanding the answer to a mathematical equation, but knowledge as in knowing Debby because sheís my wife.

These people have a fervency about God, about serving Him, but they donít know Him.

A.T. Robertson: "They sought God in an external way by rules and rites and missed him. They became zealous for the letter and the form instead of for God himself."


It ainít enough to be religious.

"Religion" could be defined as "zeal for spiritual things".

Paulís point here is that these people are very, very religious, but itís not enough.

Some people say, "Well as long as youíre sincere Ö". You can be sincerely wrong.

:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

going about Ė zeteo Ė to seek in order to find

to establish Ė histemi Ė to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set; to make firm, fix; establish; to stand

submitted Ė hupotasso Ė to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject one's self, obey

There are people who are totally ignorant of Godís standards for what is right, and they have this feeling that if they just meet up to their own standards, then thatís all that counts.


Can you imagine some country bumpkin from Tennessee, who has edookated hisself up to the sekun grade, and has dun decided to go to that fancy Hahvuhd Law Skool. And he thinks heís about as edookated as they come, soís heís down right surprised when they donít accept him.

When we base our salvation upon what WE think is correct, weíre headed for trouble. The Bible says that what we think are good deeds are nothing but garbage:

(Isa 64:6 KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

What is Godís standard of righteousness?

Itís not just keeping the Ten Commandments or thinking that you just have to obey the Law of Moses. Thatís what the Pharisees thought.

Mat 5:20-48 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus is going to lay out some contrasts to show what kinds of things the Pharisees might agree to, but then show how Godís standards go far beyond the Pharisees.

{21} Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: {22} But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. {23} Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; {24} Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. {25} Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. {26} Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

The Pharisees might have just been content in not having killed a person, but Jesus said that Godís standards go so far as to say that you better not even be angry with someone. Youíd better do whatever you need to do to make it right with them.

{27} Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: {28} But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. {29} And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. {30} And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. {31} It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: {32} But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

The Pharisees might have been content with not having had a physical, adulterous relationship with someone, but Jesus said that God was concerned about even your thoughts towards others.

{33} Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: {34} But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: {35} Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. {36} Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. {37} But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

The Pharisees might have been content to have been particular about how they swore their oaths, but Jesus went a step further to point out that God is concerned that we simply be people who keep their word, people who donít need to swear an oath to get others to believe them.

{38} Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: {39} But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. {40} And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. {41} And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. {42} Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

Itís not a matter of getting even with others, we ought to be busy giving to others.

{43} Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. {44} But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; {45} That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. {46} For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? {47} And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

The Pharisees would have been content with just loving their friends, but God wants us to love even our enemies.

{48} Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Hereís Godís standard, perfection.

God has the perfect example of what His standard is, itís Jesus.

John 16:7-11 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. {8} And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: {9} Of sin, because they believe not on me; {10} Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; {11} Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

When the Holy Spirit convicts the world of "righteousness", itís because Jesus goes to the Father. In other words, when Jesus would ascend into heaven, it was proof that He was the kind of person that was acceptable to God, the kind of person acceptable to heaven.

Jesus wasnít just applying to go to Harvard Law School, He was applying to go to heaven. And when He ascended into heaven, He showed us that He met Godís standards for admission.


Itís not what you think that counts.

Itís interesting to hear what people think is required to go to heaven.

Sometimes itís some certain big sin that they think is the crucial thing. As long as they havenít killed anyone or committed adultery, then they must be good enough for God.

Sometimes people get into comparing themselves with others. "Well Iím not as bad as Fred over there Ö". The problem is that in Godís sight, weíve all failed to meet admission standards because weíve all sinned. It doesnít matter how badly youíve flunked, youíve still flunked.

In the end, what you think doesnít count for anything. Itís what the judge thinks that is important.

Salvation isnít based on what you think Godís standards of righteousness are, itís based on what He thinks righteousness is.

Thatís why itís so important that we base our beliefs on what God has said Himself. We need to base what we believe on what the Bible says, not what we think and not what some fast talking religious person says.

:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

end Ė telos Ė end; 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); that by which a thing is finished

Itís not that He does away with the Law, but that Heís the fulfillment, the ending point of the Law. When you run the course of the Law to itís full conclusion, youíll find Jesus at the end.

:5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

shall live Ė zao Ė to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead); to live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting

Paul quotes from:

Leviticus 18:5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I [am] the LORD.

If you are going to expect to find "life" in the Law, then youíd better be keeping exactly what God had in mind. No mistakes. No errors.

Deuteronomy 27:26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

:6 But 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:)

Paul quotes rather freely from:

(Deu 30:11-14 KJV) For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. {12} It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? {13} Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? {14} But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

ascend Ė anabaino Ė ascend; to go up

bring Ö down Ė katago Ė to lead down, bring down

The idea seems to be, "Who should need to go to heaven to bring back Godís standards of righteousness, because Jesus has already come to earth and shown us what Godís standards are".

:7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

deep Ė abussos Ė bottomless; the abyss; the pit

descend Ė katabaino Ė to go down, come down, descend

bring up Ė anago Ė to lead up, to lead or bring into a higher place

The idea seems to be, "Who should need to go and die for us, because Jesus has already risen from the dead".

:8 But 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;

nigh Ė eggus Ė near, of place and position

word Ė rhema Ė that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word; subject matter of speech, thing spoken of

Thereís no great mystery, Paul has been telling them already Ö

:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus

or, "confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord"

The Jews would have a problem with this because only Yahweh was their Lord. The Gentiles would have problems with this because they were taught that Caesar was their Lord.

This is the "external" requirement for salvation.

shalt confess Ė homologeo Ė to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent; to concede; not to refuse, to promise; to profess; to declare openly, speak out freely; to profess one's self the worshipper of one


You canít be a secret Christian.

There is a need for a public admission that youíve received Jesus.

(Mat 10:32-33 KJV) Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. {33} But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

This is one reason why we have "altar calls", asking people to step forward to accept Jesus. Itís making a public commitment to follow Jesus. But it doesnít have to be at an altar call. It can be when you go home after the service and you tell your wife that youíve accepted Jesus as your Savior. It can be at work when people start asking you what has happened to you, and you tell them that Jesus has changed you. It can happen when you are baptized since baptism is meant to be a public confession that you have decided to follow Jesus.


A martyr amid the madness Student affirmed her belief in God, and then was slain. by Eileen McNamara, Globe Staff, 04/24/99 LITTLETON, Colo. -

She walked into Columbine High School on Tuesday morning, a promising student. She was carried out more than 24 hours later a Christian martyr. "Do you believe in God," one of the heavily armed gunmen asked the shy blond girl reading her Bible in the library while her school was under siege. "Yes, I believe in God," she replied in a voice strong enough to be heard by classmates cowering under nearby tables and desks. The gunman in the long black trench coat laughed. ''Why?'' he asked mockingly. Then he raised his gun and shot and killed 17-year-old Cassie Bernall. Accounts of the final moments of Cassie's life echo with the history of early Christendom, when a profession of faith could be a fatal act. Her story is being told and retold in the church basements, rec rooms, and parish halls where so many of the young survivors of the Columbine massacre have spent the last few days clinging to one another and to their deep religious faith. In her death, Cassie has become both symbol and prophet, her martyrdom seemingly foretold in a poem written after church services last Sunday. It was discovered on her desk by her younger brother, Chris, Tuesday night when it became clear that she would not be coming home:

Now I have given up on everything else - I have found it to be the only way to really know Christ and to experience the mighty power that brought Him back to life again, and to find out what it means to suffer and to die with Him. So, whatever it takes I will be one who lives in the fresh newness of life of those who are alive from the dead.

More than any other image from this scene of carnage - more than the flowers deep as the snow in Clement Park, more than the blue and silver ribbons on every lapel - the most affecting is the sight of strapping young men and gracious young women on their knees in prayer everywhere one looks in this prairie suburb at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains." We loved Cassie and we will miss her, but we know she is in a better place," said Ryan Long, who belongs to the youth group at West Bolles Community Church, where Cassie Bernall was an active member. "She died for her faith. "It was Cassie's grandmother who first called the camera-shy high school junior a martyr, recalled Dave McPherson, the youth group director. "I was with the family Tuesday. They waited all night, praying that she was hiding in a closet. When we first heard from Crystal about Cassie's last words, her grandmother said: `My God, my granddaughter was a martyr.'" Crystal is Crystal Woodman, a youth group member who, with Cassie, did outreach work among Denver's homeless population. She was hiding with Cassie in the library during the rampage that claimed the lives of 12 students, one teacher, and the two presumed killers, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, both Columbine students. When she heard the exchange between the gunman and Cassie, Crystal was certain of what she was witnessing: Her friend was laying down her life for Jesus.

Of the 200 members of the youth group at West Bolles Community Church, 40 attended Columbine. Among them is a shared certainty that God is using the victims as a vehicle to spread a message of faith. To that end, the teenagers are eager to speak about the circumstances of Cassie's death in hopes of bombarding the secular - some might say godless - media with a religious interpretation of this week's tragic events. Some have even appeared on MTV, which McPherson puts among the corrosive cultural influences that contribute to the hardening of the hearts of so many young people. The spiritual life of so many of Columbine High's teenagers is evident in the crosses they wear around their necks and the bracelets asking WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) that they wear on their wrists. Theirs is the largest school -based Bible club in the school district. But it is not only the children who are finding solace in religion. Cassie's parents, Misty and Brad Bernall, issued a statement last night celebrating their daughter's spiritual courage. "Cassie's response does not surprise us. Cassie's life was rightly centered on Jesus Christ." The Bernalls appealed to parents to become more involved in the lives of their children. They urged teenagers to find their way to church. "Don't let my daughter's death be for nothing. Make your stand. If you are not in a local church group, try it." Ö

This story ran on page A01 of the Boston Globe on 04/24/99.A9 Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.

:10 and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead

This is the "internal" requirement for salvation.

shalt believe Ė pisteuo Ė to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in

Though this can be as simple as just believing that Jesus rose from the dead, I think there are some inherent implications here.

I think the whole concept of Jesus being raised from the dead is the end of the whole process of Him laying down His life as a sacrifice for our sins. And because He had more than enough to pay for our sins, He was risen from the dead.:10 thou shalt be saved.

These are the basics of salvation. Believe and confess.The result is a sure thing.

The verb here is whatís called an "indicative mood", meaning itís a fact. Yes itís in the future, but itís still a fact. He doesnít say, "You might be saved" (a subjunctive mood), he says, "You WILL be saved".:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

We get the actual sequence here, that a person first comes to believe in Jesus, then they come to confess Him.

:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Paul quotes from:

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

ashamed Ė kataischuno Ė to dishonour, disgrace; to put to shame, make ashamed; one is said to be put to shame who suffers a repulse, or whom some hope has deceived

The idea is not that we wonít be ashamed of Jesus (though that too should be true), but that if you are putting your trust in Jesus, He wonít disappoint you, you wonít be ashamed as you stand at the gates of heaven expecting to be let in.Altar Call