Monday, December 18, 2023

2023.12.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 10:1–4

Read Romans 10:1–4

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Paul call the believers in Rome (Romans 10:1, cf. Romans 9:3)? What sort of desire does he describe? To whom does he pray? For whom? What does he pray for them? What does he bear for them (Romans 10:2)? For Whom do they think they have a zeal? But why isn’t it truly a zeal for Him? Of what else where they ignorant (Romans 10:3)? So what did they seek to establish? And to what did they not submit? To what/Whom did the law require them to submit for righteousness (Romans 10:4)? How does one come into the righteousness of Christ that God requires (end of verse 4)?

How can we be righteous before God? Romans 10:1–4 prepares us for the sermon in the midweek prayer meeting. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that we can only be righteous before God in Christ Himself, and what He has done.

Imitating God. “Brethren” in Romans 10:1 reminds us not only that we are brothers in Christ but that we are children of the Father. He desires all men to be saved (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4). And so our own hearts desire and prayer to Him is for the same (Romans 10:1).

Zeal for the true God. The apostle bears the Jews witness about their zeal for God. He himself had a zeal for God once, that was not a zeal for the true God but for a God of his own ignorant imaginings. He knows about the Scriptures as much as anyone; but when he finally met the true God, he had no idea who He was (cf. Acts 9:5). So also the Jews, because their pursuit of righteousness is as if it were by works (cf. Romans 9:32), their zeal for God (Romans 10:2a) is not according to knowing Him (verse 2b).

Our zeal must be according to knowledge of God Himself. How we need to learn that sincerity and intensity of religion does not make our religion true! We must know God Himself. We must not only know about the Bible, but we must interpret the Bible according to the Bible itself, so that we may know God Himself in the Bible.

Righteousness from God alone. Because the Jews didn’t know God, they didn’t know His righteousness (Romans 10:3a). They didn’t see God as the One Who gives us His own righteousness (cf. Romans 1:17), so they tried to establish their own (Romans 10:3b). This is the quickest way to put ourselves in a position where instead of resting upon Christ for righteousness, we stumble over Him (cf. Romans 9:32–33).

The language of Romans 10:3 teaches us something about what it looks like to come to saving faith: “submitted to the righteousness of God.” God’s righteousness, counted for us, is something that we must submit to. We must give up all other hope of righteousness. We must yield to God’s provision in Christ! O, dear reader, do not fall into the delusion that anything that you do or feel or think can contribute to your right standing with God.

Righteousness only in Christ, only by faith. The law always taught it was God Who made His people righteous (Romans 10:4a, cf. Exodus 20:2; Leviticus 18:1Leviticus 18:4). With the life and death of Christ, we know that it is He in Whom this has always been the case. Righteousness is only from God, and therefore only in Christ. And if it is only in Christ, then it is also only by faith. Everyone who trusts in Christ receives the righteousness of God (Romans 10:4b). Zeal isn’t enough to save us. Only Christ is enough to save us.

What thinking are you tempted to trust in for righteousness? What feelings are you tempted to trust in for righteousness? What doing are you tempted to trust in for righteousness? What (Whom) must you trust in, instead?

Sample prayer: Lord, we thank You for making Yourself to be our Savior, our righteousness. Forgive us for how we have hoped in ourselves so much that we thought our zeal, our sincerity, our effort could be true righteousness or become true righteousness. But You, Lord, have provided Your own righteousness in Christ! Grant unto us not only to know Your Word, but to submit ourselves to Your Word’s interpretation of itself. Grant unto us to submit to the righteousness that You provide, the righteousness that is only in Christ, only by Who Christ is, only by what Christ has done. Let us see that it is only resting in Him that can make righteous, because it is only He that can make righteous. So, give us to know this and to embrace and rest upon Him alone for righteousness, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB“LORD, From the Depths to You I Cried” or TPH435“Not What My Hands have Done”

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