Romans 10:5-13

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 24, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: 'The person who does these things will live by them.' 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) or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? 'The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,' that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, 'Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.' For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:5-13)

Do you remember when you were in elementary or middle school and you learned how to write paragraphs? The teacher likely told you that each proper paragraph needs to have a topic sentence, and then the rest of the paragraph explains more about that topic sentence. That’s what my grammar teachers taught me, although I can’t say I always use that method in my writing.

Paul is doing that sort of thing here, although his topic sentence is in the verse right before our passage, verse 4: “Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Paul is making two points in this verse, which are elaborated on in this week’s passage. First, Paul points out that righteousness now comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Second, Paul tells us that righteousness is available to everyone who believes.

Paul elaborates on his first point in verses 5-10. As we’ve been writing about, the Jews had previously been saved by the law, by doing the right things and not doing the wrong things, according to the law that God had given them through Moses. That’s what Paul refers to as the “righteousness that is by the law” (verse 5). But by contrast, he then talks about the “righteousness that is by faith” (verse 6). He then quotes passages from Leviticus and Deuteronomy to prove his point. Righteousness by the law requires obedient actions, always doing exactly what you’re supposed to. Righteousness by faith doesn’t require that.

In verse 8, Paul quotes Deuteronomy 30:14 which says, “No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” Notice that verse refers to both the mouth and the heart. Paul then brings both of those into the new righteousness by faith, instead of by the law, in verse 9: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” With the mouth we confess our faith, and with the heart we believe it. It’s as simple as that! That is righteousness by faith.

In verses 11-13, Paul elaborates on his second point, that righteousness is available to everyone who believes. He quotes a couple Old Testament passages from the prophets Isaiah and Joel to prove his point. Again, Paul is using the Scriptures that his Jewish readers would know, so that he can try and get through to them.

The Jews were used to dealing with literally hundreds of laws that they had to obey, and in this passage Paul is showing them that all of those obligations aren’t necessary anymore; the law has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ. We can’t achieve righteousness by the law, but Paul is showing the Romans (and us) how easily they can be saved by righteousness through faith. All they needed to do was to confess Jesus Christ as Lord with their mouths, and believe in Him in their heart.

So what about you? Have you confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord? Do you truly believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead? If not, I would encourage you to make that confession and believe that today; we at Worldview Warriors would love to help you with that!

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