Romans Bible Study Lesson 40

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Two Faiths

Romans 10:5—10

In verses 1—4 Paul compared the righteousness that only God can give with the righteousness that Israel was seeking to obtain on her own by following the Mosaic Law. In the approximately 1,500 years that Israel was under the Law, not one single person was able to fulfill the Law perfectly. This demonstrated their unrighteousness and need for a Savior (Galatians 3:24) who came in the person of Jesus. He fulfilled the Law through His perfect adherence to the Law. We who have believed in Christ are also seen as having perfectly fulfilled the Law. We are no longer under any condemnation (Romans 8:1) because we are found in Christ.

To condense this section we would say that Paul is comparing two faiths. The object of one faith is man and always results in death. The object of the second faith is God and always results in eternal life. The first faith is built on optimism (zeal without knowledge) while the second faith in God is built on a sure knowledge of God’s Word.

Verse 5

Israel had two ways of obtaining righteousness; obedience to every part (jot and tittle) of the Law for the entirety of their life or by believing in their Messiah. Since no one in Israel could perfectly follow the Law, they needed to have faith in Christ. Most of Israel chose to obtain righteousness through the Law instead of trusting God. If they truly trusted God, they would demonstrate their faith by obeying the Law. Trust in God needed to precede obedience to the Law. However, even those who didn’t have a proper faith in God were obligated to obey the Law.

Ezekiel 20:21“But the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, nor were they careful to observe My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; they profaned My sabbaths. So I resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the wilderness.

In contrast to the necessity of Israel obeying the Mosaic Law, we are not under the Law but under Grace.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

We are justified and declared righteous apart from any works. God made it possible for us to be declared righteous through the work of Jesus Christ. The only thing we need to do is trust Jesus Christ completely for our salvation. If we try to add our own works to His salvation, it declares His work of salvation inadequate.

Romans 3:20, 28 20becauseby the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

Paul’s teaching, given to him personally by Jesus Christ, actually contradicts Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels.

Matthew 19:16—17 16And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17And He said to him, …if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Luke 10:25—28 25And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 28And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.”

James (written to Israel in the coming Tribulation after the rapture of the Church) emphasizes what the earthly Jesus taught about the coming Kingdom by stating that faith and works need to go together in order for a man to be justified (James 2:17, 20, 24). As always, works never saved anyone but were always attached to faith until the Dispensation of Grace was revealed through Paul. With Paul’s revelation of the Mystery came the announcement that we no longer need to obey the Law to be declared righteous.

Romans 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

When Paul uses the phrase but now, it signals a change. If there was a but now there must have been a back then. This change in God’s dealing with man is clearly seen in Paul’s writings by his use of this phrase nearly 20 times.


Verses 6—8

Since Paul is speaking to the Jews in chapters 9—11 he uses many Old Testament passages and references writers respected by Israel. Here Moses addresses Israel (speaking God’s words) and tells them that they need to obey the Mosaic Law. If they do then they will be blessed. If they don’t they will be cursed. They were fully capable of following the Law if they relied completely upon God (Deuteronomy 30:11, 19). The blessings God promised them were within their reach and obtaining them was not overly difficult. They didn’t need to go up to heaven or go across the ocean to make God’s blessings a reality (Deuteronomy 30:10—14).

Paul uses this passage in Deuteronomy to make his point that Israel’s righteousness was within their reach. They didn’t need to go up to heaven to bring Christ down to earth (He already did that) nor did they need to go down to Sheol to raise Him up from the dead (He also did that). It was possible for Israel (or any one else) to have God’s righteousness imputed right now through faith because the word of faith preached by Paul was with them. They only needed to obtain this gift of righteousness by believing (trusting) in the Son. No need to search or work for it because the message of faith preached by Paul was right there. It was evident that this word of faith was in the mouth and heart of Paul and others who were preaching this message and this same faith was available to all who hear and believe.


Verses 9—10

To understand this verse it is necessary to understand the word confess. We often think of telling all, of spilling our guts or telling someone the secrets of our heart. The Greek word is ho-mo-lo-ge’-o is made up of two words; same and say and literally means to say the same thing. To confess your sins means saying the same thing as God, to be in agreement with Him concerning your wrong doings.

There are many who think salvation is based on believing in Jesus Christ and then confessing that Jesus is Lord before men. For them, believing alone is not sufficient to save but works must be added to the mix. We see this often at evangelistic events where the new believer is told they need to make a public declaration of their decision to follow Christ.

Using this verse to say we need to confess before men is wrong on four points:

1. The words confess and profess are confused and misused. Those who think we need to confess our decision publicly are really professing and not confessing.

2. The word confess means to say the same thing. In this case the unbeliever is hearing the message of faith and agreeing with God’s Word that the message is indeed true.

3. The original Greek does not have us confessing that Jesus is Lord but instead says to confess with your mouth Lord Jesus. We are not acknowledging only that Jesus is Lord but are agreeing with God concerning everything about the name and person of Jesus Christ.

4. We are not professing this to men but confessing (agreeing) on everything God has said about His Son. This agreement is with God, not men.

The verse continues for those who have agreed with God about His Son AND have believed that God has raised Him from the Dead they will be saved. The first statement points to the Person while the second points to His work on the cross. This is consistent with what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:1—4.