Romans Bible Study Lesson 41

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Salvation by faith alone

Romans 10:10—13

In studying the first part of chapter 10 we see that righteousness is not obtained by obedience to the Mosaic Law. Verse 4 puts an end to the Law because of Christ. Verse 5 even goes back to Moses stating that the man who lives by the Law dies by the Law. Since no one is able to fulfill the Law completely, the Law brings death—even in Moses’ time. Life can only come through faith in God.

However, according to Deuteronomy 30:11 Israel was fully capable of following the Mosaic Law. This does not mean they were capable of living a perfect life for part of the Law contained instruction as to how to deal with personal and national failures in obeying the Law. A person who transgressed the Law could have their sins covered by the proper sacrifice. Everything needed to fulfill the Law and have God’s blessings poured out on them was right there in their reach. They did not have to go up into heaven or across the vastness of the ocean to try to acquire the fulfillment of God’s promises. Now, as then, we are saved only through faith

Verse 10

Paul continues the thought from verse 9. Believing comes from the heart while confessing comes from the mouth. Remember, confessing is not professing. The person who confesses the Lord Jesus is agreeing with God about the person of Jesus Christ.

Believing results in righteousness while confessing results in salvation. Righteousness cannot be separated from salvation and vise-versa (Romans 4:3—4, 21—24). This means confessing and believing cannot be separated. A person who believes will confess (agree) with God as to who Christ is, and a person who agrees with God (confesses) completely about the Son will believe.

Unfortunately, there are many who do not understand the true meaning of the word confess and think that to gain salvation a person must publically acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. This act amounts to a work and there is no work we can do that will add to the work of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

Verses 11, 13

Verses 11 and 13 refute the idea that salvation is bestowed by publically and verbally acknowledging that Jesus is Lord. Believers cannot be brought to shame, dishonor or disappointment. This is because they are in God’s hands. On the other hand, anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Obviously anyone recklessly calling out God’s name is not going to be saved. Only those who call out in faith will be saved. Those who call on the name of the Lord are synonymous with the ones who believe.

Verse 12

It’s interesting to see Paul state that there is no difference between the Jew and Gentile when we clearly see Jesus making a distinction by setting the Jews above the Gentiles. In Matthew 10:6 Jesus commanded the Disciples to minister only to the lost sheep of Israel for He also limited His ministry to them (Matthew 15:24). Even Gentiles understood this as evidenced by the Syrophoenician woman who asked Jesus to cast out the demon in her daughter. Jesus told her that it was not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs. The Jews were the children and the Gentiles were the dogs (Mark 7:25—28).

The Old Testament has many examples of Israel’s superiority over the Gentiles. They were given the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the temple service and the promises (Romans 9:4). They are to be the light to the Gentile nations in the Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 49:6; 60:3). Since God dealt exclusively with Israel for thousands of years how can Paul come along and say that there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles? Obviously something had changed in God’s dealing with mankind.

There are many who think the only change is that the Gospel is now going to the Gentiles. Scripture does not support this idea for Paul says that a new man was formed consisting of these two groups.

Ephesians 2:13—16 13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

Remember, Paul is addressing the Jews in chapters 9—11. He needs to speak to them specifically because of these changes that have occurred in God’s dealing with man. God has temporarily set Israel aside and has put Jew and Gentile on a level playing field (Romans 11:11, 12). Peter and the 11 fade away in the book of Acts while Paul becomes prominent. The Gospel of the Kingdom, preached by the Disciples, is replaced by the Gospel of the Grace of God, revealed through Paul. The next chapter of Romans describes the downfall of Israel but also speaks of a future glorification and fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophesies. All these changes were revealed to Paul by Jesus Christ and confirmed to the other apostles and prophets alive at that time by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:3—5)

It is not possible to combine these two programs into one without doing some spiritual gymnastics. Those who try to do this will often reconcile the problem passages through spiritualizing. By this they force fit their ideas into God’s Word.