117 - Righteousness and Life [b]
Righteousness and Life
We're in Romans 10 and I'm going to start off with a little review. I covered a lot last time and had a couple of comments. Someone said, "You went so fast." I'm trying to figure out when I went slow. It's been 20 years or so. I don't go slow. Let's review the outline we went over. Romans begins in the first chapter with an introduction. Then in 1:18-3:20 the focus is on the condemnation of unbelievers. First there's the condemnation of Gentiles, reprobate, pagan Gentiles who are immersed in immorality. Immorality isn't the only expression of the sin nature. There's also the moral person. This is the person who thinks they can achieve righteousness on their own.
Now that theme comes back in Romans 10 because this is the problem specifically related to the Jews who were under the Law. They thought they could through moral obedience measure up to the righteous standard of God. That has two aspects to it. One is measuring up to the righteousness of God in terms of God's character, in terms of justification. Then living out a life that measures up and reflects the righteousness of God in terms of what we call experiential righteousness or the righteousness related to the Christian life.
Paul shows that unfaithful Jews are condemned because they're not truly faithful to the Law though they claim to be but they can't be 100% faithful. So the conclusion that he reaches is that all are condemned. He states it succinctly at the beginning of the next section, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." As we studied that we saw that the phrase "glory of God" was often used as a synonym to express the entire essence of God. We fall short of God's character, His righteousness. So the great need for man is to be justified and justification means to be declared righteous.
One of the sad things that we are experiencing in terms of the dumbing down of our culture due to problems in education is that the newer translations that are coming out often do not use time-honored, theologically significant words in their translations. Words like justification, reconciliation, propitiation, and redemption. I remember one time when I was in a class in seminary in the 80's. I was in the doctoral program but I was sitting in on a THm class and the professor asked the class of about 150 students when was the last time they heard a sermon on Sunday morning on redemption or any other of the key elements of a primarily doctrinal sermon. No one raised their hand. No one could think of the last time. It's impoverishes the soul of the church and so we have modern translations that in order to write at a 5th, 6th, or 7th grade reading level change the vocabulary so we lose these great words like justification and sanctification. If you use them in everyday conversation, people just look at you like you've just grown a third eye, right between the two you have. They think you're some strange person.
Justification does not mean "just as if I'd never sinned" which is a little trite saying that a lot of people came up with to remember it. Justification means that God declares us judicially not guilty. It's a judicial declaration because we are clothed, as it were, with the righteousness of Christ. God declares us not guilty. It's not that we haven't sinned and it's not as if we hadn't sinned. It's that what we're wearing is like a cloak of righteousness that's covering all of our sins and guilt. That means it's not an issue any more. Our fallen nature changes because of what happens in the baptism by the Holy Spirit but we are still fallen sinners.
We have a new life in Christ. We are declared righteous. After that we have to learn to live like a righteous person. That's called sanctification which is our spiritual growth. So justification is the focus of Romans 3:21-5:21. Then Paul begins to talk about the spiritual life. Now this is important because if you want to understand the tough passage we're getting into tonight, you have to think in terms of how Paul is very logically developing his argument in relation to the righteousness of God as we go through Romans.
What happens is Paul stops talking about justification in 5:21 and he starts talking about the spiritual life. Then he starts talking about Israel in chapters 9, 10, and 11 and there's one mention of justification in one of the verses we're going to look at tonight. The issue that confuses people is that he's not giving Hebrews 10:9 as a salvation verse or a verse to get justified. So Romans 9-11 focuses on God's righteousness in dealing with the corporate entity of Israel. Then the last four chapters relate to applications of God's righteousness to our everyday life.
I pointed out last time that in Romans 9:1 to 11:36 Paul relates Israel to the righteousness of God. Israel is important all the way through Romans. That's the purpose of looking at it this way. This isn't saying this section is all about Israel and righteousness but in every section, Paul says something about Israel and its relationship to the righteousness of God. In Romans 9-11 he demonstrates the righteousness of God in because Israel has rejected God's prescription for how you achieve righteousness. Righteousness is by faith and not from works.
That's how righteousness is clear in the Old Testament. Romans 10 demonstrates that what happened is that Israel, as a corporate entity, as a national entity, as an ethnic entity, basically rejected divine revelation in the Old Testament. That's what Romans 10 is about. Israel rejected divine revelation and if they're going to be delivered by God historically they're going to have to turn back to God's revelation. Romans 11 then answers the question, "Has God permanently cast away His people?" The answer is no and He still has a plan and there will be a future restoration of Israel to the land.
So we started with this last time, beginning with Romans 10:1, "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved." We did a study on the word group for salvation, sozo. Here's it's the noun soteria, translated salvation. The verb is sozo which means to be saved and also to be delivered, to be healed. It has a range of meanings. It means to be rescued from a predicament. So you have to read the context to determine what you're being rescued from. If you're being rescued from physical illness then it has more the idea of healing. If you're being rescued from national destruction, then it has to do with physical deliverance. If you're being rescued from the penalty of sin, then it has to do with salvation in the sense that we normally think of it, that is gaining eternal life so that we don't have to go to the Lake of Fire.
There are three stages of salvation as the word is used in scripture. And this is one of those great little tools that I learned probably in junior high. It's been laid out in the writings of numerous people like Lewis Sperry Chafer and a number of others. It really helps to understand what the scripture is teaching, especially as it comes to this word. There are three stages or phases in the Christian life. The first stage takes place in an instant in time. It's called justification. At the instant we put our faith in Jesus Christ God imputes to us His righteousness and then because He now sees that we're covered with the righteousness of Christ He declares us to be righteous.
It doesn't change who we are. We're not transformed into a sinless person. It doesn't minimize our sin nature. It does, though, take out the dominion of the sin nature. But that sin nature is just as nasty as it ever was if we let it. So this is a problem. Some people think, "Oh, so-and-so can't be a Christian. Look at what they did." Some of the worst people I've ever met are Christians because they don't understand anything about the spiritual life and they've turned their back on God and they're just letting their sin nature run itself out.
I had a conversation the other day with someone and we were talking about a sad situation we knew of where some folks who had been married for some time were going through a divorce. And I said, "The sad thing is they're two wonderful people but they've just given up on Christianity." No one ever teaches people that when you're falling in love with each other and you're focused on the Lord, you're one kind of person but when you start letting the sin nature control your life you become another kind of person. It's not good enough to make sure you're compatible when you're walking with the Lord. You better make sure you're compatible when your sin nature is in control. Everybody always looks at me real weird at that but that's one of the most important principles in dating. Find out if your sin nature is compatible with the other person because if you both get out of fellowship, it's going to be horrible and you have to be able to survive that. If your sin nature can't put up with their sin nature you're not going to last very long. That's just reality.
Justification doesn't mean we're less of a sinner. It means that it's Christ's righteousness that is the basis for our salvation, not what we do. Then we have a spiritual life. We're born again at the instance of salvation. That's distinct from justification. Justification declares us to be righteous and at the same time God imparts to us a new life. We're born again. We have a new spiritual life, a new spiritual capacity that wasn't there but we're just like an undisciplined bratty baby and all we want to do is scream and dirty our diapers. We have to grow up and mature and learn how to take care of our own dirty diapers.
That's the whole principle of the confession of sin. We have to grow up. We have to learn the basic principles. That comes from 1 Peter 2:2 where we are commanded to "earnestly desire or long for the sincere milk of the Word, like a newborn babe, that we may grow by it." That's the spiritual life. We need to learn how to grow. And then the third stage also takes place somewhat as a surprise to us when we're separated from this physical body and we're absent from the body and face to face with the Lord. Then, and only then, are we free from our sin nature. This is glorification when we are face to face with the Lord.
Now the Scripture uses the word saved to describe each of these stages and you can't confuse them. If you confuse them then you will have problems. First of all, justification is sometimes referred to as being saved. Ephesians 2:8 and 9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith…" Simple term. Faith alone in Christ alone. In Romans 3:4 and 5 saved isn't used that way. Justification is used that way. Justification is the more precise word than salvation. In American evangelicalism we always want to talk about "saved." We ask, "When did you get saved?" I pointed out this last time that Earl Radmacher used to always say, "I was saved yesterday, I was saved this morning. I was saved at lunch, I'm going to be saved all afternoon, and I'm going to be saved tomorrow." He's using saved in this second sense of being saved from the power of sin related to our spiritual life. We are working out salvation with fear and trembling, according to Philippians 4:2.
So there's one sense in which saved means justification and it takes place in an instance in time. There's another sense in which salvation is related to our spiritual life and we're being saved from the power of sin. Phase 1, we're saved from the penalty of sin. So now our destiny is heaven. Phase 2, we're being saved from the power of sin so we can experience real life and phase 3, we're saved from the presence of sin when we are "absent from the body, face to face with the Lord". It's important to understand those things.
Romans 10:1says, "My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved…" Now which one of these three is he talking about? Is he talking about that they will be justified? Is he talking that they'll be sanctified, that they'll have a spiritual life? Or is he talking about phase 3? Or is he talking about all three? He's talking more about the end game but you can't have the end game unless you have phase one and phase two. That's something that's not always emphasized in teaching this. The main idea here and the way he uses "saved" for Israel is that he's not just using it as a synonym for justification. Sozo or soteria, as I pointed out last time in our lengthy study of that word is never used in Romans as a synonym for justification. It's used primarily for the spiritual life or the end result of glorification but you can't be saved, phase 2, if you haven't been justified, phase 1. That's the precondition. You don't have a spiritual life to be sanctified if you haven't been justified and regenerated to begin with. So that's the focus on the last part, the completion of these stages of the spiritual life.
His prayer ultimately is for Israel to be saved as we're going to see in the context, which is so important here. If you take the text out of context, you're just left with a con job. That's what most people get. Salvation, all through here, is related to the physical deliverance of Israel at the end of the tribulation period. When Jesus Christ returns at the Second Coming to rescue or deliver Israel from certain destruction at the hands of Satan and the Antichrist and the False Prophet, Christ restores them as a nation and establishes the Kingdom. That is their salvation. That's what Romans 10 is all about.
It fits into the theme of Romans 9, 10, and 11 which is whether God has forgotten about Israel, has given up and gone back on His promises to Abraham. No, He hasn't. In Romans 10:2, Paul presents the problem again. It's the same problem he presented back in chapter 2 that the Israelites focused on works. He says, "For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God…" They are extremely religious, especially the observant ones that are in synagogues five times a day, praying seven times a day, debating, sitting around and studying and debating the minutiae of the Torah and the Talmud, day in and day out, not working.
This is true of the Haredi, which is a term for the ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel. They don't work. This is a big problem in modern Israel today. They don't work. They don't serve in the army. They don't really support the government of Israel because they don't think there should be an Israeli state until the Messiah comes back. They live off of the welfare state in Israel. You have a number of different varieties of Haredi and so that's what they do. The men sit around all day long and they just party and debate the fine points of the Torah. They put Christians to shame in terms of their deep, deep knowledge, not of the Word but of the Talmud. They've memorized a certain amount of Old Testament scripture, especially from the Torah but they do what a lot of Christians are starting to do. They can just tell you what everybody says about it but they can't really tell you what the text means.
We've gotten that way. I saw that when I was in seminary. People sit around and talk about what Calvin said, what Luther said, what John MacArthur said, what Chuck Swindoll said, what so-and-so said, what J. Vernon McGee said, what Ryrie said, what Chafer said and they go on and on and on. But can they tell you what the Bible says? I was talking with Tommy Ice today and he said, "It's so different in seminary today because when we were students there you'd go around and you'd ask what they wanted to do when they got out of seminary. The answer was that they wanted to teach the Bible. Nowadays you don't get that answer." You get a variety of other answers but that's not their prime purpose for going to seminary any more.
What you have in the Jewish community is a zeal for and a passion for the Torah, a passion for the Talmud but it's not according to knowledge. The Greek word for knowledge here is epignosis which means a full knowledge. Gnosis means you know the facts, like Jack Webb in the old Dragnet series, "Just the facts, mam. Just the facts." You know data but epignosis is where you've assimilated that data into your soul because you understand it spiritually and you believe it as the Word of God. Now their passion for God is not according to a true, full knowledge of the Scripture.
Those of you coming on Sunday night or watching the Bible Study Methods class you're learning that some of the most important words we have in Bible study are those little connective particles, we call them in grammar, which begin each sentence. So what we have in verse one is the statement that Paul makes that his heart's desire and prayer for Israel is that they be saved. Then the first word in verse 2 is "for". This is an explanation. He's explaining why he's praying that they might be saved. Why does he need to pray that the Jews will be saved? The Jews think they're automatically going to go to heaven because of either a) they're the descendants of Abraham so they get there on Abraham's coattail or b) because they're more righteous than the Gentiles because they have Torah, they've studied Torah, they've observed the Shabbat and all these other things.
Verse 2 is an explanation of why he's praying for their salvation, because they need it. They have a zeal for God but don't be confused by this passion that's not according to knowledge. Then he has an additional explanation in verse 3. Again it begins with that word "for", "For not knowing about God's righteousness…" They don't understand the dynamics of God's righteousness. If you ask them if God is righteous, they'll say yes. But they've rejected what the Old Testament taught about righteousness.
Now this gets into something else. I had a conversation today with a professor at Dallas Seminary who's a free grace guy, for the most part, but it was interesting to listen. I kept my mouth shut because I was trying to probe him for some information on some other things and so I was just letting him talk. It was interesting because he's part of this group that wonders how much the people in the Old Testament really understand. Now he's better than most. He thinks they understood a whole lot. In fact, one comment he made had me thinking, "You know, I hadn't really thought about that before." His comment was about the whole statement about when Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.
In the New Testament in John 8, Jesus said that Abraham longed to see My day. Now think about that. There are a lot of people who get very concerned about just how much the Jews needed to understand to believe in Old Testament days in order to be saved. The answer some people give is that they just need to believe in God. Others make it a little more precise and say that they need to believe in God's promise of a Messiah. If you go back and look at the text, as I've stated many times, the promise is of a "seed" which is the Messiah who will be the Deliverer of the people from their sin so there's a clear gospel there. Abraham longed to see Jesus' day, that's what Jesus says.
Hebrews 11 also talks about the fact that some of these Old Testament saints seemed to know a lot more about God's future plan than we would get just from reading in Genesis, Exodus, or Samuel. They seemed to have a greater level of revelation than is indicated in the text. So they had a clear understanding of righteousness. Then this professor said that the Old Testament believers didn't really understand righteousness or the deity of the Messiah. I'm sure they did. I hit this last time and I had at least one person say that they needed me to sort of go over that again.
It's so important to understand this concept of righteousness from the Old Testament. Number one, Isaiah made it very clear that human righteousness is worthless. He uses very graphic imagery here to portray how polluted and how disgusting our righteousness is, not our unrighteousness, but our righteousnesses, which is the best that we can do. All our righteousness is like an unclean garment, Isaiah 64:5. So if our righteousness is worthless, then where do we get righteousness? We can't produce it on our own. Genesis 15:6, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned or imputed to him as righteousness. It's based on faith.
Now I believe that the tense of the verb in the Hebrew here for believe indicates something that had already happened in the past. It's a verb shift in the Hebrew from the verses preceding it. It's almost a parenthetical statement. Moses constantly in his narrative will tell you that his happened, this happened, this happened, and then he inserts a divinely inspired point of application or editorial. You have to read the text carefully to get that. Otherwise you think that it's a straight flow of the story. That's how some people read Genesis 15:6 but it's just the writer, Moses, informing the readers not to forget this point as we go on with the story. The point is that Abraham had already believed God, long before Genesis 12. He's not just now getting around to believing God and being declared righteous. He's already been declared righteous before Genesis 12. Moses is reminding his readers that Abraham had already believed God and God had imputed that or reckoned that or credited that to his account as righteousness before God ever called him to leave Ur of the Chaldees and to go to this new land that God was going to give him. It's interesting that Ur of the Chaldees was excavated just after World War I by a man named Sir Charles Woolsey. He had another claim to fame and that is that he had excavated Carchemish. We've spoken about the Battle of Carchemish. It was on a river in northern Syria and today that site of Carchemish is right on the border of Syria and Turkey. Anyone want to go work there? That is a hotspot and it's been a hotspot.
Literally one third of the site of ancient Carchemish is located in Syria, two/thirds is located in Turkey. It was excavated by Woolsey before World War I and his assistant was a guy named T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. That was his number one assistant. Woolsey was like 35 and Lawrence was 28. That was just before World War I. Most people don't realize that Lawrence was a noted archeologist prior to his claim to fame from the period of World War I.
Ceramic never got worked again because of all the fighting going on since the end of World War I all the way up to 2011. A team went in at that time and worked for six months and then, of course, all of this rebellion of Syria broke out and it hasn't been worked since. So for ninety years, basically it hasn't been worked since Lawrence worked it. Ceramic up there on the Euphrates River was not far from Haran which is where Abraham stops on his way. He left Ur where Woolsey later excavated and then Abraham goes north and he's trusting God along the way but that's not his justification. That's part of his spiritual life.
How did Abraham get righteousness? It was credited to him because he believed God, not because of what he did. This is Paul's whole argument in Romans 4 and Galatians 3. Abraham couldn't get righteousness from the Law because the Law is not given for another 400 years. So the Law was not the basis for becoming or getting righteousness. It's faith in God and that's it. It's not based on works.
Now where righteousness comes back in play is again in Isaiah 53. I pointed this out last time. You read through that and it's the story of the suffering servant who's going to come and He will die as a substitute, pay the penalty for His people. Isaiah 53:4, "He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." He's wounded because of our sins. He's crushed because of our iniquities. We're all sinners.
This is a problem in Judaism. You don't need righteousness if you're not born totally depraved. In modern Judaism and rabbinic Judaism, they don't think you're born totally depraved. You may sin but there's not a doctrine of total depravity or original sin in modern Judaism. As a result of that, if you're not inherently bad, then you can be reformed and you can do good. But the Bible says clearly, "All of our works of righteousness are as filthy rags and we all went astray." Isaiah is talking about himself and he's one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament. He says "we all went astray like sheep, each going his own way, and the Lord visited upon Him the guilt of all of us." A clear doctrine of universal human guilt in Isaiah 53:6.
It goes on later in Isaiah 53:6, "But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him." It goes on to say in Isaiah53:12, "And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors." Again, a substitutionary death is described here. In Isaiah 53:11, it says, "By His knowledge, the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many." Only the Servant is righteous. He's righteous because He's inherently righteous. The Servant is the incarnate Son of God, the child from back in Isaiah 7:14, "Emmanuel, born of a virgin." In Isaiah 9:6, the one who is called "Mighty God." The One who is called "The Father of eternity." The One who is called "Wonderful Counselor." All these terms apply to deity.
He is the One who was born as a human so what does the Righteous Servant do in Isaiah 53:11, "He makes the many righteous." They can't do it themselves. They have to be given that righteousness. Now all of this is important to understand the next verse in our passage. Righteousness in the Old Testament comes from believing a promise of God, the promise of the Seed. The promise of God is that the "seed of the woman will defeat the seed of the serpent." That's the first indication in Genesis 3:15. Then we go through all those Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament that tell us that He's going to be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and He's going to be from the tribe of Judah. He's going to be born in Bethlehem. He's going to be born of a virgin. He's going to suffer. He's going to die. He's going to be the One through whom God makes His people righteous.
Paul says in Romans 10:4, "For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes." Now this is a much more difficult verse to understand than what meets the eye. I would guess that most of us would look at that and at first blush we would say the predominant view in modern commentaries. I don't think it's right but it's the predominant view. Some of you are going to be aghast and think, "I can't believe you said that." No, I don't think this is right. We read it as "Christ ended the Law." But it's not a verb. It doesn't say that Christ ended the Law. Other passages say Christ ended the Law but that's not what this verse is talking about. It's saying that Christ is the end of the Law.
The word in the Greek that's translated end is the word telos. It' interesting how in the last few weeks I've had to do a lot of work on this particular word because a form of this word teleios with an "ei" in there between the "l" and the "o" is the one that's translated "perfect" in 1Corinthians 13:10, "When the perfect comes that which is partial shall be done away with." So there's a lot of discussion on this particular word and a lot of research. Every few years I go back and reevaluate and rethink and read a lot of new stuff on this. So this is the word telos and the reason it's debated is because it has a wide range of meanings.
If a word can be one of ten things it doesn't mean you can go "eeni, meeni, minny mo" and you can find one you like. What it means is that you've got to pay a lot more attention to context and the development of the writer's argument so that you don't assign the wrong meaning and misunderstand the passage. It commonly happens in a lot of things, not to mention politics in Washington, D.C. and understanding the scripture that Christ is the end of the Law.
Now there's basically three major senses to this word telos. Fulfillment is one. Christ is the fulfillment of the Law. He fulfills the Law. Second, He's the goal of the Law. The Law points to Christ. Lot of people say, "Well, it's both of those together that's the main sense here." The one that's probably the meaning many of you have heard before is that Christ is the termination of the Law and that's true. Christ certainly, indeed, does terminate the Law. That's stated in any number of passages but that's not the thrust here. The thrust here has to do more with this idea of Christ being either the fulfillment or the goal of the Law.
Galatians says the Law was a pedagogue, a tutor, to lead us to Christ. So that makes a little more sense. I'll show you a couple more verses on that in just a second. First of all, let's look at this context. Look back at verse 3, "For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God." What do you think is the main concept in verse 3? It's the Law of repetition. You see one word used three times and that's the word righteousness. The problem is that one group is ignorant of God's righteousness, they don't understand the integrity of God and the high standard or God's righteousness and that's a reference to the Jewish thought, 2nd Temple period, and rabbinical theology.
One of the things I've always noticed in theological systems is that the less of a sinner people are, the less grace God has to give and the less righteous God is. There's a correlation there. It's just like if you think you can do something to lose your salvation somewhere, buried in your thinking, is the idea that you do something to get your salvation. But if you don't do anything to gain your salvation, you can't do anything to lose it because it was a free gift. The same thing here, if you have a low regard of the righteousness of God, that somehow it's diluted, then man becomes a little bit better.
If God's standard isn't an unreachable standard that's a hundred miles up, and I can't ever jump up and touch it, then that means that the only way I'll get there is if someone takes me there. But if God's standard is seven feet off the ground then I just might be able to jump high enough to get there. So the lower that standard is, the easier it is for unbelievers to reach it. So if you minimize the righteousness of God and change that meaning like in 2nd Temple Judaism the term righteousness or begins to shift from the main idea of a righteous absolute standard to the idea of doing works of charity. That really changes things.
One example that I ran into years ago when I first started going over to Russian-speaking areas in the former Soviet Union, everybody over there was using an old Russian translation like a King James translation of the Bible, called the Russian Synovial Text. In the New Testament, the word dikaisune, the word for righteousness, is consistently translated with the Russian word Pravda. You've heard Pravda before that's the Russian word for the main newspaper in Moscow. It means truth. But if you read a passage like this instead of they being ignorant of God's truth and seeking to establish their own truth they have not submitted to the truth of God, it totally changes what the sentence is saying.
So if you have a misconception of what righteousness is and you're defining it as works of charity, then that's going to ping-pong all the way through your theology and change everything so it doesn't conform to the text anymore. You basically go way off-kilter. So they're ignorant of God's righteousness. They're seeking to establish their own righteousness. When you deny the absolute standard of God and you're seeking your own standard, what have you done? You're substituting your standard for God's standard. It's the standard of God's character. So they're seeking to establish their own standard instead of following God's standard. They're thinking that since they can't live up to perfection they just change it and bring it down to something they can do.
So by seeking to establish their own standard, what have they done? They've rebelled and rejected what God has said in the Scriptures. That's why Paul says they haven't submitted to the righteousness of God. They're in rebellion. They're in spiritual rebellion. They have rejected what God has said and they're manufacturing their own religious system as a substitute. In Judaism it's a profound system because they're spending all this time talking about the Old Testament but they come up with some of the most unusual ways to interpret the scripture. You get into numerology. You get into all kinds of hidden codes, mystical codes, and that kind of thing. It changes up how you interpret the Scripture.
So on the one hand we have the Jews who are ignorant of God's righteousness and they've rebelled against God's righteousness and then Paul gives another explanation in verse 4 for Christ is "the end of the Law". See, he's not saying that Christ ended the Law. He says that other places but what he is saying here is that Christ is the focal point of the Law and as we'll see from the verses he's quoting from the Law, these verses are all talking about the post-salvation life of the believer in Israel. They're not talking about how the Jews are to get saved.
These passages are coming out of Deuteronomy and they're talking about how the redeemed nation is to live to experience the full blessing of God. In other words, these passages aren't talking about phase one experience in Israel. They're talking about a phase two experience in Israel, the spiritual life. This fits the context of Romans because this part of Romans has left the phase one justification stage behind at the end of chapter five. We went on to the spiritual life and from there we're talking about the righteousness of God and Paul's prayer for the Jews that they be "saved". It's not talking just about being justified; it includes that but it's talking about them experiencing the fullness of their salvation.
Jesus said that He didn't come to "steal and destroy". He said He came to "give them life [phase one] and to give life abundantly [phase two]". That's the spiritual life. It's two separate issues. One is how to get to heaven and the other is how to live now that you're a citizen of heaven. So Christ is "the end of the Law". The Law points to Christ and His life because in His life He set the precedent for the spiritual life for the church age. He's the model. He's the paradigm. He's the rubric for how to live the Christian life in this age. He's the end of the Law for righteousness.
This phrase "unto righteousness" is the same preposition construction we're going to see when we get into Romans 10: 9-10. That's the goal. Jesus is the goal. The Law points to Him. He is the end or the fulfillment of the Law to righteousness to everyone who believes." Are we talking about justification belief here or are we talking about sanctification belief here? Just think a little bit. That's why I spent so much time going through Phase 1. Phase 2. Phase 3. Some of your eyes were glazing over because you're heard it so many times but now is the pop quiz. That's why it's important.
Paul is not talking about how to get righteousness. He's talking about how to live now that you're righteous. Now that they have the experiential righteousness that's supposed to characterize our lives after salvation, not the forensic or justified righteousness that we got at salvation. When it says Christ is the end of the Law, this is clear from a number of passages of scripture. Like Matthew 5:17 where Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." That fits the idea that He is the focal point, the end game in terms of what the Old Testament is pointing to. Romans 13:10, "Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore, love is the fulfillment of the Law." 1 Timothy 1:5, "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."
Now we're going to the next verse. We're going show that it's not a verse on how to be justified because I would guess that so many of you are confused on Romans 10:9 and 10 and think that if we "believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, we'll be saved." You think that's talking about how to get to Heaven. What I'm very carefully pointing out to you is that this verse has nothing to do with how to get to Heaven. If it did it's teaching a works salvation, that you have to believe and then do something with your mouth. But that's not what it's talking about. It doesn't fit anything in Romans at all.
Okay, Romans 10:5, "For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on Law…" Interesting verse. Paul is going to quote from Leviticus 18:5 which says, "You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the Lord." Let's turn in our Bibles there. We're going to float around in Leviticus and Deuteronomy a little bit so it's not going to hurt you to leave Romans and see if you can get those pages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy to separate.
Who is speaking in Leviticus 18:5? Yahweh the Covenant God of Israel. He's speaking to Moses, the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. In verse 1 He says, "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God." They are already in a covenant relationship with God. They're already for the most part, as reprobate as the Exodus generation became, they are viewed as a "saved" generation. They believed God again and again and again. Of course, they turned around the next day, unlike you and me, and forgot everything and disobeyed God. But in this passage God is telling them to remember that He is the Lord, their God.
Then He reminds them where they came from, "According to what is done in the land of Egypt". He's saying, "Remember before you were a Christian and you just lived like all the reprobates and pagans around you." That would be the comparison to today. In other words he's telling them not to live like the pagans who lived around them when they were living in Egypt. He also told them that He was taking them to Canaan and He didn't want them to live like them either. It may have been a new neighborhood with a different way of living but it's just as pagan so He warned them not to follow their practices either. "Nor shall you walk in their statutes." Don't follow their customs. Don't follow their Laws. I'm giving you a separate and distinct set of standards for how you should live.
In verse 4, "You are to perform My judgments and keep My statues, to live in accord with them" Whenever you see the word "walk" take note. "Walk" is a process. Walk isn't how to get saved. Walk is what you do after you're saved. You walk by means of the Spirit. You walk in the light. You abide in Christ. You abide in the truth. These are all descriptions of the Christian life, phase two. Then we come to verse 5, the verse Paul is quoting in Romans 10, "So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them, I am the Lord."
Now, some people take verse 5 in Romans 10 that Paul is talking sort of hypothetically, that if a man could do these things, he would live by them. That's not what the original context is saying. God is saying "Okay, I've saved you and redeemed you out from slavery in Egypt and I'm bringing you to a new land and I'm giving you a new set of standards on how you're to live your life. If you live like the pagans around you, you're going to destroy your life and you're going to self-destruct. But if you live according to My standards and My principles, you're going to experience blessing and riches in life." He's talking about their life after salvation. He's not talking about how they should get justified and go to heaven. He's talking about how that now that "you're My people, this is how you should live."
The Mosaic Law and the Ten Commandments didn't have anything to do with how you became the people of God. It had to do with how the people of God are supposed to live once they become the people of God. So Leviticus 18 isn't talking about getting justified because you can't get justified by the Law. Galatians 3:21 says, "Is the Law then against the promise of God? Certainly not. For if there had been a Law given which could have given life truly righteousness [justification] would have been by the source of the Law if the Law could have given life." But no Law can give justification so you're born into a new life.
Philippians 3:9 "And be found in Him not having my own righteousness which is from the Law." You can be moral or immoral. That's not the issue in salvation. The issue in salvation isn't what kind of righteousness do you have but have you received the imputation of Christ's righteousness? Do you have your righteousness, good, bad, or indifferent, or do you have Christ's righteousness? If you have Christ's righteousness, then you're going into heaven because the righteousness is by Christ.
Philippians 3:9 continues, "But that which is from Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith." So in Romans 10:6, Paul says, "But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follow," I don't have time to go there. We're going to have to stop here. We're going to get into a quote from Deuteronomy 30:12-14 and we have to build a chart and show what is going on here.
Where am I going with this? You need to understand a little bit about what the conclusion is going to be. The conclusion is in verses 6, 7, " that the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into Heaven?" You know, don't say I need to go to heaven to find God or go into the abyss to find God's Word. But what does Deuteronomy say? It says the Word is near you. As Jews God revealed His word. The Jewish people have been the custodians of God from the time of Abraham on. Every book but possibly the book of Job in the Old Testament was written by a Jew. The Jews were the custodians of the revelation of God. It was available to them. They didn't have to go to Heaven or to the Abyss to get it. It was near them. It was in their word and in their heart. So they need to be obedient to the Word.
Then in verse 9 "If you confess with your mouth… (admit or acknowledge the Lord Jesus is the Messiah)." This is not about justification here. It's talking about phase two and phase three which is the spiritual life and have fully realized all the blessings of justification, then this verse is not telling you what you need to be saved. It's telling you how to live after you're saved.
It has some specific Jewish applications. Verse 10 is the application. It says, "With the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." The first part is justification and the second part is sanctification. There's another quote from Joel saying "Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved." This is parallel in context with confession. The issue with the Jews is that they had rejected Jesus. Now they have to call upon Jesus.
He had said at the end of Matthew 23, "I am not coming back until you call upon the name of the Lord." So until the Jewish nation calls upon the name of the Lord, Jesus isn't going to return as their Messiah. That's what Paul is talking about. God still has a plan but they have to quit rejecting the revelation He had been giving them and they not only have to believe Jesus died on the Cross for their sins but they have to have personal righteousness before men and they have to call on Him to come deliver them, then He will rescue them.
That's what verse 13 is talking about and that's the same thing he will use in chapter 11 when he says, "all Israel will be saved." So it all ties together in a nice, neat little package. So we'll come back next time because we have to look at these verses, Romans 10: 7 and 8 and then we have to put them together. We need to compare Old Testament and New Testament passages so we can properly understand what Paul is saying and what he's not saying.