Day 11: Romans 10
Righteousness by Faith
Paul is writing to the predominantly non-Jewish church in Rome but he wants to express how eager he is for his fellow Jews to know God. He says of them that they are very zealous at following the law. However, following the law will not save them, however zealous they are. He has already explained that all have sinned, Jew and Gentile alike (Romans 3.23), and all are accepted by God on one basis – Jesus’ death on the cross.
From a human perspective we might think that the only way to appease a holy God would be to try to be a very good person. That is what Paul is saying Israel were doing. They were very zealous in trying to do the right things, but this meant they were relying on their own righteousness to be acceptable to God and as Isaiah says (Is 64.2) “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags”.
Earlier, in Romans 4 Paul has explained that even Abraham, the father and hero of the Israelite nation was justified not by what he did, but by faith. Now in Chapter 10 verse 6 Paul explains that nothing we do, no exploit on our part – even reaching into heaven or going into death is necessary to find Christ. All we need to do is declare with our mouth and believe in our heart. It seems almost too simple. Surely there is more required of us! The answer is no! Nothing more is required – our justification is by faith which is expressed by believing in our hearts and speaking it out.
This is our assurance – our salvation, our righteousness, our acceptance by him is based on one simple thing. Faith in Christ. Not our zealous acts, but faith! How releasing!
Paul then goes on to explain that faith comes by hearing and people will only hear if someone is sent and he quotes from Isaiah 52 – “how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news”.
The context in Isaiah is that of a messenger who has travelled many miles, probably many of them on foot, covering difficult terrain to bring the good news of freedom to a people in captivity. What would the state of the feet of such a messenger be? I’m guessing they wouldn’t look like they’d just come out of a spa day! However, the result of the sacrifice involved in bringing the message makes those tired, dirty, aching feet a thing of beauty. For us to bring the gospel to people can be tough and we may sometimes get hurt, but it is beautiful to God.
- Let us continue to be grateful for this righteousness that we have that comes by faith alone and live in the good of it.
- We may be physically restricted at this time, we may have difficulties and hardships, but let us continue to bring the message of salvation and freedom to the people we have contact with.