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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Thursday, September 03 2020

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai


Two weeks ago we looked at Paul's Anguish over Israel in verses 1-15 of Chapter 9. It was not enough for Paul to feel sorry for Israel. He wished he could demonstrate his love in an even more active way. Being ready to, like Christ, sacrifice himself for the salvation of his fellow Jews. In today’s study we will be considering how the Jews jeopardized their enviable position and what God, in His mercy offered His chosen people.


“30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.” (NIV)

There is a right and wrong way to come to God. If we pursue the righteousness that we need to stand before God by our works, we will fail. If we come to God by faith in Christ, we attain righteousness, even if we were not previously pursuing it.

The Jews were trying to approach God through their works built on faith in their abilities to obey the commands; this wrong approach caused them to stumble over the stumbling stone, which is Christ. Romans 9:32b-33.

The reason the true Gospel offends is that it confronts our sinful pride (1 Cor. 1:29).

  • We should not boast in our intellect, because it would keep us from trusting in Christ.
  • We should not boast in our morality, because if we could see each other’s hearts, we would see that they are not morally pure, but rotten.
  • We should not boast in our good works, because we only do them to look good to others.  

So God deliberately put Christ and Him crucified at the centre of salvation to humble our pride, which is the root of all of our sins. To come in faith to Christ, God must humble our pride. That leads us to the right way to come to Him: because salvation by human righteousness always falls short. We need God’s righteousness, imputed to us; this refers to justification, where God declares the believing sinner blameless and imputes (assigns) the very righteousness of Christ to that sinner’s account.

We cannot bring our best efforts and combine them with the righteousness of Christ. That muddies the pure water of His righteousness and it robs Him of glory. To follow Jesus, we must deny ourselves, especially deny our self-righteousness and good deeds as the basis for right standing with God. Salvation is not a joint project, where we try hard and let God do the rest. It is all of God.


“Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

Once again, Paul starts off by expressing his desire and prayers for the salvation of the Israelites. He testifies of their zeal for God and then proceeds to answer the questions that would have been bothering the Romans. “If the Jews are God’s chosen people, why are most of them rejecting Christ?”

In his answer, he revealed that the Jews and all religious people often miss salvation

  1. In spite of their zeal for God, because they possess zeal not based on knowledge (10:2).

Israel failed to attain righteousness because they did not pursue the law by faith, but as if it could be attained by works. In so doing, they were only seeking to establish their own righteousness (10:3), which always falls short.

All roads do not lead to the top; being sincere or zealous is not enough. Good intentions are not good enough if they are mistaken about the truth of the Gospel. Religious zeal must always be tested against the core truth of the unchanging Gospel.

The Jews did not understand God’s saving righteousness, namely, that He imputes righteousness to the one who believes in His appointed substitute.

  1. Because they fail to trust in Christ as their righteousness (10:4).

Verse 4 says: “Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

This is a wonderful verse, but unfortunately it is one of the most disputed verses in all of Paul’s letters. The problem is that the word “end” (Greek, telos) has different nuances of meaning. It can mean “termination,” it can mean “goal,” (Gal. 3:23-25), and it can mean “fulfilment” or “culmination,” (Matt. 5:17). To understand what Paul was referring to here, we must combine verse 3 & 4. Verses 3 & 4 are saying that either you are seeking to be right with God by establishing your own righteousness through good deeds and morality (10:3), in which case you will miss God’s salvation, because all such attempts fall short. Or, you will recognize that you need perfect righteousness to stand before God. Thus you will abandon your own attempts to establish your righteousness and trust in Christ alone to be your righteousness (10:4). His perfect righteousness is credited to your account, so that God declares you to be righteous or justified. In other words, “Christ came to fulfil the law so as to make righteousness available for everyone who believes.


“5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” 6 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) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 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: 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. 10 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.”

In these verses, Paul contrasts the righteousness based on the law (verse 5) with the righteousness that comes through faith (verses 6-10). To be saved by keeping the law, you must keep it perfectly. But to be saved by faith, you trust in what God has done in sending His Son to die for your sins and raising Him from the dead. Salvation is not by keeping the law, but by faith in Christ.

  1. To be saved, you must recognize firstly, that you cannot save yourself by keeping God’s law (Verse 5).
  2. To be saved, you must recognize that Christ has done for you what you could never do for yourself (Verses 6-8).

So Paul’s point is that human effort is not necessary to procure God’s righteousness. God has done it all: He sent Christ. Christ died for our sins. God raised Him from the dead. All that we must do is to believe in this word that Paul was preaching. The fact that this word “is near you” (10:8) means that you don’t have to go through some difficult or impossible process like (ascending into heaven or descending into the abyss) to find Christ and be saved. Rather, you can believe in Him at this moment and be saved.

  1. To be saved, you must truly believe in Jesus as the crucified and risen Lord and Saviour (Verses 9-10)
  • True faith is a matter of your heart believing Jesus as the crucified and risen Lord and Saviour.
  • True faith confesses openly that Jesus is the risen Lord and Saviour.
  • Faith is the root; confession is the fruit. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, but if our faith is genuine, it will always bear the fruit of salvation (Eph. 2:8-10).


“As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Verse 11 means that the Gospel is good news for all. Good news is only good news for you when you hear it and act on it. So we must preach it to one and all!

  1. All people have one primary need: To be saved before they die and face judgment.
  2. All people need one message: The Good news that whoever believes in Jesus will not be put to shame.
  3. All people need to hear that there is one way to be saved: To believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.


We have learnt why the Jews for the most part were rejecting Christ: they were trying to be saved by their own good works so that they stumbled over Christ. They missed God’s way of righteousness through faith in Christ. So the emphasis is on human responsibility and sin. We will see in future studies that although Israel rejected Christ because they were disobedient and obstinate (10:21); God’s sovereignty is still present. It is God’s sovereign plan to use the salvation of the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy, so that eventually they will turn to Christ (10:19; 11:11, 14).

Parts of this study was culled from (lessons 62-65)

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