Jesus Saves All Who Believe in Him
4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness 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.”[a] 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’”[b] (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’”[c] (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,”[d] 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. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[e] 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.”
Jesus came as the Messiah to the Jewish people and they rejected Him. There are many different reasons for this that can be summed up in the idea that He did not act as Messiah as they expected. He did not provide the salvation that they were looking for. And in His ministry there is a fulfillment of the purpose of the Nation of Israel. As he said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” There is a need to see your identity in a new way. And that new way, that new identity has to do with following Jesus as opposed to following the law. That new identity has to do with being “in Christ” as opposed to being “in Israel”. And that new identity has to do with God reconciling all peoples of the earth to Himself in Christ as opposed to judging all people and setting up Israel as His representative rulers.
So, this rejection of Jesus by Israel creates tension in people. What is God doing? Why the apparent lack of success in Jesus’ ministry. And keep in mind that when Romans is written, Jerusalem has not yet be destroyed, the temple is still standing and the “Old Covenant” sacrifices and temple rituals are still being performed even though Jesus has fulfilled them.
Paul is in the middle of a three chapter section of scripture that is dealing with the confusion of what is going on with this transition time where it seems like two covenants are functioning.
In today’s passage Paul points back to Moses, especially to Deuteronomy chapters 28-30 and what Moses says about Israel and their relationship with God. And so, we turn to our passage and consider the testimony of Moses.
- The Testimony of Moses Concerning Righteousness
- You must obey the law Paul quotes from Leviticus 18
1The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. 3 You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. 4 You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. 5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.
If you obey the law you will find your life in the law! That is what they phrase means. But, what if you don’t obey them?
- Breaking the law and being cursed
Deuteronomy= Deutero, second + nomos, law.
To me Deuteronomy and Genesis are the two most important books of the Old Testament. Deut explains in a more systematic fashion God’s relationship with Israel. It is a restatement of the covenant before the COI enter the Promised Land. And it functions as the explanation of all that happens in their future, especially chapters 28-30.
And the part that is very important for Jesus’ day is that the Jews view themselves as being in exile still in many very important ways. Why are they in exile? It is because they have not been faithful to the covenant.
19 When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. 20 The Lord will never be willing to forgive them; his wrath and zeal will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will fall on them, and the Lord will blot out their names from under heaven. 21 The Lord will single them out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law.
24 All the nations will ask: “Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?”
25 And the answer will be: “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. 26 They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them. 27 Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book.
This is EXACTLY where the Jews of Jesus’ day view themselves. They have been in exile as a nation for over 500 years. And they have not been a whole nation for 750 years! What do they need to do for this to change? What is the solution to this?
- Repentance is readily available
When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes[a] and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 4 Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 5 He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. 6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. 7 The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you.
This is Moses’ testimony. And Moses expresses what it takes to regain their standing with God.
- The Invitation of Moses to Exiles
Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 30 what the Jews need to do in order to be right with God, but He has one huge twist. He applies the salvation to what is found in Christ!
- Salvation is impossible but not too difficult
Since righteousness before the law requires one to keep the law perfectly, it is impossible. Keep in mind the law provides for this by allowing for sacrifices.
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
- The word of salvation is near you
Repent, obey, love, believe, submit, follow
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
- Choose life
The command implies ability
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
What we see in Romans 10 is that these ideas from Deuteronomy that apply to restoration from exile are applied directly to Jesus!
III. Jesus is the Word that Gives Life
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[d] 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.
- Jesus has come near
You have not had to ascend into heaven in order to bring Christ down. God did this! Incarnation.
You have not had to descend into the depths to bring Christ up from the dead. God did this! Crucifixion and Resurrection.
John 5: 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
The word is near you
In the beginning was the Word, The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He came to His own and His own would not receive Him.
- Confess and believe Verses 9,10
- Confess: Confess what?
Jesus is Lord is the confession. This is a recognition of Who Jesus is. “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Jesus is Lord: Philosophically, He is the Son of God.
Jesus is Lord: Personally. I submit to Him as my Lord and God. (Thomas’ confession in John 20. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.)
John 20: 31 But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
- Believe: Believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead.
Crucifixion and Resurrection go together. They interpret and inform each other. Believe in the work of Christ on your behalf.
Keep in mind that it was sacrifice that took care of the sin problem. Jesus fulfills the sacrificial system. The Jewish people are looking for political, military deliverance as the result of their personal piety. Jesus calls for an acceptance of His sacrifice and then submission to His way of forgiveness of the Romans, of turning the other cheek, of redefining who they are as people of God. (This is what it means to be born again!)
There is a massive reinterpretation of what it means for a Jewish person to be a child of God. Temple practices, what the land means, identity (no more genealogies) what the kingdom of God is going to be like, who my enemies are etc.
We are all called upon to believe in the work of Christ on our behalf, and on the way of Christ for us in our lives.
“We need to be meaner!” Falwell
“Love your enemies” Jesus
- Jesus can save anyone and everyone
- 11 anyone:
11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The word is near to you today. You have heard the message. Jesus is the unique Son of God. He is the Word of God to us that concerns the salvation from our sin, the entrance into God’s blessing and the identity of being God’s people, His treasured possession!
Confess and believe! Follow, obey, believe, love etc.