THE RIGHTEOUSNESS BASED ON FAITH
Two Kinds Of Righteousness
Paul still agonizes over his fellow Jews and longs for their salvation. It is his heart's desire as he prays for his people. Paul knows about the zeal of the Jewish people for God. The problem is not their enthusiasm; it is their lack of knowledge. It is frightening to think that one can be earnest and sincere and be sincerely wrong and misguided at the same time. The people Paul is describing lived by bad theology and doctrine because although they were religiously passionate, they operated with a lack of knowledge and scripture states that it is not good to live in this way (Proverbs 19:2). The people of Israel were ignorant of the righteousness of God because they placed their faith in their ability to keep the law and create a righteousness of their own by keeping the law. The law teaches that a savior is necessary as it points to Christ. Christ is the end of the law because he is the point of the law and it is by faith in Jesus Christ that God's righteousness is experienced. Righteousness is achieved through Christ as his righteousness is imputed to the believer.
Everyone Who Calls On The Name Of The Lord Will Be Saved
No one, save Jesus, has ever kept the law perfectly and the righteousness that comes from obeying the law requires a person to continue living by the commandments. Living by the law excludes faith, and anyone who seeks righteousness from the law must recognize that only God can send a savior and only God can raise the dead. The Word of God is not hidden, not all that difficult to grasp but it is possible to confess faith with the mouth while lacking faith in the heart. However, one cannot have faith in the heart and that faith not make its way out of the mouth. Paul alludes to Deuteronomy 30:14 testifying to the accessibility of the word of faith. Moses announced the nature of the law and Paul declares the nature of the gospel. Confession is not just repeating or saying words; it is an outward expression of an upward reality. Confession and belief can be the evidence of faith. It is important to remember that Jesus declared that not all who confess him, belong to him. God raised Jesus from the dead and Paul asserts that the resurrection of Christ is the basis of the believer’s justification. Faith in the resurrection is essential which is why zeal without knowledge is so dangerous. Salvation and righteousness are the same for Jew and Gentile alike. Paul cites Joel 2:32 reiterating that everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved. Paul asks a series of questions to lay a logical foundation for the process of salvation and as he concludes with quotes from Isaiah and Psalms. Those who truly hear are the ones where the message gets through, it penetrates their hearts, and they respond in faith. The people of Israel had the benefit of general revelation in creation itself and specific revelation in sacred Scripture. Israel rejected the gospel but God used their disobedience as a blessing for non-Israelites, and his actions provoked them to jealousy so that they might turn to Christ. The Gentiles did not seek God, but they found Him and the Jews rejected Jesus. God extended his hand in grace, but Israel continues to walk in disobedience and rebellion.
Things To Consider:
- Where is the knowledge of God found?
- Why is sincerity not the same as faith?
- Why must Jesus be the object of faith?
- How do we try to establish a righteousness of our own?
- How is the word near?
- How are confession and belief connected to faith?
- How does God remove distinctions through his gospel?
- Why do people reject God?
- Why is the preaching of God's word important?
- Why is God so patient?