Paul is still lamenting the fact that many of his fellow Jews have not accepted Jesus as Messiah. He desperately wishes for them to be saved because they have a genuine—if misdirected—zeal (Rom 10:1-2). The key to understanding their rejection is that “being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes”(Rom 10:3-4). Their righteousness is their own—meaning that it is based on their own performance and goodness. Because of this, they have not submitted to the God who accounts faith as righteousness.
He contrasts the systems. “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them”(Rom 10:5). Law-righteousness is based on personal performance and perfection. But to describe the righteousness of faith, he takes us back to the words of Moses: “the word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(Rom 10:8). Faith-righteousness is not too complicated or difficult. He then applies the heart and the mouth to believing in the Messiah: “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved”(Rom 10:9-10). Law-righteousness is based on “doing the commandments”; faith-righteousness is based on believing and confessing.
God wants us to submit to his righteousness. It is different from our own. It does not consist of being perfect (although certainly it does not revert to sin). Instead, it trusts that God has taken our sins away and made us righteous. It is much simpler and easier than self-righteousness. The only difficulty is that we must give up our efforts at self-righteousness and submit to God.
------------- One Thing to Think About: In what ways am I drawn to try to establish my own righteousness?
One Thing to Pray For: Zeal for God that is according to knowledge
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