Category Archives: Romans 10

Audio Series on Romans 9-11

HT:Onesimus

Here is a good audio series on Romans 9, 10, and 11 by historian / preacher David Pawson. Pawson argues that Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans in order to address the problem of antisemitism among the Gentile Christians in Rome.

The Roman Church was initially exclusively Jewish, then over time Gentile converts were added. At some point Emperor Claudius ordered all Jews to leave Rome (likely because they were bickering over whether or not Jesus was the Christ). After the death of Claudius, Nero permitted the Jews to again return to Rome.

These edicts impacted the demographics of the Roman church. The church was first Jewish, then because a mixture of Jewish and Gentile, then became exclusively Gentile, then finally was again a mixture of Jews and Gentiles. When the Jewish Christians returned they were not welcomed by the Gentile Christians. The Gentiles were arguing that the Jews were now rejected by God. Pawson argues that the purpose of Paul’s letter was to address the exclusion of the Jews, and that Romans 9-11 in particular addresses this issue.

Romans 9
Romans 10
Romans 11

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Filed under Arminian Audio, David Pawson, Romans 10, Romans 11, Romans 9

Pursuing Righteousness by Faith

What is pursuing righteousness by faith? In Romans 9, Paul speaks of pursuing righteousness by faith rather than works:

What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone. –Romans 9:30-32 ESV

First, it is helpful to be familiar with the Biblical definition of righteousness. In English we often define righteousness as being moral and upright. This is something that a person must do himself. However, Paul had a different understanding than the English context. Biblically speaking, righteousness means to have a right standing before God. While righteousness also carries a sense of being moral, it is secondary and based not on ourselves, but our standing with God. Understanding this context helps to explain the problem that Israel had. Israel was trying to earn the right to stand before God by working for it with their self righteousness. In this they failed. It is impossible to earn a right standing before God by one’s self righteousness.

One might reasonably ask, how then can righteousness (right relationship) be pursued at all, given that we cannot work towards it? It is possible through faith in Jesus. Paul goes on to explain:

Romans 10:8-13: The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 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. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

We learn in this passage that a right standing before God is possible. Not by works, but by faith in Jesus Christ. The Lord saves those who call on his name. The faith described here is ongoing. It is available to everyone who believes and confesses Jesus Christ. Faith is possible for all! Not because of our goodness, but because God desires to be in right relationship with us, and is already at work in us. His word is near to us and in us.

Pursing righteousness by faith is to pursue Jesus Christ himself. We are promised that everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.

Faith is not something that a person intellectually assents to once and is then is finished with. Rather, faith is an ongoing dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ. What distinguishes faith from works? It is trust in Jesus instead of ourselves. Faith by definition is Christ centered. We trust in Jesus to keep us in right standing with the Father. We trust in Jesus to conform us to his own image.

Moses under the inspiration of the Spirit wrote about this kind of faith in Deuteronomy 30. Paul had this passage in mind and quoted parts of it in Romans 10. In Deut 30 we learn that:

  • Faith is not too difficult or beyond our reach
  • It is very near to us, in our mouth and heart so that we may obey.
  • It is set before us.
  • It is God (Christ) centered. We are to love God, walk in his ways, and to keep his decrees.
  • It is something that we can forfeit, by turning our dependence away from God or allowing ourselves to be drawn from him.
  • It is a choice. We are admonished to chose life, for the LORD is our life.

What is striking about Romans 10 and Deut 30 is that the faith described in these chapters is precisely the Arminian definition of faith. Faith is not given to a few and hidden from most. Instead, faith is possible for all, because God wants to be in a right relationship with all of his creation. Faith in Jesus is not beyond our reach because God has made it possible through his work in us. It is genuinely available to all.

Pursuing righteousness by faith is a choice to trust Jesus Christ instead of ourselves. Not because of who we are, but because of what Jesus Christ has done. He will never fail us.

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Filed under Deuteronomy 30, faith, Romans 10, Romans 9

Romans 10

Recap of Romans 9
In the previous two posts (1,2) we looked at the context of Romans 9. It addresses the question: Has God broken his promises to the Jewish people? We noted that Jacob and Esau (9:11-13) were nations, and that the election described was for the human ancestry of Christ (9:5). We observed that both Pharaoh and Israel were chosen by God to proclaim his name to the world, and that God showed mercy to Pharaoh (Exodus 9:13-16).

More to the story: Romans 10 and 11
Typically, Calvinists are only interested in a portion of Romans 9. However, Romans 9, 10, and 11 are one argument. Romans 10 and 11 teach a very non-Calvinistic view of faith.

The opening of Romans 10 shows that Paul still has Israel in mind. We now learn why not all of Abraham’s descendants are God’s children (first addressed in Romans 9:6). It is because Israel is depending on its own works, instead of the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus. God offers salvation to everyone who has faith in Jesus and calls on his name.

Romans 10:1-4
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

How are we saved?
Salvation and justification are presented in Romans 10:9-13. To be saved one must confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. Importantly, anyone can be saved.

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Amen! No wonder the Calvinists never go on to read Romans 10. There is nothing here about “secret decrees” or the elect being zapped with faith. Instead we see that it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Irresistible Grace Refuted?
In Romans 10:16-21 the Calvinistic teaching of “Irresistible Grace” is contradicted by the word of God. God genuinely desired to save Israel. Not only that, Israel heard and understood the message of Christ. Yet they still resisted.

Romans 10:16-21: But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:
“Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” And Isaiah boldly says,
“I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

God desired for Israel to accept Christ. In fact it states that God was holding out his hands to them all day long. Israel heard the good news, and they understood the message. If “Irresistible Grace” was true they would have been saved. But Israel did resist. They remained disobedient and obstinate.

Next up: Romans 11.

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Filed under Calvinist proof texts, Romans 10