Today: [Romans 10:] The Origin of the Prayer of Salvation: In Romans 10 we find the verses that are the basis of what we call the prayer of salvation. Paul declares in this verse that we cannot save ourselves by religious performance or moral excellence. The righteousness of God is not found in the good works men do but in the message of the Gospel preached by those who have gone out into all the world.
[Romans 10: 1-21 KJV]
1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
In Rom. 10:1 Paul testifies to his heart’s desire to see his people Israel come to the knowledge of Christ as savior. He acknowledges their zeal for God but laments their inexplicable ignorance of His ways. He decries their efforts to establish their own righteousness according to the law yet their inveterate refusal to submit to the righteousness of God revealed in Christ. For Paul (v. 4) Christ is the end of the law. What does this mean? It means that what the law intended to point out concerning man’s inability to fully obey, Jesus in His person becomes the basis of what the law promises when we come to Him in faith. In the law of Moses, the only way a man could be righteous was to live a life of perfect adherence and obedience to the law handed down on the mountain that burned with fire. Yet there is inherent in the law provision made through animal sacrifice for the fact that no matter how hard a person tries, he cannot in himself be anything other than a lawbreaker.
In v. 6 Paul then describes the law of righteousness as not based on religious performance or moral excellence. The conclusion of a person who sees Jesus as their righteousness is that they cannot bring Christ down from above to apply the merits of the cross to one’s life, neither can a person revisit again the resurrection of Christ to secure redemption. In other words, in Christ, there is nothing that originates in us that moves the hand of God. We would do well to consider this. Our worship does not entice God to do anything beyond what He has already done in Christ 2000 years ago. Our bible reading, our fasting, praying, etc. all are in vain if we think these things will move the hand of God to do anything other than what He was already disposed to do in sending Christ to die for our sins. When we ask the question “why doesn’t God do thus and so…” or “why does God allow this or that…” We are demonstrating our ignorance regarding the finished work of Calvary. These questions do not originate in the heart of faith but in the mind of doubt.
How does one who believes in the righteousness found in Christ find access to God through the work of redemption? Verse 8 tells us, the word, or pronouncement of our acceptability before God is made real to us and active in our life as we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. Notice there is no doctrinal statement insert here about the Trinity, or eschatology, etc. Does that mean these things are unimportant? No, theology has its place but not concerning the work of God in Christ that redeems those who are lost. The conditions for salvation and consequent new birth are two-fold: believe in the heart and confession with the mouth. This applies to both the Jew and the non-Jew. In v. 12 Paul says God is “rich” toward all those that call upon Him. The word rich means “increased with goods…” That means that until we call upon Him, the heavens are brass but after we call upon Him the whole of the inventory of His goodness comes to bear in our life not just when we get to heaven but hear and now.
Verse 13 says whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. That is an important word there – “saved.” What does it mean to be “saved?” The original language word is “sozo.” It is defined as:
“to be safe, to be kept safe and sound, to be rescued from danger or destruction. To be kept (from injury or peril); to be saved from suffering or perishing, to be delivered from disease, to be made well, healed, and restored to health; to be preserved from the threat of danger or destruction, to save or rescue.”
Notice there is no caveat saying “after you get to heaven” or “only applying to being saved from hell but not available for temporal needs.” Unfortunately, that is how it is preached. Christian teachers eloquently described the blessedness of heaven and the afterlife but marginalize the extent to which the work of the cross applies to here and now, and in fact will complain bitterly against anyone who teaches that God wants you to be blessed and whole here in this life – this they say is false doctrine. Perhaps they have failed to read the testimony of John:
3 John 1:2] Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Also, make note that the confession of the Lordship of Jesus with your mouth accompanied with believing in your heart is in no way defined as a one-time act. In fact, a process is implied. In other words this is an ongoing posture of submission and faith toward God by which we are kept on an ongoing basis the same way we were saved and on the same basis, that of accepting the Lordship of Jesus and believing that the power that resurrected Christ is at work continually in us each and every day.
So, those that call upon the Lord shall be saved. In v. 14 Paul contends how is the possible without a preacher? Research into levels of trust in our culture place the preacher right down there with used car salesmen or telemarketers. The enemy for decades and long has successfully destroyed the credibility of those who preach the gospel. Paul is championing the call to preach and the necessity for the community of faith to send forth preachers so they can be heard. The preaching of the word of God is a sending vocation as Isaiah proclaims “how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and glad tidings of good things. Notice also the character of what is preached. It is preaching peace and not conspiracy theories or political talking points. It is bringing good news, not preaching messages of doom and gloom designed to get a reaction out of the people. Neither is the preaching of the word of God intended to be a condemnatory message to make others miserably feel their need of a savior. Sinners do not need preaching to feel miserable; they do that all by themselves. We need to open our eyes to the true nature of the preaching we are listening to and supporting.
In verse 18 Paul asked the question as to whether the gospel has been heard or not? In Paul’s day, the gospel reached throughout the known world including all of Asia. Certainly by the time of the writing of the book of Romans all of Judaism throughout the Roman Empire had heard the preaching of the gospel. That is why we know the leaders of the synagogue in Rome were lying when the claimed they had not heard the message of Jesus when Paul arrived to meet with them after this writing. Because the Jews had heard the gospel and yet rejected it, God’s heart was (v. 19) to then provoke them to jealousy by pouring out His salvation upon the nations other than Israel. The Gentile nations did not seek after God, but they found Him because of the faithful preaching of those like Paul among the pagan cultures of the ancient world. To Israel our chapter ends; however, God has held out His arms all day long to a people who scoff at salvation and continue unto this day in disobedience and gainsaying against the Messiah they claim to believe in.
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