“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. For 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.” (Romand 10:1-4 ESV)
This chapter also starts with Paul’s heart for the Israelites. He lets it be known that it is his his “heart’s desire” and that he prays for them to know God. He also says here they are a zealous people for God, but he is pointing out that they are religious and that well they are legalistic. They work hard at keeping the law but they do not believe in Christ who is the fulfillment of the law.
As the chapter goes on he is talking to them about how Moses wrote about the righteousness based on the law. That doing the commandments and living by them was how a person would obtain righteousness. But that is not righteousness based on faith. Righteousness based on faith does not have to work at it but only has to believe and confess.
“But what does it say? ‘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.” (Romans 10:8-9)
I found it interesting that Paul mentions confessing with your mouth before he mentions believing in your heart. The two go hand in hand but they definitely go together. I know people who proclaim to be a christian but they don’t necessarily live as if they believe in their heart. For example they may worry and fret over something to the point of making everyone around them miserable but they say they are a Christian and yet they do not exercise faith that He is leading and guiding them in a situation. (I’ve been guilty of that for sure) Or they may say they are a christian yet they are allowing a lot of stuff into their mind and heart that is not very Christlike.
“For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:10)
Salvation is a matter of the heart and of the mouth. It is not about keeping the rules and checking off the list and making sure that you do this or that you don’t do that. It’s not how hard you work at it. I do think that as you fall in love with Jesus and as you let Him lead you that He has purpose for us all. And we will work for Him, but that work is not compelled out of a worry of not getting it right, but out of love for Him. And for others, wanting them to know what we found.
The last part of this chapter is about taking the Word to others, about preaching the gospel Paul is asking and observing that preachers must be sent out both by God and by the community of believers.
“And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’” (Romans 10:15)
The thought that crossed my mind is that God takes very seriously those he calls to preach His gospel. Which in a way is all of us. We may not all be called to stand in a pulpit and preach but we are all preaching His gospel in our own way if we are believers. By the way we live our life, by the way we talk, by the faith we exhibit. We must be putting in His word to build our faith in order to let our lives preach the way He would have us to.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
We have to, they have to hear the Word of Christ to build faith!
Paul finishes this chapter again lamenting over Israel. He points out the prophet Isaiah who prophesied that they would miss it. (vv 18-21)
Do you have someone that it is your heart’s desire that they would know Him? Let’s follow Paul’s example and keep on praying for them. And then let your life preach to them. And then confess things, good things, good news with your mouth to them. And keep praying that they will come to faith in Him. Build our faith so that we may show them the way to theirs.