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.
1901 ASV Translation:
3 For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
4 For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth.
I. Paul's Desire For His Kinsmen According to the Flesh.
B. The "rationale" [See notes for Study # 2(476)].
C. The "Ignorance" of the Jews.
1. The word translated "ignorant" is used enough times in the New Testament for us to gain a good understanding of it.
a. In Mark 9:32 it is used to describe the condition of the disciples when they heard Jesus' words but did not understand how what they implied could possibly be true.
b. Luke 9:45 goes further in that it is preceded by Jesus' exhortation, "Let these words sink into your ears...". In other words, it does not matter how clearly words are spoken, or how much attention the listener gives to them, "ignorance" keeps the hearer from understanding.
c. Acts 13:27 makes the remarkable statement, "...they knew...not the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath." Again, "ignorance" is not about being unexposed to the facts. This is highly significant in light of Paul's use of Habakkuk2:4 in Romans 1:17 to validate his entire theology of "faith".
d. In multiple other places, this issue of "ignorance" has to do with not having an insightful understanding. The word is used at least twice in contrast with the word "epignosis" which means "to know by reason of a deeply developed relationship with the one/One sharing the knowledge." One of those uses is in our context (Romans 10:2).
2. The foundation of this "ignorance" is one primary matter: defining "life" as the emotional resonse that comes from being commended or proven to be "right". This is the reason that Paul was so adamant about abolishing the foundations of boasting with his doctrine (Romans 3:27). As long as a person is fundamentally focused upon being "qualified" to receive adulation from others, "ignorance" will be the major characteristic (John 5:44).
a. This commitment to being qualified to receive adulation is the reason that these Jews were described by Paul in regard to "being ignorant" and "going about to establish their own righteousness".
b. This commitment to being qualified to receive adulation is also the reason that these Jews were described by Paul as rebels: they "have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."
1) The significance of this lack of submission is partially revealed by the use of the same verb in Luke 10:17. In that text, the demons were "subject to" the seventy. This translates into "forced obedience" in this context. Thus, "subjection" means, at the root of it, "compliance to direction given".
2) Romans 8:7 also uses this verb and in that text the issue is enormously significant: the carnal mind is "not subject" to the law of God.
3. The subject of this "ignorance" is declared by Paul to be the "of-God-righteousness".
a. This is a (perhaps the) principal thesis in Romans. It arises immediately after Paul's introduction of himself to his readers (Romans 1:17) and it is the antithesis of the faux righteousness of the self-exalting (Romans 3:21-26).
b. In this text, it is the antithesis of the ego-driven self-exalter who tries to deceive others as to the real motives of his heart by immersing himself in "a zeal of God". There is nothing on this planet worse than a "religionist" who uses "God talk" to push his own agenda and enslave others in the web of his deceit.
c. The issue of this "of-God" righteousness is the methodological question of how God is going to get the slaves of Sin to embrace His agenda of love. There are at least three sides to this methodology.
1) On one hand is "forgiveness". This is the clearing of the slate whereon the records of the wickedness is recorded.
2) On another hand is "justification". This is the positive imposition of a standing before God that is uncompromised in every respect.
3) And on a third hand is "faith". Without faith on the part of the slave, there can be no freedom from bondage. Bondage is fundamentally an attitude, not a condition of circumstances. No one's circumstances have anything significant to do with "bondage". No one, not even God, is "activity free" or "exempt from the consequences of activity" and "circumstances" only have to do with the boundaries of "taking action". The only issue that makes "circumstances" a matter of bondage or freedom is the attitude that one takes while in them, and that attitude is defined in the Scriptures as either "faith" or "unbelief".