Thesis:The issue of "Law" is performance as the means to acceptance by God.
Introduction:In our study last week we looked into the statement that Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness for those who believe. The issues in this statement are profound because they deal with whether a person will "live" or not. The issue of righteousness is the issue of God's acceptance. The issue of God's acceptance is the issue of His intention to share His "Life" with the accepted. The issue of His intention to share His "Life" is the issue of eternal experience. Christ, Paul says, is the answer to all of these particulars for those who believe.
This evening we are going to pursue this truth at the point of Paul's contrast between "Law" and "believing". If we look at 10:5 and 6 it is clear that Paul is contrasting two kinds of righteousness. There is what he calls "the righteousness which is of the Law" and there is what he calls "the out-of-faith righteousness." It is indisputable that his "point" is that the "out-of-faith righteousness" is to be preferred becauseof the consequences that are involved. He opened this chapter with a declaration that what really drove him, in regard to Israel, was the issue of "salvation". So, given the fact that "salvation" is the big idea behind all of this "righteousness" talk, we need to understand his contrast between the methods to this end.
I. The Real Issue of "Salvation".
A. There is a myriad of details involved in this subject.
B. This myriad tends to permit a significant level of confusion to develop.
C. Confusion can, however, be minimized if we can keep our focus upon the relative value of the items in the myriad (thus, the statement, "the real issue...").
1. The word "salvation" gives us the starting point: deliverance from a fearful experience.
a. This starting point focuses upon experience as a consequence of a highly significant event: the action taken by Adam that introduced alienation from God so that His wrath, instead of His love, was to swing into play.
b. This starting point gives us two focus-keys.
1) On the one hand, it reveals the reality of relationship with God as the key mechanism of existence (no one exists outside of a relationship with God).
2) On the other hand, it reveals which of the attributes of God will be imposed upon those "existing".
a) The Justice of God will be the major player upon those existing under the reality of "personal alienation".
b) The Grace of God will be the major player upon those existing under the reality of "personal unity with Him".
2. The terms "personal unity with God" give us the primary methodological focus.
a. Personal unity with God is a complex issue in its own right because of the levels of personal deception that exist (Peter called upon his readers in 2 Peter 1:10 to "give diligence" to make their "calling and election" sure -- an exhortation that strongly implies a high level of deception).
b. We know that Paul declared his own personal method for walking with God in Acts24:16, but the level of sensitivity to conscience is increasingly being lowered so that people who are obviously in bondage to Sin regularly claim to have a clear conscience.
c. We also know that Jesus plainly taught that the departure from real purity of conscience would increase as the levels of lawlessness increase (Matthew 24:12).
D. Thus, we conclude that the real issue of salvation is a genuine purity of conscience that allows the Grace of God to be the major player in an individual's life.
II. The Real Mechanism of Salvation.
A. Paul's argument is that the issue that permits God to be gracious rather than just is one: righteousness.
B. And, here in Romans 10:5, we find that Paul's argument is that this real issue has one major deceiver: legal righteousness.
1. He appealed to "Moses", who wrote Leviticus 18:5, for his concept.
a. Interestingly, Nehemiah (9:29), Ezekiel (20:11, 13, and 21), and Jesus (Luke 10:26-28) all echoed Moses on this point.
b. Moses' concept was very simple: Life could arise from the practice of what was written in the Law.
2. In his appeal he assumed his readers would remember what he had said in Romans 3:20, "by the Law is the knowledge of sin."
a. Moses was not ignorant of the righteousness of faith (he is the author of the words Paul quotes in 10:6-8).
b. Nor was he ignorant of the fact that legal righteousness was a very major stumbling block (Deuteronomy 29:4).
c. But Jesus Himself said, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead" (Luke 16:31).
3. In his own testimony of himself he wrote Philippians 3:6 as a witness of the enormous blindness that was upon him.
III. The Real Mechanism of Righteousness: Faith.
A. At the bottom of everything Paul has said about "righteousness" is one reality: such a thing cannot exist where there is no trust.
B. When God put "faith" at the heart of the issue of how one could be "united" to Him once again, He did so because of its absolute necessity.
1. One fact is this: "righteousness" without "relationship" is sterile of Life.
2. Another fact is this: "faith" is the attitude of receptive interaction that permits the Life of God to flow from Him to us.
a. Every blockage to the flow of the Life of God into one of His own is caused by one reality: the absence of a particular "belief".
b. Every true "belief" carries Life into the Soul and Spirit at a level that actually deals with the competitors.