Lesson 81: "They Have a Zeal of God, But Not According to Knowledge" (Romans 10:2)
Welcome to lesson #81. Paul's Missionary Journey Epistles. Welcome again, I trust you remember, Rom. ch. 9-10-11 all go together as one unit. Therefore, ch. 10 (where we are now ready to start) is really a continuation of our last lesson. Paul lamented that his kinsmen, the Jewish nation at the tune of Paul, were rejecting the gospel. That gospel which is the power of God unto salvation (!:16). The gospel of Jesus Christ which by and through obedience can make us free from the wrath of God, free from our past sins, free from the law of Moses and free from spiritual death, if we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. Why was the Jewish nation, as a class of people, lost? Paul? They stumbled! They sought it not by faith (v.32 in our last chapter). Remember now, when Paul speaks of Israel, i.e. his kinsmen; he is speaking generally; i.e. as a class of people in general. You must remember also, some Jews, many Jews, did obey the gospel and became Christians. However, those who obeyed were, obviously, a very small percentage of the Jewish population. Thus, in these verses, Paul speaks of his Jewish brethren as a class of people in general. You must keep this mind as we read. AND, let's read! We're going to read the first 13 verses in c. 10. Have you got your eyes on it? Here we go!
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish then' own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 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:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 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; 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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 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. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Alright, back up to v.l and we'll do a brief analysis. Don't forget, Paul is writing to the church at Rome, a congregation of Christians, a place where Paul had never been; although, Paul had met some of the Christians in that congregation. Some of those Christians were Jews by race, or course; but, we have assumed the congregation was predominantly Gentile. Now, look at v. 1! As Paul continued, he addressed them as: "Brethren." Now, who are Paul's brethren in v.l? This obviously has reference to the Christians at Rome; Paul's brethren in Jesus Christ. "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer for Israel is...": Paul was planning a trip to Rome, and he said (1:15), "I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also." Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles. Do you remember Acts 9:15,22:21 ? And, Paul styled himself, "the apostle to the "Gentiles" (down in Rom. 11:13). Paul thanked God for the Romans, he said: "your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." (1:8). So, he wanted his Roman brethren to know he was appointed to the Gentiles; but, he was also very concerned about any Jew that might be influenced to obey the gospel. "Brethren, my hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." Now, take hold of v.2; "I bear them record." Who is the them? The Jews, Paul's kinsmen. What can you say about them Paul? "They have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." I'm tempted to think Paul might have visited Kentucky or America some place. A zeal for God! Have you thought about it? Church buildings on every corner, just about. Those big 35 foot steeples and fancy lighted marquees, all kinds of little verses and attention getters. The church of the blankety-blank of the blankety-blank and you can't find one of these words in the bible. OH, they are all very religious. Paul said, "I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." Does that strike a familiar chord? Paul even went so far as to say, they were ignorant (in v. 3). Now, Paul you've quit preaching and started meddling. Paul, it's wrong to call names from the pulpit, don't you know that? Be careful! You might up-set somebody. I'll go to my church, you go to yours. I'll do my thing, you do yours! But, don't knock it until you've tried it! I don't believe Paul ever went to one of those modern theological seminaries or cemeteries or what ever they are. I doubt if Paul had even learned enough to put his shirt on backward. Brethren, if you'll give it a little application, the things Paul says in this book may be fresher than the morning paper. Paul said they were "going about to establish their own righteousness." And, then Paul said a real no-no- at the last of v.3, they "have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." Paul how could you talk like that about your own people? Not many people in American would sit still for talk like that. Would they? Apparently Paul's kinsmen didn't either. That's why they were not saved. They didn't believe in Jesus, v. 4. "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." What do you mean, the end of the law, Paul? Well, he answered that question back over in Gal. 3: 24, do you remember? "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith came, we are no longer under the schoolmaster." Christ is the end of the law, to every one that believeth (here in v.4). Paul's Jewish kinsmen insisted on keeping that schoolmaster. And, they are still insisting on the schoolmaster today. The Jews today, I'm talking about the Jewish religion; the Jews believe Jesus was an impostor. They are still looking for a messiah. They claim to still be keeping the law of Moses. Are they saved today? What about that Paul? What would you say about that Paul? Well, I think yo know, Paul's answer is right here in front of you. It's called the Book of Romans. The Jews, (as a class of people), don't like it any more today than they did then. Now, there was a time when there was a righteousness in the law. Look at v.5, Paul said, "Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by the." (That's Lev. 18:5). To live by them or to live in them implies obedience, i.e. do what they say. But, that law itself said; it would be done away and replaced. It was prophesied over and over. Moses in Deut. 18:18 said this. Then he said in the next verse: "it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not harken unto my words which he shall speak in my name [i.e. Jesus], I will require it of him." Peter preached that scripture in the temple at Jerusalem and said it applied to Jesus, that's Acts 3:22. So, for "the man which doeth those things shall live by them" implies that when the law changed, the Jews would change accordingly. This they did not do! Thus; Paul's point is: they were not even keeping the law, they were claiming to keep, you see. Now, move to v.6, "But the righteousness which is of faith..." You see, NOW righteousness is of faith. It's the theme of Paul's book. But, what about that righteousness which is by faith, "What saith it?" That question is at the beginning of v.8! Maybe the Jews didn't know that scripture. Maybe they didn't have access to that scripture, i.e. explaining this change. So, what saith the scripture about this? Paul said, (v.8), "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart..." Paul was saying, they know it! That's not the problem! The problem is they are not keeping it! That's Paul's point. I hope you caught on, Paul answered his own question ("What saith it?") in v.8 with a quote from Deut. 30:14. If you go back to Deut. And read that; then that business in the parenthesis of v.6 and v.7, will make a lot more sense. It's part of those verses surrounding Deut. 30:14. Do you see the "THAT IS" after the colon in v.8? "That is, the word of faith, which we preach...": One translation reads like this: "This refers to the message about faith which we preach." In other words, Paul said TH"AT" READING back in Deuteronomy was talking about what Paul was then preaching. What was Paul then preaching? V.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." Now, someone is going to say: ye see, it didn't say anything about being baptized. Believe and receive, as they say. I trust you're sharp enough to know; Paul already covered that point, back in ch. 6. Right? Believing in the hart that "God hath raised him from the dead" also includes: "we are buried with him by baptism into death" (back in 6:4). So, don't let somebody use v.9 to teach faith only; it doesn't say "faith only." So, don't you put it in there! The quote in v.l 1 comes from Isa. 28:16. A reference back to v.33 in ch., 9, where Paul used this same quote before. The quote in v. 13 is from Joel 2:32. Now, with that much, I'm going to leave it with you. Let's read the rest of chapter ten. Beginning in v.14, here we go:
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have believed? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 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! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 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. 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 Isaiah is very bod, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, all day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people."
Alright, back to v. 14. In the quote from Joel 2:32, which here makes up v. 13; we have: "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." So, to be saved, Paul declared (quoting the O.T.), was as simple as calling upon the name of the Lord. In other words a matter of understanding; a matter of disposition, and a matter of obedience. Then, in v.l 4-15, Paul began a series of rhetorical questions, i.e. Paul used these questions to provoke their thinking; not that Paul was seeking information as such. There are four of these rhetorical questions. Each question begins with: HOW. "How shall they..." How shall they call? How shall they believe? How shall they hear? And how shall they preach? Actually the series of questions here are in the reverse order of the way we usually express this. The logical order for us is usually that: peaching comes first, then by preaching one hears, then through hearing one believes, and after one believes he calls upon the name of the Lord, i.e. one obeys or responds recognizing the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ which brings us to repentance, confession and baptism followed by walking in the Spirit (8:1) or in other words, living a faithful Christian life. Like I said, Paul approaches it from the opposite direction. How could his Jewish countrymen obey, i.e. call upon the name of the Lord (v.13) if they did not believe in the Lord? Obviously they couldn't! That's the answer to Paul's rhetorical question. How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? Obviously, they couldn't believe, if they had not heard. How shall they hear without a preacher, or messenger? Obviously they couldn't hear and understand with out the message being proclaimed. And finally, how shall they preach, except they be sent? I.e. unless the one sent is equipped with the word? The message of Christ from Christ. And, perhaps I should remind you that when Paul wrote this, they did not have the written word as we do. The New Testament as a written document did not exist. Thus, in keeping with what we have studied before (concerning spiritual gifts); you are aware that preachers were prepared differently then, than now. If you apply that understanding here; Paul's meaning shines through more clearly. Paul's quote at the end of v. 15, "How beautiful are the fee of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" is taken from Isa. 52:7 and really doesn't explain much about the steps of salvation that Paul touched on with the hour questions. It does ascribe importance upon to the process of proclaiming the word. Then (v.l6) to emphasize the process of proclaiming the gospel was falling short (not that the gospel would not save); but the process was falling short in that there was a lack of sincere seekers or hearers; to emphasize this point: Paul tossed in a quote from Isa. 53:1, "Lord, who hath believed our report?": Then v. 17 begins: "So the." That phrase means: thus, here is the conclusion, or this then logically follows. "So then" what Paul? "So then faith cometh by hearing, and the hearing by the word of God." Thus, human theories, creed books and the doctrines and commandments of men will not substitute. Therefore to be saved, one must hear the word of God and one must develop faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son by that process. Furthermore, while we are at this juncture; let me say also: what's said here is 100 degrees from the claim made by some today that they are saved by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you have heard some make outlandish claims to be saved by an experience on a roll-a-coaster or some other fantastic experience when they were alone out behind the barn or some place else. It won't fit into Paul's scheme of redemption described here. Check it out! Then in v. 18, he asked in essence: were the Jews not saved because there was a lack (or shortage) of information? "Have they not heard? Then he answers: "yes verily", i.e. truly they have heard. The message of the prophets had gone to the end of the earth, Paul affirmed. It had to do with giving up the law of Moses and it had to do with accepting the Gentiles and it had to do with just plain old jealousy. It was not a lack of information. V.20 is a quote from Isaiah 65:1 pertaining to the Gentile thought back up in v.l9, which came from Deut. 32:21. Then v.21 is a quote continued in Isaiah 65:1. Using that O.T. Scripture Paul describes them as "disobedient and [a] gainsaying people." We'll begin with c. 11 in our next lesson. So, have a good day.