Romans 10:1-4 - Zealous Ignorance
Being excited about God is good... but make sure your zeal is based on knowledge!
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Read Romans 10:1-4
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
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Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 19
Q. How do you come to know this?
A. The holy gospel tells me.
God himself began to reveal
the gospel already in Paradise;
later, he proclaimed it by the
holy patriarchs and prophets,
and portrayed it by the sacrifices
and other ceremonies of the law;
finally, he fulfilled it
through his own dear Son.
With these words Paul expresses his desire that his fellow Jews would be saved. What Paul sees in many of his brethren is a zeal for keeping to the laws of the Old Testament, but a lack of understanding that adherence to the law does not equate righteousness. No matter how you might try, even your best efforts to establish your own righteousness cannot stand up to God’s perfect standard.
It's still important for us to strive to live out the teachings of Jesus, as this is the appropriate response of gratitude to the grace of Jesus. Just as Paul’s concern for the Jews was not their zeal for upholding the law, the real concern is a mindset of upholding adherence to the law as a replacement for the righteousness of Christ.
Attempts to be “good enough”, instead of depending upon the grace of Jesus, are nothing more than a flawed attempt to circumvent God’s plan of redemption.
As Paul writes, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes”. Christ being the “end of the law” carries with it multiple, non-mutually exclusive meanings. First, this points to Jesus as the purpose or end goal the law was working towards. Secondly, Jesus marks for believers an end to our attempts to pursue righteousness via the law.
Every good story has a climax. If Belle had never gone looking for her father none of us would have heard about Beauty and the Beast. Without that action forward, the story would have remained at a standstill and never reached its exciting climax.
While the Bible consists of 66 books written by various authors, it is also the ongoing story of God’s interaction with his creation. God’s handiwork can be seen throughout all of human history, culminating with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is undoubtedly the climax of human history.
There are many reasons to open up your Bible, and chief among them is that you might come to know your faithful savior Jesus Christ. Jesus is what pushes history forward. Without Jesus, the story of humanity would be a standstill as we would still be waiting for our redeemer.
Praise God that he has saved you from your misery, that a redeemer has come, just as God had planned from the beginning. Trust not in yourself for righteousness, but in Jesus. As a dear saint would often remind me, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and HE will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Father, you set the standard for righteousness, and you sent your Son that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will give you a zeal for Him based on knowledge of His Word.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Acts 14