Salvation, Not Justification
I was reminded today of an e-mail I got today about a film that is coming out. It's a Christian film and it has a title like "Alone, Yet Not Alone". It is a true story. I saw the trailer on it and it's really good. It's the story of two sisters who were captured by the Delaware Indians in 1755 in the French and Indian War. The family was comprised of strong believers so there's a good lead-in before that emphasizing the role of the Word of God in the family. There's this Indian raid and the girls are kidnapped and taken about 300 miles away to Ohio. It's the story of how they learned to trust God to never leave or forsake them during that time until, I assume, they eventually got away. The original story was written by one of their descendants so it should be good. I never heard about it before but I looked at the trailer and it looked very interesting. Sometimes the trailer is all that's good about a movie so you never know. I'm just going to put that out there and someone can see it and tell me about it.
Okay, we're in Romans 10 but what I want to do before we get into Romans 10 is to review. Last week I was not here and you saw a lesson in 1 Thessalonians and two and three lessons back, we went through the end of Romans 9, dealing with the issues related to the hardening of Pharaoh's heart and then repeating that in terms of understanding the importance of free will.
Free will is so significant in history. God has placed it within the structure of history as God oversees the flow of history, He allows human beings to have free will. He oversees history in such a way that no matter what decisions humans may make, no matter what chaos their free will decisions bring into history, God nevertheless is so great in His sovereignty that He still works things out in terms of the direction of His plan. His plan is never put into jeopardy by human decisions. Nevertheless He's able to allow human beings to have that freedom to make those decisions even within the structure of the outworking of His plan.
This is one of the things which we see with Israel. We see this again and again and will see it many times in Matthew and in Acts where there is an offer of the Kingdom. What makes it a legitimate offer is that they could have responded and if they had, things would have been different. That's what makes it legitimate. But they didn't. Their turning back was not God's sovereign will but it was His revealed will. If they had turned back, then of course, history would have been different. We only know that in hindsight. We only know God's sovereign will in hindsight as we look back.
It's interesting that we have this intersection between Matthew, Acts, and Romans in focusing on God's plan for Israel. So I want to go through a little review because it's important to understand how this section of Romans, Romans 9, 10, and 11, fits within the structure of Paul's discourse on the righteousness of God in Romans. Now one thing I want to direct your attention to is a problem which we're going to have to address in a problem passage in Romans 10, verses 9 and 10. This is often used as a witnessing verse and it's totally ripped out of context. You can't understand it if you don't understand the context.
When we get into the Bible Study class on Sunday night, one of the things we'll get to especially in interpretation and it's also important in observation, is to understand context. Context, context, context. It changes how we understand certain things. There's a number of different contexts that we look at. We look at the context surrounding a verse, we look at the context surrounding the chapter or the division within the book and we also look at the context of the recipients of the epistle. Where are they coming from? Who are they? What are the issues they're facing?
We also look at the context of the writer. Who is writing the epistle? That would be Paul or Peter or John. So all of those are different contexts that are important for properly interpreting and understanding a passage. We come to Romans 10:9-10 and we read, "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Now there are a lot of people who think that what that means is that if I want to be saved I need to one, believe Jesus died for my sins, and two, I have to have a public profession of faith or at least tell somebody.
So that's two things, believe with my heart and confess with my mouth but that runs contrary to all of the expressions of the Gospel of John which states over 96 times that the issue is believe and believe alone. So how do we reconcile that? What is Paul talking about? Is he talking about justification in Romans 10: 9-10 or is he talking about something else? What does he mean when he uses the phrase, 'you will be saved'? That is why I entitled this lesson: Salvation, Not Justification because too often they are different things, especially when we live in our culture.
Not only do you have the Biblical contest but when someone is teaching they have to understand the context of the audience. Our audience has a context and your context is early 21st century evangelicalism which has a history going back two or three hundred years. Within that history you and I have been taught that the word "saved" is always equivalent to the word "justified" and it's not. The word "saved" has different meanings and different nuances in Scripture and you have to understand what is being said. Just because you read that "you will be saved" doesn't mean that Paul has justification in mind. But that's how most American evangelicals read it. When they read that they say, "Oh well, if you want to get to heaven, you have to confess with your mouth as well as believe in your heart." But that's not what that is saying.
We need to set this up because that word "saved" is crucial for understanding Romans 10, especially because Paul uses that in the very first verse, "Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation." Is Paul talking about justification there or is he talking about something else? So let's investigate that. To do that we have to spend a little time on context and review since it's been a couple of weeks since we've thought about Romans.
A brief outline of Romans is that the first 17 verses in chapter 1 contain the introduction where Paul brings into focus the issue related to the righteousness of God. This is seen especially in the gospel statement of verses 16 and 17 where Paul says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation…" There's that key word again. "…to everyone who believes…" Notice he doesn't say anything here about making a public confession. "…to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek…" Here's that principle of taking the gospel first to Israel during that introductory period or that transitional period of the 1st century. Verse 17, "For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as it is written, "but the righteous [the just] shall live by faith.'" So the issue introduced there for the epistle to the Romans has to do with righteousness.
Then in Romans 1:18 to 3:20, we saw that there is a logically developed rationale for why all are under condemnation, for why all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There's a condemnation of Gentiles in 1:18-32, the condemnation of the moral person who thinks that somehow he has standing with God because he is moral or religious. There's a condemnation of unfaithful Jews in 2:17-3:8 and then the conclusion is that all are condemned. In Romans 3:21 5o 5:21 the focus is on justification and there's a transition there in the last part of Romans 5 leading into or preparing the groundwork for the next section, Romans 6:1 to 8:39 dealing with sanctification.
What's important to understand here is that when things sound like Paul is talking about justification, for example the "wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life" think about how many times we've all used that as a gospel verse. We say that this is how you get saved except that verse is not in the justification section of Romans. It's in the sanctification section of Romans. What Paul's talking about in Romans 6 has nothing to do with how to get eternal life. It's talking about how to experience eternal life in this life.
If we don't walk with God, then we're walking by the sin nature and the wages of sin in the believer's life is death, not eternal condemnation but temporal death, carnal death, in this life. That verse ends, "…but the free gift of God is eternal life." This is a reminder that God has given us eternal life and we are to reckon ourselves dead to sin. That's the whole argument we saw in Romans 6. So Romans 6 through Romans 8 is a section on the spiritual life,
Then there's a shift to Israel in Romans 9, 10, and 11. Why does Paul suddenly start talking about Israel? The last five chapters, 12-16 deal with application. Now as we relate this to righteousness, break it down this way. In Romans 1:18 to 5:21, Paul is relating Israel to the righteousness of God and justification. He shows that the Gentiles are not saved, the moral person isn't saved, and guess what? Israel isn't saved either because they're failing in the realm of righteousness.
In Romans 6:1 to 8:17 he relates Israel to the righteousness of God and to sanctification as he's contrasting grace and law. This is really seen especially in Romans, chapter 8. Now the whole section is not about Israel. I'm just pointing out that within these sections he relates his basic theme to Israel as well. In Romans 8:18-39 he relates Israel to the righteousness of God in glorification and in Romans 9:11-36 he relates Israel to the righteousness of God and His vindication.
This is because the question coming out of the Jewish community is, "Why has God done this? Why has God brought this discipline or judgment upon Israel, if He's righteous? How can we rely upon God after He's made these promises to us and now it looks like He's turning to the Gentiles and He's forgotten about us. So how can we trust Him? How can He be a righteous God if what you Christians are saying is true?" Then in Romans 12:1-16:27 as he's dealing with application. Paul relates Israel to the righteousness of God and its practical applications. So Israel is part of every section in Romans, not just Romans 9-11.
What we see in terms of background here is that Paul is viewing Israel as an entity, not as individual Jews, but as a corporate entity. There are two issues at stake with Israel, one is individual justification, and the other is the national destiny of Israel so that as a corporate entity as a nation, they turn to God then God will fulfill the covenants, the Abrahamic, the Land, the Davidic, and the New Covenant. This is what I covered on Tuesday night. And Israel could at any time because of free will, could corporately turn and call upon the Messiah to deliver them. They won't but they could and if they did, that would trigger a series of events prophesied in the Old Testament leading to the restoration of Israel as a regenerate people to the land.
There are going to be two returns, clearly seen and prophesied in the Old Testament. One is a return of Jews to the land as unregenerate. A lot of people think there's only one return and it's regenerate. In Isaiah 11:11 it talks about the second worldwide return. The second worldwide return is a return in regeneration, a spiritual return. The first return is a return in apostasy. I believe that's what we've been witnessing for the last hundred years or so. Part of the reason for that is that there's never been this large of a percentage of return of Jews to the land. We're just within one or two percentage points of half of the Jews in the world living in the land of Israel. That kind of percentage has never happened. It didn't happen at the time of Christ. It never happened under Zerubbabel or Nehemiah. They just had a small group that return.
At the time of Christ the vast number of Jews lived outside of the land. They were in Egypt. They were in Babylon. They were scattered throughout the Roman Empire and in Turkey, Cappadocia, Pontus, places we've been studying in Acts. So God has a plan for Israel and even though in one sense it is still on pause, in another sense it's being ramped up as we see this return to Israel.
Think about when the Tribulation will begin. A lot of people haven't thought it out very well and they think the Rapture begins the Tribulation but that's not what begins it. The Tribulation is a term used to describe the seventieth week of Daniel in the prophecy in Daniel, chapter 9, verses 24 and following. It's a seven year period. What begins that seven year period, what starts the stopwatch, is this peace treaty that is signed between the Antichrist and Israel. Therefore, in order for that to start there has to be a political entity of Jews in the land that are qualified to sign a peace treaty with the Antichrist.
That means there has to be return to Jews to the land to establish that kind of corporate entity. Well, that's happened now. A hundred or so years ago when Clarence Larkin was writing his classic book on dispensational truth, in his commentaries on Revelation and Daniel, he opined that if the Rapture were to occur in his day, it would probably be another forty or fifty years before the Tribulation could begin because so much would have to happen to have the scenario in place that we see in Revelation 5 and 6 at the beginning of Daniel's seventieth week. Now a hundred years later we've seen all these things take place, the return of the Jews to the land to establish a nation and to grow to the size, the population size, that it is today. That was barely imaginable a hundred years ago and yet Israel has grown to great strength today.
So we go back and we understand that there's a plan for the nation as a corporate entity as the seed, the descendants, of Abraham. So God chooses Abraham and his descendants, as a corporate group, through which God's going to do four things. First of all, God's going to bless all the nations through the coming of the Savior "seed" as promised originally through Eve and then traced through those genealogies which everyone skips in Genesis 5, 10, and 11. That seed line that's traced all the way down form Abraham, all the way to Christ, as we've seen in Luke 3 showing that Jesus is the seed of Abraham, also the seed of David and therefore qualifies to be the Messiah.
Romans 9: 4-5 showed us that Israel as a whole is the recipient of God's covenants and promises but because of disobedience they're not experiencing the blessings of those covenants and promises today. Third we see that the Messiah would enter the human race through Israel and would come initially to Israel as a nation. In John 1 it says "He came unto His own and His own received Him not but as many as received Him to them He gave the power to be called the sons of God."
Fourth, we see in Romans 9 that all of Israel is not Israel. True Israel are the regenerate, ethnic descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That's the remnant which is the term used in the Old Testament. So not all of Israel is true Israel but only those who believe in God and His promised Messiah are true Israel. That's in Romans 9:6. As we looked at this we seek to understand how Romans 9, 10, and 11 fit. We have to see this in relationship to the theme of Romans in terms of the righteousness of God. We have to understand how that has impacted Israel. Romans 9 demonstrates the righteousness of God in His rejection of national Israel. Why did God reject national Israel? Because they were offered the Messiah and they rejected the Messiah so now they're under Divine judgment but it's not permanent. Romans 10 then demonstrates that that rejection is based on Israel's corporate neglect of the revelation given to them.
This is seen in the quotation of certain verses, for example in verse 8 where it says "The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart". The Word of God has presented the case for the Messiah but they have neglected the revelation that was given to them and they substituted the viewpoints and the opinions of the rabbis in the 2nd Temple period rather than holding to a view of Scripture alone. They added the tradition of the rabbis so that when the Messiah shows up they don't recognize it.
In Romans 11 we see the answer to the question of whether God has [permanently, implied] cast away His people. No, Paul says. God still has a plan for national, ethnic Israel. He has not gone back on His promises. There is a future restoration of Israel. There's a future regeneration of Israel and ultimately all Israel will be saved. So we not only have Romans 10:9 and 10 talking about the future salvation of Israel but three verses later we read another quote from Joel 2, "For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." That has to fit with the context of Romans 11 which emphasizes at the end that all Israel will be saved.
They're all quoting from the same Old Testament prophecies. So Paul is connecting what the righteousness of God is doing in relation to Israel to what God has stated in the Old Testament. Looking at an overview of Romans 9-11 we see that this begins with a vindication of God's righteousness in light of Israel's rejection of the righteousness of God by faith. That's the issue.
It's so important to look at the word "righteousness" if you're having any communication with someone Jewish and you're starting to get into any kind of expression of the gospel. Righteousness is a key concept. The Hebrew word is tzedek. That's a word you're familiar with and you understand it as righteousness. By the 2nd Temple period of Judaism the word began to be interpreted and understood as good works and charitable deeds. That's going to come out a lot when we get into the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. They thought within rabbinical tradition that righteousness came from works. This is the problem. They're not seeing righteousness as a gift from God, as it was with Abraham, but they're seeing righteousness as something that is the result of what we do.
So God rejects Israel and the question that comes up as Paul's statement in Romans 8:38-39 that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. A Jewish listener would say, "Well, if nothing can separate us from the love of God, how come Israel has now been separated from the love of God? Has God abandoned us? God's not really righteous, is He?" So Romans 9-11 fits into that explanation that focuses on God's dealing with Israel as a whole which is God's plan for ethnic, corporate Israel. It's important to understand that.
There are so many varying contradictory views that would all be resolved if we just understood that in this whole three chapter section Paul is dealing with corporate Israel. That is, God's plan for Israel in history. Not individual Jews but His corporate plan that will be fulfilled and will demonstrate the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant and the other covenants related to it.
We need to remember three things. First of all, God promised to send a savior to Israel and He fulfilled that promise. The promised savior came first to Israel. In the early part of Jesus' ministry, remember He sends the disciples two by two and tells them not to go to the Gentiles. He tells them to go to the house of Judah and the house of Israel. Don't go to the Gentiles at all. Now does that verse have an application for today? No! There's no application there. It's a statement that is related directly to those twelve individuals and what they were to do at a specific point in time. There's no application.
People get real fuzzy thinking about this concept of application that everything in the Bible ought to apply. It doesn't. There are some things that don't apply. There are some things that are already applications and other things that are stated principles and do apply. The promised savior comes first to Israel and the message is only for Israel. This is why you have that really strange scene where the Phoenician woman, the Canaanite woman, comes up and she touches the hem of Jesus' garment. He turns around and says, "Who touched me?" He felt her presence and then He praises her. Up to this point His ministry was just to the Jews and she says, "Even the dogs get the crumbs off the table." Dogs was a derogatory term used to describe Gentiles by the Jews and she just wants the overflow of grace, the crumbs that come off the table.
The point is He came first to Israel. The third thing we need to remember is that Israel as a whole, as a corporate entity, as represented by their leaders makes a decision to reject Jesus. That's it. They're represented by their leaders. It's a corporate decision. In the end, we see very clearly that in the future you have Jews who listen to what Jesus said when they see the abomination of desolation and they see the other signs at the mid-point of the Tribulation, Jesus told them when they see those things happening, they're to head to the mountains. "Don't go back home. Woe to the woman who is with child. Go to the mountains." So they do. Only the ones who leave and head to the hills are saved. They're ultimately delivered.
They're the ones who are already justified when they get into the wilderness as a corporate entity then they will call upon the name of the Lord as a nation. That's when Jesus returns. When they call upon the name of the Lord at the end of the Tribulation when they're in Basra, over near Petra, they're already justified. Now they want the Lord to return to physically deliver them and establish the Kingdom.
So God's rejection of Israel, Paul says in chapter 9, is not inconsistent with His justice. That's Paul's whole point we've been covering in Romans 9. It's not inconsistent with God's justice and His righteousness because Israel has rejected God's righteousness "by faith alone". Because Israel has rejected God's free offer of righteousness, God is righteous in bringing them under condemnation.
From chapter 9:30 through 10:13 the focus is on Israel itself being worthy of blame because it rejected God's righteousness through faith and replaced it with righteousness through or from the source of works. That's why Israel is rejected, because they rejected a righteousness by faith. Then in 10:14-21 Israel's unbelief is not excused on the basis of a lack of opportunity. That's what Paul develops in those verses, that they've had plenty of opportunity. Then in Romans 11: 1-10 Israel's rejection is neither complete nor final. That brings us to the end of the section.
It's important sometimes to read the last verse of a section, or the conclusion, so you know where the author is taking you. What you see in Romans 11:26 and 27 is that when Paul wraps up this discussion in Romans 9-11, he says, "And so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, 'The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins." When we look at these verses we see that this is a citation from the Old Testament from Isaiah 59: 20 and 21. So Paul is applying that and showing when it will be fulfilled.
What we see there for the word "so" is the Greek word houto which means "in this manner" which he's about to describe. It's the same word that used in John 3:16. "For God so loved the world…" People get the idea that it says God so loved the world. It should be translated, "God loved the world in this way that He gave His unique son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
"In this manner" introduces something in many cases. In Romans 11:26 Paul is saying that this is how God is going to deliver Israel. This is how all Israel will be saved. "The Deliverer [the Messiah] will come out of Zion and He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. For this is My Covenant with them, when I take away their sins." This is when God establishes it. The word for ungodliness is asebeia. Asebeia is a word that means to lack a spiritual life. It has the idea of being ungodly or having a lack of reverence for God, a lack of obedience or authority orientation to God. It's the result of the rejection of God and His plan of righteousness." So this is what God is going to remove from Israel.
The word that's translated remove or turned away is apostrepho which means to take something by force, to remove it or to cut it off or to cause a state or condition to cease. So God is going to remove this ungodliness from Jacob. It's going to be the end of the blindness on Israel during this dispensation and this is going to be removed because this time Israel is going to accept the Messiah and turn to God. This word apostrepho is the same word used in Romans 10:4 for taking away sins, for removing something.
Okay, that's our introduction. Now in Romans 10:1 Paul says, "Brethren my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them [Israel] is for their salvation." This expresses Paul's love for Israel. There's no hint of anti-Semitism in Paul. Paul is Jewish. He doesn't hate his own people and he expresses his love for them several times in Romans 9-11. In Romans 9:3 he said, "For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh." Here he expresses that it's his heart's desire and his continual prayer to God that Israel be saved. But what does that mean? Is he saying that they may be justified or is he saying something else? Here's the phrase, it's the preposition eis which indicates a direction toward something, an ultimate goal, and the word is soteria in the accusative. It's the noun soteria in the accusative and it's just translated salvation. It's really important to understand how Paul uses salvation. I don't think Paul ever uses the word group from sozo, the verb or soteria, the noun, to ever refer to justification.
We need to remind ourselves that there are three stages of salvation spoken of in the scripture and the word for saved is used for all three together in some places or for each phase individually. In phase one we talk about justification. So one way to make this clear is to talk about justification salvation. Paul doesn't use the word salvation or saved as a synonym for justification anywhere in Romans. He's very technical. When he's talking about how to get right with God, he uses the word justify. What he does in Romans 10:9 and 10, after the verse that I read to you earlier in verse 9 which talks about confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart, Paul then explains that by saying, "For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness…" That's justification language. And then he says, "For with the mouth confession is made unto salvation…"
It's as if it's a second step. He's talking about something different form justification. The spiritual life or phase two is sanctification salvation. It's talking about how we are saved in this life from the consequences of sin and the third phase we talk about is glorification. So in phase one we talk about being saved from the penalty of sin, that we were saved in the past. In phase two we talk about being saved from the power of sin, that you are being saved continuously, every day, every time we go through spiritual life we are being saved. Earl Radmacher used to try to shock people by saving, "I was saved yesterday. I was saved the day before. I was saved this morning. I was saved this afternoon. I'm saved now and I'll be saved tomorrow." He was using the term saved in this sense, in terms of sanctification, because it's our moment-by-moment spiritual growth. Final salvation is when we're saved from the presence of sin. Paul talks about that in the future tense, "you will be saved".
So the word salvation has to be understood in terms of these different tenses. Now in Romans 1:16 and 17 we see the first mention of the word salvation. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation…" Now one of the first things that happens is you read that and you see the word gospel so you think it's referring to how you get to heaven. But there's a narrow use of the word gospel and a broad use of the word gospel. Romans is all about the gospel but Romans is telling us a lot more than just how to get to heaven. Romans is telling us not only how to get to heaven and to get justified but how a justified person is supposed to live. How you and I are supposed to live on an everyday basis and what that means. That's salvation in the full sense.
So gospel has a narrow sense of the good news that we need to hear in order to be justified and have eternal life and go to heaven when we die and secondly, gospel has a broad sense to include the whole realm of Christian doctrine because everything in the New Testament is good news. It teaches us how to live, how to have the joy of our salvation, how to have peace, and how to live for God. That is all part of the gospel so we have to address this issue when we're looking at passages and not interpret every verse because our 19th century American evangelicalism has restricted the meaning of gospel of just how to get to heaven. The Bible doesn't use it in that narrow sense.
We talk about the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John but all four of those gospels tell us a lot about how to live the spiritual life. They're not just telling us how to get the spiritual life. We have to understand that gospel has a narrow use and a broad use. We see this connection in Romans 1: 16 and 17 between the gospel that is the power of salvation to everyone who believes. This is emphasizing that our broad salvation from spiritual birth to the time we're taken to be with the Lord is based on the faith-rest drill. We're trusting God and mixing our faith with the promises of God so that as we walk step-by-step, we're depending upon Him and resting in His care. "Casting all your care upon Him because He cares for you." For those who are disobedient there's the wrath of God in time. So Romans is talking about time in history, time in our lives, not talking about some sort of future, eschatological event but realizing that real time salvation or deliverance from the power of sin in this life.
Now when we get into Romans 10 we see the next time the word salvation used in Romans 10:10 and 1l. We find it used three times in Romans 10. The first verse uses the word saved. If you just looked at that verse you might walk away and say, "Well he's talking about justification there." But you have to look at the whole context of how the word is used throughout the entire context. He could be talking about justification there but he doesn't use the word that way in the rest of the chapter so that argues against just reading this justification idea into the text. "And believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." This clearly distinguishes justification by faith alone, the first part, to something in addition. Confessing with the mouth isn't getting you justified. It has to do with phase 2 or phase 2 salvation.
Romans 11:11 talks about salvation coming to the Gentiles. Romans 13:11 says, "Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep, for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed." They're already justified and Paul is again using salvation in a very different sense here than just justification. Now let's see how this works in terms of just the verb say. Romans 5:9, "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." He's using the past tense. He says that now we've already been justified but we shall be saved, future tense. You can be justified but not saved. Now if you want to interpret saved the way evangelicals use it all the time you're confused right now. How can we be justified and not saved? Because the words aren't synonyms. In some cases they are but in many cases they're not.
Verse 10, "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Jesus' life is not the basis of justification. The basis for justification was His death on the Cross. His life was the pattern, the precedent for our spiritual life of walking by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:24, "For in hope we have been saved but hope that is seen is not hope for who hopes for what he already sees?" Now that's all within the context of the spiritual life. It's not in the context of justification any more. Saved, there, is talking about our realization of our new life in Christ, walking by the Spirit.
Then we come to Romans 10:9 and 10 and it becomes clear that when Paul is talking about being saved here he's not talking about justification. He's talking about something in addition to justification. If you look at the original context of Joel 2 about whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved, it's not talking about spiritual justification. It's talking about physical deliverance when Israel is on the edge of being totally annihilated. So having said all that, when we look at Romans 10:1 it's not legitimate to think that he's talking here about individual Jews getting justified.
Number one, he's not talking about individual Jews. He's talking about God's plan for corporate Israel. And number two, he's talking about their future deliverance because that word saved there is restated in Romans 10:9-10, the principle is there in Romans 10:13, and then it's restated again when you get to Romans 11; 25 and 26. So his desires for Israel to be saved and for that fullness to come where the Jews, as a nation, turn back and accept the Messiah at which time He will deliver them and establish His Kingdom.
But there's a problem. That problem is stated in verses two and three. It says, "For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God…" They are passionate about God. We see a lot of secular Jews in our world. There are a lot of Jews in the U.S., and most Israelis, are completely non-religious. They're not observant at all. In many cases they're just agnostic. They're not any different from anybody else you meet that's just an agnostic secularist. But there are those who do have a tremendous passion for God. I'm just impressed by their passion and their works. I've been to several Shabbat services and you just see them wearing their prayer shawls. They've memorized all of their prayers. I wish my congregation had memorized half the verses they've memorized.
They have a passion for God but there's something missing. That's what Paul says here, "It's not in accordance with knowledge." Knowledge in the Greek is epignosis, not just gnosis which is an awareness of academic knowledge or facts but it's a full knowledge, an applicable knowledge. They don't have a full knowledge or full understanding of the scripture. Why? That's the next verse. It begins with "for" which in the Greek is the Greek word gar which indicates he's now explaining what he just said. "For not knowing about God's righteousness…" Now that's the theme of Romans, the righteousness of God. And they're ignorant of God's righteousness.
Righteousness is a key issue in rabbinic Judaism. But it's tzedakah which is the doing of good works and charitable deeds. In fact, one of the major ideas in modern Judaism is the idea that the role of the Jew is to repair the world. In Hebrew it's tikkun olam. Their job is to repair the world, to right the wrongs, to take care of people. We would say it's a little bit of a perversion of the blessing command that God gave to Abraham that they were to be a blessing to the whole world. And so, this is why you see things like when they had the earthquake in the Dominican Republic, the very first emergency responders on the scene were from Israel. What they're doing in Africa and going to the impoverished nations and teaching them principles of agriculture and how to farm and what to do about water, solving the water problems. It's just incredible. Many times their teams go in but under some sort of non-government organization title because the people or the government is hostile to Israel but they go in anyway just sort of as a non-government organization and they help teach the people things.
This is in contrast to Americans, we throw billions of dollars at impoverished countries and we send in tractors and all kinds of things they can use. But you know what? We don't teach them how to read so they can't fix anything we send because they can't read the manuals. What the Israelis do is they send educators in to teach the people how to read, how to read the manuals and how to use the manuals. You know, it's like such a blinding flash of the obvious but Americans think that if we can just dump a load of cash on people then we can go away and our conscience is now clear. We haven't done anything but create an enormous problem.
So this is all part of the Jewish idea that they are doing tzedakah, they're doing works. These works, they believe, accumulate for righteousness. But this is not what the Old Testament teaches. In Isaiah 64:5, Isaiah who is a mature believer says, "And all [including himself] have become like one who is unclean…" Everyone of us Judean Jews in approximately 670 B.C. he's including. "And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment…" In the Old King James it's, "All of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." This is not our unrighteounesses but all our righteousnesses, our good deeds, our tzedakah, all of our charitable works are as filthy rags in the sight of God." That's God's opinion of the best we have to offer.
Righteousness is a key theme in the Old Testament. Even if you go along and say, "Okay, let's just call it charitable deeds to understand the concept." How did you get righteousness in the Old Testament? You have to go back to Abraham. Abraham in Genesis 15:6, "Then he [Abraham] believed in the Lord and He [God] reckoned it to him as righteousness." Abraham had already believed God and it was reckoned or accounted to him as righteousness. Not because of what Abraham did but because Abraham trusted God for his salvation. So how do you get righteousness? Not by doing the Law because the Law wasn't even in existence in Abraham's time. That's Paul's whole argument in Romans 3 and 4.
But how do you get righteousness? How did Abraham get righteousness? By believing in God. And God imputed or credited righteousness to him. That's our doctrine of justification by faith alone. And then what you can do is show how righteousness is a key element of Isaiah 53. In describing the suffering servant, the Messiah, in Isaiah 53 we read in verse 3, "He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…"
Jesus didn't fit the pre-conceived notion in 2nd Temple Judaism of what the Messiah would be like. They thought the Messiah would be a victorious king and not a suffering Messiah. "So he was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried…" Some people get the idea that this is talking about Jesus died for our physical healing but in the poetry of Isaiah 53 that healing and sickness if you read through the verses is parallel to sin and bearing our sins. We have substitutionary atonement here that the Messiah bore in His body on the tree our sins. He endured our suffering in our place. We accounted Him plagued, smitten and afflicted by God but He was wounded because of our sins He was wounded because of our sins, crushed because of our iniquities.
That explains what the sickness in verse 4 was about. Sickness is another way of talking about sin. Verse 6, "He was crushed for our iniquities, He bore the chastisement that made us whole." I have quoted all of this out of the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh from 1918 so we're seeing how the Jewish Bible is translated. We usually translate this, "He bore the chastisement of our peace." They translate, "He bore the chastisement that made us whole." See that's a great way to explain the gospel. Jesus Christ, the Messiah, as a substitute paid the penalty so that we could be made whole, so we could have shalom or peace with God. "And by His bruises we were healed." Healed of what? Healed of sin that brought about spiritual death. Verse 6, "We all went astray like sheep."
In Judaism there's no doctrine of original sin. There's no doctrine of total depravity. And yet it's evident on the pages, such as "all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." It's obvious. Here "we're all astray like sheep". Even Isaiah has gone astray like sheep. Everyone has the same problem. "Each goes his own way and the Lord visited upon Him, that is upon the suffering servant, the Messiah, the guilt of us all." That is substitutionary atonement. Isaiah 53:7-8, "He was maltreated yet He was submissive. He did not open His mouth. Like a sheep being led to slaughter, like a ewe, dumb before those who shear her, He did not open His mouth." That was fulfilled with Jesus.
He did not open His mouth, or utter a sound, until God poured out our sins upon Him upon the Cross. They whipped him, they beat him almost to death and yet He did not cry out until our sins were imputed to Him. Verse 8, "By oppressive judgment He was taken away. Who could describe His abode? For He was cut off from the land of the living [killed] through the sin of my people who deserved the punishment. Once again the idea of substitutionary atonement. And then in verse 9 and 10 we read, "His grave was set among the wicked…" That talks about his grave was a rich man's grave, Joseph of Aramathea's grave. Then look at verse 10, "But the Lord chose to crush Him by disease that if He made Himself an offering for guilt." A guilt offering. Again that's a picture of substitution. "He might see offspring and have long life." Then we go to verse 12, "Assuredly, I will give Him the many as His fortune. He shall receive the multitude as His spoil for He exposed Himself to death and was numbered among the sinners whereas He bore the guilt of the many and made intercession for sinners."
Now when we get into this what we see is that in the Hebrew, it talks about justification. That He is the One who became the One who justified. That doesn't come across in the Hebrew translation. In verse 12 it expresses the fact in the Hebrew that when He was numbered among the sinners and He bears the guilt of the many that He is the One who brings justification. Now in the New Testament we read that it's not by works of righteousness which we have done…" This is the concept out of Judaism. "…But according to His mercies He saves us by the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit."
This is why Paul then goes into the 4th verse of chapter 10, "For Christ is the end of law for righteousness, to everyone who believes." Christ has fulfilled the Law in His life because He is perfectly righteous so then we can receive righteousness by believing in Him. We'll come back next time and start looking at that particular passage.
I see I got a verse out of context. Verse 11 in Isaiah 53,"As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My servant will justify the many." Christ is the Righteous One and He makes the many righteous. That's justification. So this idea of righteousness runs its thread through so many of these key passages in the Old Testament. It's not a righteousness that comes from the Law. This is what Romans 10:4 says, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." The Jews in verse 3 sought to establish their own righteousness by not submitting to the righteousness of God so we'll look at how this righteousness plays out in understanding the rest of Romans 10 and the future deliverance of Israel next week.