March - Reading 16

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Mar 16, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening, well, good morning -

    Romans 10:4 - "Christ is the end of the Law." What exactly is the meaning of this statement? We can read the word "end " to mean "cessation" or "demise of." We can also read the word to mean "fulfillment" or "completion." I think both translations could be applied to this passage. To the Jews who believed, Christ was the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies and Paul is addressing these folks in the Book of Romans quite extensively. By the same token Christ's teaching are the standard by which we judge all other teachings. When it comes to our belief in Christ, "the buck stops here."
    Romans 10:9-10 is a very popular passage and it bears repeating here:
    In Matthew, we read the observance of the Lord's Supper as accounted by Matthew and the prophecy of Peter's denial. I've always enjoyed thinking about Peter. I think as a human being he was a very outspoken, bull headed kind of man. He was fiercely loyal. One can imagine how badly this prophecy must have affected him. It had to hurt.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson – 12/11/06

    Romans 9:30-10:21

    Continuing his discussion on the concept of God’s election, Paul now addresses what could be termed “the Jewish problem.” While he has stated in the previous chapter that not all who are of the house of Israel are Israel, the Old Testament Scriptures had clearly stated that it was the descendants of Jacob who were the Covenant people. Despite their numerous spiritual advantages, the children of Israel, as a corporate whole, had failed to comply with ultimate Will of God in salvation history.

    The Roman audience to whom Paul now wrote was most likely predominately Gentile. Yet these people were being educated correctly that Christianity was the next step in Judaism. References to the Promises made to the Israelites freed from the Egyptian captivity must have left them puzzled as to why the Jews had failed to accept the Messiah presented in the Person of Jesus Christ. Likewise, the Jews in Paul’s audience must have wondered the same. How could a people blessed with the actual Presence of God fail when the next phase of salvation presented itself?

    The final verses of chapter 9 and all of chapter 10 draw upon the Old Testament Scriptures and primitive Christian confessions to answer these questions. Paul continues in the diatribe style to answer the questions he puts forth.

    Romans 9:30-33 Christ as the Stumbling Stone

    Paul’s first question is now familiar: What shall we say then? The question is then posed in paraphrase, “How is it that the Gentiles who did not have the advantages of the Jews and did not even know how to pursue God’s justification have attained it while the Jews, who had every advantage and vigorously sought God’s justification failed?”

    The wording of the questions as they appear in the text begin to answer these queries. First of all, righteousness is not “pursued.” It is freely given. Justification is not an act of man, it is an act of God. How did the Jews try to pursue righteousness? They approached it as though it were based on “works.” They believed that the sacrificial system and strict adherence to other aspects of the Law would somehow put God in their debt.

    New Testament testimonies affirm that Christ is “the Rock of Ages” but for the Jews, as a corporate whole, He was a “stumbling stone.” Paul then quotes two Passages from Isaiah (28:16 & 8:14-15) as the source of his metaphor. It is noteworthy that Peter also uses these same verses in 1Peter 2:6-8. Most scholars believe that this shows the quotes were widely used before the penning of either Epistle.

    That the Jews had not used Jesus Christ as the bedrock on which they would build had made Him the stumbling stone. Those, however, who believe on the Messiah are “not put to shame.” Even though He was the destructive instrument to most of Israel, He was the savior to those who accepted Him in faith.

    Romans 10:1-4 Christ as the End of the Law

    These verse are very similar in tone and content to 9:1-5. In 9:3 Paul’s “brethren” were his kinsmen by race. Now he speaks to his brethren in Christ about the Jews. Paul’s deep and earnest desire was that the Jewish people may be saved. Indeed, his prayer of intercession looks forward to the time when the Jews will be brought into the Messianic banquet, a concept brought to light in 11:26.

    Paul then gives three reasons why he wishes to see the salvation of the Jewish people. First, they have a zeal for God, even though it is not according to knowledge. Paul himself bore witness to this zeal as he described his former life prior to his conversion in Galatians 1:13-14. Even as a Pharisee, Paul’s goal was to reach God and to be righteous. He did not recognize his failure until Jesus revealed Himself.

    The second reason Paul prayed for the salvation of the Jews is that a false understanding of righteousness produced the lack of knowledge they had. Not recognizing that righteousness comes from God had produced a mindset in the Jewish people that righteousness came from themselves. This false perception led to the Jews’ zeal. Unfortunately, zeal without enlightenment leads to fanaticism, not enthusiasm. The Jews had started out in the wrong direction and their fanaticism carried them further from the goal. They did not submit to God’s righteousness, the righteousness that comes through faith.

    The third reason given for Paul’s prayer hinges on the point that Jesus is the end of the Law for believers. The Greek term we translate as “end” can mean either termination or fulfillment. It is likely that Paul has the latter in mind here as he has stated in 3:31 that faith “upholds” the Law. Jesus fulfilled the Law by completely obeying it, a feat Paul repeatedly contends was accomplished by Christ and Christ alone. For the majority of the Jews, their slavery to the Law continued.

    Romans 10:5-13 Christ as Lord

    Faith has been central in the last two Passages but now it is shown that the object of faith is the Lordship of Christ. Once again the “righteousness of faith” is contrasted with the “righteousness of the Law.” The Levitical view of the Law is that one must keep it in order to gain life. Paul’s contention is that the keeping of the Law has only been done in Christ. Paul’s allusion to Deuteronomy 9:4 brings to context the Old Testament Passage in which the Israelites felt that their own righteousness would bring about victory over the Anakites when they crossed the Jordan. It was not, however, their own righteousness but the righteousness of God that brought them to the Promised Land.

    This idea is expanded with the quote from Deuteronomy 30:11-14, in which Moses speaks of God bringing near the Commandment. This verse gives the true response of faith to the Law, the response the Jews had missed. The parallel is that God had also brought Christ near to an undeserving world. Man’s works can not and need not bring about the physical incarnation of Christ (ascend into Heaven) for God has already done that. Man’s works can not and need not bring Christ up from the dead (descend into the abyss) for that, too, has been accomplished by God. Both of these are elements of the righteous act of God and all that is necessary on the part of human beings is faith in these acts.

    By being the end of the Law, Christ replaced the Commandment. Thus the word of faith replaces the works of men. That word of faith that Paul preached was the historical event of the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Verse 9 sates the most basic of Christian confessions: Jesus is Lord. The word “confess” properly means to confirm something others speak and maintain. Our confession as believers confirms what God holds to be true. It is a profession of the Gospel truth of our need to have a Savior because of our hopelessly depraved moral state. By speaking “with our mouth” we declare this truth openly and publicly. This is the outward expression of our faith in Christ as the ruler of our souls.

    The inward expression of our faith is our belief “in [our] heart.” This is the internal feeling that accompanies the outward expression. That faith lies in the historical fact that God raised the Person of Jesus Christ from the dead. All other truths hinge on this one great Truth for the Christian. It is proof that Christ came forth from God. It is proof that He died for our sins. It is proof that God approved and accepted His work here on earth.

    Acceptance of and confession of this great Truth points towards our salvation. More than this, however, is the fact that the righteousness imparted by this faith is universal. No one who believes in Christ as Lord will be disappointed, that is, broughtn to shame. Just as there is no distinction in sin among people, there is also no distinction in salvation.

    Romans 10:14-17 The Gospel to Israel

    Returning to the diatribe, Paul now states his opponent’s next objection. Paul works backwards in the chain of events leading to the confession and belief of those who are saved. How can a man call upon that in which he does not believe? How can a man believe in what he has not heard? How can a man hear what no one has told him? How can someone tell a man if he is not sent?

    Paul’s unseen opponent has set before the Christian the challenge of witnessing. The point is well taken that it is we who are sent to a dying world to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

    In context to this Passage, however, where Paul is speaking to the Christians of the Jews, his answer is quite straightforward. Israel did hear the message but they did not believe. Paul turns to the prophets who had all along proclaimed the Gospel in their Messianic predictions.

    Indeed in other Galatians 3:8 Paul states that there had even been a Gospel to Abraham. The Old Testament, to Paul, was a major witness for Christ. Though the Jews were zealous towards their aspirations towards justification, they had repeatedly ignored the revelation of God when offered. The coming of Christ was another in a long series of the self-perpetuating ignorance of a misguided and hard-hearted people.

    Romans 10:18-21 The Gospel to the Gentiles

    Paul now turns from the condition of the hearing but not believing Jews to the Gentiles. Would not the same argument of hearing from those who preached apply to them? He then shows from the Old Testament, a quotation of Psalm 19:4, that the Gospel message had reached the Gentiles as well. This stems back to Paul’s proclamation in the fist chapter that God’s plan is revealed even in nature. God revealed Himself in both nature and the Law. Both proclaimed the Gospel before the Gospel was manifested in Christ.

    To further meet the objection of the opponent in relation to the unbelief of the Jews, Paul turns to Deuteronomy 32:21. Israel was responsible for her own failure. Even the Gentiles who were regarded as spiritually inferior to the Jews had heeded the Gospel. The Jews heard the message just fine. They simply refused to understand. Israel provoked God with “what is no god” and so God will provoke Israel with “what is no people.”

    The acceptance of the Jews by the Messiah is also shown clearly in Isaiah, specifically in this instance in verse 65:1-2 of the Book that bears his name. God’s love for man was so strong that He pursued those who did not pursue Him. The cited Passage from Isaiah was likely referring to the Samaritans, a people despised by the Jews despite their kinship and similar beliefs. Paul applies the verse to all Gentiles who were considered no better than dogs to most Jews.

    God was more than willing to accept Israel into the Kingdom. It was Israel’s own defiance that kept her from coming to Him.
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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