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Reflections on Romans 10:2-4 (Tu)

Not sure what these daily Reflections are about? Go to: Join Me For Breakfast.
Also, check out Pastor Bob’s blog.

The Net Bible rendering of today’s text.

I hope you’ll read the comments on yesterday’s post, as well as Pastor Bob’s blog. I wrote in my journal this morning: “I should re-read the posts from Feb 23 often–daily?–to get refocused on my real mission in life!”

We never got to verse 2 yesterday [in fact we never even talked about the role of prayer in verse 1, but i think i can work that in next Monday] so I’ve added verse 2 to today’s reading. It’s more of a natural division anyways, since 2,3 and 4 go together syntactically. So let’s check it out!

As I read through today’s passage, I see that it talks about the Jews’ pursuit of righteousness. It ties right back to the end of chapter nine, where we saw that many Gentiles didn’t pursue righteousness, but obtained it, whereas many Jews pursued it and missed it altogether! So there’s something here about obtaining righteousness that apparently requires something other than “pursuit”.

Verse 3 tells me that righteousness comes from God, not something I generate on my own.

Then Paul paints contrasting scenarios at the end of verse 3.

Seeking to establish their own [righteousness]
vs
submit to God’s righteousness

Those two italicised verbs intrigued me, so I looked them up in the Greek, using the NET Bible’s KJV & GRK tabs. As I suspected the word establish is in the active voice, indicating “doing a work”. The picture is someone who is standing firm, holding your ground, bucking up, gritting your teeth, keeping the enemy at bay. Those are admirable qualities in battle, but the battle of righteousness can’t be won. We are grossly outnumbered. It’s wasted effort. Zeal without knowledge.

The word submit is in the passive voice as I also suspected. It tells us that on this occasion, the only prudent thing to do is wave the white flag, admitting we are overcome by the requirements of the law and that we’ll never measure up. We need to be rescued.

In the end, it comes down to Christ (vs 4). Though the law dooms us, trusting in Him gives us the victory of righteousness!

Think of how many people miss this crucial truth. Think of all the people of other faiths–and even many under the umbrella of Christianity–who get caught up in trying to obtain a righteousness based on works. So close, but yet so far away!

Two parting questions:
How can we express our thankfulness to God for pulling us off the treadmill of works?
What can we do to help others discover the truth about God’s free gift of grace?

2 Comments

  1. The comments from yesterday were very good !
    I think we express thankfulness to God for getting us off the performance treadmill by obviously being thankful and telling Him thanks ,but also by staying off the treadmill. Don’t long for working towards being good enough and if we find ourselves looking at or hopping back on the treadmill, ask for Gods’ help to put it aside.
    I heard a question yesterday that might be helpful :Are you satisfied with this( in this case, working to be good enough)?Then tell them about God’s grace. And pray that God will get through to them.
    To clarify from last week ‘s comments I made about chapter 9 verse 33. I was getting it mixed up with Isaiah 8:14 and 15.In those verses, the rock falls on the unbeliever.

  2. Matt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
    I see this as having a beggars spirit. A very lowly beggar. So low that I can’t even look up. I have nothing to give. Like the tax collector in Luke 18:13, beating on his chest, unable to look up, pleading for mercy. Pastor Mark, that’s the picture of total surrender you mentioned in your post. That’s what was lacking in the Jew’s.

    Thanking God for breaking us of our pride is one way. Pastor Mark, you may have already seen this, go to YouTube and look for the John Piper is Bad video. Spot on and yet very funny!

    Your second question leads me to what John MacAruthur once said. Instead of asking someone if they are saved and then having them tell you they’ve “done did that.” Ask them if they have been made holy. An interesting way of stopping them and making them think.

    I hope your having a great day, Joe Meyer

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