— by Pastor Adekoya Akinbode
As earlier pointed out that Roman 9 to 11 is all about Paul’s passion and his understanding of God’s plan for Israel. In verse 9 we see him talk about how burdened and sorrowful he gets, seeing that his kinsmen are yet saved because they are yet to free themselves from the demands of the law to obtaining the gift of righteousness by faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
He’s so concerned that he wouldn’t mind being a propitiatory substitute: Israel saved and he rejected.
How interesting to see that Paul isn’t just concerned, burdened or sorrowful about Israel, seeing that he has no power of his own to save then UNLESS and UNTIL they as individuals come to terms with God by confessing their faith in Jesus Christ, he resorts to PRAYING for them!
Like I earlier said, while we as well need to have the same burdened heart Paul had towards His people, targeting those you’re yet to be saved around us, or those who are yet to embrace the gospel of Christ and be freed from the bondage of the law. Having a burdened heart is not enough. We can do something: we can PRAY and keep PRAYING!
Romans 10: 1. Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
By default, when it comes to serving God, one thing is common with the descendants of Ham: ZEAL! We (the black race) are naturally fervent and zealous when it comes to the things of God. However, zeal is not enough to serve God, acceptably, KNOWLEDGE is the prerequisite!
In my estimation, when it comes to God, whether to worship or to serve Him, zeal without knowledge is tantamount to mere religious jamboree. In fact, it is a disaster to be zealous in serving God without having the knowledge of His will. It was zeal void of knowledge that made Nadab and Abihu to offer what is regarded as strange fire in the place of “service to God”.
Leviticus 10: 1. And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and OFFERED STRANGE FIRE before the LORD, which he commanded them not. 2. And there went out fire from the LORD, and DEVOURED THEM, and THEY DIED before the LORD.
Thank God for GRACE which all are enjoying, but many are yet to doctrinally understand and embrace. Otherwise, can’t you see strange fire sparked and burning in many churches today? What happened to Nadab and Abihu should be happening almost on a daily basis because what we see, mostly around today, is multitudes zealously serving God but without knowledge, but for the grace of God!
What do I mean?
First of all, let’s define Knowledge in this context, as relevant to this dispensation.
1 Timothy 2: 3. For this is GOOD and ACCEPTABLE in the sight of God our Saviour; 4. Who will have all men to be SAVED, and to come unto THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.
God’s plan is to have all men saved and come to KNOWLEDGE… what kind of knowledge? Knowledge of the TRUTH! Now, Who is the truth?
John 14: 6. JESUS saith unto him, I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life:…
2 Peter 1: 2. GRACE and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of GOD, and of JESUS OUR LORD,
In this dispensation of the grace of God, Knowledge is in knowing Jesus!
When I comes to serving God, good and acceptable stewardship or service to God is powered by the knowledge of the finished work of Christ on the cross otherwise, you’ll be kindling strange fire, serving God with zeal but lacking knowledge!
This is the web wherein the Israelites are being caught, even till date. They know and believe so much about what Moses said rather than going by what Jesus said. They struggle to live by what the law says to do rather than embracing what Jesus has done for them. In the ignorance of the reality of the righteousness of God by faith in Christ Jesus, they go headlong struggling to attain right standing with God by keeping the law, zealously serving God!
But we that believe know that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness! In other words, in Christ Jesus, the law of righteousness is now obsolete, done away with, antique and inconsequential, having been made righteous by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is with/in this KNOWLEDGE of the truth, which has become our mindset that we serve God!
Need to mention that some religious folks see being obedient to the law as serving God! They want to lie and remember the law says not to lie, so they restrain themselves and look up to heaven “God, you see how I’m serving you? I’m not doing what you ask us not to do. So, bless me!”
Friend, the first requirement to serving God acceptably in this dispensation is to believe in the finished work of Christ and know it that you have received the gift of righteousness simply by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Getting back to the demands of the law firm whatever reason will amount to offering strange fire before the Lord.
From verse 5-15, Paul’s emphasis includes the fact that
1. If you choose to live by the law, you must continue to do so without at any time having to ask for God’s mercy or grace. You MUST live to meet up with the demands of the law as long as you live. What a lifetime of bondage.
When we say we are no longer under the law, it is NOT because we don’t want to live right but because, under law, you can’t live right! It’s now about you choosing to live by the law and you must never at any time be found breaking any or asking for mercy or forgiveness. You’ll be a hypocrite to do that. The law itself has no place for mercy or forgiveness. One laughable (but not funny) thing about the law is that, when you want to start giving yourself a pass mark for meeting up, one subtle and silent part of the law will show up to condemn you!
Now, if you’re truthful to yourself and humble enough to know and admit that you cannot “please God” living under the law, then welcome to the world of His GRACE!
Knowing that Jesus already paid the price for our justification both in the sight of God and of the law, all it requires to step in is JUST BELIEVE! You believe in Jesus and all He’s done for you? You’re justified, freely, totally and eternally!
2. We would remain in bondage to the law and seeking right standing with God via the demands of the law would be justifiable has Christ not come. Before Christ came, righteousness could only be ATTAINED by keeping the whole of the law. But from after Christ’s resurrection, righteousness can be OBTAINED by faith in His finished work. Ironically, no one has ever and can ever ATTAIN to righteousness under the law. But ASSUREDLY, all that profess faith in the finished work of Christ will OBTAIN the gift of righteousness.
Now, there are two ways to be righteous: either by fulfilling the demands of the law or by faith in Jesus. But remember, though the law is holy, it can NEVER make you righteous! The sure way to righteousness is by faith in Jesus. This is made possible by the coming, death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
Sound it loud everywhere: Christ has come. His second coming is not to come and die for sin again, He did that already. Christ has died for our sins, once and for all! Christ has risen, never to die again! Now, a new way of righteousness is established, by FAITH!
Christ did all that to deliver us from, amongst others, from the demands of the law that can never make righteous but continually condemn us. All that is required is for all to come to the faith of the Son of God.
That’s why we preach!
That’s why you should preach!
If you’re born again you’re SENT to preach this gospel. Your neighbors, friends and colleagues need to hear it that the righteousness of God is now obtainable only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, never attainable by keeping the law.
This dimension of knowledge and faith (consequential on the knowledge of Jesus Christ ) is what is lacking among the Jews. But as for us (once Gentiles) who have believed, we are now God’s people purposely to stir the Jews into jealousy, in fulfillment of prophecies.
Romans 10: 19. 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. 20. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
Why is Israel said to be disobedient? Simply, because they’re living under the law of righteousness (of sin and death) rather than embracing the righteousness of God by faith in Christ Jesus. No one amongst us here should be found as disobedient as the Jews, and the people say… Amen!