July 2015

Jesus isn’t “a” lord; He is “the” Lord. It is in Him that we have placed our trust.

 

Romans 10:9-10 “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

 

Paul is continuing to make the distinction between those who are God’s children and those who are not, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with heritage or nationality or merit or ceremony. These two beautiful verses sum up the distinction placed upon those who will live in eternity in heaven: Children of God believe that Jesus is Lord and was raised from the dead, and they confess this with their mouths. It really does seem simple, but it flies in the face of all that natural man would believe. First, there is nothing about believing in one’s self in that statement. As a matter of fact, besides the act of believing, which must first come from a heart changed by the Holy Spirit, the entire process is about Christ. Secondly, the belief must be in Christ as Lord—not “a” lord, but “the” Lord. The Greek word used here is “kurios,” which was the Greek Old Testament translation used for God’s personal name, Yahweh. Therefore one has to believe and confess that Jesus is God and that He was raised from the dead, which will lead to confessing that out loud. The authentic act of salvation is really not simple at all, but it is clear and there are no variances. Jesus is Lord. He was resurrected and now sits at the right hand of the Almighty. This is what we know. This is what we believe. This is what we proclaim.

 

Study/Meditation: What is the difference between a person who believes in Jesus and one who believes in Him as Lord? Why is this distinction so very important?

 

*Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the propitiation for my sins. Jesus is Lord and Savior. Amen.

 

God doesn’t expect from us what only Christ could do. From us He expects faith in that very work.

Romans 10:6-8 “But the righteousness based on faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’’ (that is, to bring Christ down) or ‘‘Who will descend into the abyss?’’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim).”

Paul is using popular phrases of the day, which was also a quote from Deuteronomy 30:11-14, to further make his point that man cannot do the impossible, that is, save himself. Paul is basically telling his readers that God isn’t expecting them to do the things that only Christ can do, i.e. ascension and resurrection. You can see the hyperbole here: trying to save yourself is as easy as ascending into heaven or coming back from the abyss, and thankfully that is not what is expected of us. No, the “righteousness based on faith” knows that Christ has come near you (He came down from heaven); He has come near you (He was raised from the dead), and all so that you would believe on Him and live.

Study/Meditation: How is trying to achieve salvation on your own merit comparable to trying to ascend into heaven or descend into the abyss? What solution has our loving Father provided us?

*Father, thank You for not expecting me to do what I have no ability to do. Thank You for bringing me into fellowship with You. Amen.

God requires perfection; therefore, we require Jesus.

Romans 10:5 “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on that law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.”

There is but one standard by which anyone can enter into the presence of the Almighty, and that standard is perfection. Jesus said, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) This standard was true in the Old Testament (Numbers 4:11; 20:12), and it is proclaimed as true in the New Testament (Galatians 5:3). As Paul quotes from Leviticus 18:5 in today’s verse, he is reminding his readers that keeping the commandments perfectly has always been the prerequisite to eternal salvation. No one, save the One, has ever done that, could ever do that. This is the reason why the law as given in Leviticus was followed by enumerable sacrifices instituted to attempt atonement when these laws were broken—“when” these laws were broken, not “if”. The Law of Moses was given to point all people to Christ, the only One who would keep it to the letter and then sacrifice Himself for His children who could never do so. God never meant for the Law to be attempted and then slide us in on good behavior. It had to be kept, to the letter, for entrance into heaven. Our inability to do that was always meant to point us to Christ.

Study/Meditation: Why were the sacrifices of the Old Testament still inadequate for atonement? Why was Jesus’ atonement the only one that would satisfy God’s requirements?

*Father, You are righteous and holy, and only Jesus lived perfectly. Thank You for His sacrifice so that I might live, too. Amen.

By Christian Bonner

I like emoticons. I think they are cute and a fun way to “show” how I’m feeling in my texts. My friend even had me sign up for the bitstrips app where you basically create an avatar of yourself and make comic strips of yourself and friends. She and I have a lot of fun with them and have had full conversations using them.

However, when it comes to emotions and expressing them in daily life, we can’t really use emoticons, and if we try, no amount of emoticons can make that experience more enjoyable because, well, it’s not.

Actually, I have grown to REALLY dislike the term “emotional” especially when it is used to describe someone. Today, the word is almost always used negatively. (more…)

Obedience is the fruit of justification, not the root of it.

Romans 10:3-4 “For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

It’s a difficult task to convince someone that being good enough is the wrong way to attain eternal salvation. After all, doesn’t it follow that conforming our lives into God’s perfect righteousness is exactly what a righteous and holy Lord would want? That was precisely the argument Paul was facing with his Jewish brethren. His answer as to their ignorance about true knowledge is given in the fourth verse, but he also addressed it in Romans 3:21-22 and particularly in Philippians 3:8-9, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” When we start to add our attempts at righteousness to Christ’s perfect righteousness as a means to salvation, we diminish the complete work of God’s Son on our behalf. Truly, our imperfect obedience is the fruit of our justification, not the root of it.

Study/Meditation: Look again at Romans 3:21-22. What has Paul already taught in regards to the righteousness of God and the truth of it? How is obedience to the law still important for the believer?

*Father, thank You for the complete righteousness of Christ that was imputed to me for my salvation. Your mercy is beyond measure. Amen.

The only sincere belief that saves is the sincere belief in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Romans 10:2 “I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.”

What Paul is making clear to his Jewish brethren and is extremely important for us today is that sincerity of beliefs will not save you. Well intentions and zealous spirituality or religion will not result in eternity in heaven, unless these are rooted and founded in Jesus Christ. Today we often think that God will accept the sincere efforts of well-meaning folk, no matter what form those efforts take, just as long as they are sincere. Paul tells us that this zealous behavior is not according to knowledge that saves. We must not sacrifice right teaching and correct doctrine for sincere beliefs or practices. God’s Word is explicit in its account of saving knowledge, and this is only in Christ. Nothing outside of God’s Son saves, no matter how well you believe it.

Study/Meditation: Why is diligently seeking God not enough? What is the only way to truly and diligently seek Him?

*Father, the only way to You is through Jesus Christ. Thank You for His sacrifice that made the way for me to live in eternity with You. Amen.