- Why Know Jesus?
- Rightly Dividing the Word of God
- Doctrinal Declarations of Faith
- The Providence Of God
- Fall Iinto Sin and the Corrupt State of Man
- God’s Eternal Decrees
- The Trinity
- Of Apostolic Faith
- The Attributes Of God
- Christ Jesus
- Mans Will and Free Will
- Election and Predestination
- True Faith Justification and Repentance
- Adoption and Sanctification
- The Perseverance of the Saints
- Assurance of Salvation and Good Works
- Doctrinal Studies
- The History of the Pentecostal Movement
- Errant Pentecostal Doctrines And False Apostles And Prophets Introduction
- Periods And Confirmations Of God’s Revelation
- The Foundation Of The Church
- The Baptism With The Holy Spirit and The Filling of The Holy Spirit According to Scripture
- Signs Wonders Healing And Miracles For Who And By Who?
- The Apostles The Difference Between True And False
- Real and False Prophets
- The Prophets Of The New Testament
- Personal Conclusions
- CAN A CHRISTIAN BEAR ARMS AND DEFEND HIMSELF AND OTHERS
- (Italiano) E’ BIBLICO PER UN CRISTIANO USARE LEGITTIMA DIFESA PER SE E PER ALTRI?
- The Sanctity of Life and Value of Human Life
- The Importance of the Family to God
- Roles In The Family As In The Church
- The Role of Man and the Responsibilities of a Husband
- The Role of the Woman and the Responsibilities of the Wife
- Responsibilities of Father and Mother to Teach Train and Discipline their Children
- The Responsibilities of The Children in the Family
- The Letter of Paul to the Romans Introduction
- Romans Chapter One
- Romans Chapter Two
- Romans Chapter Three
- Romans Chapter Four
- Romans Chapter Five
- Romans Chapter Six
- Romans Chapter Seven
- Romans Chapter Eight
- Romans Chapter Nine
- Romans Chapter Ten
- Romans Chapter Eleven
- Romans Chapter 12 Verses 1-2
- Romans Chapter 12 Verses 3-11
- (Italiano) Introduzione Alla Lettera di Paolo Ai Romani
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Uno
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Due
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Tre
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Quattro
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Cinque
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Sei
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Sette
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Otto
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Nove
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Dieci
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 11
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 12 Versetti 1-3
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 12 Versetti 4-11
- Mission Ministry
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Romans Chapter Ten
Romans Chapter 10
Introduction to the Chapter
Already in the previous chapter Paul began to talk about his brothers in the flesh, that is, the circumcision, his countrymen, the Israelites, the Jews.
It is our duty to report back to the ninth chapter where Paul starts talking about Israel and continues making the comparison to the significance of being part of an elected nationality, that is chosen by God , at the time, to which was made known the revelation of the true God and His law.
However not only he taught us this, but has taught us also of the belonging to an elect remnant, chosen by grace and mercy of God through true election and predestination in Christ Jesus and this was put into action by God upon individuals of all the nationalities of the world.
We also noted, however, that in fact, the subject of the sovereign election of God for the Jews and Gentiles is not just about nationalities, but in fact concerns specific individuals, individuals that are part of every nationality, every tongue and tribe:
Revelation 7: 9-10 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
So sovereign election to salvation obviously concerns individuals and this is inferred from the different passages that we examined together, see Romans 9: 11-24, including the one we just read.
However, both in the opening verses, as well as in the final ones of chapter 9, Paul is speaking of his brothers, countrymen, the circumcised and so begins chapter 10, where Paul continues a chapter that is dedicated almost exclusively to Jews, Jews who are not yet redeemed.
In this chapter, as in the following (11) we find things that are certainly applicable, both to Jews and Gentiles, but the setting and context is directed specifically to God’s plan of salvation for the Jew the elect remnant of the whole nation, national Israel.
We will also see in chapter 11 that Paul expresses concepts in which makes a comparison between Jews and Gentiles, a comparison about nationalities or ethnic groups chosen by God, but in both cases the common thread for both is the sovereign elction of God, that is, God’s choice of a remnant (remnant of individuals from every nation, see Acts 13:48) saved by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ but according to God’s sovereign election, elected before the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 1: 3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. 4 he chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before him, 5 having predestined us in love to be adopted through Jesus Christ as his sons, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of glory of his grace, who hath made us accepted in the beloved.
We can then use the term, God saves nations choosing,or electing one person at a time, but only some.
In His sovereign election of individuals, God meant that every people, tribe and nationality be included and represented in His plan of salvation. God has included all nationalities, every sex, every profession, every class of society, so that even in this we recognize that God is just in all His choices, that does not favor some over others.
Chapter ten is basically evangelistic in nature, and not only for the Jews. The chapter has in fact the general principles of evangelism that can be applied to all without prejudice to a nationality or ethnic origin.
The chapter has as its basis the evangelistic call to the Jews, this is found in Romans 10: 1-5; Romans 10: 16-20.
The chapter also suggests, that the human will and consent is in fact involved together with the sovereignty of God and the word of God to fulfill the salvation of the elect Romans 10: 8-10.
The chapter points out the cooperation that God asks the church with Him fulfill the work of redemption, that is what we know and we call evangelism. Admittedly, Paul shows this in a Jewish context, after all the principles are universal, as he mentions in [Romans 10: 11-13].
The text tells us that the preaching of the Gospel is the essential and only vehicle for the salvation of every person, in this case Paul is talking about Jews, Romans 10:17,
see also 1 Corinthians 1: 18-25.
This concept is very important because it shows that, although God has chosen by grace and sovereign election, those who, in His magnanimous and benevolent will, will be saved, that is the remnant of those elected by grace; in spite of this irrefutable fact, God wants the church to be involved in His sovereign work of redemption and to be involved in spreading the Gospel in the world, that is to be involved in evangelism Romans 10: 13-15.
Evangelism is primarily a commandment of God and is also a great privilege and a great blessing for the church, except that, in addition to all this, we see that the gift or ministry of evangelist is indeed a gift from God to the church for the church. This is for the common good and the growth of the church, see Ephesians 4: 11-16; 1 Corinthians 12: 4-7.
So there is no contradiction or opposition between the sovereign election of God, that is, predestination and evangelism done by the church, in other words done by human beings. The involvement of the church in evangelism is essential and it is not useless, as some claim in the process of criticizing the doctrine of sovereign election.
It’s essential because it is primarily a commandment of God, and secondly it is a great privilege that God gives us, His children. Think about it for a moment, we are inadequate in every sense to be able to even save ourselves, but God still chose and chooses the foolishness of preaching chooses powerless and inadequate people like us to bring the power of God for salvation to those who believe, that is the Gospel to the elect of God.
It’s always and only the Holy Spirit who regenerates, saves and convicts through the word of God, but we ourselves are His vehicle on earth, humans who do His work.
These two reasons, the commandment of God to the church and the privilege of being used by God to bring the message of salvation with which God will save the elect, should be reason enough to realize that evangelism and sovereign election or predestination, are fully and entirely reconcilable.
God then not only elected the ones He wants to save but those who are saved He elected to bring salvation to others whom He elected.
Romans Chapter Ten
Romans 10:1-5 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
Paul begins this chapter in a way very similar to how he had started the previous chapter where he said this:
Romans 9:1-5 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, 2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
So in this chapter, as in the previous one, it is clear from the words of Paul his great love and his concern for his people according to the flesh, that is, the Jews.
Paul here says he has in his heart a desire and a prayer, as he had said before that there was great sadness and constant pain in his heart for his brothers and kinsmen according to the flesh, that is, the circumcision.
We see that both pain and great sadness in his heart evolve in a desire and a prayer to God for the salvation of Israel.
I would like to make two important considerations at this point regarding these things spoken by Paul.
The first one is this:
It is God that places this burden in Paul’s heart, this weight is transmitted to him through real human emotions, which evolve in him into a desire and a prayer.
Which prayer? The salvation of the Jews. What does this mean though? Jews saved individually who will be part of the church as Christians?
In fact Paul is not referring to that specifically. Paul says here instead, the salvation of Israel.
This thing is fundamentally different from desiring the salvation of Jews as individuals and being part of the church as Christians.
These are emotions and desires among other things, that are not born in Paul because of a purely human mercy in nature, but they spring from the heart of God himself, of this we had already spoken at the beginning of the previous chapter.
This brings us to the second consideration.
It is also evident that Israel is made up of individual Jews, this is obvious, but the notion that Paul outlines here is different than meaning that they would simply be saved by being part of the church.
It’s obvious that Paul wants to see the Jewish people saved, but what he is saying here is mainly a feature not only evangelist in nature as we understand it, but above all it’s evangelistic in in terms of eschatology, in other words regarding Jewish evangelism in line with the program and the promises God made to Israel through the prophets.
We have a very limited view about the excellence of evangelism, because we see it exclusively in a much smaller and limited way instead as it is intended by God.
We understand it and look at it from a standpoint that is purely ecclesiastical, but God sees the whole picture of His plan of redemption. He sees it even beyond the church.
I believe that many Christians do not understand the entirety of God’s plan and therefore do not consider at all what Paul is saying here regarding the salvation of Israel.
It must say that evangelism is to every nation, as we will see even more in the next chapter, however, has a very specific connotation in an eschatological sense.
Now, however, with regard to this fact, the questions automatically arise.
If Paul was speaking of the individual salvation of Jews would he use this exact form of thought?
Would he say “salvation of Israel?”
I do not think he would use this term if it were merely to add Jews to the church. It would not be necessary to say this. If Paul was talking about the inclusion of Jews in the church there would be no need to use this kind of language.
Paul uses this thought instead, making us understand that there is in fact a definite difference between Israel the nation and the church in the redemptive plan of God.
Paul used the terminology of inclusion in one body of Jews and Gentiles, he makes it known in Ephesians 2: 11-22. Here Paul unites Jews and Gentiles into one man, thus making reference to the body of Christ, that is the church.
Yet here in Romans 10, however, he speaks in a different context and Paul uses a different way of speaking, where he begins making it clear to the readers that there is indeed a real distinction between the earthly nation of Israel and the church, although as we shall see, both are part of the Kingdom of God and are the Kingdom of God.
The use here of the word Israel in fact denotes the sole mention of a particular nation, in fact Israel.
Paul wants Israel, which is the nation to repent and convert as a whole! Here Paul is not talking about a person at a time or a Jew at a time and /or the inclusion of them in the church, as it may be happening today.
Paul mentions the salvation of Israel as a very precise and specific episode in the program of God, that is, the repentance and conversion of the whole nation, (the remnant that will be saved by election and sovereign grace always and only through the acceptance of Jesus Christ).
So Paul is praying for a national conversion, the conversion of the whole nation, Paul wanted the whole nation to repent and believe in the Messiah Jesus.
In fact, even to better explain this concept, Paul writes an entire chapter, the next one, chapter 11.
This next chapter is written to explain what is meant as the salvation of the nation Israel.
We will study this concept when we examine the next chapter.
Suffice to understand now, that the salvation of Israel is crucial in the design and plan of God in the eschatological program, in other words the program of the last days of this age.
On this episode, the salvation of Israel, is in fact determined the return of Christ and the Messianic kingdom or the Millennium that will be established and fulfilled on this earth.
It’s for this reason that the Apostles were hoping and praying for the imminent return of Jesus Christ
Acts 3: 13-26, because this event would mean that there had been the salvation of the nation and therefore the return of the united land of Israel, according to the promises made by God to the nation to the fathers by the prophets and fulfilled by the return of Jesus as Messiah of Israel.
Paul understands that the conversion of the nation is essential to get to the fullness and completion of God’s kingdom, it also is rendered evident in:
Romans 11:15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
What this passage means is this: if the rejection of the Messiah Jesus Christ by the Jewish nation caused the rest of the world to be reconciled to God, their, attention now, readmission into God’s plan will mean life from the dead.
Of which life from the dead is he talking about here? He is talking about the resurrection of the saints, that is the first resurrection, that one which occurs at the return of Jesus Christ, blessed are those who partake of it: Revelation 20: 4-6, the first resurrection which is also that of which Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 15: 50-56 and in 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18.
So the salvation and the subsequent re-admission of Israel into the New Covenant is synonymous with the return of Christ and the resurrection from the dead.
So if he were talking purely and simply about church here there would be no need to mention a readmission of Israel. Since this concept is mentioned precisely in detail in Chapter 11, we must then consider it.
The readmission of Israel, what does this mean? It means the resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of Christians and of the righteous people of the Old Testament that will not happen until Israel repents as a nation, and this is done only in concert with the return of Jesus Christ; see also Zechariah 12: 10-14; Zechariah 13: 1-2; Zechariah 13: 8; Zechariah 14: 3-21.
This is the reason why Paul and the other apostles prayed for the conversion of Israel, because they hoped in the imminent return of Jesus when this event would have happened.
These two things are synonymous and they will occur at the same time and these two things were what the apostles longed for with all their heart.
The readmission is to admit Israel again in the plan of salvation of God, into His kingdom, into His everlasting covenant. This will be the beginning of the Messianic era Romans 11: 23-29 that will be the precursor to the eternal state and all this leads to the resurrection from the dead, that is, the resurrection to life.
So all evangelizing is carried out for eschatological purposes. Until when? Until the number of the Gentiles (predestined, predetermined) by God, that is, the fullness of the Gentiles has become part of the kingdom through entering into it by the church, this is what we know as the church age or the age of the church. Until the readmission of Israel Jesus will not return. Romans 11:25.
This also reflects what Jesus said in:
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. “
These are the reasons why Paul has therefore a great desire and prays that Israel will be saved, because when this event will happen, Jesus will return and establish the kingdom of God, the Messianic kingdom on earth, and restore the kingdom and the promised land to Israel, the nation converted to Christ.
The nation will accept Him this time as its king. Remember what Jesus told His disciples:
Acts 1: 6-7 So those who were come together, asked him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time that you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”. 7 But he said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has placed in His own authority.
As we see Jesus does not deny the fact that there will be a time set by God for the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, in fact, Jesus’ words are an admission to the fact that there will be a specific time when this event will take place, a time set by the Father by His own authority, and this will happen when? When Jesus returns at the end of this era, the end of the church age, which will end with the return of Jesus and the conversion of Israel.
Let us remember that the Millennium is the Kingdom of Messiah and it’s a terrestrial kingdom Revelation 20: 1-6, while the church is part of the celestial kingdom, these are two very different things, different albeit similar. The church will reside in the heavenly Jerusalem Revelation 21: 1-2 This is what some call the spiritual Israel, yet the church will have a place among the rule of the nations during the Millennium but the prevailing Kingdom will be Christ on earth the King of Israel who will rule and reign on the throne of David in Jerusalem in Israel.
Many are the promises that God made to the physical seed of Abraham, Israel as a nation, for example, God made promises concerning the promised land, Jerusalem, the city in Palestine, about an earthly kingdom with a temple dedicated to God, with a king who mentioned is David himself or who is in his genealogy, Jesus Christ the Messiah. He must still reign in this kingdom.
Let us remember that Jesus has not reigned as King of Israel and still did not sit on the throne of David.
We have to mention again the fact that the right interpretation of the Word of God is essential to understand its true meaning.
Take for example what the Archangel Gabriel told Mary when he announced the birth of Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Luke 1: 26-33 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man named Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Hail, highly favored, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. ” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his words and wondered what this greeting could mean. 30 And the angel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father; 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end “
Gabriel told Mary: “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father; 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end “
Many without even thinking twice now use this passage and give it the wrong meaning.
Let’s examine it together.
Here Gabriel says two important things, the first one is that Jesus is the Son of God and that He is,
this is the divine title of Jesus, that is the second person of the Trinity.
The second thing that Gabriel mentions is the title of the Messiah, this title is different from the first and was mentioned for a distinct reason. This title is regards the nation of Israel and not the church, in fact Gabriel says that God will give Him the throne of his father David, and He shall reign over the house of whom? Jacob, forever.
So what does all this mean?
Gabriel mentions Jesus as the Son of the Most High that’s the Son of God, then says that He is the son of his father David. Thus we see that Gabriel makes a distinction between the Son of God and Son of David. They are one and the same person, but also with two different titles and also different functions, although they will be united in one.
We must also ask ourselves if the throne of David is the same throne on which Jesus is sitting now.
The answer is no! It can not be and it is not.
The throne on which Jesus sits now is the throne of His divine majesty.
Remember what Jesus said in John 17?
John 17: 4-5 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
So that, the throne where He sits now is the throne of the glory of the Most High and the throne of David. This is also the throne of the High Priest and the Lordship of Jesus. This throne and the throne of David are two different thrones.
The throne of glory is the throne of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and this is a heavenly throne, it is a spiritual or celestial throne, the throne that will be in the heavenly Jerusalem.
Revelation 22: 1-5 Then he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 And in the midst of its street, and on either side of the river stood the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And here there will not be any curse; in it will be the throne of God and of the Lamb, and his servants shall serve him; 4 they will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And here there will be no night there and they need no light of lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light and they shall reign for ever and ever.
The throne of David, on the other hand is also a royal throne, but it is not a heavenly throne. The throne of David is a Messianic throne, it is a throne and concerns national Israel and not the church.
This is the throne of the lordship of the king of Israel. The throne of David, David, representing the lineage of the Messiah comes from David, this throne is exclusive to Israel as a nation and does not belong to the church nor to the Gentile nations.
The latter, to the son of David is given the throne of David. It’s obvious then that Jesus also holds this title forever, but we can not deprive the nation Israel, to receive her King, it’s Messiah, the promise that God made to that nation.
In fact, Gabriel also makes another important reference that helps us better understand what he was saying. Gabriel refers the throne of David to the house of Jacob, on whom He will reign forever. Here the reference is again Hebrew in nature, it is not an ecclesiastical reference nor is he referring it to a spiritual Israel.
The name Jacob was in fact no doubt chosen instead of the name Israel for a very good reason.
The name Jacob even though synonymous of the same person who was later renamed Israel, actually does not have precisely the same meaning.
Jacob is the proper name of the man who is the father of the twelve tribes which are then assembled in one nation, namely Israel.
Jacob is also the name when all the tribes that later formed the nation of Israel were born. The name Israel was given to him after the episode of Peniel that we find written in:
Genesis 32: 24-30 So Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not win, he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh and it was dislocated as he wrestled with him. 26 And he said: “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let go, if I do not you bless me.” 27 The other said, “What is your name?”. He answered, “Jacob.” 28 Then he told him: “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why do you ask my name?”. 30 And he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, for he said: “I have seen God face to face, and my life was spared.”
The name Jacob mentioned by Gabriel then does disperse any doubt whatsoever that the reference was made exclusively regarding the nation of Israel and not the latter church.
When we find the name Jacob mentioned in the Scriptures of the New Testament as we do in the Old, the reference is exclusively dedicated to the earthly nation of Israel and never to the church.
If we look in the New Testament there are 26 references to the name of Jacob, and no reference is ever made in the context of the church. The name is only in reference to the nation, to the people, to the land of Israel, namely the Jews.
The throne of David, will be in the earthly Jerusalem, that is in the land of Israel, the one we know today. It will then also be an eternal throne for from it Jesus will reign as God but also as the Messiah of Israel forever.
The throne of David is referred to by John in:
Revelation 20: 4-6 And I saw thrones, and they sat was given the power of judging; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years.
As we see here we are talking about an earthly kingdom and then a king and a throne from which Jesus will rule.
Where will He reign?
On this earth! Because the context shows us that this whole thing is manifested on this same earth where we live now. Where will Jesus reign on this earth? In Israel, in the city of Jerusalem.
This fact is evident and we see how it plays on the world stage today, as the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem has really become a stumbling block to the nations.
It’s so obvious then, that if there is a constant war and battle against the Jewish people even today then there is a real validity of God’s plan for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel that is still valid and active.
Now those who have a minimum of spiritual discernment note that everything that grows in the world politically and economically is not limited to the earth and the physical but is a visual evidence of what happens also in the spiritual dimension, see:
Ephesians 6: 10-12 Finally, brethren, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, 12 because our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
There is a real war that is being fought in the spiritual realm over the conquest of the Middle East and into the promised land, because as it was in the past it is in the present, that is how Satan has always fought against the first advent of Jesus to prevent that He would become King and he is fighting to prevent the Second as well.
It seems incredible that Satan is not able to understand that his defeat is already written, but in the madness that he has and for his hatred towards God by this same hatred and madness he has fallen into the deception of himself. Satan cannot do anything other than try to prevent God’s plan and try to destroy God’s people, both the church and Israel, see Revelation 12:1-17.
We remember that from the beginning Satan has constantly attempted to contaminate the seed of the Messianic lineage, Genesis 6: 1-7. He has attempted to destroy Israel by Pharaoh killing all the male sons of Israel, why the males? Because he tried to destroy the promised Messiah and prevent his coming Exodus 1:8-22, thus attempting the destruction of Israel. Satan has always tried to contaminate the people of God to make them powerless and to prevent the coming of the Messiah by cursing the nation, Exodus 32:7-10; Joshua 24:9-10.
There have been many attempts of Satan during the whole history of God’s people in the Old Covenant to contaminate, destroy and curse Israel.
This thing has continued in the New Testament Matthew 2: 16-18, Herod tries to eliminate the Messiah killing all newborn male children to the age of two years.
Satan tempts Jesus in the desert to make it powerless and disqualify him as the Messiah and savior
Luke 4: 1-13.
Many times Satan tried to make Jesus to not die on the cross but to die in other ways. These were all Satan’s attempts to derail God’s plan, but nothing can derail the plans of God.
So it may be only the hatred that Satan has for God and for Israel and the church that make him blind and therefore he cannot understand that his attempts to derail the plans of God are useless.
The Bible, however, highlights the fact that the period of a thousand years on this earth called the Millennium, will be the complete fulfillment of the promises made by God to His people Israel, the people that at the coming of Messiah have repented and accepted Jesus as their Messiah and King.
The rejection of the Messiah at the first advent of Jesus has therefore only delayed the fulfillment of the promises that God made to the nation of Israel, it has delayed them not abolished them.
So the church has not replaced Israel in God’s plan, in His eternal covenant entered the Jews who believed by faith in God’s promises during the period of the Old Covenant, then the Jews included together in the same church with the other nations represented in the church, then back to the redeemed nation of Israel when Jesus returns.
Therefore even though there is no specific mention of periods or seasons which God has designed and appointed, we see that in fact the Bible states that these periods do exist.
The redeemed Jewish nation, to this nation God will give what was promised in the past.
The Apostles themselves, for example, are chosen by Jesus to hold a very important eschatological function concerning the nation of Israel, not the church, that is, the judgment of the 12 tribes of Israel, and this my beloved, has nothing to do with the church, but it’s a thing dedicated entirely to the nation of Israel.
Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you also who have followed me, you will be seated on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Here, too, it denotes that there is a distinction between the church and Israel.
The throne of David, David, is mentioned as Jesus’ father or ancestor in the flesh, Jesus is the man from the lineage of David, threfore the throne of the King of Israel is different than the majesty of the divine throne. They are two different thrones, although Jesus will be seated in both.
It’s obvious that Jesus who is God and Lord will reign as God but He will also reign as a man, as a deity as the supreme king, but also as the human and divine king of Israel. That was what He had come to offer at His first coming.
This then is a good start of this chapter, because virtually it’s the precursor of the next chapter. Paul no doubt always distinguishes between Jacob, that is, the earthly Israel and the church.
Paul always makes ethnic distinctions and this is a very important fact. Why? Because this indicates that in fact God is not finished with the people of Israel as His chosen people.
This further indicates that, all that God has promised the faithful remnant of this people surely will be.
The fact is that the church and the nation of Israel are actually two similar but different entities in every respect, as we’ll see in the next chapter, the nation of Israel, will be grafted back in or readmitted back into the Eternal Covenant of God with all the promises of God fulfilled, but not yet, and not now.
Having understood all this, now Paul always referring to his brothers in the flesh, that is the children of Israel, says this:
Romans 10:2-3 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Paul still bears witness regarding them, them who? The Jews, saying that they have a zeal for God but lack something essential, the true knowledge of God for which they have this zeal.
Now before we get in this context I mean to premise that zeal for God and the things of God is not important, but essential in the life of the believer.
In the Gospel of John chapter 2 verse 7 where Jesus drove out the merchants from the temple of God, he mentions a verse found in Psalm 69 that says:
Psalms 69:7-9 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. 8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children. 9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
What a wonderful thing if this could also be said of us.
There is another passage that we find in Romans 12:11 which says: as for zeal, do not be lazy; but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
Moreover, we read in:
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation to all men, was manifested, 12 teaching us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live in this present age, righteously, and godly, 13 waiting for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. 14 he gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity, and purify for himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
So it is clear that zeal is something that the believer must have, but we are talking about zeal for Christ and according to the knowledge of Jesus, the true knowledge of God as God and who God is.
We need to be zealous in conjunction with the truth and not zealous for religion sake, not zealous for false doctrines, not zealous for a denomination, not zealous for some preachers, but zealous for the true Gospel, the true Jesus, the true Holy Spirit,zeal for the true apostolic doctrines and zeal for God’s word.
Paul, however here is just talking about a wrong kind of zeal, this is a religious zeal without the true knowledge of God which is of Jesus Christ and the Gospel.
Paul himself had been so zealous in wanting to serve God so he understands well that the type of zeal and strong desire to serve God without really knowing God and His Word leads people to complete spiritual disarray. It leads people to be religious and to practice religion without the knowledge of the true God, and this is not only dangerous is devastating.
This very thing has done irreparable damage to real Christianity.
Paul himself in Philippians 3 admits to having lived in this condition, the same condition of spiritual blindness and religious spirit in which he was and is in which the whole nation of Israel still is today.
Listen to what Paul says in:
Philippians 3:1-11 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Paul in the past as all Jews did, boasted of his flesh, that is, of his carnal position, his ethnic and religious position. He boasted in his flesh because he was circumcised in the flesh, this represented his membership of God chosen race and nation, he refers to the fact that he was the son of Jews a Jew of Jews and he was in effect, according to the law itself a Pharisee , which was the pride of the Jewish religious position.
Being a Pharisee placed him almost at the height of the scale of the Jewish religious class, it especially put him at the apex of the popular favor because the Pharisees were the spiritual leaders of the people.
Sometimes we speak of the injustice perpetrated by the Hindu religion with regard to religious caste but in fact the Jews were not very different in their religious bias. Just think the Sadducees for example were the ones who declared themselves to be those sitting in the seat of Moses because they were the ones who believed only in the Torah as the word of God, only the five books written by Moses what we know as the Pentateuch. They did not esteem nor believed in the rest of the Old Testament Scriptures. However, the Sadducees were in fact, above all, the ones who had in their hands the entire direction of the temple life and were the senior leaders of the Sanhedrin, and usually the High priests were Sadducees. They thought they were the most religious and righteous of all, they were also the exploiters of the temple gains.
The ironic thing about these two sects, the Sadducees and the Pharisees was that they were in doctrinal opposition regarding many things, one was the resurrection. The Pharisees believed in the resurrection and the Sadducees denied it. The Pharisees believed in angels, and the Sadducees did not. The Pharisees believed that the whole Scripture of the Old Covenant was the word of God, the Sadducees did not.
All this was what always kept in opposition and often creating real difficulties within the Sanhedrin, however, on one thing they agreed one hundred precent and they set aside all their doctrinal differencesover this one thing. They agreed to persecute and condemn Jesus Christ their Messiah and His disciples.
As we can see, Jesus and His true doctrine, the Apostolic and true doctrine, leads to a very specific unity among the enemies of Christ. The enemies of Jesus and of His disciples and of true sound doctrine will unite together to persecute those who hold on to true and sound doctrine, they will join together in spite of their different doctrinal positions.
We have to be careful because all this religious sectarianism and consequent persecution occurs even in Christianity today.
Paul was a lawyer, one who had studied at the feet of one of the most famous rabbis in Israel in those days, Gamaliel. Think Gamaliel was called “the beauty of the law” for his exposition and interpretation the law of God. Gamaliel was the maestro of the maestros.
In other words, Paul was one who understood the law of God, understood theology. So he thought.
Paul then on Pilippians 3 makes this statement, because of zeal he was a persecutor of the church, and rgarding the law itself, that is, according to the religious interpretation of the law according to the Pharisees, he was blameless, that is, without fault.
This was believed due to their meticulous observance of God’s law. They were zealous to a God that Paul, like the rest of the nation, had created in their own image and according to their interpretation of God’s revelation in the law.
The problem was that Paul himself, as many others have done in their time, had persecuted the true believers, as his fathers had their own prophets condemned, persecuted and even killed, the true prophets of God and believing to offer God service.
Paul was the one who was converted on the road to Damascus while he was on his way to arrest Christians to bring them back to Jerusalem to be tried and convicted of heresy Acts 9: 1-2.
These are the consequences of being zealous and wanting to serve God without having the true knowledge of who God really is, as God is, and above all zeal in the belief to serve God without having the knowledge of revelation and of God’s righteousness that is found only through Jesus Christ.
This is the knowledge of which Paul refers that the Jews are missing.
The knowledge of Jesus Christ, the one and only way to salvation, the one and only justice of God independent of the law.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Paul is saying that, that kind of zeal was a real damage. Everything that Paul clung to so tenaciously to be counted as righteous before God was actually a loss, it was an obstacle, a mountain of garbage, indeed, the word used in the Greek text means, a mountain of dung, manure.
Why? Because all that Paul believed and did, believing to be righteous in himself and thinking to serve and please God instead made him more and more spiritually blind and further away from salvation.
In fact Paul in this passage refers twice to the word knowledge of or to know Christ, saying that everything in which he believed before and what he placed his trust in, that is, his dead religion, was a stumbling block and had to be done away with, it had to be lost, it had to be replaced with the knowledge of Christ, so as to get to the true knowledge of God.
Christ alone and nothing else, this is salvation, this is the only step to arrive at the true knowledge of God.
Moreover, even Jesus himself said in:
John 17: 1-3 Jesus said these things; then he raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to Philip, a few hours before this previous declaration:
John 14: 9-11 Jesus said, ” such a long time I am with you and still you do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father; How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you, I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does His works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or else believe because of the works themselves.
To know Jesus is to know God and to know God is to recognize who Jesus is!
So if one does not know Jesus it means they are deprived of the knowledge of the truth and of the true God, as Jesus said the same thing, He is the way, the truth and the life John 14: 6, and His word is truth John 17:17.
Unfortunately, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the lawyers, the scribes etc. did not recognize Jesus as who He demonstrated to be and even in the word of God they did not see Him, they did not want to recognize it.
Yet the law and the prophets and the Psalms gives testimony of Him, of His coming, His sacrifice, His person, of the fact that IS the Messiah, Luke 24: 25-27; Luke 24: 44-45.
In fact, Jesus accuses them of this very thing, that they do not recognize who He was:
John 5:37-47 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
Although there was all this evidence of the person of Christ in Scripture, they did not see it, they did not want to see it, because otherwise they would have to assume to get rid of their religion, their own righteousness in keeping the law, they would have to admit that they were sinners with no hope of being considered righteous by the observance of the law, they should have set aside their individual spiritual and national pride and go to Christ for grace and mercy and spiritual life.
As Jesus said they did not want to go to Him to receive life, they believed instead they were spiritually alright and alive whereas they had indeed need to be born again.
This by the way was also what John the Baptist was preaching, and that’s why he said this to the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the nation:
Matthew 3:4-12 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
We also see here in this last passage that the Pharisees and the Sadducees were not going to John’s baptism for the right reasons, in fact, John knows what they were thinking in their hearts. They thought that because they were right according to their interpretation of the law and their works, and that since they were children of Abraham, that they were circumcised in the flesh, belonging to the nation of Israel, as Paul himself gave description of himself in Philippians 3, so they thought all was well between them and God.
John instead accused them calling them a brood of vipers, telling him they were going to be judged severely and eternally by God, judged by Him, the same who came, Jesus himself. The One who they would have rejected, condemned and put to death.
This is what Paul is describing here and now in Romans 10, describing a very religious people who were so zealous in wanting to serve God but without really knowing God, without knowing His plan of redemption, without recognizing their Messiah and not recognizing that Jesus was God Himself among them, Emmanuel, God with us.
They did not recognize the need to receive the grace of God through Jesus Christ. They did not recognize the need of the grace of God, because they believed to be right with God, especially because of their belonging to the nation of Israel and because of their meticulous observance of the commandments and of the law of God.
We must say, that even if the doctors of the law, the Pharisees, scribes etc. spent hours in the law but could not ever get to the true knowledge of God, above all because instead of interpreting the word of God directly by studying it in the right way, they interpreted it through the use of other rabbinical interpretations.
This error is unfortunately very often is practiced in the church today. That’s why there are so many denominations and so many false doctrines and so many misunderstandings between believers. That’s why many believers today cannot understand the truth of certain doctrines, true and sound doctrines while they believe falsehoods promulgated by men who knowingly or not teach error and heresy.
If one interprets the word of God only and exclusively by following other human instructors, creeds and commentaries without ever studying and investigating the scriptures themselves
2 Timothy 2: 14-18.
If we do not take into account what we are being taught and if we believe and blindly accept because we trust blindly men who teach and believe only their interpretations without personally investigating the Scriptures more often than not we will fall into error and then end up canceling the true and sound teaching of the word of God and replacing them with fables and human interpretations and opinions and even worse with heresies 2 Timothy 4: 1-5.
The true law, the true spirit of the law and the word of God, were and are still being lost by human traditions and opinions that were and are placed above or in place of the true law of God.
Without recognizing the spirit of the law, however, we can not even recognize Jesus Christ who is the very word of God.
In fact this was what Jesus fought strongly during His ministry. Many times He accused their spiritual leaders of these very things. He accused them of canceling the law of God in order to observe instead human traditions and rabbinical opinions.
In fact, if you pay attention to the words that Jesus used in the Gospels, the whole Sermon on the Mount is the comparison between the traditions and opinions of rabbinic law and the true spirit of the law.
However Jesus makes these very important statements:
Mark 7: 1-13 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Now this thing is very sad but it becomes almost comical. Already one cannot be justified by the works of the law, the real one, let alone trying to be considered righteous before God by practicing and observing the doctrines of men who even nullify the commandments of God. It’s absurd !!
Yet, this was the condition of the Jewish people as indeed it still is today.
Not only that, but having so much zeal, in other words great desire to serve God, they believed to be able to serve God without the true knowledge of God and that made them fall in a great deception.
The lack of knowledge of the true God, Jesus Christ and the true word of God has increasingly catapulted them in wanting to persecute those who really knew God and His word, as can happen and is happening today in the church.
In fact, Jesus often accused them of this very fact. Already at the beginning of His ministry, again in the Sermon on the Mount, in the Beatitudes, Jesus accuses them warning His disciples:
Matthew 5: 11-12 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you and utter against you all kinds of evil for my sake. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven; for so they persecuted they the prophets who were before you.
Recalling also the charges that Jesus made against the religious leaders of Israel:
Matthew 23:29-36 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood the prophets! ” 31 Wherefore ye are witnesses unto yourselves, of being children of them which killed the prophets. 32 You also filled the measure of your fathers! 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Therefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; of these, some you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth that all these things shall come upon this generation.
Jesus warned His Apostles on the night he was arrested, giving an exact description of what happens when there’s zeal without the knowledge of God:
John 16:1-3 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
This unfortunately often happens today even in the church, or let’s say in visible Christendom.
When people are not familiar with the true God and His word, when the true and sound apostolic doctrines are interpreted incorrectly and are replaced with the traditions and commandments of men, you get a religious system very similar to the Hebrew religious system in Jesus’ time.
This becomes a system filled with intricate laws and traditions, a religious system where the true knowledge of God and His word are eclipsed by legalism and humanism and where then false doctrines reign. In these systems grace is suppressed and works are exalted.
It’s in this type of religious environment, where a form of godliness reigns but where the true power of God is canceled 2 Timothy 3: 1-9. In this environment, people when they find themselves to confront those who hold true and sound doctrines they immediately feel zealous for God and become eager to serve God to the point of persecuting those who know, hold and teach true and sound apostolic doctrines.
This thing brings the marginalized people to despair and the exasperated conclusion that they are not welcome in these religious systems, and in fact this is true, they are not, so that often they themselves must decide to abandon those systems, and unfortunately often have to choose to be alone rather than risk going to end up in another place like the one they left.
This is a decision that often becomes indispensable albeit painful. Because in a real sense it is that, even tough the decision was made by them on their own and rightly so, they were still in a sense forced to do it because of the marginalization and pressure and rejection to which they have been subjected in the system. To abide in the lies and the moral and doctrinal errors of these movements is not sustainable by those who hold to sound doctrine.
So finally the sound doctrine holders are, as Jesus himself said, excluded and in fact forcibly removed from those communities themselves. So much so, that even in today’s church, what Jesus said to His disciples is applicable. You see, people not only were persecuted and abused and then thrown out of the synagogues then, but this unfortunately happens too often in the environment of the church today.
The reason that this happens even today as then is because, as Jesus well says they have not known the Father or Him.
This is a very sad reality in which the church and the true born-again believers have lived for nearly two millennia and still live today. Just look, for example, what the Roman Catholic religion did about these facts and for that very same reason.
The Roman Catholic religion is the holder of the greatest persecution of true believers that there has ever been in the history of the church, worse even than that of Islam today. Those who zealously but without having the true knowledge of God did what the Jews did in Jesus’ time, rather they are even worse than the Jews and the Muslims, because the Roman religion claims to know God and to know Jesus himself!
In reality, however, as Jesus said, they have not known the Father, nor Jesus and still do not know them today. They have a form of godliness but they deny the power thereof.
Evangelicals before you declare victory or to sit in judgment on the Roman religion please realize that this also happens in the Evangelical Church, especially in the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement.
Also in these same movements true believers are either “forcibly convinced” or “excluded and marginalized”. They even claim to be different than the Roman religion is, instead they actually are a veritable very similar branch in their doctrines. These doctrines are created by the enemy to divert from the truth of the word of God and the true Gospel.
This style of church today is a system where, as in the Roman and Jewish religion as the one in Jesus’ time, creates another God, this is a religious system where they preach another Jesus and where another Spirit reigns, but these are not the real ones, as Paul warns about in
2 Corinthians 11: 1-5.
Paul also said that if anyone preaches another gospel even though there is not another Gospel, that he who does this is cursed and not blessed.
Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
But people are attracted by the Pentecostal /charismatic movement today, why? Because in fact they recognize that this movement has a lot of zeal for God and there seems to be also a friendlier social aspect than the one presented by the Roman religion for example.
They do not realize, however, that the zeal in these places is zeal without the true knowledge of God and the real Jesus and the true Holy Spirit and this creates much spiritual damage in the environment, in fact, this is due to the curse as Paul has said.
I believe this curse is to voluntarily receive a spirit of deception that becomes a spirit of seduction that mask itself as the Holy Spirit but it’s like a spell of witchcraft or of the occult and infact it is, this is because the curse is on those who accept another gospel, another Jesus and another Spirit, they, so doing, accept the deceptive seduction which then keep them in a state of deception.
People for the most part, however, do not seek after true and sound doctrine, people prefer religion and works. These are the things that attract people and that is why they consider these communities as churches which are alive. There is indeed the real presence of a spiritual entity but it is not the Holy Spirit. It’s a spirit that is disguised as the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not teach false doctrines and does not support disobedience to the written word nor does He suppoet disorder in the assembly.
Because they are under a spell of seduction and deception, and often these people want to believe, the lie rather than the truth.
Otherwise, their works and their religion cease to be. Let us remember that they do not believe in salvation by faith alone, by grace alone, but in fact they believe in a gospel of salvation by works, works of our own sanctification and our own perseverance.
They think that these things are what makes them right before God and not exclusively through the merits and virtues of Christ. But this is pure Romanism, it is not reformed and evangelical faith, it is not biblical at all.
In fact you cannot get true spiritual life in a system that teaches error and that does not reveal the true person of God, of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit.
Just look at what he says in Ephesians 4: 11-15. True and sound doctrine are essentially important to God and therefore it is for the church also. God wants a balanced church where true and sound doctrine reigns together with His love. There is no true love without truth.
Just look at what Jesus says to the church of Ephesus Revelation 2: 1-7. For Jesus the truth, sound doctrine matters and how, but also those things without love are not well accepted by God either.
God wants both to reign in His church. You cannot have love without true biblical sound and true doctrine. And this, unfortunately, is the condition of these religious movements as well as many others.
In fact, the social aspect of these movements and their friendly aspect most of the time has a large percentage of falsehood, hypocrisy and favoritism in it. Already these are sectarian systems in themselves, that is, in there are formed groups of people, clicks, in which it is nearly impossible impossible to join in.
Many people remain outside of these groups so much so that they are never properly integrated in the social fiber of the movement itself. In other words, never become true members, truly integrated and accepted members of these churches. It ends up being that these ultimately become no one’s friends, or they must form their own group, the group of the marginalized ones where often rightly so even criticism against others is born, from this comes the knowledge that in these movements there is no true Agape.
Unfortunately, when the others become aware of the criticisms that arise in the marginalized groups, these last ones are labeled as rebels, they are labeled the problem not the others. They are held up as people who fail to bond with others, but in reality it is not their fault. The marginalized people are then called to repent of their criticism albeit right, some are actually convinced that they are indeed the problem and under a great burden of guilt and shame they yield and submit to the rules of the system. Others who instead continue to claim that the things that happen in these movements are not Biblical, are put in a position of real severe marginalization, in some movements they are often even expelled. Hence what Jesus said, they will put you out of the synagogues or “churches”.
All this is due to the sectarian nature of the system. These poor people then are even more marginalized and ignored when then become even more obvious that they do not measure up to the standard of false spirituality that is practiced in these religious systems.
They are marginalized because they cannot be integrated, this is because they cannot consecrate themselves, they say, the overly self righteous in this system, they say that they indeed cannot reach the spiritual level that the others have achieves because for example they are not “baptized with the Holy Spirit”, according to their false doctrine, say those who believe they are the most spiritual of all because they speak in angelic languages.
According to these spiritually proud religious people, only they possess the special line of communication with God through this fantastic angelic and spiritual language that builds them up in such a way that then they go around believing themselves to be so spiritual speaking and acting with false humility that is nothing but self righteousness, as if they themselves were God.
But all this is just a seduction and deception and is completely contrary to Scripture. All this is in reality apostasy, a real falling away from grace and faith.
With this I am not saying that in these movements there are no people who truly love God and truly serve Him because they know Him intimately, as indeed there are in the Roman religion. These people, however, are often unfortunately subdued by false and misleading doctrines and often do not even realize they live in doctrinal error.
When some notice they are in a failed system and that the environment in which they live is unhealthy, these are they who never dare to protest or rebel. Why?
Because it is being inculcated by twisting the word of God, that if they complain, or otherwise seek to bring to light the truth that is different from what is taught by the environment, thy are rebellious and are rebelling to the spiritual authorities to which they must be submitted.
However, this is nothing more than manipulation and spiritual abuse and oppression.
For these reasons these people finally end up believing they cannot ever make a difference or change the religious system, so why fight it?
Why do they accept to stay there, you ask? As I said, many do because they do not want to see it or they cannot see the truth because they are in a state of seduction due to a spirit that is obviously not the Holy Spirit.
Others, those who can actually see the truth, they cannot get out of that system because they do not want to be excluded and marginalized, or worse yet they do not want to be thrown out and be considered enemies. Some even if they see the truth they do not want to lose their ministerial positions if they hold them and many others are not willing to lose their friends if they have them,since it’s hard to make true and loving friends, in the biblical sense.
Some of these reasons seem valid from the human point of view, but they become invalid before God and His word, because the life of a believer should not be lived to give pleasure to himself or to men but to God.
In a sense it is not even friendship that counts to God but Agape, that is love with a capital A, non fileo, that is a love of human affection that can be found at various levels in people that are not even Christian.
Agape instead is the love that God is and that God wants His children to engage in. This is a love that truly deeply loves, a love that sacrifices itself for others, that puts the needs of others before its own.
Agape is what Paul describes in :
Philippians 2:1-8 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
True it is that we are all lacking in this kind of love, but in some places this feeling just does not exist or it is something else that is disguised as love, but in reality is false and hypocritical.
That is why Paul says in:
Romans 12: 9-11 Let love be without hypocrisy; hate what is evil; cleave to the good. 10 Brotherly Love, love tenderly one another; honor one the other. 11 Do not be slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serve the Lord,
The zeal without true knowledge of Jesus, the real Jesus and the true Holy Spirit leads only to err and to do serious damage in the lives of many. It harms both the false teachers and those who sit under their false doctrine and thier spiritual oppression.
Jesus gave an incredibly tough and serious description of the condition of the Jewish religious system of the time, we also find in it the description of some religious systems of Christendom that exist today.
Jesus used a whole chapter to describe the corrupt and lost condition of a religious system that deceived and was deceived believing they knew God, a system that had zeal for wanting to serve God but actually refused to know Jesus who was God in their midst:
Matthew 23:1-36 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. 13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. 14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. 16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. 19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. 21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. 23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
We can see very well in this passage also the connections to the behavior that we find even in some of today’s ecclesiastical systems.
So the real zeal based on the true knowledge of the word and person of God is essential not only important in the life of the believer, as is consequently the knowledge of the true God.
It ‘s true that nowadays there is another false doctrine we find buzzing around in the church, the one that declares that wisdom and knowledge are indeed not necessary and that these things actually harm the believer because they make him puffed up or swollen with pride. These say that the knowledge and wisdom that comes through sound doctrine must be avoided.
All this however, is part of a demonic plan that typically takes verses out of context to cause ignorance and error in the believer, and so to put everything into the hands of false teachers so that they have the power to dominate the believers by teaching them false doctrines. All this is done to create a religious system that has a zeal without true knowledge.
But the Bible tells us that the right type of knowledge and the right type of wisdom are not only important but they are essential to have the kind of zeal that truly serves God in spirit and truth.
Returning now to the immediate context of Romans 10 we see that even in Matthew 23 Jesus is talking about Jews and even there Jesus accuses them in the last two verses of not wanting to recognize Him as the Messiah and even more not know Him as Emmanuel, God with them , this accusation and this judgment remains on them until when? Jesus says it: until they tell him or rather declaring:
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
When the nation of Israel will recognize and accept Him as the Lord’s anointed, as the Messiah of Israel, when that happens, He will come back and will see Him whom they have pierced and mourn over Him.
So that these Jews had much zeal wanting to serve God and believing that they serve God, but they did not recognize Him as God in their midst.
This is what Paul is talking about here in Romans 10.
Paul says going forward in verses 3 and 4: For, ignorant of the righteousness of God and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God, 4 because the end of the law is Christ for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Now, these verses do nothing but bring us back to the speech that Paul made in:
Romans 3:21-31 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
God’s justice independent of the law then was manifested by God, God’s justice also being witnessed by the law and the prophets. This is the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God’s justice, independent of every other human and religious practice and attempt to fulfill the law in order to be accounted righteous before God. Jesus is the one that they have rejected, as Paul says they ignored His righteousness. They ignored Jesus’ righteousness of God to establish their own.
How? By attempting to practice and obey the divine law, which is impossible to do for any person. The word of God in fact in many passages denounces the attempt to practice and obey the law of God in order to be considered righteous by God.
It can only be considered just before God if we subject only to the righteousness of God that independent by law, that is, faith in Jesus Christ, just as Paul says eloquently, is the purpose of the law itself.
Jesus is the end of the law, that is the fulfillment of God’s law, and He is the justification for those who simply believe in Him and in His redemptive work. Only the virtues and the merits of Jesus may be imputed in account to the sinners for their justification, only those can make us be accounted righteous before God.
This fact is exactly what Paul had taught in Romans 8, in the beginning of the chapter.
Let’s just go together there because it is in fact the same thing he’s saying here.
Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Let’s revisit this important passage. The born-again believer, is the one who is in Christ Jesus! Not walking according to the flesh but according to the Spirit is a part of verse one, which as we have already said, is not part of the oldest manuscripts.
Which makes us think that it is a part added later by someone who has copied a manuscript and included this sentence. This was definitely done to make it clearer, actually this added part would not be in the original passage written by Paul.
In fact, this phrase rather than clarifying the passage ended up in confusing many into making erroneous interpretations of the passage. However, walking in the Spirit and not after the flesh is indeed a synonym of being regenerated, being born again and nothing else.
Paul is saying that, those who are in Christ are a new creation, and then walk in the Spirit simply means to have the old sin nature removed.
This happens, as Paul says, because the law of the Spirit of life eternal and powerful through Jesus Christ has freed us, He freed us from what? From the law of sin and death.
In fact, the law of God, as the name implies, is in fact what still gives off even more sinfulness, which then leads to death, physical and eternal. Paul has already explained this in Romans 7: 4-14.
Paul also instructed us that the law is the power of sin that leads to death:
1 Corinthians 15: 55-57 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The sting of death is sin, that is, what causes death is sin, the law is the power of sin. See also Romans 6:23.
So the law is not connected to life but to death, why?
Paul goes on to say, what the law could not do was because it was weak through the flesh. In other words the sinful human nature is what makes the law powerless to be able to make us righteous.
Therefore sin and what it is connected to it must be taken out of the way, really out of the way in a real and effective way.
Then Paul says, God sending His own Son in flesh similar to that of sin and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
God has done what was impossible for the law and therefore impossible for any person. Why? Because of the sinful nature and the sinful body. So it is impossible for those same reasons be justified by the attempt to fulfill the works of the law.
Something more excellent still needed to happen. What needed to happen? The removal of sin by God’s condemnation that was poured on the body of His Son Jesus Christ who as perfect and innocent lamb of God has the power to cancel, to remove and clear away all the sin and the guilt of the sins of those who believe by faith in Him.
Not only this, but His perfect obedience to the law of God in His life, His sinless life and perfectly obedient to the will of the Father means that for these His virtues and merits not only sin is forever canceled from the life of a believer through the death of Jesus, but the very life of Jesus, that is the eternal life of the risen Christ justifies the believer forever.
The life of Jesus, who lived in perfect obedience to God’s law is then allocated to those who believe in Him. His righteousness is imputed in other words transmitted to us, making it ours, we who have believed in Him and are born again in Christ and because of Christ by the washing of regeneration of the Holy Spirit Titus 3: 1-7.
This is what Paul means when he says that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
And this is what Paul is saying in this passage of Romans 10, that is, that the Jews wanted and still want to be considered righteous before God by trying to fulfill the works of the Divine law, and they wanted and still want to deny the true and only the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ and accept that He only is the end of the law, is the fulfillment of the law of God in behalf of those who believe in Him.
Jesus himself said this in at least two passages:
Matthew 5: 17-18 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
So Jesus came to fulfill the law of God on behalf of those who believe in Him.
John 5: 31-47 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 There is another who testifies about me, and I know that the testimony he gives about me is true. 33 You sent messengers to interrogate John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 Now I do not take testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp; and you were willing to rejoice for a short time in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has given me to accomplish, these works that I do bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified about me; Ye have neither heard his voice, nor seen his face, 38 and you have not his word abiding in you, because you do not believe in him whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures, because you think that by them you possess eternal life; and they are they which testify of me. 40 But you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men. 42 But I know you, that you have not the love of God in you. 43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not; if another comes in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from God alone? 45 Think not that I will accuse you before the Father; there is who is accusing you, Moses, in whom you have set your hope; 46 because if you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? “.
So we see that in this passage of John 5 that we’ve just read Jesus is actually saying exactly what Paul is saying in these verses of Romans 10 that Jesus is the one who, not only is testified by the law and the prophets, but it is the only one who can give life and which can justify the sinner through faith in Him.
So that Jesus mentions Moses in this proper context as Paul mentions in verse 5 of Romans 10 .
In fact, Jesus is saying that if the Jews really believed in what Moses had written, that is, if they really wanted to understand and to fulfill the law of God, then they would have believed in Him, because He is the fulfillment of God’s law and therefore He alone can give eternal life and justify sinners through faith in Him.
Paul now mentioning Moses, cites a passage that Moses himself wrote:
Leviticus 18:5 Ye shall keep my statutes and my judgments, by which, anyone will put them into practice, he will live. I am the LORD.
But both Moses and Paul do not mention this passage to admit that one can obtain justice through the practice of law. In fact, as already we mentioned as Jesus and Paul said, Jesus is the fulfillment of the divine law and the law was given to convince those who sought to obtain righteousness before God through it, that they could not. Why? Because it is impossible for any man, except Jesus, to practice it and observe it all perfectly.
To the Jewish believer he was given command to guard all the ordinances of the law. Although those who had faith in God were doing their best to meet the just requirements of the law, however, they were also aware of their failures.
This inconsistency was causing tension and guilt in the person’s life. Therefore he faithfully presented offerings and sacrifices to cover and obtain the forgiveness of his sins and his transgressions.
For this same reason, the Jewish believer could not take Leviticus 18: 5 as a legalistic collateral to obtain eternal life, but only as a promise of God that involved the communion of mankind with Him. The Jew could not take all this as a legalistic prescription. To do this with this verse as it is would make the tension between him and God and his own guilt intolerable.
But Christ has destroyed this tension and removed the guilt. By His life and His death he revealed the perfect justice of God, the one given by the Father by faith in His Son. This was the goal that the law had from the beginning. All this then ended the tension induced by the promise of life for man to do what man could not do and can never do.
Since man could not live and cannot live as God requires, salvation also in the Old Covenant as in New had to be by faith in the promises of mercy and grace of God. Promises anticipated at the time of the Old Covenant but always directed to the person and coming of Jesus Christ, just look at some passages that were prophesied in the law and then examine the sacrifices and the Levitical offerings carefully to understand that, justice, forgiveness of sins and the removal of guilt and subsequently the position of individual righteousness were all and always based on the person of Jesus Christ.
The law, the Psalms and the prophets have all testified of Jesus Christ. His coming and His redemptive work, see for example: Isaiah 9: 5; Isaiah 53: 1-11 just to name a couple.
Paul in his epistle to the Galatians said these words:
Galatians 3:19-29 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The law as Paul says was just a teacher, a mentor, to guide people to Christ, the law was given to prove to ourselves how sinful we are and how we cannot meet all the requirements of the law so that we can be considered righteous.
The law in essence is the conviction of the sin and guilt of the man who tries to fulfill it.
The law is not, however, contrary to the promises of God because it is designed to finally draw a person to despair of their sinful condition and to prove the inability of anyone to fulfill it, so that the person is forced to finally rely on the grace and mercy of God instead of their attempts to be righteous.
So in essence the sacrifices and the offerings required by God in the law are tutors designed to bring us to the person of Christ, these are things that not only represent Jesus and His redeeming work in symbolic form, but they are also symbols of the mercy and grace of God, which were still within the law itself the only hope for the person who was trying to fulfill it.
Jesus is thus the end of the law.
Paul goes on to say:
Romans 10: 6-7 But the righteousness which is by faith says: “Do not say in thine heart, Who shall ascend into Heaven?”. That means to bring Christ down. 7 That is: “Who will descend into the abyss? ‘. This is, to bring Christ from the dead. 8 But what saith it? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” This is the word of faith, which we preach;
So instead, the righteousness which is of faith, that is, by faith in Jesus, already has a different voice from that one of the Old Covenant. This righteousness declares that, as well how Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for every believer, you cannot, however, be in Christ through the practice of the law, and Paul says, ” who can with the practice of law, bring Christ down from heaven?”
And if and crucified and buried, as a sacrifice for sin, ” who can bring him back again from the dead?” Can the law to do this? No! No, absolutely no!
Both His death and His resurrection are essentially necessary for the salvation of a lost world.
The written law could never do this, but God did it by sending Jesus. God sent Jesus and Jesus agreed to come to fulfill the law for us and to save us and justify us.
So Paul is quoting now the writing of Moses, which is written in:
Deuteronomy 30:11-14 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
Paul takes these verses here and applies them to Jesus and to the righteousness through faith in Him. Using this passage from Deuteronomy Paul draws a parallel between the law of Moses and the person of Jesus and the subsequent righteousness that comes from Him by faith.
Practically Paul is saying that, as the commandment of the law itself was not far away from the Jews in theory it should not be difficult to understand what God required of them and how Moses said that no one could ascend into the presence of God to bring down the law to make known to the people, because only God could and had to do it.
Paul says that no one could ever go up to heaven in order to call Jesus and make Him come to earth. Just as Moses mentions the depth and vastness of the sea and how no one could cross it to bring the law to the people, so no one could go into the depths of Hades to resurrect Christ from the dead, only God could do this.
The law is thus originated from God and given to the people through one man, Moses, but righteousness through the law was impossible to achieve, even if it was close by.
A person’s righteousness is based instead on faith in Him of whom the law speaks.
That’s why Moses says: But the word is very near you; It is in your mouth and in your heart, that thou mayest do it.
God has always been close to His people, in fact we see the promise that God made to His people:
Jeremiah 29:10-14 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
Even in this passage we see that the initiative always comes from the plan that God has planned in advance. It is God who always had thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give His people a future and a hope. For this reason, the remaining elected by the grace of God will invoke as God says that these would have done, and that He would be found, because they would have sought Him with all their heart after God caused them to seek after Him.
Even here we see that God is always near to His people and in fact also, in the Old Covenant, God has always and exclusively sought a relationship of faith and love with His people and not one of works.
I repeat, the law was given to demonstrate to Israel that their attempts to obtain righteousness and be justified through the law, before God were futile. The Jews then had to finally always throw themselves on the mercy and grace of God for the forgiveness of their transgressions, even the practice of law itself would end up in the temple, the altar of sacrifice and finally in the most holy place, on the throne of mercy God, so they had to always draw their forgiveness and atonement by the grace and mercy of God.
Their attempts to get right through the practice of law so were and still are unnecessary. It’s always been by the grace of God through faith that God was looking for in His people.
So now Paul in effect says the same thing, namely, that only God was able to send Jesus from heaven for the salvation of the world and only God could resurrect Jesus from the dead to justify sinners with His life.
Paul drawing analogy from the passage of Deuteronomy says that the word of faith in Jesus Christ as the law itself are both divinely originated and given by God, and that it is only by faith that you can access the righteousness of God.
This can only be done by faith, because the human element, except for the person of Jesus Christ, is removed because of the sinful nature of man.
Paul now says, the word that leads to faith, the same he then mentions later in Romans 10:17 it is in fact closer to each person to whom it is offered, since it will eventually be even in their heart and in their mouth. And in fact in the next passage Paul will explain just how the word of God will end up in the hearts and mouths of those who believe.
Indeed, Paul declares that it is the word of faith that he preached and that the Church preaches even now, regarding this he says:
Romans 10: 9-13 For if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made for salvation, 11 as the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in him shall not be ashamed.” 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 In fact, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.
Now here the Holy Spirit through Paul says some deep things. This passage offers an exposition of the practical description of what both, faith and in whom this faith should be placed. Here we also see that faith in Jesus is described in different ways and it is expressed in different ways.
Paul says, if you confess with your mouth: Then, the word confess is a word that we need to examine it closely.
The word used in the Greek language is homologeésees form of the word homologeo.
This word we associate with the English word which we are accustomed to use in cases when a person makes confession of an offense or to the confession that people make to a priest informing them of their sins.
In the Greek language, however, the word does not always have the same exact meaning. Practically in the Greek the word means in particular: to comply or say the same thing as , to agree and /or to declare openly .
As we see then that word tells us that a person must declare openly and agree with God and then with Jesus himself, about the total and sovereign Lordship of Jesus Christ.
So faith that is put into practice is the faith that leads a person to openly declare that Jesus alone is Lord.
This open declaration is in fact a requirement for salvation, or let’s say the practice of true faith in Him causes this confession. This also means that a person must believe that Jesus is God in the flesh and came into the world to save sinners, that is, us.
As we see declaring Jesus as Lord is therefore agreeing with what He says in the Gospel regarding Jesus, that is, who has come to save sinners and to be their Lord.
Confessing Jesus as Lord then also means that consequently, we admit it openly, openly declare that we are sinners; we need a salvation based only on the works of Jesus. So, repentance is implicit in this open declaration of the Lordship of Jesus.
Declaring with your mouth Jesus as Lord is part of true saving faith and it also means believing that Jesus is God and He Himself is who He says He is.
We also see that the person who believes in fact is in agreement, in agreement with God, that is, they say the same thing that God says.
This is made known by the expression of one’s being that is actively involved in the action that true faith produces in the person. There is therefore a real individual and personal assent of a person to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Therefore Paul is talking about a faith that is active and a faith that involves the whole human being. We see that it is not God who believes for us even if it is God who puts us in the right conditions to believe, we are in fact the ones who believe, and we who give testimony of this through very specific actions. These actions involve the whole being of the person who expresses faith.
We confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord! We also know that to do this the action must pass from the mind that causes us to perform the physical action of the mouth that confesses Jesus as Lord.
So there is mental assent, as well as an emotional and physical one when a person believes. All the faculties of a person are involved in the process of faith.
Paul says if a person confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead, they will be saved.
Here we see what true saving faith does because a person has very specific reactions.
This passage tells us that we must confess and believe Scripture, however, he tells us that we are saved by faith and not by works. So how can we reconcile this passage? Simple, always of faith he is talking about.
To comply, to agree with God and with Jesus that He is the Lord and then to confess this, a person must believe in what God and Jesus say about themselves in the Gospel.
In fact even if Paul has divided the conditions for salvation in two elements, confess and believe, actually even if they appear as two separate actions they are not really separate at all.
They are indeed two things, but they are part of one single expression of faith. The confession and belief are one, they are both the product of faith. Believing and confessing that Jesus is Lord is a sign that true faith has been practiced and that which acts in the person and it is God who is making this happen in the person through the power of the Holy Spirit:
1 Corinthians 12:3: Therefore no one speaking by the Spirit of God, says, “Jesus be cursed ‘; and also that no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.
Here we see a truth that unfortunately many believers do not want to admit about faith and salvation, that is, that we can confess that Jesus is Lord only by the presence and action of the Holy Spirit.
So a person must already be regenerated by the Spirit when they confesses Jesus as Lord. Which means that when a person believes and confesses Jesus as Lord they have already been given life, there could be no other valid explanation than this.
So actually looking up in Romans 10 and the latter we read and understand that the action of a person’s faith and consequential salvation is all due to the work of the Holy Spirit who regenerates, that brings understanding and makes the person actively involved in the process of faith, true faith is God-given and causes the confession that Jesus is Lord and the belief that God raised Him from the dead because the Holy Spirit has already quickened the person and put them in a position to believe in the heart and confess with the mouth.
To believe in Jesus, who Jesus is and what He did is therefore essential in order to practice true faith, this thing can only and exclusively only happen if the Holy Spirit causes this in a person.
Believing that God raised Jesus from the dead is the only valid and accepted way by God, to believe in God as God wants, as indeed Peter says in his first epistle:
1 Peter 1: 18-23 knowing that not with corruptible things, like silver or gold that you were redeemed from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, 20 who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Having purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit, to have a brotherly love without any simulation, intensely love one another with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which lives and abides forever.
This passage is in short the explanation of what Paul says here in Romans 10.
Believing in the resurrection of Jesus is believing in God the Father, who raised Him from the dead and believing in His resurrection is believing that He alone is the Lord, as Peter also described in his sermon preached the day of Pentecost:
Acts 2:22-36 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Thus we see that the Gospel is to believe and confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, and as we see in Peter’s sermon God has resurrected Jesus from the dead and made him both Lord and Christ (Verse 36)
This also makes us understand that when someone tells us: “I believe in God” the exam to see if they really have saving faith is to ask if they confess Jesus as Lord and if they believe that the Father raised Him from the dead.
There are many people who say they believe in God and apparently one might believe that these people have real faith but it is not so.
Even the demons believe in God James 2:19 and by the way they know the true God, only that they may believe but not be saved.
To believe that God exists, however it is not the faith that leads a person to salvation.
Take for example the Muslims and even the Jews. The Muslim claim, for example, that Allah is the same God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and Jesus, but their God is not the true God and can not be the same God, why?
Because, they deny that Jesus died on the cross and then in fact deny the resurrection.
They believe that Jesus is a prophet, but they do not acknowledge Him as Lord, nor do they recognize Him as the Son of God or God as He is.
The Jews have almost the same problem, they deny Jesus’ Lordship and Messiahship and His resurrection.
Then we very well understand that this is not in fact the faith that saves why? Because they deny the Lordship and resurrection of Jesus which as we see instead is the true test of having practiced true faith and then having believed in the true and living God.
So believing in God, even the real God apart from Jesus, apart from His death and resurrection and Lordship is not sufficient faith to be saved, it is not faith at all! Jesus Himself has made faith in Him the prerequisite to know God and the one essential thing and He eliminated every other possibility or religion to get to God except through Him:
John 14: 6 I am the way, the truth and the life, NO ONE can come to the Father except through me.
Jesus with this statement annihilates all religions, with this statement He eliminated every other possibility of coming to know God except through Him, faith in Him.
Jesus also stated absolute exclusivity, no one can, here, as in John 6 , there is an absolute in the negative, no one can have access to God, no one can be saved, no one can believe in Jesus and in God except through the Father and the Son and moreover as we have said, if the work of the Holy Spirit and His life-giving power are not present true faith cannot be practiced.
The whole Trinity is completely involved in salvation, in the practice of the faith, only God the Father draws, grants, allows to go to Jesus, which is the practice of faith. Jesus fulfilled the plan of God in His person, Jesus keeps His own, those whom the Father has given Him and He does not lose any one and raises them on the last day, only through Jesus the Father is known. The Holy Spirit gives life and regenerates the elect and puts them in the position to believe while listening and believing the word of the Gospel, faith comes by the life-giving work of the Holy Spirit and the hearing of God’s word John 6:63; Romans 10:17.
Knowing Jesus is knowing God and knowing God is knowing who Jesus is. These things are essential to have the right kind of belief. Jesus and the Father are One so no on can have real and acceptable faith in God and not believe in Jesus as Lord and God.
Listen to what Jesus says regarding this:
John 14:7-10 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Matthew 11:25-27 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
John 6:44-45 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Matthew 16:15-17 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
All these passages tell us basically that it’s impossible to believe and know God unless God makes us believe in Jesus and through Him we know God the Father, unless the Father draws, drags, causes people to go to Christ,in other words given to them to believe and understand who Jesus is NO ONE CAN go to Jesus. This is confirmed by all the aforementioned passages. It is evident also that without recognizing Jesus as Lord one cannot even have faith in God in the way God desires man to have faith in Him. This is all the more confirmed by Jesus in:
John 6:63-65 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
Believing in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, is the indication that there is still an emotional and mental action of the person who is involved in the action of believing.
The whole being of a person is involved in the practice of faith, that is why Jesus Himself, and the law itself say that a person must:
” love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” Luke 10:27.
Here again we see that the whole person is involved in the action of loving God, in fact this also means having faith in Him, you cannot love those who you do not know, and John tells us that we love Him because He loved us first.
So we see that it is the person, the individual who believes and that believing involves his whole entire being in the action of faith.
The action of believing or better practicing faith in Jesus and then in God is not only a mental assent but an involvement of the whole person. As we have said several times, however, it is not just a human work because in fact originates from God Himself who then puts the person in a condition of spiritual life, which then leads to a real reaction from the person himself.
First of all there is the positive response to the Gospel, that is the news that Jesus was crucified and died for our sins, was buried and on the third day God raised him from the dead and made Him Lord.
It’s therefore the individual who believes, but he does not believe alone, he believes it having placed in this position by God by being first of all spiritually made alive by the Holy Spirit.
This fact is not rocket science and it’s not false doctrine is what the word of God confirms in several passages.
First of all because it is true that there is no one who seeks God: Romans 3:10.
So it would be impossible for a person in fact to declare that they sought and found God and accepted Him. It’s God who comes to visit us first. In fact, he has already given us to Jesus before the foundation of the world Ephesians 1:4-5.
Secondly, because the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of which in first place is the Gospel itself, the very thing that a person must believe to be saved: 1 Corinthians 2: 12-14 .
Thirdly all people without exception are spiritually dead and therefore are not able to respond to the spiritual requirements of God to believe in Him Ephesians 2: 1-10 .
Fourthly, we are regenerated by the Spirit and justified not only by practiced faith but by the grace of God, this in effect means that faith is an integral part of the grace of God and that indeed faith itself is a gift from God, one is not independent of the other. They are actually one thing, one a part of the other Titus 3: 1-7 .
We must also remember what Jesus said to Nicodemus, which is very important to understand in this context:
John 3: 3-8 Jesus answered and said, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? “. 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said to you, ‘You must be born again. ” 8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound, but do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone born of the Spirit. “
And what it is also written in:
John 6: 37-40 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out, 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent me: that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone who comes to the knowledge of the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day “
John 6: 43-45 Then Jesus answered and said to them: “Stop murmuring among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets: ‘They shall all be taught by God. ” Every man therefore that hath heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
John 6: 63-66 is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words I say to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe “; For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was who would betray him; 65 and saying, “That’s why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Now if we were to really do a study worthy of these texts we should park here for a while ‘. However we can not take the time here and now to do this.
But we take the crucial points of these passages and apply them to the context of the believer.
We said that the passage we are studying in Romans 10 tells us that the person is personally involved in believing, that is in the exercise of faith. However, we in fact do not object at all to this, in fact it is so.
However, we must ask how it is that man is able to become personally involved with his whole being in the practice of the faith although of course he cannot and does not want to?
If we see it only from the human point of view, it is in fact the person who operates and practices faith. Again we have no objection to this fact. In fact it’s just like that!
But when we see how faith works in the individual from God’s point of view it can be understood without a doubt that everything is caused by God in the person without preventing the personal involvement of that person, God does not prevent it at all, actually He causes it.
As we see in both John 3: 3-8 and John 6: 63-66 Jesus declares that it is the Spirit who regenerates and gives new birth, and He also makes clear that, if there was no intervention of the Spirit there would be no spiritual life in the person and when there is no spiritual life there cannot be faith.
When we read the other passages in John 6 we understand that Jesus involves the elective and sovereign operation of God in the expression of personal faith of a person and that the life that the Spirit gives the person is the element needed to make a person a believer .
All those whom God has so elected, or as Jesus said, that the Father has given him to be redeemed, will go to Him, and to all those who will go to Him He gives eternal life and He will never drive them away and lose none, but He will raise them again in the last day.
In fact, if we want to explain this fact from the human point of view, it is the man who goes to Jesus, but goes solely because thy are a person whom the Father gave the Son Jesus, and so for this reason He gives them eternal life.
In fact, this happens at the very same time the person goes to Jesus, because as Jesus says well later in John 6 , is the Spirit and His word that give life and this life is given at the exact same time with faith to believe and they go to Jesus.
Moreover, Jesus declares, Jesus not me or Calvin, that NO ONE CAN ‘ , no one can, no one has the spiritual or moral or intellectual abilities and no one has the desire alone to go to Him , IF it is not granted him by the Father or if it is not the Father to have elected who should go to Jesus.
This is the same argument as above, but in the negative sense, rather than positive. It’s then implicit and connected the fact that Jesus Himself said first, which is that ALL those whom the Father gives him go to him but NO ONE can come to Him unless it has been granted or allowed by God.
This is one and the same speech. Since the whole context of John 6 is saving faith it is therefore more than evident that Jesus is saying exactly what we understand in verses 64-66 of John 6 , when He says to some of his followers who had no real faith, it was because it had not been given by God, given by the Father therefore they COULD NOT but more importantly they did NOT WANT to believe in him.
From all this then it is clear that it is the Spirit that gives life to whom the Father wants to give it to and to the Son, putting them in a position to believe and then to go to Jesus because they are those whom the Father gave the Son to be redeemed, and they are the elect, the only ones that are allowed, indeed drawn, even dragged to Jesus by the Father himself.
The word draw or attract that Jesus uses in John 6 in fact can be attributed to different things to give it the right meaning that the grammar of the text must express. The Greek word translated attracts or draws actually has a connotation of the use of extreme force.
So Jesus is saying that it is God that draws the sinner to Jesus as a magnet draws metal or how a person can be driven by someone or something stronger than them. Like maybe the current of a river. We can certainly grope to resist or to fight such a force, and even for a long time, but ultimately it will wear us down and we can no longer resist and must surrender to it because it is stronger than we are.
But this is not all, God does not really force a person to believe, the strength to go to Jesus is because He finally puts us in a position to understand and believe that Jesus is the only remedy for our sinful state.
Faith then is granted by God to a person who was dragged to Jesus and then put in a position to believe in Him.
The process of being drawn, however, is not the practice of the faith, that occurs at the time that the person is in front of what they have been taught and called and not by a choice.
In fact, faith is not a choice as many believe it to be. We do not choose Jesus, it is God who has chosen us. Faith is simply believing that Jesus came as a man and God, born of the Virgin Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit, lived a perfect and sinless life and has fulfilled the law of God for us, died for us on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, that He is our only possible substitute, He was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures for our justification, that is, to make us righteous before God. He ascended into heaven and will return to establish His Kingdom among the nations.
This is the gospel of salvation. In this we must believe.
But the Gospel teaches us many things concerning Jesus, and these, too, must believe. So the Father draws us to Jesus and makes us able to believe in Him and all that the Bible says about Him.
This is salvation, faith, regeneration from the divine point of view, this is how God works in the lives of the chosen ones to bring them to personal and individual faith that involves them fully and completely.
Why then, in this context of faith and salvation, Jesus says in
John 6: 63-65 is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no use; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life ?
It’s extremely important to know the reason why Jesus said this thing in this context. Jesus is actually saying that if there is not the work of the Holy Spirit that gives life to the person who hears His words there can be no faith. That’s why the text continues saying:
64 But among you there are some who do not believe. ” In fact, Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was that would betray him. 65 And he said: “That’s why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
So finally, as I always say, we are the ones who truly believe and our faith is personally ours but it is impossible to have it and practice it if God does not put us in a position to have it and to practice it through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.
So it is exactly as Jesus said to Nicodemus, if a person is not born again of the Spirit and water, water that I believe is the word of God, cannot enter the Kingdom of God,they cannot even see it, that is they cannot understand the kingdom of God and therefore cannot see the work of God in this life nor in the life to come.
Jesus also says to Nicodemus that it is the Spirit of God which blows where He wills and that’s how He makes people born again. It’s the work and the prerogative or rather the elective choice of God which determines on who the Spirit blows.
Also, we have faith and practice it only because God has elected us to have it and practice it. So it is very true all who believe John 3:16 says, however, the whoever believes does not deny that these are only those God elects.
In fact the Scriptures we just looked at confirm that whoever believes are only the elect of all nations of the world, this is also what Paul is saying here in Romans 10: 12-13. Ergo, God so loved the world, not just the Jews, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever (the elect of the whole world) believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life, this is the true meaning of the context of John 3: 16-17.
Scripture confirms this fact even more clearly expressed in a passage that we have already seen and studied several times but that is of amazing importance in confirming that faith, salvation and eternal life are donated to man by God through His chosen or predetermined election in a past time:
Acts 13: 46-48 Then Paul and Barnabas, speaking boldly, said: “It was necessary to be spoken first to you the word of God; Since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For thus the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light to the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth. ‘” 48 when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord; and all those who were ordained to eternal life believed.
We have already examined in detail this passage in the previous chapter. However, suffice it to say that all those Gentiles who were preordained or predestined or elected to eternal life believed.
Only they believed, this precludes that who was not preordained did not believe, first of all, that does not even get us into the grammar of the passage which denotes that they are the recipient of the action rather than those who fulfill it. So because they were ordained to eternal life from God of course, only for this fact they believed.
So we can say, because of all the passages we have examined together so far that without a doubt, the ones who do not believe are not foreordained, they are not called by the effectual call, they may hear the call but they are not elected, they are not predestined . This is the only conclusion which can be reached Bible.
This does NOT remove the responsibility of the person who hears the message and does not believe, because it is in the end the will of the person who does not want to believe, as it is always also the will of the person who believes.
That’s why God imputes faith to the person as a personal faith, because in reality it is, even if it is given by God is truly the person himself who practices faith.
As we have seen God does not bypass the will of the person who believes but instead actively involves the will pd the person making it submit to His will that by the faith He has given to that person.
So there is a real being in agreement with God when we believe, you remember the word confess, homologeo , means to agree, saying the same thing, to declare openly, this happens when the person’s intentions align perfectly with the will of God, this is faith.
This passage can be and is used alone by the promoters of the Arminian doctrine to prove that Scripture teaches that man can call upon God by himself, and that God will reward that person because he invoked Him.
But again, I say that, we have to deal with this part of this verse by looking at the whole context and counsel of what the word of God teaches us about salvation and therefore regarding calling on God.
There is a passage used by the same promoters that we find in:
Isaiah 55: 6-7 Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
From this passage we may extract a meaning which is not entirely in line with the rest of what Scripture teaches about it.
Let’s look under the microscope of the word of God reminding ourselves that the number one rule for the correct interpretation of Scripture is this: Scripture interprets Scripture and the second is that context rules the interpretation.
We see in this passage that God says to seek Him while He may be found. What does the Bible tells us about this fact though?
Romans 3:10-12 says: “There is none righteous, not even one. 11 There is none that understands, there is none that seeketh after God . 12 All have turned aside, all have become useless; there is none that doeth good, not even one.
This passage then seems to be a contradiction; because God commands us to seek Him and call upon Him when Scripture also states that there is no one who seeks God. All have turned aside, how does a lost person, gone astray, who does not seek God, how can he seek God and call upon him?
This however is not a contradiction at all. God commands man to repent of his evil acts but also says:
Romans 3: 14-18 their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; 15 their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their ways, destruction and misery, 17 and they have not known the way of peace; 18 there is no fear of God before their eyes. “
All these statements made in Romans 3 describe the total corruption of man’s sinful nature that makes man spiritually dead in his sins Ephesians 2: 1-3.
Now we have it already said probably in excess of a dozen times in this study that the natural man can not understand and accept spiritual things 1 Corinthians 2:14 , the call to seek God and then repent is a call that it is in fact valid and is effectively and efficiently answered from those who clearly are made ready by God to positively answer it.
The speech we find in Isaiah 55 then, to seek God while He is near, and the wicked called to abandon their wicked ways is indeed an effective call to those who are preordained by God to eternal life to answer it:
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
Look at these Gentiles in Acts 13, they believed because they were ordained to eternal life. These, then seek God because it is actually God Himself who goes to find them where they are, in their lost condition.
That’s why God is near to those who seek Him, it is in fact God who makes Himself to be found by the elected sinner and then putting him in the position to believe, from this ordained faith and this condition leads the sinner to repentance which what He speaks about in Isaiah 55 .
That man is put in a position by God to seek God, this is because it is God who elected and it is He who seeks the elect and draws them to Himself. He then makes them go to Jesus to believe in Him and these will then repent of their sins . It is not difficult to understand how this thing works. We only have to believe in what Jesus says in John 6.
The problem is that even believers do not want to believe in the words of the Lord and then we ask ourselves why they don’t believe what we say when they do not even believe His words how will they believe what we say? No, instead many believe the words of those who misleads them and who have programmed them to believe in false doctrines and lies of the devil.
John 15: 20-21 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘The servant is not greater than his master. ” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they have kept my sayings, they will keep yours. 21 All these things will they do unto you because of me, because they know not him that sent me.
But can true born-again believers continue to believe in the lies and the false doctrines?
Yes, of course they can, the word of God warns us constantly to beware of false prophets, false teachers and false doctrines from which true believers can be tossed about like a stormy sea.
Jesus warned us, the apostles have warned us, we were warned not to be fooled.
If the warning is there, there is also the real danger of falling into deception.
See also Matthew 7: 15-23; Matthew 24: 4-5 ; Acts 20: 28-30; Ephesians 4: 14-15, Ephesians 5: 6;
Colossians 2: 8; 2 Peter 2: 1-3; 2 Peter 3: 17-18.
I think that’s why the word of God tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind Romans 12: 1-2; and also Paul also tells us that we must use the spiritual weapons of God to destroy the mental strongholds that have been formed in our minds from the world, from our sinful nature and false doctrines 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5.
I think an example, with which we can most identify with, is the mental conditioning that the various religions can instill in our minds.
Those who like most of us came out of the Roman religion, know what we are talking about and how membership in these environments has inflicted a real mental conditioning that often is inculcated in our minds as a real fortress that must be demolished.
so we have to do as Paul commanded us to do:
2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, 5 so that we destroy arguments and every high thing that He exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,
So we see that even true born-again believers if they are not careful can be deceived and programmed to believe a false doctrine. We’ll talk more in detail about this when we study chapter 12 of this Epistle.
This is why though many believers fail to demolish the strongholds of false doctrines inculcated in their minds and if a person remains in an environment that is unhealthy and teaches false doctrines they will be continuously programmed to believe the false doctrines and will fail to understand the truth even then when it is presented to them by others.
However we said that, as we return to the context of the passage we are studying in Romans 10.
That God is rich in mercy and has given all spiritual blessings, Ephesians 1: 3-14 so that we can call upon Him.
So we have seen that those who invoke they invoke God’s name only because they were preordained by God to receive eternal life, and this invocation is exactly what Paul has already mentioned in the preceding verses, that is, believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, this is actually invoking the name of the Lord and those who do so are saved.
Here, as we see are the conditions to receive salvation invoke, believe and confess.
Paul does not say though that our future salvation can be lost in the present, he does not say that a person will be saved according to their own sanctification, even though we know that those who have salvation are also sanctified, but they are so by God Philippians 2: 12-14; 1Thessalonians 5 : 23-24.
Now carefully examine what the phrase expressed by Paul means. Paul says and those who will have invoked – past time , the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved-future .
The grammatical setting of this sentence indicates an accomplished action in the past, that those who invoke the name of Jesus , as a future outcome, will be saved.
This means that in the future those who have called in the past on the name of the Lord will receive the completion of their salvation.
What does it mean to be saved? We believers mention this so often and throw it left and right in our Christian language, but I think many of us do not fully know what it really means to be saved in a true biblical sense.
To saved by God means in essence, to be spared from the eternal judgment of God, something that is reserved for unbelievers which are unrepentant sinners.
This indicates that, all those who in their lives confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised him from the dead, they will not be judged by God and they will indeed be washed and saved, saved from what? Eternal damnation! The wrath of God!
In fact Paul in several passages of Scripture has encouraged the believers with this very fact, that whoever believes in Jesus, truly and genuinely by faith given them from God, these do not incur
the wrath of God, they will not suffer eternal damnation. Remember that only a few chapters ago we studied this following passage:
Romans 5: 8-9 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
In this step the grammatical setting of the step shows us some very important things to understand about the safety and permanence of the salvation of believers.
Paul says that God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, past time , Christ died for us (the elect).
This is a great thing, but Paul says that even greater is the fact that being now justified , present time , by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him , future time .
We were sinners, now we still sin but we are justified and we will be saved from the wrath of God for ever by the means of what Jesus has done for us.
You see that these passages then indicate the permanence of the believer’s salvation and that the destiny of believers in Jesus, they will never be condemned.
This is in agreement with another passage written also by Paul that is found in:
1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. 9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Here again we see that Paul’s speech is the same, Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come.
This passage gives us even more certainty of the permanence of the salvation of the believer because it says that Jesus delivered us from the wrath to come . Salvation occurred in the past, it continues in the presence and it has a future completion. Jesus already delivered us from the future wrath of God.
I ask then, what good is it to have a salvation that one could lose in the meantime? In a sense, the sacrifice of Jesus and the power of God should be then questioned and doubted if we could lose our salvation.
It should also be said that, if we could lose our salvation then the word of God and therefore God Himself are liars, if things were not as they claim them to be.
God’s salvation instead is powerful and is complete for those to whom it is given.
We will be saved completely and perfectly, this is also confirmed by another passage that we have even seen before:
Hebrews 7: 24-25 but he, because he lives forever, has a priesthood that does not pass to any other, 25 so he can completely save those who approach God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them
As we see then, those who invoke the name of the Lord shall be saved now, they will remain saved and they will be saved forever, only because of the merit and power of God, 1 Peter 1: 1-9.
As said before, to believe in this fact and to be sure of it would be enough to believe in what the Lord Jesus says in several passages, for example:
John 10: 25-30 Jesus answered them, “I have told you, but you do not believe; The miracles I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I told you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me; 28 and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one. “
Again here we see that Jesus gives us the absolute confirmation of the permanence of our salvation, before by saying: I give them eternal life , he does not say in their future, if they behave well, it does not say even if they sanctify themselves, but instead He says, I give them, present-time eternal life. Jesus’ eternal life to His sheep is given in the present and without any conditions on the part of the sheep. This means that the believer possesses eternal life now in the present time and forever.
The second absolute is that Jesus in the imperative and emphatic form says that: His sheep will never perish.
I wish you would notice what the Lord says, they shall never perish , they will not perish in the present and not perish in the future, never means never, this aligns perfectly with what Jesus says in John 6: 37-40.
The third absolute is no one can snatch them out of my hand. We also see here the security and permanence of the salvation of the elect, who are guarded and protected by the power of God, see also 1 Peter 1: 3-5.
These three absolutes indicate without a doubt that the salvation for those who call upon the name of the Lord is present and it’s permanent, it has occurred in the past at some point and continues in the present and in future and it is secure, permanent and complete.
That’s what it means that those who invoke the name of the Lord shall be saved, we will not be disappointed today and will never be disappointed. Complete and sure salvation and not an uncertain salvation. There is no other name ti invoke by which a person can be saved except the name of Jesus Acts 4:12.
14 Now, how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear if there is no one to preach? 15 And how will they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who announce good news!”
Now here is an other step that puts gasoline into the Arminians tank. They say:
“You see that we must evangelize because otherwise people go to hell if we do not.”
But this passage does not say that at all.
This passage in fact as we have already stated on other occasions is like the passage of John 3:16, it is a neutral step. It does not confirm free will and does not directly confirm election either.
This passage , however, confirms the importance of evangelism as the only way to salvation.
This passage confirms what Paul said in:
Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel; for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes; the Jew first and also to the Greek;
This passage confirms that the Gospel and only the Gospel is the method and the only method that can bring salvation to man. Paul also explained in:
1 Corinthians 1: 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, so that the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18 For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God ; 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent” 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where the protester of this century? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 Since the world does not know God through its wisdom, it pleased God, in his wisdom, to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching.
We see here that the only hope for the salvation of man is the preaching of the Gospel.
The Gospel is folly, foolishness to those who, what does the passage say? The Gospel is madness for those who are perishing.
The setting of the phrase tells us that those who are perishing are in fact in a permanent condition as it is when he says, ” and for us who are being saved it is the power of God” .
Here we see that those who believe in the Gospel are those who ” are being saved” .
We are saved, by whom? Saved by God not by ourselves not even by a decision for Christ.
Here too the action of salvation is applied precisely by God to those who are saved by Him, they are those who believe the Gospel.
Here in this passage, however, faith is implied but the action of God that causes salvation for us is explicit, and this power is precisely coming by the preaching of the Gospel, and salvation is applied by God.
So it is true that if people do not hear or do not respond positively to the Gospel they go to hell, but no one who hears and is saved will go to into perdition.
Jesus said he would not lose none of which the Father has given Him.
Even evangelism therefore is not exclusively tied to absolute obedience of man otherwise God’s sovereignty would not be such. Otherwise the salvation of the whole world would rest precisely in this case on the free will of man.
Salvation instead depends on the sovereign will and election of God Whom still uses the church to evangelize as the vehicle to bring the Gospel to the elect.
So what Paul is telling us here in Romans 10 simply is that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Indeed, Paul is saying, how can a person call upon the Lord in which he has not believed?
Let us pause here for a moment, what does this mean in fact? To whom is Paul referring here?
Paul is referring first of all to the Jews, to Israel as how ca they call on the name in which they have not believed? They did not believe in Jesus when Jesus was with them, when Jesus preached and performed miracles.
But this was before the birth of the church, before Pentecost. They had rejected the Messiah, but Paul is clear in this chapter as he is addressing this whole concept to the Jews in particular.
Here, the context does not change, they, Israel, have not believed in the Messiah, but Israel now has the opportunity, as the rest of the world, to hear the gospel and accept the Messiah and be saved.
Here again we are talking about eschatological evangelism, evangelism that leads to the coming of Jesus.
Let us remember what we have said before, that in fact all evangelism is eschatological in nature because it is programmed by God to complete His salvation program that will be precisely completed with the salvation of the Jewish nation and this is now Paul is referring to in this passage.
This step is not only applied to evangelism as many teach and preach in most churches. Yes it is true that it is applicable and must also be applied to evangelism that the church operates with respect to the rest of the world, it is also true that Jesus will return when the number of the elect Gentiles will be complete and the time that follows is the salvation of Israel, as Paul says in the next chapter Romans 11:25.
However, as we said at the beginning of this chapter, the primary context of this chapter is related to the conversion of the Jewish nation, and even this specific passage is related to the speech that Paul is making regarding his countrymen according to the flesh, the Jews.
So, when Paul wrote this he was referring to the hope that even those who had not beforehand believed in Messiah now would be converted by invoking the name of Jesus, by accepting Him as Lord and Messiah, since there is no other name by which a person can be saved except the name of Jesus Acts 4:12.
Here is the grammatical use of the phrase Paul uses: how can they call upon the name of the one in whom they have not believed.
The fact that Paul sets up the sentence with these words describes the preaching of the new Gospel after the ascension of Christ, after Pentecost, this indicates that the message of salvation to the Jewish nation was to be continued even in Paul’s days.
This also indicates that God has never stopped offering the possibility for Israel to repent, and in fact then Paul specifies precisely this fact in Romans 11.
And how will those who have not believed in Jesus before, namely Israel, call on His name for their national salvation, unless they may hear the Gospel now, which is what? Do you remember?
The power of God for salvation to those who believe to the Jew first and also for the Gentile.
How will they believe in Him, now Paul says, the One of whom they have not heard?
What does this mean in reference to the Jews? They had heard of Jesus, in fact they had seen, heard, and had even seen Him die, some did, but not all.
There were many Jews scattered in the Roman Empire who had not even heard of Jesus Christ.
In fact, confirmation that it was so is confirmed by the same Bible in Acts 2 and also in Acts 19 .
Let’s take a look at these passages.
In Acts 2 we find that many Jews had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Pentecost. During this festival God sends His Holy Spirit to found the church to bring together the peoples of the world during this age, in one body, the body of Christ, the church.
In Jerusalem, then we find that all the people who had come had come from other countries scattered throughout the Roman Empire and these were all Jews or at the very least proselytes of the Jewish religion.
Many of these had not been privileged to know and see Jesus in His ministry. Many had not even heard of Jesus. The text of Peter’s sermon and their reaction confirms this fact.
Acts 2: 1-12 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now in Jerusalem were sojourning Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marveled, saying, “All those speaking are Galileans? 8 How is it that we hear, each in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya Cyrenaica and Roman pilgrims, 11 both Jews and proselytes , Cretans and Arabs, we hear them speaking the great things of God in our own language. ” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, wondering to one another, “What does this mean?”
Then Peter says in:
Acts 2: 22-24 Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God to you by miracles, wonders and signs that God did through him among you, as ye yourselves also know, 23 this man, when he was given into your hands for determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it.
These passages are very important and confirm what now Paul says in Romans 10 , as how will all the Jews who are scattered around the world hear the gospel of Him of whom they have not heard?
Let us remember, as we have said several times already, during this period the Apostles including Paul longed that the nation would believe in Messiah and understood the importance of this event because it would have meant that Jesus would return to reign in Israel as the king of this nation.
Then Paul describes this in the next chapter as this would be the re-admission of Israel as Paul describes it as the resurrection from the dead; because the resurrection is synonymous with the return of Jesus Christ, see 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-17.
In fact, let’s see what Peter said to the Jews later in Acts 3 :
Acts 3:12-26 Peter, seeing this, spoke to the people, saying: “Men of Israel, why marvel at this? For the eyes fixed on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man to walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you put in the hands of Pilate and denied before him, while he had tried to free him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be granted to you; 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And, by faith in his name, his name has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and it is the faith that comes through him that has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. 17 Now, brethren, I know that ye did it in ignorance, as also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that is, that his Christ should suffer, he has fulfilled it in this manner. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out 20 and shall come from the presence of the Lord the time of refreshment and that he may send the Christ who was predestined, that is Jesus, 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things; of which God has spoken since the ancient mouth of his holy prophets. 22 Moses, indeed, said: “The Lord God will raise up among your brothers a prophet like me; hear in all things he tells you. 23 And it shall be that whoever will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people” . 24 All the prophets, who have spoken from Samuel onwards, have also announced these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” 26 To you first God, having raised up his Servant, sent him to bless you, by converting each of you from your iniquities. “
I wanted to leave the exposition of this passage for the study of Romans 11, and so I will, however, since it is very important to understand this concept with respect to the subject of the salvation of Israel and how this is really a different thing from the salvation through the church in this age, we must also expose the passage now so we better understand what Paul is saying to us in this passage we are studying.
First of all, the context requires that we ask ourselves, both in Acts 2 and in Acts 3 to who is Peter preaching? He is preaching to Jews.
In Acts 2 Peter several times refers to ” men of Israel” and he also called them “brothers.” He calls them brothers but they were still not brothers in Christ, so the reference is to the way that the Jews used to call other Jews, they would call each other brothers.
Even here in Acts 3 , we see that Peter uses the same titles, men of Israel and brothers.
So the message is directed to the people of Israel, to the Jews.
However Peter preaches the Gospel and calls them to repent, for what reason? To join the church? Not necessarily, Peter is still calling Israel the nation to repentance.
In fact, after this episode Peter addresses the Sanhedrin which was the political-religious council of the elders of Israel.
They were the representatives of the people and as such their being confronted with the Gospel were called to repentance and the call was thus extended to the entire nation.
Why? Because the people were so dependent on their instructions, that if the Sanhedrin would repent they would convince the people of Israel to repent, as they had convinced the people to reject the Messiah.
Peter had already preached to the people and then to the Sanhedrin, the message was to repent and accept Jesus as Messiah, so that as Peter says:
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, and shall come from the presence of the Lord of the refreshment time and that he may send the Christ who was predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all the things; of which God has spoken since ancient mouth of his holy prophets.
As we see here is the first mention of the return and description of Jesus as the Messiah, you see that he says, ” Repent and be converted that God would send the Messiah Jesus” , which was the destined king of Israel.
But how? Had not Jesus already come to offer the kingdom to Israel? Sure! He had come and at that time he had been rejected. But you see, this is the confirmation that Peter is talking here of the second coming of Jesus and the establishment of the Millennium; Peter tells us this is the Jesus the heaven must receive, in other words, Jesus ascended to heaven and there He must remain until when?
Until the times of restoration of all things. What are the times of restoration of all things? This is the description of the Millennium and the earthly kingdom of Israel. This was what the prophets had prophesied since ancient times.
As we see all this is God’s plan, however, it’s dependent on the conversion of the nation of Israel to Messiah.
So evangelism in the apostolic period, involved the nation of Israel in a special way, because before God convert the prefixed number of Gentiles, then the nation of Israel will be converted to Jesus and the Millennium will establish in this world.
That was the goal of the Apostles at that time as they always hoped for the conversion of the nation as an event that could occur in their days, so they were hoping this because this would be the episode that would have determined the return of Jesus in this world.
They did not know how much time had to pass, it is obvious that they did not know that this period would last more than 2000 years. They instead believed, hoped and prayed that it was in their day.
This was their goal and this should be the goal in the church. The mandate has not changed and the goal should be the same, the church is called to do God’s will and not what it believes to be the will of God. The will of God is that nations, peoples, all the tribes around the world be saved but it’s also that the nation of Israel repent and be saved, and this should also be the will of the church.
This is Paul’s desire and this is the evangelism Paul is speaking about. This should also be ours.
The other passage that confirms the fact that there were Jews who had not yet heard the gospel of salvation in Christ is found in:
Acts 19: 1-7 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having gone through the upper regions of the country, came to Ephesus; and finding certain disciples, 2 to whom he said, “you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” They answered, “We have not even heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” 3 And he said to them: “By what baptism then were ye baptized?” They said, “With the baptism of John.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus; 6 and when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 They were about twelve men.
In this text we see some very important things. Paul in Ephesus met twelve disciples, it says. Now, we must carefully derive real meaning from the text. There are those, Charismatic and Pentecostals, who say that since these are called disciples they are already born-again believers who have believed in Jesus as savior but they had not yet received the Holy Spirit.
This is by the way another doctrine that Pentecostals use to confirm that their doctrine of baptism with the Holy Spirit is biblical and true. But it is not like that at all.
This step passage does not confirm at all what they claim, indeed, it denies it. Why? Because although these are called disciples, they were not born again and did not know Jesus at all, and they had never heard the Gospel of salvation. These twelve were Jews and were disciples of John the Baptist.
The text explains to us exactly what the passage means. Paul in fact to know exactly what kind of believers these were, he questions them precisely if they had received the Holy Spirit, this is synonymous with being born again and this can happen only if a person hears the Gospel,
see Romans 1: 16-17; Romans 10:17 and 1 Corinthians 1:21.
They did not know who Jesus was and therefore they had never heard the Gospel of salvation. This is made clear from the fact that they do not know who or what the Holy Spirit was, which, however, had they been present during Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 they would have heard Peter telling him to repent and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The second fact which shows that they did not know Jesus is the fact that Paul explains to them that they had to believe in Him, not in the Baptist but in Jesus the Messiah. The evidence then they were regenerated and saved is the baptism of the Holy Spirit which was evidenced by speaking the same languages as Acts 2:10, not the tongues spoken today, and to prophesy.
Therefore saying that these here, as the word refers them the disciples, were born again believers but still had not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit is wrong and demonstrates a completely erroneous and even a basic lack of understanding of Scripture and exegesis of the text itself. But you know that they always likes to twist the word of God so that their false doctrines appear to be true.
So then Paul in this context says, how will they believe in Hm of whom they have never heard of and how will they hear the message if there is no none that preaches it? And how they will they proclaim it unless they are sent?
These three questions are applicable to evangelism in general even in today’s manner and confirms the fact that there is no other hope for man or there is no other method to receive salvation except by way of knowledge of what Jesus did on the cross and His resurrection.
They also show that God not only chose the elect, not only chose the sacrifice that is Jesus, not only applies this salvation through the Holy Spirit’s regeneration, but also chose the human vehicles with which it has decided to apply His salvation, that is through the preaching of the Gospel by the church.
A church made up by people sent by the church to do this.
Now this shows us how important and essential evangelism is. So that by these texts we can truly silence those mouths who accuse that evangelism futile if one believes in the doctrine of election or predestination.
Sure that evangelism is important, not only it’s important it is essential and it must be practiced by the church. God has chosen to give the privilege to evangelize, to bring His message of salvation to the church.
The mandate therefore has three basic functions, first of all it is a commandment of God to the church
Matthew 28: 19-20; Mark 16: 15-16; Luke 24: 45-48.
Second essential feature of evangelism is that it is a privilege. It’s a privilege that God has given to the church and it is also a ministry that God has given to the church, is in fact a gift of the Spirit to the church Ephesians 4: 9-16.
Now here we must make a parenthesis which I think is important and due.
The gift and the ministry of the evangelist is a special gift and a specific ministry given to the church by the Holy Spirit who gives it to specific people in the church but not to all. Look at what is said in:
1 Corinthians 12: 4-7 Now there are diversities of gifts, but there is one Spirit. 5 There are differences of administrations, but it is the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but there is the same God, who worketh all in all. 7 Now to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
As we have also read in Ephesians 4 , the evangelist is a specific person who is used by God to evangelize, that is to preach the Gospel.
The special person with the gift of evangelism and ministry also is a person who in the church recognizes other with the same gift and that encourages them to practice their gift.
It’s clear that those who have this gift must sometimes be encouraged to practice it, as Paul did with Timothy on several occasions. 2 Timothy 1: 6-12, 2 Timothy 4: 1-5.
Now having seen these things in God’s word we can say that the word of God teaches us that in the church there are people qualified by the Spirit of God with a special gift of the Spirit with a ministry as an evangelist. These are the evangelists. This is the office of the evangelist.
However, it is taught in most churches through various recent teachings, that all believers regardless of their spiritual gift must evangelize. They tell us that it is the responsibility of all believers. But I ask, does the word of God teach this?
I believe that to say that and to command this is a big mistake because the word of God is clear, to be evangelists is a ministry and has a specific gift that is given to specific individuals and not to all.
Having said that a person can and certainly will object to this fact, why? For various reasons. First of all this philosophy or doctrine has been promulgated in the church for various reasons, the first is that most of the church today believes in the Arminian doctrine of salvation.
They say that people go to hell because of the church’s disobedience regarding the lack of evangelism, They say that because the church is not quite obedient to the evangelical call that’s why people perish without Christ, again according to them people go to hell due to disobedience and apathy of the church.
So as they sow guilt and fear of all the people of the churches, saying that everyone must evangelize for this reason.
However no one, and I repeat no one who is elected will go into perdition, and there is no need to sow guilt to motivate people to preach the Gospel.
This pragmatic theory or philosophy is not biblical, and it’s not the real motivation to encourage people to evangelize, but the Scripture shows not all members of the church are called to evangelize.
But the whole church may be, it must be involved together with the evangelists to bring the Gospel to the elect.
Everyone in the church is called to be involved in evangelism, everybody can be involved in evangelism, Every one can pray for evangelists, encourage evangelists, all in the church are called to witness about what God has done in their lives and do what Jesus said on several occasions, for example:
Matthew 5: 13-16 “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be seasoned? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill can not be hidden, 15 and no one lights a lamp and put it under a bowl; instead, it was on a candlestick, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
So everyone in the church can show the light of God in their lives and in the world as Jesus says doing good works before men. What are good works? This means to live in a moral, honest way and not to compromise ever with the ways of the world.
Even without words God can use us to attract, I say to attract, people to God and then be introduced to the preached Gospel through the people who are called by God in the church to do this.
Jesus also gave an essential mandate to the church with which the church makes evangelism more credible to the world, a synergy between works and words which God alone knows how to bring together, but this must exist in the church in order for evangelism to work God’s way.
John 13: 34-35 I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another “.
It’s essential that along with the preaching of the Gospel and sound doctrine in the church is the evidence of God’s love, the same Agape that has practiced and demonstrated by Jesus, a love that sacrifices and puts others before themselves.
Jesus and not me or any other said: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
The love of God in the church adds a vital element to the testimony of the Gospel.
So when we practice true Agape in the church the people of the world are attracted by God, they are not saved by the love of the church, but then again, they are attracted to Christ like a light attracts a moth.
So we see that there are several elements that must exist and must operate in the church in order to evangelize successfully. God works through all these things mentioned to bring the elect to salvation.
The whole church can and should be involved in evangelism, but not everyone in the church is called to do so.
There are those who donate money to support missionaries who go out to evangelize, this is a good work that can involve many in the work of evangelism.
Anyone can pray that God’s word be preached powerfully and effectively, this kind of prayer as others have real Biblical precedents.
Acts 4: 29-31 Now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to your servants to proclaim your word in all frankness, 30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal, because you do signs and wonders through the name of Your holy servant Jesus”. 31 When they had prayed, the place where they were gathered shook; And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and announcing the Word of God with boldness
Ephesians 6: 18-19 praying at all times, through the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication; watchful to this end with all perseverance. Pray for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that I have given to speak openly to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,
As we see, there are specific prayers that we can pray with regard to evangelism.
As Paul says also in:
Titus 2: 11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation to all men, was manifested, 12 teaching us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live in this present age, righteously, and godly, 13 Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. 14 he gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity, and purify for himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
As we see the word of God to the church gives instructions to all believers to do so many things, and especially to do good works, but it does not command at all specifically to evangelize. You will find nowhere in New Testament Scripture where God command every believer to evangelize.
As I said many believe or have believed that this call was put on all believers in the church but it is not so at all. All in the church have different gifts, different ministries and operations in the church and these are as we have seen, determined by the Holy Spirit. Not all are evangelists and should not be.
In the church there must be order, the order which God has given, but unfortunately with good intentions of doing God’s will instead they end up not doing His will all.
God wants all the church to be involved with evangelism and also with making disciples, in fact this is the call of the true church Matthew 28: 19-20.
In many churches they would not dream of putting people to teach the word of God if those who teach do not have the gift of teaching and consequently the ministry of teaching, why then I wonder is evangelism is different? No, it is no different at all!
It’s as I said, in wanting to do good they make serious mistakes such as putting people to evangelize that are not called by God to do this work.
Indeed, today more and more this it is happening in the church with other tasks and ministries etc. so that today more and more there are people who do not have the gift of teaching the word of God that are made teachers, so now all they need is a little book with the already prepared lesson that anyone can read and do superficial studies of the word of God, but then you wonder why the church is filled with people who are not even believers and those who then never mature spiritually and in fact even true believers fail to mature and grow spiritually for these very reason. How can you properly learn God’s word if people who are not qualified to teach are placed in teaching positions?
The same thing happens with evangelism, it’s obvious that if those who evangelize are not evangelists, and those who don’t have the gift of teaching teach, those who do not have the ministry of the word and the government of the church and preaching rule it is then not surprising the church is in the mess it’s in. Are we surprised then if people who evangelize are not evangelists and do not have the gift and therefore the power of God by the Holy Spirit if the church is filled with unbelievers? Which are then taught by people who don’t have the gift of teaching and ruled by people who are not truly called to govern, the kind of messes we see in churches today are then not so questionable any longer.
Now having said that, let’s see, then, that since the birth of the church the ministry of the word and evangelism was given to certain persons in the church and not to all.
All members of the church have a particular and specific function call given them by the Holy Spirit, this is in fact what Paul says and it is the context of 1 Corinthians 12: 4-31 and Ephesians 4: 11-16.
The problem in the church today is that, between those who want to usurp ministries and those who want to give it to those who aren’t called a total mess is created, this is exactly why the Spirit of God does not work in the church. Since the Spirit of God works exclusively where the word of God is obeyed, the word itself that He has inspired to be written and through the gifts, ministries and the duties that he has designated by the people He has chosen.
In fact this is not operating in the power of the Spirit but in the flesh. If the power of the Spirit is not there it’s because of disobedience and chaos are in the church. Then it is clear that they must invent it or imitate it, but ultimately the work is nothing but carnal as will be the results they will get.
Having said this then, Paul says, how will they preach is they are not sent?
God’s word, however, is specific, it’s the people who are called by the Spirit of God that should be sent, see:
Acts 13: 1-4 In the church which was at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaem, childhood friend of Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted, prayed and laid his hands on them, let them go. 4 So, being sent by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
Scripture is clear that in the church not everyone has the same gifts, not everyone has the same ministry, and not everyone has the same manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
Paul was more than clear on this when he wrote to the Corinthians, it is important that we read what Paul says about this subject:
1 Corinthians 12: 4-30 Now there are diversities of gifts, but there is one Spirit. 5 There are differences of administrations, but it is the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but there is a same God, who worketh all in all. 7 Now to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit; to another, gifts of healing, by means of the same Spirit; 10 to another, the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues; 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. 12 For as the body is one and has many members, and all members of the body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free; and we have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not made up of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body”, does not it therefore not of the body. 16 If the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body”, does not it therefore not of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where the smelling? 18 But now God has placed each member in the body as he wanted. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 So there are many members, yet one body; 21 The eye can not say to the hand: “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I do not need you. ” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, the more abundant honor; our unpresentable parts are treated with greater propriety, 24 whereas our presentable parts have no need; but God formed the body, giving more abundant honor to that part which lacked, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but the members should have the same care one for another. 26 If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and members of it, each for his part. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, gifts, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? They all do miracles? All 30 have perhaps the gifts of healing? They all speak in other languages? Do all interpret?
We cannot do a thorough exegesis of this passage but let’s take only the essential points of this passage.
The first point of this passages is that the Holy Spirit Himself decides who to give the gifts and consequentially the ministries and operations. Therefore, even if it seems that way one can not ask for a particular gift, this happens when we receive the Holy Spirit, and this happens at the time of regeneration.
That’s why our Pentecostal friends insist in asking God for a particular gift, especially the sign of speaking in tongues because they believe that they receive the Spirit and His gifts through a second experience after salvation, but it is not so!
This fact leads us to the second point as well Paul says, the gifts, ministries and operations are given for the common good.
This means that the primary utility of these things are for the common good of the church and not for the person who has the gift, even if the gift also indirectly blesses those who have it should not be used by the person exclusively for a personal use or for personal edification.
That’s the whole matter of speaking in tongues for personal edification as they claim, that’s not Biblical, it is in fact contrary to what God wants. The primary function of the gifts, ministries and operations are for the edification of others.
So it is wrong to believe that the gift of speaking in tongues is given to a person for personal edification or that a person you could possibly want and ask for this gift.
In fact, what Paul does in 1 Corinthians 14 is he speaks of the gift or rather the sign of speaking in tongues being just that, a person should not use it for personal edification and therefore if there was no interpreter it was not to be used in the church, but one cannot even use it in private because that is not the function of the gift. It would be to edify others so it should have been done in the proper way and for the proper reason.
The third point is that the gifts and ministries and operations are given to individuals but they are not the same for everyone.
In fact, Paul spends most of the chapter explaining that one cannot desire, nor usurp or be envious of certain gifts that others have because the Spirit gives them to those to whom He wants and not all have the same function in the body of Christ.
This is a reality that as believers we should accept as God’s will. Unfortunately, many do not want to accept the will of God and despise some gifts while maximizing others, envying some that have certain gifts and then committing sin because they want, they covet the gift of others and often they want to appropriate for themselves certain gifts and ministries to the point that they pretend to have them until others accept them as really theirs.
This happens a lot in the Pentecostal context, precisely because it is easy to pretend to have the gift or the sign of languages and is also easy in this environment to be accepted as prophets although the gift is fake.
It’s easy to pretend in that environment, because the so-called Pentecostal and Charismatic prophecies are easy to pass for real. Why? Because they are accepted as the word of God, while it is only the word of men who pretend to be prophets of God and that’s because the ministry of the prophet is still accepted as an active ministry in the church today as it was in the church of Acts.
The fourth important point is how Paul says that all of the believers are baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ, the church, and that all of them without exception are watered by the same Spirit that is having their spiritual life and portion which comes from the same Spirit for all.
This passage thus destroys the erroneous doctrine that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience that occurs after salvation, but rather confirms instead that it is an experience that all believers have at the moment of salvation.
So there is no doubt, every believer has at least one special gift that comes from God, but in fact not everyone in the church has the same gift, ministry or operation.
So I repeat that to insist that every single member of the church is called by God to evangelize is an erroneous thing to teach.
We are, however, as with so many other Biblical subjects, bombarded with false and erroneous doctrines which we have become accustomed to and accepted them.
So there are people who have the ministry of Evangelist and these are the ones that need to be sent by the church to preach the gospel.
The problem that exists in the church today is that there are many false believers, people who ultimately do not believe at all, or rather believe in falsehoods however falsities do not indeed save.
This eventually happens because as we said there are too many people who are not called to preach the Gospel who become evangelists, there are many false teachers because somehow placed them in a ministry that the Spirit did not give them. All these unfortunately either preach and teach a false Gospel and false doctrines or if not they preach and teach truth, but in the flesh, something that God never blesses.
Many do it in good faith and with good intentions, but as we all know well the famous saying confirms that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Good intentions albeit sincere if they are not the perfect will of God according to His word are only good intentions that can never produce true spiritual fruit.
If things are not done the way that God wants and in the power of His Spirit rest assured that God does not work in those cases, how can then people expect true manifestations of God? God does not work in disobedience, that’s why most of the church today is powerless.
If apostasy, false doctrines, disobedience to the commandments of God reign in the church, especially in how the pastors and elders govern the church, God will not work ever! They demand the power of the Holy Spirit, but there is no intention to obey the word of God. Without obedience there can be no power, there’s only flesh which produces carnality.
So Paul says now, how will the Jews hear the Gospel, their only hope of salvation, if the church does not send evangelists to preach the good news?
As I said this is true for everyone, without the Gospel there is no hope of salvation. But I repeat, this does not mean that people who do not deserve to go to perdition will go to perdition, it does not mean that salvation will not be dispensed to those to whom God wants to give it, otherwise this would be taking away from God His sovereignty and His omnipotence.
So we see how these false doctrines reign and are taught in the church today and are not only a minor difference of opinions that have no real importance. It is a blasphemy, a true blasphemy to the person and attributes of God.
If we truly believe that God is sovereign, if God is sovereign and He is, then there can be no action human or spiritual that it can oppose the will and decree of God.
God is sovereign and omnipotent therefore no one and nothing can cause His will not to be accomplished, in particular concerning the salvation of the elect. No person for whom Jesus died will go to perdition, for Jesus said the same in:
John 6: 37-40 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will never drive away; 38 For I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 This is the will of him that sent me: that I should lose none of those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. “
This of course is what is also true for those who have not yet heard the Gospel and this gives even more credibility to the doctrine of predestination.
I wonder then if God wanted to save all people in the world, as some say, if Jesus then died for every single individual in the world, if the Gospel is the only vehicle for which the people for whom Jesus died are to be saved, then why all individuals in the world have not had the same opportunity and chance to hear the Gospel?
Whose fault is it? The church? God?
Is it because the church has not been busy enough in evangelizing that many elect to salvation perished because they have not had the opportunity to hear the Gospel?
How can one ask these questions and not see that the answer lies only in the doctrine of predestination?
Those who teach Arminianism insist that the people for whom Jesus died on the cross go to hell simply because of the disobedience and apathy of the church and the lack of effective evangelism.
If this were true then all that Jesus said in John 6 would be a lie. So who to believe, them or the Lord? The answer is clear.
Also this human and erroneous doctrine, as said before, bares the fact that it deprives God of His sovereignty and His omnipotence.
I mean, not that in fact any one can strip God of His attributes, nothing and no one can alter God, however this way of thinking and believing in effect creates a portrait of God that is false, it forms an image of a different God than the way God truly is.
This doctrine leads one to believe in a God who is limited in His power, even worse, that man and Satan are the ones who limit it and keep it at bay so to speak. So according to this doctrine man and Satan are sovereign and not God. God is sovereign then only when a person believes, but if a person does not believe then the power of God and His sovereignty are arrested by the will of the person and the work of Satan.
These things are blasphemous and also cause people to worship a false image of God, this is idolatry, which then ultimately leads to apostasy.
So Paul is saying here in Romans, that the church must send evangelists to preach the Gospel to all, but in this context Paul is speaking of being sent to the Jews, his countrymen who had not yet heard the message. Paul is speaking of going to preach the Gospel to everyone but so that the message would finally be accepted by the remnant of the nation of Israel and that finally the whole program of the salvation of God can be completed, so that all of God’s promises to His people can be fulfilled with the coming of Christ. This concept will be studied in the next chapter.
So now that Paul quotes a passage that we find in a very particular context.
Paul quotes an Old Covenant passage that we find in two prophecies, one is in Isaiah 52:7-10 and the other in Nahum 1:15.
We want to take a look at these passages to see in what context we find them. These are prophecies declared to the Jewish people and not to the church.
Isaiah 52: 7-10 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good news, who announces peace, who is a herald of good tidings, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion: “Your God reigns!” 8 Listen to your watchmen! They raise their voices, burst all together into singing; in fact they see with their own eyes the LORD returns to Zion. 9 Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem! For the LORD comforts his people, save Jerusalem. 10 The Lord has revealed his holy arm the eyes of all nations; all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
Nahum 1:15 Behold, beautiful on the mountains are the feet of a messenger who brings good news, who publishes peace! Keep your feasts, O Judah, fulfill your vows; because the wicked one no more pass through thee; he is completely destroyed.
Honestly, even if we wanted to make these prophecies spiritual in nature and apply them to the church it would be very difficult if not impossible to do so.
Just look at the context and the words used by the Lord.
Surely salvation, the good news and the announcement of peace are the Gospel, this is made evident by what Paul says here in Romans 10, and we saw that the direct context is in fact referring to the Hebrews, Scripture fits together combining what was prophesied in Isaiah and Nahum and what Paul is saying now in Romans 10.
The context is Hebrew in all three cases. In Isaiah, the Gospel is announced in Zion, what is Zion?
Zion has three specific references in Scripture:
- The City of David, Jerusalem, Kings 8: 1; 1 Chronicles 11: 5; Psalms 2: 6; Isaiah 2: 3.
- The Millennium City: Zion in a prophetic sense refers to Jerusalem as the future capital of the nation of Israel in the Messianic era Isaiah 1:27; Isaiah 2: 3; Joel 3:16; Zechariah 1: 16-17; Zechariah 8: 3-8; Romans 11:26. Theologians who do not believe in the Millennium, in fact “mystify” the term to apply it to the church of this era.
- The Celestial City: In the NT Zion is also related to the New Jerusalem Hebrews 12: 22-24 the eternal city in which the church will abide.
So in the context that Paul uses here it is by referring it to the Old Covenant, the name Zion is connected to Israel and refers to the earthly Jerusalem and not the heavenly Jerusalem. Because the Gospel is not to preached to the church nor even to the heavenly Jerusalem, but in the Jewish Zion.
The rest of the context that we find in Isaiah 52:8 clearly indicates the return of the Lord is in Zion, that is, in Jerusalem, the return means that it refers to the second coming of Christ.
Verse 9 declares: Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem! For the LORD comforts his people, save Jerusalem.
These statements cannot be applied to the church nor to Jerusalem in Jesus’ time. The ruins of Jerusalem are the ones that were left after its recent destruction at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD The Lord has not yet comforted His people, and still did not save Jerusalem. Paul cannot be speaking of the church and cannot be referring here to the heavenly Jerusalem, since neither are in ruins. So the only Zion and the only Jerusalem of which he can be talking about is the earthly one which is located in Israel.
In fact, in the same context the words in Naum confirm again these same facts: Indeed Nahum mentions the region called Judah. Honestly, the term Judah has never ever reported to be applied to the church or to the Heavenly Jerusalem. The only Judah which it then can be referred to is the region in Israel in which is Jerusalem. Also in Lamentations, Jeremiah uses the name Zion in connection with Jerusalem and mentions the region of Judah.
As we clearly see, then, even if Paul is referring to the Good News, the Gospel certainly the Gospel we know today, in this context however the Gospel preached to the Jewish people. This,we have already mentioned is done for eschatological reasons, that is the hope of converting the nation to Messiah and usher in the new era that is the Messianic kingdom that will be established at the coming of Jesus.
So the sent ones from the church are those to whom Paul refers now citing prophecies of the Old Covenant, are those whose feet are beautiful because they are the bearers of the Good News, the Gospel to Israel.
These sent ones from the church are not only those who lived in the days of Paul, but those who carry the message even today, however, because even Paul understood that the Gospel was to be preached to the whole world, to all nations so that full number of the Gentiles would reach its completion which would mean that the remnant of the nation of Israel would accept Messiah Jesus and be saved.
The problem was that the world as it was conceived at that time was much smaller than they thought it would be. The new continents, the Americas and Oceania, where not even known to exist. The process of bringing the Gospel to all nations of the world would be so much longer than they thought at the time.
In fact, according to their understanding of the world dimensions in which they lived, the Gospel to the end of the earth was already preached in the Apostolic age, in fact, preached throughout the known world, this is the true meaning and fulfillment of what Jesus said in
Acts 1 : 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. “
If we have to literally interpret the context of what Jesus says, then we must use the right interpretation system. To whom is Jesus speaking? To the Apostles. Then the statement is addressed to them and in fact it was they who were the recipients of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
In addition they were together with Paul, the witnesses of Jesus in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and then to the ends of the earth, the earth refers to the world that they knew at that time.
In fact, in verse 18 Paul says: But I say, Have they not heard? In fact, “Their voice is run for all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
In a sense this statement proves the prophecy made by Jesus in Acts 1 was in fact fulfilled by the Apostles. Now before you call me heretic, let me say, yes, it is true that the church must continue the apostolic work although there are no more true Apostles with a capital A.
There are apostles with a small a, in fact apostle in Greek means messenger or sent. The Apostles with a capital A were the Apostles sent directly from Jesus. They had a very precise work to do and and have fulfilled all that God had called them to do.
That is why today there is no longer the ministry of Apostle in the same way it was in those days. Already at the time of the Apostles the government of the church was being passed to the elders/ pastors or bishops, are all interchangeable titles.
So today, the apostles with lowercase a are evangelists who are sent by the church, if we want to be specific those who are known to us today with the title of missionaries, but these are not apostles the same way as those chosen directly by Jesus when He was on this earth.
Other men cannot fill the order the Apostles with a capital A. Although the church has spiritual authority and the operation of the Holy Spirit still is active in the selection of the sent ones, however, these things today are not the same things that Jesus did in the choice of the Apostles.
The Apostles at that time were chosen according to very specific requirements, see Acts 1: 15-22, and their tasks are no longer needed in the church.
The Apostles were to be those by which the church was to be established Ephesians 2: 20-22.
So also for the logic of the text in Ephesians 2 shows us who the Apostles were, or rather are, they are the foundation of the church and Jesus is the cornerstone on which all the rest of the building is built or constructed. We know that even in the construction itself, in a building there is only one cornerstone and only one foundation.
Once these are in place there is no need to continue to build the foundation, but the walls and the rest of the building is to be built on the foundation. That’s why for this fact alone the ministry of the Apostle as that of the twelve can no longer exist today.
That’s why you can clearly see that after the twelve finished their mandate, in other words to found the church and complete the written word of God, after God completed the passing of spiritual authority from the law to the church, since the Gospel was offered to the Gentiles for the completion of their prefixed number of elects, there would no longer be a need of the Apostolic ministry and office.
God completed His judgment upon the Jewish nation in 70 AD when the Romans, that is the Roman Empire which occupied Palestine destroyed the Temple and also a good part of the city of Jerusalem.
From that time onward, the emphasis of the church has moved more and more to the preaching of the Gospel to the nations. God though still has not forgotten the promises He made to His people through the prophets.
This is made evident by the entire passage that we will study in the next chapter. Meanwhile every Jew who repents and becomes a Christian, between then and today, is baptized into the body of Christ, the church.
In the meantime,until the number of the preordained Gentiles is not completed, Israel is counted temporarily as a nation equal to the others with regard to the Gospel.
This is another reason why you can see the presence of eras are recognized implicitly in Scripture, periods, or better, with the bad word, dispensations.
There are periods, epochs, eras that have specific meanings and a functions and importance only to God’s plan and these eras or dispensations God has put into place. So that interpretations of certain passages that often put the interpreters in difficulty may be in essence clarified better because these periods actually help us in understanding certain things that would otherwise be difficult to understand or to reconcile without them.
For example, when Jesus says in:
Matthew 24: 29-34 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a loud trumpet to gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven. 32 Learn from the fig tree: When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, ye know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 3 4 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
A note interpretation of verse 34, which many use to reconcile the difficulty that Jesus refers to ” this generation” is to say that Jesus did with regard to that specif generation that would have existed in that future period in which all those things will be fulfilled.
In fact, however, if you take into account the dispensations, or eras, or ages, we could then interpret it as the Jewish generation to which Jesus refers, that will not pass away until all these things take place may in fact be related to that one His day and then that of future days, namely the generation of Jesus and the future Jewish generations until the end of this specific era, in other words the era of the church, this would then in fact be counted as a single generation.
In other words, the national Jewish generation that rejected Messiah in the days of Jesus is still in effect today one and the same that continues to reject Him. So because the church age has not yet reached its end, the Jewish generation is considered the same generation of unbelieving Israel until the end of this age.
Jesus says at one point in Matthew 12:31-32 : “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this world or in the future.
In fact, the word used in Matthew 12:32 that the world is translated as it is in other passages is not in fact the word used in the original Greek, the word is rather age or era. The word world is used here, but it does not mean the world as the globe on which we live, but how the existence of a period, or rather a very specific age.
The correct translation would be : but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the next.
So we see that in Scripture there are definitely the presence of eras, epochs and ages which were then labeled by some with the word dispensations.
As we see the word of God does show us implicit and explicit things, but both exist, we really have to learn to read, study and interpret the word of God in the right way otherwise we make mistakes that will cause many problems and confusion, both in our understanding that in the understanding of others when and if we teach the word of God incorrectly.
Before going further in the next few verses of Chapter 10, however, we must do one other thing to find the choice and use of the Old Testament Scriptures used by Paul when referring to those who bring the good news.
I would like to take a look back at the context and the language used in the Scriptures that Paul used because as they define the connection of the good news to the Jewish nation.
I’m not saying it is exclusive in each case to Israel as I said in the beginning, but it is exclusive to Israel in the context, both the ancient context that the new one that we find here in Romans 10.
The context again leads us to the passages mentioned before in Isaiah and Nahum. In both cases the statement of the prophets mention how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good tidings, and say to the mountains. Also use this definition of the word mountain is a Jewish definition, a definition always used in context when referring to Israel.
There are many references to these mountains in the Old Testament because Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains. Among the many steps that are the two that give us a clear indication of this fact are:
Psalms 121: 1-2 I lift my eyes unto the hills From where will my help come? 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
Ezekiel 6: 1-3 The word of the LORD came to me in these terms: 2 “Son of man, turn your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, 3 and ” O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD!
So we see that Paul makes contextual references to the Jewish people and uses the context of the ancient Scriptures that in the new context make us understand that we have to connect everything to the Jewish people.
The evangelism of Chapter 10 of Romans is applicable to nations but the direct context, is applicable primarily to Israel, after all, Paul is talking about them in this chapter even as he says in verses
12-13 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since he is the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 10:16 But not all have obeyed the good news; Isaiah says: “Lord, who has believed our message?”
Again Paul quotes Isaiah in the same context, that is, regarding the Jewish people, by saying that not all have obeyed the good news; in fact, now we have to define the good news.
The Gospel and the Kingdom of God first offered before the sacrifice of Jesus is in essence different from the Gospel that is preached after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
It’s obvious that they cannot be the same Gospel or the same good news.
The first was the offer of the Messianic kingdom of Jesus as the Messiah. In fact, even this good news for the nation was rejected, rejected as they have not listened to the good news that began to be preached by John the Baptist Matthew 3: 1-10 which then was continued to be preached by Jesus Matthew 4:17 and His disciples Mark 6: 6-13.
This is not the Gospel that we preach today, but now, even when Paul preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Jewish people he preach Him with both good news in essence combined in one Gospel.
This is because, if the Jews, if the nation even in Paul’s day repented and accepted this Gospel they would also accept the other one, that is the Kingdom that was already offered them but that they refused by rejecting Messiah. They were then disobedient to the good news of both the Gospels and they still are, this was and still is the same evil generation of which Jesus speaks, and will be until they have accepted Him as Messiah.
In fact now Paul quotes Isaiah 53:1 , we know that the passage of Isaiah 53 speaks of Jesus and His work of redemption and it is in this context that Isaiah prophesied to the nation of Israel asking who had believed in their report.
What report? All those things we have mentioned before, the preaching of John the Baptist, the preaching of Jesus, the preaching of the Apostles before and after the death and resurrection of Jesus and by the way they did not even believe the one of the prophets in the Old Testament, including Isaiah.
So we have here taken from Isaiah 53, the prophecy about the Messiah but also a spiritual reality that was also sadly involving God’s people at the time of the prophet Isaiah, and even after Christ until today.
In fact, today the Jews and even many Gentiles, even most of them, are disobedient to the Gospel, which is to believe in Jesus and repent Luke 24: 45-48, Acts 17: 30-31.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
Here we find a very famous verse, a verse that we hear often mentioned in the context of the church itself. This is a verse, a short verse but has profound implications.
It’s a verse that explains many things and clarifies in itself many things.
The first thing we see about this verse is the fact that if we take it and we examine it in the context in which it is meant to be understood it is clearly connected to evangelism which Paul has spoken of so far.
In other words what Paul is really saying is that faith to believe in Jesus and become obedient to the Gospel comes exclusively from what is heard and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. This means for us many things and like I said it clarifies misconceptions about faith.
The faith to believe in the Gospel then, is only if we use the term, created and operated and given by God through the preaching of the Gospel.
In fact, regarding this fact Paul had mentioned in the first chapter of this Epistle that the Gospel is indeed the power of God for the salvation of those who believe, to the Jew first and also for the Gentile.
In the verse in question read as it is, a person could think and in fact many believe that the person who believes does it on its own initiative or as many say that God gives a person a measure of faith and either puts it into practice if they believe or if they do not act on it at that time they remain unbelieving but that this is clearly their choice.
According to those who teach this doctrine God gives to all people a measure of faith, but there are those who practice and who do not. They say this by an individual’s choice or as many call it free will.
In this theory though there are many doctrinal errors and in fact verse 17 itself helps us to confirm that their theory is erroneous.
First of all, to explain all this they take a piece of a specific verse and build on it a whole theological doctrine concerning faith. The verse that they mistakenly use is found in:
Romans 12:3-6 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
We see that many just use verse 3 and say, ” see, the Bible says that God gives to everyone a measure of faith, so they all have a measure of faith sufficient enough to believe.”
The problem with this interpretation is that, yes, it is true that it says that God has given everyone a measure of faith, but to all who?
I hope we remember that when we study the Scriptures in context, we must ask questions. Who is he talking about, or to whom is Paul writing? He is writing to the church of Rome, it is clear that, as Paul himself told us that the natural man does not receive the things of God for they are foolishness to him, then it is obvious that Paul is here referring to believers, so it is to the believers to which a measure of faith is given by God, Paul is not speaking about unbelievers here.
In the context that Paul is writing he is just talking to believers about spiritual things, in this specific context he is speaking of how God gives spiritual gifts to believers.
So the context at hand is not about faith in salvation, or not about believing in the Gospel. The context speaks to people who have already believed, to whom a measure of faith was given to believe and that did believe and Paul speaks here of the function and operation of the spiritual gifts that God has given them. So we see that this measure of faith spoken of here is in a completely different context, different light years away from what they use it for and erroneously.
Indeed, Paul says that everyone, all believers have been given a measure of faith, that is the measure that is used to believe in the Gospel, but then is also true that we must grow in faith; but the growth of the measure of faith God has given us to believe with is a process that is part of our sanctification and our spiritual maturity.
So we see that God does not give to all men a measure of saving faith at all. Believers or rather the elect to salvation are the recipients of this measure and they are because faith is given them by God in order to believe in the Gospel. Not to have it in order to reject the Gospel.
This is the measure of faith given by God that is not lost ever again. God gives it in a supernatural way and we are in fact kept by the power of God through that same faith [ 1 Peter 1: 3-9 ], in fact, Peter’s speech is concerning the authenticity and permanence of the faith that God gives us.
Peter in fact, in the same passage speaks of the growth and evidence that the faith that God gives us has to experience. The testing of our faith leads to the growth of the same, this is the process by which God will increase the measure of faith that He gave us. In fact, even James says the same thing:
James 1: 2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 And Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing
Instead not all men have saving faith, in fact, no one has faith unless God gives it to a person is evident from Scripture itself, evidence that confirms this fact.
2 Thessalonians 3: 1-2 For the rest, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord and be glorified, as among you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men, for not all have the faith.
Let’s take a look at another passage:
2 Corinthians 4: 3-4 If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 for unbelievers, to whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds, so that should shine unto them the light of the the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.
Here we are talking about spiritual blindness, but everyone is on the road to perdition, we were all in unbelief once, weren’t we?
Yes, in fact we were, however, those who remain on the road to perdition, who are these? Unbelievers!
So if a person does not believe it means that they have no faith. A person can not have faith and at the same time not believe. Faith is believing!
Here it is, even in this we find the error in the theory of those who say that God has given to everyone a measure of faith required to believe in the Gospel. If this were true all would believe, there would no one who would continue in unbelief.
To be incredulous or unbelieving stands for not having faith.
In fact, we see the same that Paul says in the passage just read in 2 Corinthians 4 ; where he declares that there are people for whom the Gospel is veiled, these are those who are perishing, why are they perishing? Because they are incredulous.
As said, not believing means that one is missing the very element that places the person in a position to believe what they are told. The Bible calls this element faith, ergo, not everyone has faith.
In fact, as already mentioned, but it bears importance repeating it, we all once we were incredulous or without faith. God gives faith only to those whom He wants to save.
Now we know, I hope, after this long journey in this wonderful epistle written by God using Paul to do so, what was written in Romans 3 , that every man is completely unable to believe in God in the way God wants to be believed in and known .
So according to Ephesians 2: 8-10 faith is an undeserved gift from God, that God gives to the elect as we all know by now as we’ve already investigated the famous passages of John 6: 37-40;
John 6: 44-45; John 6: 63-66.
Even in these passages we note that faith needed to believe is given only by God to those to whom God wishes to give it and that no one can have it if it is not given by God’s sovereign choice. It is also clear that not all have faith since Jesus said to some of His followers that they did not believe because it was not granted them by the Father.
We also see that Jesus confirms this fact to Peter in:
Matthew 16: 13-17 Then Jesus came near Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” 14 They answered, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. ” 15 And he said to them: “And who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
So Peter believed but why? Because it was given him by the Father. Jesus is saying that Peter’s faith in Him was supernaturally given to him by God.
Furthermore, Jesus always in the same context in John 6 , declares to Peter again further confirming of who it is that gives faith to those who believe.
John 6: 64-71 But among you there are some who do not believe. ” In fact, Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was that would betray him. 65 And he said: “That’s why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we believe and know that you are the Holy One of God. ” 70 Jesus answered them, “Have not I chosen you twelve? Yet one of you is a devil! “71 He spoke of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, because these, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.
Again, this is a huge passage in confirming the doctrine of predestination, that is, the sovereign election of God and it is incredibly useful in understanding the fact that it is God that gives a measure of faith to believe in Jesus Christ, but only to those to whom He wants to give it. This further confirms that, not everyone has faith or can have faith in Jesus, and that finally, if one believes it is because he was chosen by God and for this reason only a person has faith.
In verse 64 of John 6 Jesus in fact declares that not all possess the faith to believe in Him and that no one can believe unless he is allowed to do so by the Father. This statement alone denies that all indiscriminately have a measure of faith to believe in Jesus.
In verse 66 it is clear that only the ones who are not allowed to believe fall away, that is, they become apostate, among which is included Judas Iscariot. These are the unbelievers to whom a measure of faith has not been given, Jesus just declared this Himself in verse 65.
In verses 68-69 Peter makes another declaration of faith in Jesus and in the following verse Jesus makes it clear again to Peter that the merit of his faith and of the other ten apostles, which is coming from the sovereign election of God, by divine choice. Judah, however, which it is another one that Jesus chose, He chose him however for another purpose and he calls him a devil and an unbeliever.
In fact, earlier in verse 64 Jesus says this:
But among you there are some who do not believe. ” In fact, Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was that would betray him.
The one who would betray him is included along with those who do not believe, in fact, Judas was an unbeliever, he was without faith, because he was not chosen by God to receive mercy, because of this he remained in a state of disbelief and in a state of perdition.
Indeed Jesus after having included Judas in the category of the unbelievers He excludes him from the category of believers. So we see that Judas was twice considered as incredulous, as lost and not one of the faithful disciples.
So we see clearly that Scripture denies the false doctrine that all have a measure of faith to believe in the Gospel.
No one has any measure of faith if not the measure God bestows and gives only to the elect for their salvation or as Jesus well says, all those whom the Father has given Him and for which He died.
The measure of faith belongs to the elect and not to all human beings. Again it is duty to mention again Acts 13:48 where in fact we see that only those ordained to eternal life believed.
Again, faith is only for the elect and not for everyone. Of course, to lend credibility to false doctrine of salvation by free will it is necessary for everyone to have a measure of faith.
However, as we clearly see, Scripture, not I, it destroys this erroneous theory, and makes clear that faith is given and is exercised solely and exclusively by the elect to whom it is given only by sovereign choice of God.
Now that we have clearly seen that Scripture destroys the erroneous conclusion that comes only distorting the true meaning of Scripture.
Not all have a measure of faith and this is evident from Scripture. Faith is a gift from God only to the elect; we see that Paul in verse 17 of Romans 10 tells us now how it is that God applies the gift of faith to the elect.
There is a specific method used by God by which He gives faith to the elect. The method is exactly as it says in verse 17 , by hearing the word of Jesus Christ, or if we want, through the preaching of the Gospel.
This also makes us understand even better in the context in which it is written of the importance and privilege of evangelism.
We understand several things along with this verse 17 , salvation is by faith yes, but that faith is a gift from God to those whom He has chosen to receive it, and that faith only comes by hearing the Gospel.
That is why even in the first chapter of this Epistle Paul said that it is the Gospel which is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile Romans 1:16.
Paul again confirms this fact in:
1 Corinthians 1:17-21 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18 In fact, the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the intelligent.” 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world did not know God through its wisdom, it pleased God to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching.
Again, we see that Paul uses the same words that he also used in Romans 10 and in the same context. Paul states the importance of evangelizing, in verse 17 of 1 Corinthians
Secondly Paul declares that it was not by the wisdom of words, not by human wisdom but with the power of the Gospel that he preached. But this power is only effective for those who are saved (by God) but it is folly to those who are perishing, verse 18.
Thirdly, we see that God chose not only who He wants to save but He has chosen the method of applying His salvation, that is, the preaching of the Gospel, because it is the only means by which one can receive salvation and it’s the only way from which faith comes in order to believe in the same message of salvation, verse 21.
This is what Paul says here in Romans 10:17, through the preaching of the Gospel, or as he calls it here, the word of Christ, faith is given to the elect.
Therefore faith is not something that a person already has and then may or may not activate it according to his own free will or choice, but it is a gift that is only acquired through hearing the Gospel preached by people chosen and called by God and filled with the Holy Spirit.
In conclusion, this is how the Lord applies salvation: the Gospel is preached by evangelists who are called and equipped by the Holy Spirit, the message will be heard by many people indeed, many who are not the elect reject the message because it is folly for them, the Gospel is veiled to their eyes because they are blinded by Satan and perishing.
The elect hear the Gospel even when we were alike blinded and on the road to perdition. But because we were elected before the foundation of the world to be in Christ, by the word preached with the power and the intervention of the Holy Spirit faith is given to believe the message of the Gospel. This faith is the result of spiritual regeneration that occurs instantaneously when the Gospel is heard at the time chosen and desired by God.
This regeneration takes place exclusively through the power of the Holy Spirit, the spiritually dead person becomes spiritually alive, blind eyes are opened, the deaf ears are unstopped, the mute mouths receive voice to confess Jesus as Lord, faith is given, the person is now completely liberated from death and sin and can freely, I repeat it, freely be in agreement with God concerning what is to be believed and why one believes.
As we saw earlier in the chapter that it is indeed the person himself who believes and the whole being is in accord with God; so that it is the person himself who exercises faith and believes and that’s why repents in obedience to the call of the Gospel, but all this is only possible because God puts people in a position to do what He commands. Believe and repent!
So, Paul says it well when he says that faith comes, and I would safely add, only, by hearing the word of Christ, that is the Gospel of salvation. There is no other way to bring forth faith in a person.
The elements must all be there, the preacher or evangelist, the true and the non compromised Gospel, the Holy Spirit and the elect to salvation. When all these elements are there together then God creates faith in the elect and obviously those who hear but are not elect, they will not believe even if they hear the message, which is why some believe and some do not.
There is no other reason. There can be no other reason, because if there was it would mean that some people believe for unknown reasons while others choose not to believe. But we must ask ourselves and we have to find an answer to this question, what would one have to believe, while what are others lacking not to believe? What would be the element that makes a person believe?
There is an appropriate response, there can not be any human reason to put the person who believes in a situation of faith that does not coincide with what the Scriptures teach.
If a person possesses any attribute at all that enables him to believe this is what? Do all have it all or only some? If they all have it why does not everyone then believe? If they all have it everyone should believe but not everyone believes. One cannot believe for example because they are more moral than others, are they more intelligent? Is that why? Richer, poorer? What’s the element that makes some believe while others don’t?
Salvation instead we know includes all kinds of people, all kinds of attitudes and behaviors, all classes, poor, rich, healthy, sick, young, old, immoral, moral, murderers, homosexuals and heterosexuals, those who had a beautiful childhood and who did not, people who are educated and people who are ignorant, scientists and farmers, religious people and atheists.
In short, given the large and vast and expanded variety of types of people who come to faith, which is the element that releases the faith in a person and not in the other? After all, in every type and category of person there are similar human elements that make them similar, so why some believe and other do not?
In one given family all come to faith while in others only one person believes and the others do not, and so on, why? Simply by shear human will? Simply by free will? But what makes a person make that decision, what makes a person believe and a person not?
How can that be if as many say God has given to all the same measure of faith? If all the same types of personalities and behaviors and lives and families and classes and types have the exact same measure of faith, why is it that only some believe, while others do not believe?
How does a person decide to believe while another chooses not to believe if they all have the same measure of faith?
We have seen before that this thing cannot be like our Armenian friends contend.
In fact, Jesus himself taught us that it is not the decision of the person and their free will but is the sovereign election of God that releases faith in some while the others remain in the condition in which they have always been, that is, unbelievers, which means that they have no faith.
Basically no one has faith until it is given them and those to whom it is given believe while the others remain in the state they were always in.
Yes, I repeat, God has given a measure of faith, but has not given it to all but only to the elect, which then become part of the body of Christ, this is the context of Romans 12, any other interpretation is erroneous.
Now, in conclusion of the exposition of this verse we need to say one other thing. Many believers including myself refer to or have referred to this verse to say that it is the faith of a believer that comes or better grows by hearing the word of God.
This interpretation of this verse is not entirely contextual albeit it has an element of truth to it.
In other words, Paul mentions that faith comes by hearing the word of Christ in the context that we are reading and studying and this has everything to do with the faith by which salvation comes by hearing the Gospel, but here he is not talking about the growth of the faith that is already obtained from the believer.
So technically, although it is true that the faith of the believer can grow even through the channel of hearing the word of God, this verse does not refer to the growth of the ones who already obtained faith, instead it teaches that faith is believing in Jesus as Lord and savior which is obtained by the action of the Holy Spirit when the elect hear the Gospel, the Spirit acts in conjunction with the word and faith is born in the elect. This is the same argument that Jesus had made in:
John 6: 63-65 is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words I say to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe “; For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was who would betray him; 65 and saying, “That’s why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
Thus we see how important the sixth chapter of John is in order to understand many other things. Jesus is actually saying that it is the Spirit who gives life and that His word is Spirit and life, as we see Jesus is clarifying for us what Paul says here in verse 17. In fact, then Jesus goes on to talk about faith and how a the person gets it.
So we understand that the Spirit and the word are the elements that create the faith in a person, only the persons to whom it was given by the Father. To go to Jesus means to believe in Him even the same context confirms this fact.
Then, surely there will be those who want to insist that this verse can be applied to the believer for the growth of the already obtained faith, I must say that the verse in question should not be taken out of context and to apply this verse in that way we misuse and erroneously interpret this passage even if it actually has a vein of truth in it. To take out of context Scripture should never be done even when there could be a mitigating factor.
Otherwise, if we do this we can not make a fair judgment when others do it, otherwise we are hypocrites.
In the past I have also used this verse without taking into account the context in which it is, but I have to repent of having done such a thing.
Too many Scriptures are taken out of context and applied and this is done with too much superficiality and lightness.
Now if we want to briefly see where we can say the same thing but in the right context we should mention the following passages:
Ephesians 4:7-16 But to each one of us is given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Wherefore he saith: “When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” 9 Now this, “He ascended,” what is it but that was also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all the heavens to fill all things. 11 And he gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 until we reach everyone to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we are no longer children, tossed and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they deceive, 15 but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in every way into him who is the head, even Christ. 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and, through the contribution of every joint and according to the vigor of each individual part, producing the growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
As we see this step is really full of great truths. Again, as in this passage in Romans 12 which we have looked at before, even here in verse 7 Paul says, that to each of us, this suggests no exceptions, all believers, therefore, have received grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. What is the gift and what is the measure of this gift? The gift of Christ is the Holy Spirit that is donated, donated in an undeserved way, in the only measure He can come, entirely.
Just because Paul uses the word measure does not mean that it is a partial measure. A measure may even mean completeness. A measure may indicate that the measure of the gift is the gift in full.
The gift is whole, all of it, but the maturity or the believer’s growth in faith is a different thing from the gift itself.
In fact, this passage really destroys the erroneous Pentecostal doctrine that to have the Holy Spirit in full we must not only ask God for it but we must reach a certain spiritual maturity to get the Holy Spirit in His fullness. This is unbiblical and blasphemous.
In fact, the passage here says the opposite, we have received the Holy Spirit, all of the Holy Spirit not a part or a measure.
There are many passages that confirm this: for example, John 7:39, Romans 8: 9-10; Romans 8: 14-16 ; 1 Corinthians 2: 10-14;1 Corinthians 3:16;1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 24:13; 2 Corinthians 1: 21-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5: 5, Galatians 3: 2 , Galatians 3:14, Galatians 4: 6; Ephesians 1 : 13;Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 3:24.
As we see, there are many passages that confirm that all believers have the Holy Spirit in full, this is the gift of God, without Him we cannot even belong to Christ, then we must necessarily have all of the Holy Spirit.
The Pentecostal doctrine regarding this is full of holes, it’s like a colander and it can not hold water, which ironically is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
Thus we see that the Holy Spirit was given to us, and through Him God has given other gifts to the church, that is, as Paul says in verse 11, donated to the church, these are the apostles and prophets, for that time, evangelists, pastors and teachers, even for this time, for what are these given?
The perfecting of the saints. So as we see the improvement or better yet translated the completion of the saint, is the building up, the growth of the believer in the unity of faith and knowledge of Christ. As we see the growth of our faith is a result of the teaching of sound doctrine of Christ and the Apostles. The only way you can truly be united and the only way to know Jesus Christ and God for who they really are.
To become a perfect man or complete man does not actually mean to achieve moral perfection and holiness. It means, however, to grow up, not to get bogged down in a state of immaturity, to grow to the stature of Christ, that is becoming more and more like Him, it does means character and morally but also means that we can only grow in this stature if we are taught true and sound doctrines. Even Paul connects the lack of growth and spiritual maturity to false doctrines, and that we can only grow when the doctrines are sound and true so that we are not tossed about like children and he well says, into false and erroneous doctrines.
In fact that is exactly what is happening in churches today. The lack of real and sound doctrine leads to confusion and immaturity, this leads to laziness and spiritual apathy, leading to complacency and spiritual pride, it leads to religiosity but it does not lead to the unity of the faith.
Walking in union with other denominations that do not hold to sound true and apostolic doctrine is nothing but practicing ecumenism, that is not the unity of the faith Paul is talking about. A lot of the church today is undermining sound doctrine, and this is not the unity of which Paul speaks here.
We are united only by the truth, in fact, Paul says in verses 14-15 that we may be no more children, tossed and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they deceive, but 15 speaking the truth in love, we may grow up in every way into him who is the head, even Christ.
So if we want to use a real passage that teaches how to mature and grow in faith is this one not Romans 10:17 .
Romans 10-18-21 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 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.
Now Paul literally says a strange thing, he asks whether or not Israel has heard the good news before .
In fact it is a rhetorical question as he then answers himself his question, by making a comparison using words from:
Psalm 19: 1-4 The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament declares the work of his hands. 2 One day utters speech, and night reveals knowledge to another. 3 There is no speech nor language; their voice is not heard; 4 but their harmony is spread over all the earth, and their message reaches the end of the world
The allusion to the words of the Psalm is actually very beautiful. In other words, Paul is saying that as the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament declares His creation, as well as days have spoken by talking to each other and the nights reveal His knowledge, as well as the establishment without the use of word spreads the presence and majesty of God to the ends of the world, so the voice of the preachers of the Gospel has already been heard, and was heard by the people of God and this to the ends of the earth. What does this mean? It’s obvious to us that not everyone in the world, even today, has heard the Gospel. How can Paul say that their voice, the voice of preachers has spread throughout the world? Let’s take this and let’s look at it carefully.
To whom is Paul referring in this passage? The question is addressed regarding the Israelites near and far, both those living in the region of Palestine as the so-called Hellenic Jews, that is, those who lived scattered among the Gentile nations.
Have they heard? The answer is actually yes.
In addition Paul refers to in the response saying that their voice is heard to the ends of the world? Who are they? They are preachers of the good news.
Still, rightly one may ask, how is it that the whole world has already heard the Gospel, we know that is not so even today it is not. What Paul is saying?
Paul refers precisely to all those who have preached the good news to the nation of Israel. As we see that form the context we must arrive to the precise interpretation of the word of God. In fact, the context that we find here is totally Jewish.
If we notice there is a real distinction in the use of language, of words and references that Paul does when he speaks of the Jews and when he speaks of Gentiles. This therefore indicates that there is indeed a real distinction that Paul is not ashamed to make. It’s still a very important distinction today and it must not be ignored and despised.
So there are things that we have to consider here. Paul is talking about evangelism to Israel in this context, so we cannot take into account the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles in these statements.
Also another consideration is that as we have already mentioned in the study, the world known to Paul and everyone at that time, is not the world that we know today. The territory known to them did not take into account many nations and territories that we know today.
So the world of that time with respect to the one known today was much smaller and the message was gone and it was going to the ends of the world known to them. Because of this Paul also says in:
Colossians 1: 1-6 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heavens, of which you have heard in the word of the gospel truth, 6 which has come to you, as well as all over the world and bears fruit and grows, as is also among you, since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth,
As we see here Paul mentions the fact that the Gospel had come to them, the Colossians as well as having gone all over the world. Already at that time Paul declares that it has gone around the world and the Gospel was heard.
There is one other consideration perhaps the most important of all, the message and the preachers had already for centuries preached the good news to Israel.
From the prophets up to that day the good news had been preached to Israel. In fact we have already seen that Paul mentions a prophecy of Isaiah 53 about the preaching of the message and the question who has believed our report?
The message of Isaiah 53 is more than clear, it is the Gospel of redemption through the Messiah. Israel, however, did not believe it then, they did not believe it when it was preached by Isaiah, nor when it was preached by Daniel, nor John the Baptist, nor Jesus and the Apostles.
To date the Jews, precisely the wicked generation that continues to reject the Messiah, does not believe in the good news that the Messiah has already come and is already known to them.
But let us remember that eschatologically the good news for Israel does not stop at the Gospel for which we have become born again individually and thus have become part of the church.
For Israel, the message of the good news has a double meaning and a double fulfillment but in fact it is essentially the same message and not a different one. It’s one Gospel, the only Gospel.
For Israel, the good news was that the Messiah would come (Old Testament), then the good news was that Jesus was coming and with him the Kingdom of God that is the Messianic kingdom, this was through the preaching of John the Baptist.
Immediately after this, the good news was that the Messiah, Jesus Christ came and was in their midst and offered them the opportunity to accept Him as the Messiah, as the king of Israel, but also at this point and so far the good news was rejected.
That’s why John writes:
John 1: 10-14 He (the Word) was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not, 12 but to all who received him, he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, 13 who were not they are born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory, the glory of the Father, full of grace and truth.
So after all this, the apostles continued the preaching of the good news and it is a mistake to think that they had ceased to preach the same message of the preachers who preceded them, the message of God’s promises to the nation of Israel.
In essence we are the ones who have mistakenly substituted the true meaning of the gospel. We eliminated the messianic good news and we have reduced it to include only the church and the Gentiles, but as we shall see in the next chapter this is a serious mistake. A serious error that has caused a wave of Antisemitism in the church and a wave of erroneous doctrines.
Thus we have eliminated the presence of the messianic good news, doing so we eliminated in a sense the complete eschatological aspect of the Gospel, and this is why so many have embraced the erroneous doctrine that the church has completely replaced Israel in God’s plan, many have embraced the erroneous doctrine that the kingdom of God is not to be literally in the form of the Millennium or Messianic kingdom, but that the kingdom of God is already here only in the institution of the church.
I must now make a statement which will be baffling to many, the church belongs to the kingdom of God but it is not the entire kingdom of God.
When the Gospel is preached to the Gentiles the messianic aspect becomes secondary in a sense although it remains essential to the message and should not be eliminated. When the Gospel is preached to the Jews the messianic kingdom is placed at the same level as that of the church which means spiritual salvation.
We can not eliminate the Messiah from the message, it has always been and always will be so. We have erred for ages thinking it was not important to continue to preach the Gospel to the Jews.
Albeit true that the prefix number of Gentiles, that is, the Gentiles elect must be fulfilled but it is also true that the message of the Gospel and the Messianic kingdom promised to Israel has to be preached and will be preached to the Jewish nation this being the seed of the remnant which will be the conversion the Jewish nation.
I firmly believe that this is what it means exactly what will be the role of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7: 1-8.
The church has abdicated this responsibility given to them by Paul in Romans 11, to be the evangelist of Israel, so the Lord shall seal a remnant of Christians Jews, 144,000 during the tribulation period that will preach the Gospel to Israel, without forgetting the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11 who will preach in Jerusalem.
Let us remember that the prophecy of the book of Revelation was revealed to John many years after Paul wrote Romans 11. So Paul was not aware of what John wrote. John’s prophecy was written years after Paul was executed by the Roman sword, Paul was not aware of the fact that the Lord revealed that 144,000 Jewish evangelists would preach the message to their people why? Because the church has been raptured as some believe? Maybe, hopefully, but not necessarily, it could be because the church has been disobedient in evangelizing Israel, yes, this is probably the case.
But, as we see even if we are disobedient, God will find and in fact has already held that He shall seal an army of disciples who will do His will in the very last moments of this era.
So, going back to the Apostles, in the apostolic period, the period of the Acts of the Apostles, they had preached the Gospel, the same one that we preach today, but their motivation was always the salvation of the nation of Israel, which would be then at the same time of the return of the Messiah and the establishment of the Messianic kingdom on earth.
This is evidenced by Peter’s sermon after the Lord had miraculously healed the sick man at the temple doors, in Acts 3, in:
Acts 3: 12-26 And Peter, seeing this, said to the people: “Men of Israel, why marvel at this? Or why so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man to walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom ye consegnaste in the hands of Pilate and denied before him, though he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that there be given a murderess, 15 and killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead, and of which we are witnesses! 16 And by faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know has been fortified by its name; and the faith that comes through his, gave him a complete recovery of the limbs, in the presence of you all. 17 But now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But God has thus fulfilled the things he foretold by the mouth of all his prophets, namely, that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and he may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. 22 Moses himself said, in fact, to the fathers, “The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brethren, ye hear in all things he tells you. 23 And it shall be that whoever will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed between people”. 24 And also all the prophets, all those who have spoken from Samuel onwards; actually they have foretold these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” 26 To you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, each of you away from his iniquities. “
From Peter’s message it is clear that the preaching of the Gospel has definitely both eschatological and messianic motivations.
Preaching the kingdom of God is a reality that the Gospel has never ceased to preach, it is we who have decided to preach only half the Gospel.
So, Paul is saying now that the message to Israel had in fact been preached always, the preachers were many, they preached in many ways and in many eras, but the message is always only one and the same.
The Jews, therefore, in all conceivable ways, had heard the message, the good news, in fact that’s why at the beginning of the Epistle to the Hebrews is written:
Hebrews 1: 1-2 God, having once spoken in many and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets, 2 in these last days spoken unto us by his Son
This is another messianic declaration of Jesus Christ, it is what we are saying, that in many ways God spoke in the past, however, God has always preached the same message to his people. He preached in many ways through the prophets, but in these last days he preached the message through His Son, the Messiah and His apostles after Him, and sent the church after them.
Their voice, the voice of those whose beautiful are the feet that bring the good news to the people of God, Paul now says, the people he heard it was preached to the ends of the world, the well-known world of those days.
That’s why as I said before, what Jesus told His Apostles in Acts 1:6-8 was fulfilled by them this is the text:
6 So those who were come together, asked him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time that you will restore again the kingdom to Israel?”. 7 But he said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. “
This passage is wonderful in the context that we are examining, Jesus here gives evidence and confirms the fact that the kingdom of Israel will certainly be re-established, which confirms the literal Millennium.
But Jesus also says not to worry about when God has decided to fulfill this in His program but to wait to receive the Holy Spirit, and they were after to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.
Let’s also remember that beginning in Jerusalem Acts 2 Jews who had come for the feast of Pentecost had heard the Gospel message, in Acts 8 Samaria heard the message of the Gospel and in Acts 10 the Gentiles were introduced to the Gospel, the same Gospel of Acts 2-3 and 8. Then by the time Paul was executed the Gospel through him and the other Apostles and the church already had spread the message to the known world. Let’s also remember that the book of Romans is an early writing of Paul, so much of the spreading of the Gospel still had to occur but in reality it had, the message had gone to the ends of the known earth.
Just as Paul also said their voice was heard to the ends of the world.
In addition to confirm the fact that the Jewish people had always heard the same message Paul now says in the following and conclusive verses of the Chapter:
But I say, did not Israel understand? Moses said to the first: “I will be moving to jealousy for a nation which is no nation; I will provoke to anger with a foolish nation. ” 20 And Isaiah boldly says, “I am found of them that sought me not, I became manifest to those who did not ask me.” 21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and contradicting people.”
In fact, had Israel understood the message? Yes and no! They did not understand that Jesus was the promised Messiah and so rejected Him and put Him to death as a blasphemer. But since the time of Moses, God prophesied that He would have moved to jealousy His people by giving His salvation to people who the Jews hated, this has in fact provoked Israel to anger to the point that they have always hated the Gentiles more and more. They could not accept a salvation that included the Gentiles by grace and faith but excluded them by law and works.
This has made them jealous, but in a way that has separated them from God’s salvation. They were envious to the point of desiring what the Gentiles were receiving but it moved them to anger and disdain for the Messiah, disdain for His Apostles and His prophets, contempt for the nations, this has put them in a position where they have hardened their hearts which were already hardened by their religious and spiritual pride they already had and from which they did not repent.
They did not want to be considered on par with the Gentiles, even if they had been made keepers already at that time of the kingdom of God they forfeited, temporarily, the promises of God because of their spiritual pride.
Instead, for the indignation that they had they have been put aside for a period, an age, a generation, a dispensation.
The sad thing is, as we shall see in the next chapter, that the Gentile Church has done the same thing to Israel that Israel did to them and still does by disdaining and scorning the Gentiles and even God Himself.
The church has done that which Paul warned them not to do, by having the same spiritual and religious pride Israel had and has.
The church for the most part has become presumptuous as Israel was with the Gentiles in thinking that God just loves her now, she thinks that God has forever judged His people Israel and forgot all the promises He made to them and that now all those promises are made to the church and fulfilled in her.
In fact, Paul wrote the next chapter to explain to the church already at that time not to become like Israel, not to be conceited and despising the people of God because God for a time made them enemies of the Gospel. Unfortunately, most of the church did exactly just what Paul has commanded her not to do.
Now Paul concludes this chapter with a statement that opens the subject for the next chapter. Paul says that God has extended His grace to those who did not seek for it, He turned toward the nations who had never had the knowledge of the true living God, they were not looking for Him since they always believed in their idols instead.
Israel had already received the extended revelation of all the promises of God, Israel had the revelation of the true and living God who had revealed Himself to them through the centuries. In fact God had stretched out his hand to a disobedient and contradictory people. God has proved to them that they wanted to set up their own personal righteousness by the law and their religion, and not by a relationship of faith and love, which God has always wanted to have with His people.
Their disobedience and contradictions have alienated them from God, they have walked away from the grace of God and it is with this note that Paul concludes this chapter.
It would appear that is God is finished with Israel and that they have no more hope because of her disobedience and stubbornness, it seems as if they walked away forever from God, and all the promises that He has made to them.
This could be true if not for the fact that when God promises something God keeps it, if God declares what He says that will be, if God loves He loves to the end. God is faithful, God is not a man who does not keep and does what he promises. The Lord’s name is faithful and true!
In fact, the next chapter opens for us the understanding of these facts. God has not forgotten the promises made to His people and His love and His faithfulness to them lasts forever.