The first few verses of Romans 10 speak to me specifically because that’s how I feel about my call to ministry. Paul’s heart’s desire and prayer was for the Israelites to be saved. My passion is for those who call themselves Christians.
These folks are zealous. They are good people working hard to follow all of the rules, to do what is “right.” They have established their own righteousness, forgetting, ignoring or ignorant of the gift of God, righteousness through Jesus Christ.
When I got to verses 5-7 in this chapter, I read them with a different understanding, in a new light than I‘d ever read them before. Those with works based righteousness are more concerned with who is “good enough” or the ones who are “too bad.” The “works righteousness” camp needs to bring Christ to their leveo. They can bring Him down or up based on their own level of righteousness. Salvation, they believe comes from the appearance of goodness they have.
But as Paul has spent most of Romans trying to emphasize, when we trust that Christ’s sacrifice was enough to make me righteous, when I believe God raised Jesus from the dead, when I openly confess this word of faith, then I am saved. My heritage, culture and nationality do not matter to God and cannot save me. I am saved by my faith.
Paul was sent to the Gentiles so that everyone might hear about God’s grace. Although Paul emphasizes again that everyone has heard. In fact, in the very first chapter of Romans, he made it clear that creation reveals God’s glory so that we are without excuse when we don’t believe.
I see again the church in these last few verses. The self-righteous are jealous and angry because of the freedom found in faith. They have a problem with the fact that those they believe are “evil” might get into heaven, and in their obstinance , they don’t see that he same Father granting that freedom to those lawbreakers who are learning to live be faith has His arms open wide to welcome them too.