Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 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.For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. ( Romans 10:1-4)
The Apostle Paul’s heart for his kinsmen, Israel , has always touched me in the depths of my spirit. Perhaps because of Him and of course because of Jesus, I have long loved and pined for the salvation of the Jewish people myself, although I came from a part of the country where one didn’t encounter many Jews.
The love is deep, and with it there is sympathetic sorrow and pain, for their sufferings.
There is no doubt, the Jews (in some cases) have a zeal for God. But Paul, like a good friend, tells the truth, that their zeal is not according to knowledge. That hurts, because knowledge is something the Orthodox Jews take much pride in. They know the Torah, they speak the original language of scripture, to them were committed the oracles of God.
Rabbis spend their lives poring over the texts, commentaries and collections of teachings, in order to obtain knowledge. They love the Torah, and the Prophets and writings. Such knowledge has replaced the sacrificial system in Judaism, since the Temple was destroyed.
How is it that the Apostle , by the Holy Spirit can accuse them of “zeal without knowledge”? What is it that they do not know, that they should?
What they are ignorant of is “God’s Righteousness”. Not the fact that God is Righteous, they know that quite well, nor is it that they are ignorant of what God requires of us morally and ethically. In the case of the Orthodox, they have codified the entire Bible, into 613 commandments, which it is their life’s goal to observe.
When Paul accuses Israel of being ignorant of God’s righteousness, He is talking about ignorance of Righteousness as a gift from God through Grace and faith. God’s righteousness is a gift to be submitted to, to be received as a gift. Even the Torah proclaims, “Abraham believed God and it was imputed to Him as Righteousness”.
Isn’t this basic Christianity? Were we not taught this from the beginning? Righteousness with God (Right Standing) can’t be earned, it can only be submitted to. The Gospel is a Gospel of the Righteousness of God… .
The Holy God has made a Righteous way to redeem sinners and save them, through the offering of His Son, “By His Knowledge shall my Righteous Servant Justify the many…”(Isaiah 53).
It has struck me as I look at this “Noahide Movement” , that it is a reversal of Romans 10.
People who once received the Gospel, and the gift of “Rightstanding ” with God, have come to a point where they are enamored with Rabbis, such as Tovia Singer, who present a “Righteousness by Works of the Torah”, Mitzvoth. According to the teaching of these Rabbis, the only option for “Righteousness”, for Gentiles, is to convert to Judaism with it’s 613 Mitzvoth, or to subscribe to the 7 fold “Noahide Laws”, which supposedly confers upon Gentiles, “Righteousness”.
This is madness! How did so many come to this point of abject defection?
We now there is an appeal to “Works Salvation”, and that people like the Rabbis seem to be serious, committed, zealous for the Torah, in contrast to the too often silly, trivial versions of Christianity which the evangelical subculture has devolved into.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but this is a defection from the faith! People will be going to hell for this, because they talk about “leaving xtianity” and turning their back on Worshipping Jesus…This is infiltrating churches, and breaking up fellowship, (Legalism always does, it puffs up people, making them feel “Holier than Thou”,, as Isaiah said of his own people.
I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;… Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.( Isaiah 65:3,5)
I am concerned about the defections, the apostasy which looks so “holy and Good” but which ignores the Revelation of the entire Bible, that “By the Works of the Law shall no flesh be Justified”.
Grace humbles the soul, we can only boast in Christ, for we know we merited nothing for our Righteousness. What are people doing, pursuing Torah Righteousness or Noahide Righteousness? How will they ever come back to grace? Why isn’t the sacrifice of Messiah sufficient?Isaiah preached substitutionary atonement before Peter or Paul ever did.