With The Heart Man Believes Unto Righteousness…Romans 9-11 pt 11

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.(Romans 10:8-11)

What does God require of  any sinner, Gentile or Jew? Righteousness cannot be attained by any system of works, God cannot be indebted by bankrupt sinners in any way. What God requires is that we all believe in our heart, that God raised Jesus from the dead, and confess with our mouth that He (Jesus) is the LORD.

How is it that believing in the heart brings a man into Righteousness? Why does God require belief?

First of all, when the way of Righteousness is simple faith, there can be no personal glory allotted to any man. All of the glory goes to the God who has made salvation possible.

Faith has an object, God. In heaven the multitudes sing, “Salvation belongs to God, who sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb…”.

Secondly,the most important thing about any person, and the determining factor of anyone’s life for good or evil, is what He or She believes about God. A person’s moral, spiritual, ethical, intellectual and emotional destiny is determined by whether or not they hold the right view of God. All of our personal problems are in fact at the root, Theological problems.

Where did Adam and Eve go wrong? They fell when they entertained a malicious notion about their Creator, that He had been withholding something good from them out of a sense of petty jealousy. The lies people believe about God are the corrupting influence of their whole lives.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.(Genesis 3:4)

The Serpent told all of us a series of lies about God, thus we are all estranged from Him, who is the source of our life, and the only true ground of our happiness.

The gospel sets the record straight about God, and in the process, puts our ruined lives back together again, restoring us to the extent that we ,”grow in grace Through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue”, as the apostle Peter tells us.

It is “Seeing Him, as He (truly) Is…”, that transforms us, breaking the power of sin and unbelief. Thus the highest duty of the believer is the worshipful beholding of Him, as in a glass.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.( 2 Cor 3:18)

The fall of man has further distorted our belief about God, rendering all of us unworthy, and unable to worship Him. We cannot ‘see’ him because we are estranged from him, and have become slaves to our own desires. Our fallen hearts have virtually become an “idol factory”, manufacturing ‘Gods’ in our own image and likeness, as projections of our own fallen lusts and desires.

Believing the serpent’s lie, we want to become ‘gods’ ourselves, making our own rules, and seeking our own ‘salvation’, which is self-realization of some form or other.

But in the Gospel, the invisible God presents himself to us again, for Christ is “the image of the invisible God”, he is none less than “God with us”,Immanuel.

Furthermore the gospel gives us something new to believe about God, for God has done something unprecedented in Christ. God became a man, He humbled himself and even became obedient, taking on himself the form of a servant.What does this do to the heart that accepts this revelation of God?

Faith in the gospel of the incarnation alone is what we need to ‘dethrone’ the haughty, false, SELF god we have been enslaved to in our hearts. We don’t want to be ‘god’ anymore, for we have seen a vision of the true God, who ‘humbled himself’, and ‘emptied himself’ of all of his Divine prerogatives, in order to Righteously save us from our sins.

Thus we sing with trembling lips,

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

 but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,

and was made in the likeness of men:

and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,

and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Phillipians 2:5-11)

 

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Jesus Is Lord; The Stumbling Stone…Romans 9-11 pt 10

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  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.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.(Romans 10:9-13)

Israel, the nation created by God, separated, taught and trained to recognize and receive the Messiah, and to first come into the new covenant of righteousness promised by God, has for the most part failed to do so. Why?

Israel has stumbled over a stumbling stone.

It’s not that the way of Salvation was too hard, it’s that it was too simple. (I didn’t say ‘easy’,I said simple, i.e. uncomplicated).Israel wanted a Righteousness of works, one which would allow them to glory in their own efforts to please God.

But God’s righteousness presupposes total moral and spiritual bankruptcy, therefore He has made a way for all men, Jew and Gentile , to be reconciled to Him through the Messiah,Jesus.

The only way to be saved is to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth, who died on a Roman cross, is the LORD.

Israel would have to realize and confess that the man who dwelt among them in the first century, admittedly doing signs and wonders, and whom they rejected and crucified, was and is indeed, no less than the LORD of scripture.

How would you ever convince avidly monotheistic worshippers of the one true God, whose most sacred creed is the Shema*, an emphatic declaration of the Oneness of God, to acknowledge a man as God?

There were prophetic indications that God would come among them, and calls to be prepared, and ready to receive Him.For example, Malachi proclaimed before the long silence,

“The Lord whom you seek, shall come suddenly to His temple, but who may abide the day of His coming and who may stand when he appears?”(Malachi 3)

Isaiah also foretold that in the coming one, “All flesh would see the glory of the LORD…”(Isaiah 40)

There are untold hundreds of references and inferences also that JHWH would personally come to His people.

One of the major ways to recognize Him would be to see that the various prophecies present a set of credentials, they are the details and conditions in which He would come.

Jesus pointed to those prophecies which indicated the coming of God, as being fulfilled in Him. He warned the Jews that unless they believe that He is God, they would die in their sins.

He claimed to be Jacob’s Ladder, and the Good Shepherd (Ezekiel 34), as well as David’s LORD, refered to in Psalm 110. Part of the reason Jesus was put to death, was because of His claim to be God, the LORD.

“Unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins… “ and “ Before Abraham came I AM…”. “I Am the way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but by me…”.

There were thousands of Jews, equally monotheistic, who were able to make the confession that Jesus is the LORD. How could they make such a bold claim and hold onto it through the darkest persecutions? Even some of Jesus’ bitterest detractors came to make the confession,  for example Saul of Tarsus, who changed his name to Paul, actually applied the JAHWEH scripture passage in Isaiah 45, to Jesus , in Philippians 2,

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.  Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.  In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.(Isaiah 45:22-25)

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Phillipians 2:9-11)

Jesus of Nazareth had two half brothers, James, and Jude who were strict, monotheistic Jews, and who didn’t believe in Him at first. (How would you feel if your brother said something in public, like, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…”)?

But in later years James called Jesus, “The LORD of Glory”(James 2), and Jude, his other brother, called jesus, “The only wise God and our Savior…”(Jude 20-24). How do you get a strictly monotheistic believer to acknowledge their half-brother as God?

This transformation required a resurrection. Paul, James, Jude, and the hundreds of other first century Jews who comprised the early church all knew that Jesus had been “crucified under Pontius Pilate, and died and was buried…”, but they all saw him very much alive again, after three days in the tomb.

Even Thomas made the confession. He knew Jesus had died, and he wasn’t going to believe any “spiritualized” resurrection myth. Unless I see the wholes in His hands and in his side, I won’t believe”. But when Jesus allowed Thomas to put his hand in Jesus’ side, Thomas fell on His knees, and cried out “My Lord and My God!”.

Thomas, Paul, James and Jude, wouldn’t be the last Jews to confess Jesus as Lord, One day the entire nation will do so, but what will that take?

  * Shema Yisrael,Adonai,Elohenu, Adonai Echad!-“Hear Oh Israel, The Lord thy God is One Lord!”

 

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The Simplicity of God’s Salvation…Romans 9-11 pt 9

For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)  Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 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. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved  (Romans 10:5-14)

Israel stumbled over the Righteousness of God, not because it was a way which was too hard, but because it is too simple. They did not understand what Moses refered to when He said, that Righteousness would not be a matter of self effort,“Who shall bring Christ down from heaven?…”, as if a human being could ever qualify themselves to ascend to heaven and procure salvation.

Christ did indeed come from heaven, to save us from our sins and to justify us before God, but not because of the worthiness orb attainments of Israel. It was sheer grace, Love and mercy which brought Christ down to us from Heaven. Truly, “The Father sent the Son, to be the Savior of the World”.

Nor was anyone worthy of “resurrecting” any lost opportunities for salvation squandered by Israel in the past,“Who shall descend into the deep to bring Christ from the dead?”. Christ died for our sins willingly and on the third day God raised him from the dead, death having no real claim on Jesus, who had done no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth….

The only worthy person who ever lived is Jesus Christ, He is the only wise God and our Savior and man can only be saved through Him. He descended from heaven himself, no one was ‘worthy’ to go up there and fetch him. He rose from the dead, after he had “by himself purged our sins”, as Hebrews 1:3 tells us.

But Israel for the most part didn’t want such a salvation. The salvation described in the book of Romans, is too simplistic. Salvation by a substitute is demeaning to the individual, it presupposes no inherent righteousness and gives no credit to the status of being a child of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob.

There is no striving, and nothing to glory in. They preferred a “Righteousness of their own”, an ethical system of works and saving rituals, originating in scripture but steadily evolving over the centuries by the teachings of Rabbis and Sages. Jesus and John warned about it, that mere physical affinity with Abraham wouldn’t save anyone, rather spiritual affinity.

Who is really a son of Abraham? Who was Abraham and how was he counted as Righteous? What works did he do to attain Righteousness. Abraham was a pagan idolater, who had an encounter with the Living God. God gave him a promise, that one of his children would be a blessing to the whole world! Abraham believed God, and He counted it to Him for Righteousness.

Moses also had an encounter with God, and He believed Him. He is the one who warned Israel  not to trust in works, but to realize that “The Word is nigh thee, evening thy heart and in thy mouth…”. God is as close to you as your breath, for in the coming of Jesus, God was manifested in the flesh, He has come unto us, bringing salvation.

How close is salvation?

It is in the simplicity of confessing with our mouth, That Jesus is the LORD, and believing in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead, that we shall be saved.

This is the original Creed, and the only saving faith, That Jesus is the LORD, and that God has raised him from the dead. In these spare words lie a whole theology, an entire life, even an eternity.The Creed is simple, in the sense that it is uncomplicated, but it isn’t easy. Consider it’s only two components briefly-

* Jesus is LORD- Jesus is the name of a human being, a very real person, the son of the Carpenter from Nazareth. He had a time and a space, having lived in the Roman Empire,  in the first century. Jesus of Nazareth lived, laughed, felt, ate, slept, and in short he fully experienced humanity.

Then he died, for he was accused of blasphemy and treason and was “Crucified under Pontus Pilate”.

But God has shown us that this Jesus of Nazareth,  is God.

* God raised Him from the dead- Jesus died as a human being on a cross of shame. But on the third day after he died, when they went to complete the embalming of his body, they found the tomb empty, and Jesus appeared to them very much alive. They handled him, ate with him, listened to him and walked with him until he ascended back to heaven.

The nation of Israel rejected Jesus for the most part, choosing instead a salvation of their own making, one that gives a works righteousness and that elevates the most pious among them, one that a man can glory in, and be exalted above others by.They have unwittingly fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah,

“My people have committed two evils, they have forsaken ME, the fountain of Living waters, and have Hewn out for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water”. (Jeremiah 2)

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(To My Bride) She Said Yes

We stood before a beautiful altar didn’t we?

We had started outside,

but when the preacher spoke of the “Water of the Word“, it began to rain.

So we rushed into the Blue room,(where I first asked you),

I trembled when I saw you walk the Aisle,

towards me,

and towards the life we would live together,

Because you are so beautiful, and you were radiant in purity and loveliness,

How could I have gained such a beautiful woman?

(Truly He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor of the Lord!)

Who was I? And What were my prospects?

In the world’s terms, they amounted to nothing…(I worked at McDonalds!)

But you said yes…

Yes to God, first of all, and yes to Me also,

You said yes to bearing six beautiful children,

and to entering into all of our joys, battles, struggles, victories and sorrows together,

We have always had each other’s back! You’ve been my best friend…

We have served God together,

Neither one of us could have known, what we were signing up for,

What our vows would cost us, nor the full extent of what the journey would be,

You offered yourself so willingly, to be my friend, my partner, my wife, my lover,

truly a Help meet for me!

I so thank God for your Yes, Where would I be without you?

Jesus, the ultimate groom has said,

“Whoever lays down his life shall keep it, and whoever keeps his life will lose it”,

Dear Kristin, what an example of this scripture you have been,

God knows you have given of yourself to me,and to God,

even when it has been difficult, You have never kept anything back for yourself,

I thank God for you and that you said Yes!

“Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all” Proverbs 31

I Love you !

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The Goal Of The Law Is Christ…Romans 9-11 pt 8

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 10:3-4) 

What did Israel stumble over? What exactly was this lack of knowledge that has left her lost and estranged from God? It was no small detail that Israel got wrong, they literally lacked the only Knowledge that would save them!

Paul says that Israel was ignorant of God’s Righteousness. This means Israel was ignorant of what the Law of God truly demanded. He was not saying that Israel knew nothing about the Law, in fact she knew very much of the Law  and by the Law. The word translated ignorant, means devoid of exact  and precise knowledge.

Isaiah 53 says, “…By His knowledge, my Righteous servant shall Justify the many”.

But gradually Israel combined her incomplete knowledge of Righteousness, with a mixture of false teaching on the subject. Thus her “knowledge ” of righteousness

Israel stumbled over nothing less than the way of Righteousness, as revealed in the Law, prophets and in the Gospel. In spite of centuries of Divine teaching, dealings, temple instruction, ritual, prophecy and miracles and the entire experience of her history,  Israel has failed to attain that which she strove for, God’s Righteousness.

What were the specific points that Israel stumbled over so fatally ?

* Israel underestimated the standards of true Righteousness-

Jesus warned us in the Sermon on the Mount that “Unless your Righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of God”.(Matthew 5:20)

God can only demand perfection! The Righteousness that He requires, is the Righteousness that His Righteousness requires Him to require.

What does God really demand of man? Behold the Pharisee’s boast, in the parable told by Jesus,

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.(Luke 18:10-12)

The Apostle calls this ‘ confidence in the flesh’.  The emphasis is on self effort, external observation of rites, and pride by comparison with others. This is not true Righteousness, and it literally stands in the way of salvation.

True Righteousness is absolute conformity to all of God’s Law, not just external observance in comparison with others. The Law of God is internal as well as external, and can only be fulfilled by those who Love God with all their being.It is none less than Loving the Lord our God, with all of our heart, Soul,mind and strength. Can anyone says that they do this at all times?

* Israel didn’t Know the difference between Self Righteousness and the Righteousness of God – Israel wasn’t indifferent to Righteousness. The pious Jew made much strenuous effort to attain Righteousness, especially the Pharisees. They made it their life’s goal to fulfill all of the 614 commandments of God.  A Tzadik, would make all of the pilgrimages, fast, tithe down to the anise seed, and pay any price to be separate, in order to amass a treasury of Righteousness.

Righteousness before God, to these disciples was a matter of self effort.This Self Righteousness is based on the false premise that Man in and of himself can satisfy the demands of God. One of the problems of Rabbinic Judaism is that she understates the doctrine of original sin.An has been ruined and can not by himself ever please God to satisfaction.

 

* Israel didn’t realize that God himself would be their righteousnessTime and again the teaching of Law and prophets assured Israel that the Lord Himself would be their Righteousness.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.(Jeremiah 23:5-6)

God himself would be the Righteousness of Israel, He would impute to them His own Righteousness. Knowing what He (Jesus) would do for them, would become a “justifying knowledge” to the Believer.

 

* Israel  didn’t understand that true Righteousness could only be attained as a gift of Love- But this kind of Righteousness can induce no pride, for it is not attained by self effort. All this Righteousness can ever engender would be humility.

 

This is the gospel, that what the Righteous God demands of us, He himself provides for us- His Righteousness.

We who believe and love Jesus ,sing with uplifted arms and trembling lips,”He is all my Righteousness, We stand complete in Him, and Worship Him”.

 

* Israel didn’t know that Righteousness was something we are to submit to- What a difference there is between “Attaining” and “Submission”!

The one who Attains, is the champion, and to be lauded and admired for by his striving he has conquered! No wonder proud people seek to attain their own righteousness by various religious efforts. “We Thank you Lord, we are not like these others…”.

But the one who Submits has been conquered, and humbly accepts from his conqueror what it pleases him to give him. How amazing that the one who confesses his own deep sinfulness, and submits to God, receives a gift from his conqueror, the LORD from Heaven…Right Standing with God.

Righteousness from God can never be attained by men, but only submitted to.

* They didn’t know  the goal of the Law – What is the goal of the Law of God?

The goal is not Righteousness, but the Messiah. The Law cannot bring Righteousness, it can only reveal that humanly speaking, the demand of Righteousness is reasonable but unattainable to us sinners. The law shows us that we are unrighteous and deserving of death, under the condemnation of God.

The law is designed to drive us out of ourselves unto the Messiah himself, for He alone can give us Righteousness.

 

 

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What Israel Got Wrong…Romans 9-11 pt 7

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)

Again the apostle Paul pours out of a broken heart his deepest desire and prayer, that Israel be saved.He has already assured us in the name of the Holy Spirit that if he could,Paul would trade places with Israel that they would be saved and HE lost! This is the Love of Jesus flowing through the tender heart of a reborn man.

There could be no question of Israel’s zeal for God. Who isn’t moved by the accounts of Jewish martyrs in the dark centuries between the Testaments, when Thousands died rather than submit to Antiochus Epiphanes’ anti-God decrees?

The Jews have been zealous in their pursuit of Righteousness, but their zeal, commendable as it is, has not been according to knowledge. Jesus mentioned the zeal of Pharisees who cross land and sea in evangelism and turn their converts into “Sons of Hell”.

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.(Matthew 23:15)

What is zeal? It is the intensity in which one caries out a project. Zeal in itself is neutral, it is neither right or wrong.  The important thing is whether or not one’s zeal is “according to knowledge”. Muslims are zealous in their religion, so are all cults. Such zeal is misguided. It is commendable to the flesh, but God hates it.

If there was anyone who ought to know about the zeal of Israel it was the apostle Paul.

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.(Galatians 1:13-14)

This “Hebrew of the Hebrews” and Pharisee, had committed himself to the observance of all 614 commandments of God as extracted from the Law of Moses, and was soon recognized as one of the leading zealots in the sect of zealots.

He (Saul), would attain “righteousness”, and Israel itself would “reform” under the tutelage of Pharisees that she might regain her Right standing with God and bring about the restoration of the Kingdom as the prophets promised. One of the sages had predicted that when all Israel repents on One day, then the Kingdom of God would come in, and Israel would rule again as in olden times.

Saul was a representative Israelite. He wanted Righteousness, and would obtain it through strict observance of the Law. He could well have been the man in the story in Luke 18 who prayed thus in the temple;

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.(Luke 18:11-12)

His zeal for the Law of God drove him to persecute the new sect of Jews who went about teaching that the Messiah died on a Roman cross as a sacrifice for our sins, that all who believe might receive a gift of Righteousness from God.

Think of how this zealous Jew wold have stumbled over the gospel. “How could the Messiah of Israel die on a Roman(Pagan) cross! Blasphemy! Every Jew knows that the Law of God says “Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree”. Are you trying to tell me the Messiah of God, has already come and died the death of a man accursed of God?”.

Then the penny dropped, for Saul. Perhaps he had time to think as he traveled, in his tortured last few years as a zealot, rooting out Christians and imprisoning them, driven by zeal, but knowing he himself was a deep sinner. The words of the Prophet Isaiah may have come to him more than once as he no doubt entered Messianic synagogues in disguise, to arrest them.

“They say the Messiah was cursed of God! How blasphemous!”

But then this word from God would answer his troubled conscience…

…we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.(Isaiah 53:4b-5)

He was indeed “Smitten of God and afflicted”, but not for Himself, but for we who are all sinners. The Messiah died as a substitute for sinners…Righteousness can only come to us as a free git from God and cannot be earned or merited.

Saul “got” what most of Israel sadly failed to get-

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: 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; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 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, 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:(Phillipians 3:4-9)

True Righteousness cannot be attained by self effort works or merit…

It is a Gift of God, something to be submitted to in Faith in Jesus the Messiah who died for us sinners.

 

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The People And The Non People…Romans 9-11 pt 6

As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.  And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.  Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:  For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.  And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.(Romans 9:25-29)

Paul is trying to resolve the theological problem raised by the fact that Israel, for the most part, doesn’t recognize the New covenant of God, announced by Jeremiah the prophet and attested to by the Law and the prophets. From the ends of the earth, Gentiles have been flocking to the God of Israel, and the Jewish messiah,Jesus, but only a trickle of Jews has come to worship.

Those who had closely read the prophecies of Isaiah, Hosea, Jeremiah and Ezekiel would not have been surprised that only a small remnant of Jews would make the transition from Old to New Covenant. This is spite of the fact that the New Covenant is expressly for “…The house of Israel and the house  of Judah…”.

Paul cites Hosea, who announced the repudiation of Israel as God’s people for a season, and then predicted their reinstatement as “the children of the Living God”.  Hosea predicted that for a long time, Israel would be disenfranchised, exiled, and out of the Divine favor, other than a small believing remnant;

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without seraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.(Hosea 3:4-5)

Hosea predicted a hopeful end for Israel, however, Afterward,Hosea saw that Israel would return,(from exile, and repent), turning again to the Lord in the latter days.But in the meantime, a “non-people” would receive the Divine Attention once reserved for Israel.There is nothing new about this,the prophets predicted the mystery of the Judeo/Gentile church.

Hosea  was echoing the prophet Moses, who by the Spirit warned that due to the continued Idolatry of His favored people God would turn to another, less favored ‘people’, a non-people, a foolish nation.

They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.(Deuteronomy 32:21)

Isaiah also witnessed that though Israel and Judah had been degraded by sin, and their rulers were the new “…Rulers of Sodom and Gommorah…”, The Lord would not totally make an end of them, as He did the original Sodom and Gommorah. The LORD would preserve a remnant, a small holdout, picturesquely described by Isaiah as;

And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.(Isaiah 1:8)

Paul quotes Isaiah again, when he proclaims that a remnant shall return,(repent) and that this in itself is an “overflowing” act of Righteousness, by the LORD.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness. For the Lord God of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.(Isaiah 10:20-23)

The fact that the once predominantly Jewish church, had become in a short time overwhelmingly gentile, should have come as no surprise to the ones who knew the Prophets.

Remember that Claudius expelled the Jews of Rome for five years. When the Messianic Jews  returned to the church in Rome, it was a growing, exploding congregation of gentile believers in Jesus, none of whom had any background in the Law,Prophets, the Temple, Torah, or any of the other preparatory tools the Lord had vouchsafed to Israel.

What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.(Romans 9:30)  

What were these former pagans, idolaters and even animists looking for when they stumbled into the gospel of the crucified Savior? What could they have seen in the Jewish carpenter who substituted himself for the sins of the whole world?

When the Gentiles heard the mystery of the empty tomb, and of the risen one who had recently been pronounced dead and embalmed, but who now lives, what did the ‘foolish’ newly formed nation of ‘non-people’ expect to find?

The answer; Eternal life, reality and meaning in this once empty life, Truth which set them free from their own sins and degraded passions. In the process of believing and accepting the Gospel they found Righteousness, a Right standing with God, by faith in Jesus.

It never occurred to them to seek for Righteousness, but in the gospel they found it and came into it, among other unspeakable treasures..

Ironically the vast majority of the Jewish nation, the chosen, prepared, schooled and disciplined people of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob thought of little else than how to obtain Righteousness. Their sages taught them that if all of Israel would just repent on the same day, then the Most High would bring in the Kingdom to the world! The prayers of the Jews and their liturgies are full of pleadings for Rightousness with God.

Obsessed as they were (and some are) with ‘Righteousness’, Israel has come short of it to this day, because they stumble over the only God appointed means of Righteousness – simple faith and trust in the Messiah.

Thus for the present, The ‘non people’ are currently in possession of something they weren’t even aware of, whereas the “people” are currently on the outside,looking in hungrily and a bit jealously. But thankfully, not for too much longer.

But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone;  As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.(Romans 9:31-33)

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