Paul again begins by declaring that his heart’s desire and prayer is for Israel to be saved. He acknowledges that they have zeal for righteousness but not the knowledge of how to get it. For many of us today, we often have ample knowledge but little zeal for others to gain that righteousness! The Jews’ problem was that they always expected to be righteous (right with God) by adherence to the Law of Moses, which, Paul proves, is an impossibility. “Christ is the culmination of the Law” – the only person in history to truly please God by it – and we now can receive that righteousness as a gift by believing in Christ.
For the remainder of the chapter, Paul explains how this faith works:
- You don’t need to go around searching for it – the answer is on your lips and in your heart
- To be saved, you declare submission to Christ, and you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead – so simple!
- This operates the same way for Jew or Gentile; everyone who calls on the same Lord for salvation receives it
- The role of those already saved is to preach this message of good news to those who need to hear it – or else there will be nothing for them to believe on
- v17: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ”. Here we understand the power of the gospel – first mentioned in Romans 1:16 – and its potential to create faith within the hearts of those who hear it – a supernatural gift from heaven! Faith is not primarily an intellectual assent, but a certainty in our spirit that then motivates the will. The message of the gospel can do this, but it still relies upon the grace of the Lord to open the hearer’s heart (see Acts 16:14).
- The Jews have already heard this countless times and rejected it; truly they are God’s ‘obstinate people’!
More about Israel tomorrow!