Sermon: The Glorious Accessibility of the Savior Romans 10:1-13

The Glorious Accessibility of the Savior

Romans 10:1-13

Truth Taught- Jesus is ready to extend His righteousness to all who believe and call on Him to save.

Introduction

We saw last time that Paul began Chapter 10 much the same way he did Chapter 9. He expresses a heartfelt desire to see the Jews come to Christ and be saved. His longing even, it seems, increases as he witnesses their zeal and commitment…he must have thought, if only that commitment could be turned to Christ, what great witnesses they could be. He was the chief example of an Israelite being turned to Christ and in Paul we see what a zealous Israelite could become.

The main issue we looked at last time was that the Jews were using the Law of God to try and establish their own righteousness. For mankind there cannot ever be acceptable self-righteousness because human beings are fallen sinners.

What the Jews didn’t understand was that in Jesus Christ mankind can receive acceptable righteousness through faith.

Today, we’re going to see Paul’s thesis statement. It’s his reason behind all that he taught us last time. The reason mankind cannot achieve through works of the law an acceptable righteousness is because that was never God’s intended use of the Law.

Abraham saw clearly the purpose of the Law was not to obey it in hopes that through trying hard he could acquire righteousness, no he saw that the Law was who God is as it shows His character and perfection and that by turning to God in faith and repentance God’s righteousness would be given to the worshipper.

Romans 10:1–13 (ESV)

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

  1. Christ is the End of the Law to All Who Believe

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Here, Paul’s statement of the Law’s purpose sounds much like what Jesus said…

Matthew 5:17–20 (ESV)

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

God’s Law is the totality of His commands. For a person to be justified by the Law he must adhere perfectly to all God’s commands. Here’s the problem we face.

Beloved let’s say we are at a state park on a nature hike. We see a bench sitting there that has been freshly painted and there’s a sign that says keep off wet paint

Here’s the issue when we read the sign we are already sitting on the bench. Or let’s say there is a sign that says newly planted grass keep off. The problem when we read the sign we’re standing in the middle of the newly planted grass. It’s not that God gives us a command from His Law and then we can decide to obey it. As we read the command we are, as sinners, in the very process of breaking that command.

Matthew 22:36–40 (ESV)

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Since we woke up this morning, if we’re honest, we’ve broken both these commands. We’ve not loved God or our neighbors like we should.

 

Here’s the good news, Jesus has. He has loved God exactly the way He should and has loved His neighbor exactly like God’s Law requires. This is why both Jesus and Paul can say that Jesus doesn’t abolish the Law of God but in His person and life He perfectly fulfilled it. He is the end of the Law. He’s the perfect picture of what it looks like for someone to keep God’s Law.

  1. Jesus is Easily Accessible

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Option number one is that theoretically righteousness is attainable by keeping the Law of God perfectly. However, so far no one has achieved it that way.

Paul quotes Lev 18:5 which is a quote from Moses who tells us that in order to achieve this one must live by the Law of God. The issue or the downfall of God’s Law is actually not in the Law itself but our sin is the problem.

So we have option number one…Live by the Law perfectly.

There is a second option and Paul quotes the same verse in Galatians…

He makes an amazing contrast here. The contrast is living by the Law or living by faith…

Galatians 3:10–14 (ESV)

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Option number one is entirely unattainable by humans.

Option number two is attainable as God works within us and is entirely accessable by faith.

But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);

Beloved, we don’t have to travel to heaven to access Jesus. God sent Him to us in the incarnation to tabernacle with us.

We don’t have to travel to the grave down into the earth to access Jesus because God raised Him from the dead.

How do we access Jesus and His righteousness?

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Here he tells us that Christ is accessed not by storming the gates of heaven or hades but He is accessed by faith through the Word of the Gospel. When we believe with a sincere faith believe in your heart. When that faith is proven genuine by our confession of these truths then we are saved…we have accessed the Lord who has all the righteousness we need.

This is not some magic formula that many promote today by saying, pray this prayer with me and you’ll be saved. But rather it is a sincere belief backed by proper action.

  1. Jesus is Equally Accessible

11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Here in verse 11 the Apostle quotes from Isaiah 28:16

The context of Isaiah 28 is the rulers of Jerusalem believe they are safe because of their shrewd and cunning deception. They are politicians who believe their deception is the foundation of their security. They think their lies and promises will keep them secure. God replies to their false security of lies and deceit with a sure and eternal foundation of security.

Isaiah 28:14–16 (ESV)

14    Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers,

who rule this people in Jerusalem!

15    Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,

and with Sheol we have an agreement,

       when the overwhelming whip passes through

it will not come to us,

       for we have made lies our refuge,

and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;

16    therefore thus says the Lord God,

       “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,

a stone, a tested stone,

       a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:

‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’

So, unlike man’s security that is make believe, God delivers true and eternal security as He lays the cornerstone that will remain. The cornerstone is Jesus, Himself.

When the rulers of Jerusalem disregarded God and sought their own security things always failed. Much like politicians today who make promises and tell lies and fabricate modes of security for the people these ancient politicians were exactly the same. Mankind cannot deliver on promises of security.

Notice what God says,

16    therefore thus says the Lord God,

       “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,

a stone, a tested stone,

       a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:

‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’

So, when Paul quotes this verse he wants the church to realize that there is a sure foundation of security in the midst of this twisted and warped world and His name is Jesus Christ. All who go to Him for security will always find it.

He goes on to explain that in Christ, there is no favored people, no elite vs the peasants. All are viewed by God as equal in Christ. All who trust Christ for security find it and all are loved the same by God.

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.

Unlike politicians and governments that take from the people and really rarely ever deliver on promises, Jesus is nothing like that. He always keeps His promises and never lies to us for any reason. Rather than taking taxes He gives riches to us. Far from impoverishing us we receive untold riches of Christ’s grace freely given to us as His people, those who have trusted in Him and called on Him for salvation.

Ephesians 3:8–11 (ESV)

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,

Paul gives us a very important description of man’s response to the Gospel of God.

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord? It does not mean call out for someone named Jesus to save you.

In the Old Testament the phrase call on the name of the Lord had to do with accuracy in understanding God’s true character and person. In right worship we must understand that God is to be exulted for His majesty, power, and holiness.

The Psalmist prayed that God would pass judgment on all who do not call on His name…

Psalm 79:5–6 (ESV)

   How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?

Will your jealousy burn like fire?

   Pour out your anger on the nations

that do not know you,

       and on the kingdoms

that do not call upon your name!

So, not calling on the name of the Lord is equivalent not knowing Him.

Psalm 105:1–5 (ESV)

105 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;

make known his deeds among the peoples!

   Sing to him, sing praises to him;

tell of all his wondrous works!

   Glory in his holy name;

let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!

   Seek the Lord and his strength;

seek his presence continually!

   Remember the wondrous works that he has done,

his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,

Therefore to call upon the name of the Lord was not a desperate cry to just any deity—whoever, whatever, and wherever he or she might be—but a cry to the one true God, the Creator-Lord of all men and all things. As Paul has just stated, it is by the confession of “Jesus as Lord” and belief in one’s “heart that God raised Him from the dead” that any person “shall be saved” (Rom. 10:9).[1]

According to Paul, what are pieces necessary to salvation?

The historic Jesus, incarnate, crucified, risen, and reigning as Lord, and accessible. He is made known through the apostolic gospel, which Paul calls the Word of faith. True God accepting righteousness comes to the person when they realize their own complete sinfulness and unrighteousness and come to Jesus calling on His name, combining true faith of the heart with actions, believing and calling.

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Have you seen your unrighteousness? Have you seen Christ’s righteousness as the only answer to your sin dilemma? Come to Christ calling on Him to save you today.

For believers, we must continue to trust in His perfect righteousness. Repentance and faith are not just for lost people. The Gospel is a way of life for God’s people until the day when we are freed from sinning.

 

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans. Chicago: Moody Press.

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