There is a right way to seek righteousness and a wrong way to seek righteousness. Unfortunately, the largest portion of Israel chose the wrong way. They misconstrued the purpose of the law and sought to justify themselves before God on the basis of works. In response, God hardened their hearts and made them fit for destruction. Yet, the calling of God is irrevocable, and according to His sovereign purpose, those who were chosen by Him did receive the gift of righteousness.
With the beginning of Romans 10, Paul is continuing to use the spiritual plight of his own people as the reference point for explaining that God’s sovereign purpose of redemption includes all the peoples of the world. As Paul again expresses his personal burden for Israel, he helps us to understand the proper heart toward the lost and the ignorant zeal of works righteousness, but his focus is verse 4 where he reminds us that true righteousness is a gift of God through Christ our Lord.
Christ speaks in a parable here in order to reveal more truth regarding the coming of His new covenant, and how that new covenant is far better than the covenant of works that came before. The new wine of the gospel can only be placed within the new covenant, it cannot simply be tacked onto the old covenant in one’s attempt to justify themselves by their works.
After the amazing pronouncement that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Paul continues in these next three verses to explain the foundation and the result of that truth. As we explore his words, we see that our justification is the necessary ground of our sanctification, and that the only sin we are capable of conquering is one that has been forgiven in Christ.
If we are truly in Christ, the idea that we can sin because we are not under law but under grace is utterly irrational, because to have Christ as one’s master means that you love what Christ loves and you hate what Christ hates. For the Christian, righteousness is now our great desire and goal. Thus, we will not see God’s grace as an invitation to sin because sin is the antithesis of what we now desire most. We desire to be holy. We desire Christ’s righteousness. And the result will be our growing sanctification.
In Romans 5:12-14, Paul establishes for us the parallel between the Adam and Christ: Adam is a type of Christ in that Adam communicated to those whom he represented what belonged to him, and that Christ also communicated to those whom He represented what belonged to Him. Here in verses 15-17, Paul delineates for us three ways that what we receive from Christ is far greater than what we receive from Adam. These truths serve to further ground us in our assurance of salvation.
Much of the middle of the book of Romans speaks to the assurance of salvation that is ours in Christ. This truth is overtly apparent in the middle of Romans five where Paul assures us that, on the basis of our justification and reconciliation in Christ, how much more certain are we able to be that we will be spared from God’s wrath and saved into Christ’s life at the final judgment. These truths are therefore cause for us to exult and rejoice in Christ our Lord. So Christian, where is your joy?
Abraham was Reckoned righteous by God on the basis of his faith — that is biblical justification. When we compare the example of Abraham to the full revelation of the New Testament, we see an inherent continuity in the promise of redemption. Intrinsic to that promise is the resurrection — “He was raised for our justification.” So justification is more than just a forensic transaction. It also involves a living relationship with God through our union with the risen Christ.
As Paul continues to reference the life of Abraham as the prime example of justification by faith, his teaching takes on a decidedly practical tone. What he says in this section of Scripture regarding the character of God and the believer’s faith has incredible implications for the believer’s walk, hope, and purpose.
What is the role of the law of God? Are Christians required to keep the 10 commandments? If Jesus fulfilled the law for our salvation, does that mean believers are free from having to keep it themselves? What are Christians supposed to do in order to honor God with their lives? This sermon deals with these questions and more.