Reading Romans: The Litmus Test

by admin on August 24, 2015

Reflections for 23 August 2015
Romans 10

Where are we so far? Some take-homes from last week? Paul is passionate about this issue. God’s sovereign choice is at work. Hard of us to get handle on that. Sound bite: Life is lived on God’s terms. Nothing will separate us from the love of God. We all have a choice /decision to make about enrolling in that Qualitatively Different Life.

Today Enlightened zeal for God (v2). To set the stage we will briefly consider 9:30-33, as these serve as transitional verses. Remember: Paul is master rhetorician: using all the means possible for persuasion (Aristotle). He makes four moves here using 9:30ff as launch pad:

9:30-33⇒ Israel preferred its own way of uprightness to God’s way. Uprightness = That Qualitatively Different Life/Best Possible Life

10:1-4⇒ Paul expresses sorrow that Israel has failed to recognize Christ as the end of the Law through whom that uprightness has now been made attainable.

10:5-13>⇒ that old way of attain such uprightness was difficult, but this “new way” is easy, and within reach for all and proclaimed to all as Israel’s own Scripture shows.

10:14-21⇒ Israel has not taken advantage of this opportunity offered by their prophets and the gospel (news of/about Jesus Christ), so therefore, the responsibility lies with Israel.

WHAT?
10:1-4⇒ That uprightness comes from faith (trust) in Jesus Christ, who is the end of the Law.
V3⇒ God’s uprightness (his sovereignty to be wholly other and to be merciful) is the divine attribute made known in the gospel. Israel has failed to recognize this quality of God and has missed the real meaning of God’s acquitting power. Hence they refuse to submit to it. That is, if one does not understand the object to whom obedience in given, on never gets around to being obedient.

V4⇒ Christ as the end of the law. Telos can be taken temporally, i.e. end of period of Torah, termination of all human striving to achieve uprightness. OR——telos as end and goal of law, i.e. that at which it was aimed, for which it was intended. This is preferred because of relation of 10:4 to 9:30-33—–where pursuit of Gentiles implies a goal. Jesus Christ is the goal of the law (Mosaic) because through him humanity can reach what was the goal of that law: uprightness in Gods sight. The Best Possible Life, that Qualitatively Different Life. Discipleship try out the Jesus life and see what happens.

10:5-13⇒ New way of uprightness open to all, is easy and near at hand as the Scripture shows.

V5ff⇒ Loose quotation of Dt 30:11-14. This is Pauline Midrash. An interesting ploy. These words were originally referring to Mosaic Law; here Paul applies them to Christ the gospel.

Paul thus introduces his fundamental assertion about the Christian faith posture. We are talking about attitude and life style, not just words. Faith/trust begins with confession of lips (out loud) that Jesus Is Lord, contra Caesar as such. BUT this also demands a parallel recognition of the heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. Thus defying the natural order as we know it with the revelation that there is something more afoot. This is also the news that this physical life is worthy, pay attention to it; this is the real arena of God’s love and grace.

This is no mere public affirmation but a profound dedication of a person to God in the Lord Jesus Christ. We align our lives to Jesus life. This is the true Christian confession and no one gets saved.

10:14-21⇒ Israel had not responded to this preached word. She has not taken advantage of this new easy way to justification and salvation. (Big religious/ theological words and concepts trying to grasp the under lying reality of God’s ultimate purpose and sovereignty) This “easy way” is offered through the gospel and witnessed to by the prophetic tradition. Therefore, Israel herself is responsible for her own chokes in this matter. You can’t say; I didn’t know that.

Here Paul argues in a diatribe style—difficulties and road blocks are formulated to express an excuse for Israel’s situation. Upshot—God has done all that he could to bring Israel to faith. Think in terms of a parent trying to get the kid to wake up and smell the coffee.

Vv14-15⇒ The message of the gospel must come to human from the outside. ML: verbum externam. This is Paul’s condition of salvation. Salvation stems from calling on the Lord, which implies trust (faith). This faith implies knowing about the gospel, which has to be preached by someone; someone who is authorized or sent (an angellos is a messenger sent with news: think in terms of the first Marathon runner). This presupposes a mission from God.

SO WHAT?
Christ as the end of the Law. Does this mean passivity? As goal Christ is the fountainhead of a way of life dedicated to living out God’s presence. Think of how that would be practically lived out, minus all the political hashtags and other assorted twisting of the God life.

The primary Christina confession and way of salvation. What are the practical implications of confession of lips and belief in heart?

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