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. (Romans 10:1-4 ESV)
This passage is directly about the Jews in the day of the Apostle Paul. In the larger context of Scripture we will see warnings from Blessed St Paul. These warnings were in order to have those who believe in Jesus not to trust in self righteousness. Galatians 3:11. In this passage we see that one is justified by faith. This justification is the righteousness of Jesus himself. This glorious gift is ours by faith for the just shall live by faith.
What, if anything, does this teach us who may not know any Jews who are trying to subject us to the law? Unfortunately in the church today it is overrun by those who, with good intentions, tear Christ out of the heart. One way this is done is to tell believers the only way to know if saved if one’s life is improving each and everyday. This may work for a while since the person may have some bad habits to give up. What about after all the actual sins such as drunkenness are forsaken? What improvement is one to see then? What about the other holy living spoken of by St Paul? He also lists sins of the heart like coveting as idolatry. One can end up coveting without notice. Can one look at their life to really tell that one is a child of our heavenly Father?
This offends the believers by taking assurance of salvation from the heart. Rather than teach a person to trust the sure promises given us in scripture they are led astray.
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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:8-10 ESV)
Isn’t that a glorious promise to those troubled by sin. Better to give that to the terrified heart rather than to point it to itself for assurance. God’s promises are sure and everlasting our good behaviour and thoughts are not.
Trust this good news and live in the peace it gives you. In the name of Jesus Amen. †