September 15, 2012
Searching the Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures…They are they which testify of me.” John 5: 39
Author: Bob Moses
Commentary on Romans
Verse’s 1—3: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Could this not have been written to us today, in the Wall Street Journal? Paul wants his entire heritage to be saved, but unfortunately while they have a zeal for God, much as our churches today, but not according to knowledge. What does this mean? It means that while we wish to be Christ-like, we fail because we do not seek Him according to the Scripture. Even the Church is ignorant of God’s righteousness and gives themselves over to the temptation of establishing their own righteousness and have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God, because of their own self-righteousness. Several passages come to mind: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. 11 Tim. 3:15. Our continuous headline of our Searching the Scriptures: “Search the Scriptures…They are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39. And others, not to belabor the point. The fact is that we find our community churches doing things that do not subscribe to the teachings of the Bible. Examine your own church for example; are you participating in activities other than true worship? I do not wish to point a finger, nor rush to any judgment, but often, I have witnessed an hour long service spent more on entertainment and 20 minutes on the pastor’s message. Many focus on pagan holidays, and sponsoring sport programs, I have even seen some who have pool-tables and games to offer. While I understand they are trying to lure young people into the church, the fact is that God’s Word does not need any help. I am confident that His Word will stand on its own, if only we teach it. This is what Paul was saying to the Church at Rome. People have a zeal for righteousness, but are ignorant as to knowledge of God and the Scriptures. Therefore they go about establishing their own righteousness, as to what they think God would want them to do. All that is necessary is for them to follow the teaching of the Bible. Unfortunately they, nor we, seem to wish to study that hard, it is so much easier to conform to the pleasures of the flesh, and attempt to satisfy God on our own terms. So what we have before us in these first three verses is that Israel has a zeal for God, but is ignorant toward God’s demand, which is simply to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God.
Verses 4—11; “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses described the righteousness which is of the law. That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (That is to bring Christ down from above:) Or, who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man beleiveth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith.; Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.”
This may indeed seem somewhat confusing. Particularly in the style of Paul’s writings; as he was presenting his argument toward the people of his day, and the language is lost, upon our modern times. Nevertheless, to paraphrase Paul’s words, he is proclaiming that belief in our Lord Jesus Christ and the fact that God raised Him from the dead is our salvation. As we have repeated time and again, faith is the cornerstone of our salvation. Faith is the bedrock of our union with Christ. Paul sums it up in verse eleven. “For the scripture saith: Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” These last eight words are the substance of our salvation.
Let us return for just a moment unto verse 5: “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law. That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.” This narrative is most compelling. Please recall that in the trials of the delivered people of Israel, in the desert, they knew not how to serve God. Therefore they sought the Law. In other words, “Tell us what you want us to do, Oh mighty God, to satisfy thy demands for righteousness.” As a result God proclaimed and offered “The Law” as this was indeed, his requirement. But the Law was too difficult for the people to uphold. Man, of himself, could not fulfill the demands of a holy law. Why? Because of the fall of Adam back there in the Garden. Man is a fleshly creature. And flesh cannot satisfy a Spiritual and Holy God. Therefore Moses proclaimed that if a man can fulfill the requirements of the Law, then he shall live by them. Needless to say only one man came forth to indeed fulfill those requirements. Jesus Christ the Lord, and how was he enabled to do so? Because He was a part of the Godhead, the second of the Father, the one and only one who could fulfill this most heavenly office. Jesus was the one man who did those things required of the law and lived by them. His only mission was to fulfill the demands of the Father. And thus are we saved by our faith in Him. Verses 8—11: But what saith it? (The Scriptures) The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy hearts: that is the word of faith, which we preach. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt, believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with thy mouth, confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
Is this not indeed the message of Paul in this Book of Romans? He was addressing both Jew and Gentile, the chosen and the abandoned; not individually but rather collectively. They both fell under the microscopic analogy of future generations to determine truth from fiction, to ascertain “Rightly Dividing the Word”; from the folly of fallacy. Can we not see Satan’s Work in this endeavor? Paul’s message was “Christ” pure and simple. Believe or not believe, accept “Faith” or follow the “Law”. This is a personal choice, only you can make such a decision and therefore; was Paul’s message in this letter to Rome. Ch. 10: 12—15; “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: (Gentile) for the same Lord over all is right unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved: How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard” and how shalt they hear without a preacher” And how shalt they preach, except they be sent” as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace; and bring glad tiding of good things!”
Paul continues his theme that both Jew and Gentile can come to Christ for Salvation. He states; “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek (Gentile). Luke, in the Book of Acts, also reiterates this same message by Peter. Acts10: 34—36; “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; (Jew nor Gentile); But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all). Also, Ch. 15: 8 & 9; “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them (Gentiles) witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us (Jews). And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” Observe, once again the harmony of the Scriptures. Peter was the disciple to the Jew and Paul was the disciple to the Gentiles, yet they each also preached to both Jew and Gentile, and proclaimed the identical message. To repeat Rom. 10:13: “For whosoever, shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved”.
It is incumbent to quote Rom. 10; 14 & 15; “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tiding of good things?” I quoted this in order to bring forth another lesson found in Acts. I am going to skip through Chapters 10 and 11 of the Book of Acts, to reveal the five steps of Grace and how we are to teach and preach. Let’s start with Acts Chapter 10. Peter is speaking to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius and his theme is Salvation through faith. Vs. 42 & 43; Peter says: “And He (Jesus) commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believe in Him shall receive remission of sins.” Now watch what happens in vs. 44—48; “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision (Jews) which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they, with him, to tarry certain days. Let’s jump to Ch. 11: 19—21: “Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them; and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.” These aforementioned cities were made up of both Jew and Gentile. When they first got there Peter and his followers preached to the Jews only, but then their ministry expanded and Gentiles also turned to the Lord.
The lesson I wish to bring to light in these passages are mostly directed to the chosen teachers and preachers, but certainly also apply to all us sitting in the pew. We see here the five steps of Grace. Let us notice the order; Peter, a preacher from God was preaching a sermon to the Gentiles in Cornelius’s house. And while Peter was speaking, the Holy Ghost fell upon the congregation, both Jew and Gentile. Everyone believed because they began to speak in tongues and magnified God and then Peter commanded them to be baptized. We then went to Chapter 11 and read that the believers visited several cities and the Lord was with them and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord.
Step number one: We had a man preaching the Gospel. Number Two: The Holy Ghost was in the room. Number Three: Those present were quickened by the Holy Spirit, meaning that they were saved. Number Four: They were baptized with water. Number 5: The new Christians then went forth to witness. As they went to witness sharing with others what good things had happened to them, others were converted to Christianity. This formula, which we just gleaned from the Scriptures, is so simple, yet we and the Church of today stumble over it. This sums up, in the Book of Acts, the same message of what Paul is saying to us in verses 11 through 15 in Romans chapter 10.
Romans 10; 16—18; “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias (Isaiah) saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (Or our preaching). So then faith cometh, by hearing and hearing by the word of God. But I say; have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” Not all who hear the gospel will surrender to it. Paul announces the fact that they have indeed heard as the words of the saved have spread throughout the world, but not all have come to Jesus the Christ.
Verses 19—21; “But I say, did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy (Who? Israel, of course), by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation (Gentiles) I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them (Gentiles) that knew me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people (Israel).” We are here being reminded that even back to the time of Moses, Israel was being taught the will of God, but refused to accept and obey. Keep in mind that of the million or so people of Israel who fled Egypt only two of these original pioneers actually entered into the Promised Land, Joshua and Caleb. All the rest died in the wilderness mostly due to unbelief and lack of faith. Moses and a few others being the exception. Even Isaiah who prophesied during the time frame of 705 to 783 B.C., and has been heralded the Messianic Prophet, preached the message of repentance. His ministry again, for the most part, fell upon deaf ears. The Scriptures saith; “their eyes are blinded their heart hardened (John 12:40) and their ears stopped-up.” (Zech 7:11) Does this not make it clear that of the millions, nay billions, of people who have traversed this earth, only a few will actually make it to the portals of heaven? It is my heartfelt prayer, to see you there.
May God Bless you and yours!!
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