Israel and Many Lost for the Same Reason
by Pastor Thomas Bruscha
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. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Rom 10:1-4
God's requirement for right standing before him is our absolute perfection. Most people think, "I'm not too bad, I think I'll make it to heaven." Are you perfect? Absolutely perfect? Never failed once in your life? Have always done what God has said to do? Never once broken any of his laws? Well, if you're that perfect, then yes, you can make it. But don't think that you're pretty good and that's good enough. Pretty good isn't good enough. You'll be going to hell. Many people are ignorant of God's standard of absolute perfection. But how can this absolute perfection be achieved? The Israelites, as many people do today, went about to establish their own righteousness. That's not how to get absolute perfection. The righteousness that's required for you to get to get to heaven is found in Romans 10:14 "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." God wants you to realize that you're unrighteous because Jesus Christ died to pay for your sins and when you believe on him, God will give you his righteousness and then accept you because he'll place you in Jesus Christ and see you as having the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Do you know what the difference is between a saved person and a lost person? A saved person has believed what Jesus Christ has done for him and understands that salvation is a free gift. RO 5:15, 6:23. A person is lost for one or two reasons: 1) Either they've never heard the gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the full payment for their sin (and, therefore, they're lost), or, 2) they've heard it and not believed it. They say, "No, you can't just believe what Jesus Christ did. You can't just believe that he died on the cross, paid for my sins, and that's enough to save me. I've got to do something, too." And as soon as they say, "We've got to do something, too," do you know what they're doing? They're going about to establish their own righteousness. When a person tries to offer to God their own works, do you know what's going to happen to them? They're going to go to hell. There's only one person in this world who's ever pleased God the Father, who has ever lived rightously before his eyes. He said, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." Mt. 3:17. The beloved son who never disobeyed God the Father, went to the cross where God made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ. God places us in Christ and we're found righteous. God gives this to us on the basis of faith. "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone that believeth."
You see, every person who still goes about to establish their own righteousness is lost. When you ask a person, "If you were to die today do you know where you'll spend eternity?" If that person starts to answer the question by saying they've gone to church, or prayed, or have been water baptised, or take communion, or go to confession or begin by saying, "I did" and then start answering the question by sharing what they've done, look again at that verse and realize that this person is going about establishing their own righteousness and you need to pray for them that they might be saved from the penalty of their sins. But if a person answers, "Well, I could never do anything worthy of going to heaven, but Jesus Christ died on the cross and paid for my sins. I trust him to be my savior. God will save me from the penalty of my sins and give me eternal life and the righteousness of Jesus Christ" this person has pleased God and received righteousness on the basis of faith. See, God doesn't want your eyes on yourself, but on his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. If you've never understood this, you've never been saved. You're saved when you understand what Christ has accomplished for you by believing solely on the person and work of Jesus Christ for your salvation.
So, why is it when you come to the Bible, the book of Romans is addressed to Gentiles? And salvation is come to us? And it came to us, as we'll learn in Chapter 11, through the fall of the nation Israel. But why did they fall? Well, they stumbled over Christ. They didn't think they needed a savior, they were going to do it themselves.
We live in a country which is very much Gospel hardened. People don't want to hear about the gospel, "Oh, saved, yeah, I heard about being saved. Christ died for my sins. Yea, yea, yea." They're tired of hearing about it. Every once in a while you'll get someone who never really understood the gospel and will choose to believe. But on the most part everyone has had pretty much an opportunity to be saved and just haven't had ears willing to hear.
In Chapter 10, we realize that Israel is not saved and the praying Paul's heart desire is that they would be saved. The reason they are not saved is not because they didn't believe in God, they believed in God. It's not because they didn't work for God, they had a zeal for God. So these people believed in God and were working hard for God. And it's not that weren't rightous, they pursued the righteousness of the law.
But see, none of those things saved them. In fact, these very same things become a stumbling block to the nation of Israel because they didn't realize that the way to be found rightous in God's sight is through Jesus Christ. They needed to realize that no matter how hard they tried they could never live good enough. No matter how moral they've lived, they'd never live perfect enough for God to receive them. They needed to come to God as sinners and believe that Jesus Christ was and is the answer for their means of righteousness.
I learned from Chapter 10, verses 1-4, a very important lesson. That is, out of everybody who professes to be a Christian, everybody who professes to be saved, the only people who are really saved are those who are not trying to save themselves. Those who are not trying to offer God their zeal, or their works, or their righteousness. Because that's what kept Israel from being saved. Being ignorant of God's righteousness, verse 3, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to God's righteousness. To be found right in God's sight is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that alone. When you believe that Christ died for YOU, to pay for YOUR sins, and to cleanse YOU of ALL your sins then God imputes righteousness to your account. He puts the righteousness of Jesus Christ to your account and declares you saved from the penalty of your sins.
In fact, Romans Chapter 5:16,17 righteousness is called a gift because, once you receive the truth, God gives you the righteousness required for you to be saved and to be holy in his sight. And you must believe that. Whereas, while you are striving for your own righteousness, you're not submitting yourself to the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And so, when I begin talking to people who say they are Christians, and I ask them, "Are you saved?" they'll say, "Oh, yes" . Then I will ask, "How are you saved?" and they'll say, "Well, Christ died on the cross for my sins." I then continue, "What are you trusting in to get you to heaven? If you were to died today, and God were to ask, 'Why should I let you into heaven?' what would you say?" many of them will say, I go to confession, I pray regularly, I've been baptised, and on the list goes on. And I'm thinking, here's someone not submitting themselves to the righteousness of Christ.
Mankind has been trying to establish their own righteousness through all different kinds of means, dreaming up all kinds of ways, to the point where he thinks he is actually cleaning up his life enough to present himself before God, but the answer is only found in Jesus Christ, that's verse four. And until a person says that they're saved by no other means, other than through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and thereby receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ as a gift from God, through faith in Christ, they're not saved from the penalty of their sins yet. Are you depending only upon the work of Jesus Christ? "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness." It's not through the Ten commandments ~ being zealous of the law. It's not by your works. "Christ is the end of the law for everyone that believeth."
Transcribed and edited in portion from tape #26, ROMANS 11/26/00,12/3/00