Bible Study Highlights

Wednesdays
12 – 1 PM
6:30 – 7:30 PM

Bible Study Highlights for March 6, 2019—Roman 10
Dr. James O. Harris, Pastor

Background Information
As we begin the study of chapter ten, let us keep in mind that chapters 9- 11 are one long parenthesis, and that they have to do with Israel’s past (chapter 9), present (chapter 10), and future (chapter 11). Also keep in mind that chapters 1-8 are Doctrinal, chapters 9-11 are Dispensational and chapters 12-16 deal with our Duty as believers. Chapters 1-8 show us how God has provided His gift of salvation. Chapters 9-11 show how Israel, as a nation, has rejected God’s gift of salvation. Chapters 12-16 show those who accept God’s salvation how to live it out in our daily lives.

In chapter 9 we saw that, because of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, God temporally set her aside for a time, as a nation. During that time, known as the Church Age He is offering salvation to the Gentiles. Although God has set Israel aside, Individual Jews are being saved during the Church age. In chapter 11 we will learn that when Christ comes again, He will once again deal with Israel as a nation. “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles become in” (Romans 11:25). When the Church is raptured out of this world God will gather Israel into their homeland and deal with them as a nation once again. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, “There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Romans 11:26).

The Nearness of Salvation- Romans 10:1-13
Introduction
Chapter nine of Romans teaches the sovereignty of God’s choices, and chapter ten tackles the other side of the coin-our responsibility. God’s sovereignty often leads people to think they are not accountable for their actions. However, without retreating from divine election in chapter nine, Paul now lays out our responsibility concerning salvation. He makes it clear we are lost only if we reject Christ as Savior. Our finite minds can never fully resolve the paradox of God’s sovereign election and our responsibility because as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s ways and thoughts higher than ours (Isa. 55:9).
In this chapter (10) of Romans Paul gives the clearest, most detailed presentation found anywhere in the Bible of how we are saved. In this lesson, we will learn two aspects of the nearness of salvation, beginning with…

The Difficulty in Accepting Salvation Romans 10: 1-5
It is not only our responsibility to receive God’s salvation but also to share it. That’s why Paul writes: Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved     (10: 1). God’s plan of salvation requires that we pray for those who are lost and share the Gospel with all who will listen because God wants everyone to be saved and come to know the truth (I Tim. 2:4). The most important prayer we can pray for anyone is that they might be saved. Jesus’ rhetorical question in Matthew 16:26a expresses this fact, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
No matter what degree of health, wealth, or other things a person may acquire, it all means nothing if they fail to accept Christ as Savior. Paul knew prayer is the first step in winning lost people. However, we must also know the two barriers that make it most difficult for the lost to accept salvation.

  1. Religion. Paul knew his cherished people, the Jews, would be very difficult to win because he writes: “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God” (10:2a).

The Jews were not atheists; they were very sincere and zealous about their religion. Some people think no matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere, you will go to heaven. However, God warns us in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

The problem was their religion was not according to knowledge, or truth (Romans 10:2b). You can sincerely believe but no matter how sincerely you believe it, you are still wrong. Sincere religion is the most dangerous thing in the world because it keeps people from seeing themselves as sinners in need of a Savior. That’s why Jesus made the statement to the Jewish religious leaders in Matthew 21:31c: “Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”

Publicans and harlots were representative of the most despised sinners. Jesus was not glorifying sin and immorality; He was simply teaching that people who know they are sinners are quicker to repent and enter heaven than pious people who trust in their religion. The first barrier to salvation is religion.

  1. Right living. Referring to the Jews, Paul writes: 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 (10:3). The Jews tried to establish a righteousness of their own by living right. Likewise, many people today think if they go to church, work hard, give money to good causes, etc., they can earn entrance into heaven. The Bible tell us concerning salvation in Ephesians 2:9: “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Paul continues by saying,” For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (10:4). Jesus did not end the Law in the sense of casting it aside or making it of no value. He fulfilled the purpose of the Law (Mt 5:17).

The Law reveals we are all sinners in need of a Savior so we will come to Christ (Gal. 3:24). Paul quotes Leviticus 18:5 to prove to his readers they had misunderstood the Law: “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them” (10:5). In other words, the Law demands absolute perfection, which no
one can achieve, because breaking just one law makes a person guilty of breaking it all (Jas. 2:10). Galatians 3:10b describes the fatal flaw of the Law, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Without Christ, the Law will never reach its intended destination. However, on the cross Jesus indicated the destination was reached. According to John 19:30, as Jesus was dying on the Cross: He cried out, “It is finished.” He finished the atonement for our sins, fulfilling the Law.

The two greatest barriers to salvation are religion and right living. Understanding the nearness of salvation requires us to know the difficulty in accepting salvation and the availability of salvation.

The Bible Study Lesson will continue with the second barrier–The Availability of Salvation Romans 10:6-13, March 20, 2019

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Bible Study-Highlights
February 13, 2019- February 27, 2019
Pastor James O. Harris

Understanding Salvation-Romans 9:1-33
Paul’s Concern for Israel (1-5)
Paul reveals his deepest emotions and concern for his fellow Israelites. He says that if it would do any good, he would gladly be, accursed, cut off from Christ in order to save his brethren who had been the recipients of so many magnificent blessings (blessing included the adoption by God as His chosen people, the covenants, the Law, the promises as well as the patriarchs and Christ Himself). Even though his own people had persecuted him, beat him, stoned him, and spread lies about him, Paul still loved them. Why? According to Jesus, Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13).

Paul reveals three things required for understanding salvation,

  1. It Is Not Based on Ancestry or Actions (6-13)

Although they had rejected Christ, Paul states that God’s promises had not failed.  He reminds them that just being a physical Jew doesn’t make someone a child of God; nor because they are seeds of Abraham. Rather, it depends upon what God has chosen according to His Divine purpose. This is illustrated by contrasting what the scriptures reveal about Isaac and Ishmael, and then about Jacob and Esau in Genesis 21:12, (Malachi 1:2-3, I John 4:8). The Jews rejected Christ because they were trusting in race and works. Salvation is not based on who we are or what we do…

  1. It Is Based on God’s Mercy (14-24)

Paul asked the question, “Is there unrighteousness with God? His answer ‘no’”. God’s choosing Jacob over Esau and Isaac over Ishmael was of divine choice. Paul quotes what God said to Moses, it is His right to give mercy to whomever He pleases (Exodus 33:19). God also makes a comparison of the potter which is Him and we as the clay-the potter shapes the clay any way he wants, so God has the right to shape our lives. The lesson further states that to understand God’s sovereign choices, we would have to be as intelligent as God, which would be as absurd as thinking a piece of pottery is as intelligent as the potter who made it. When it comes to God’s sovereign, remember the facts in Isaiah 55.9. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (KJV) God knows in advance what we will do, but it is still our choice. God does not pre-program us; that’s why we are responsible for our own actions. We sin because of our own desires (James 1:14). Salvation is not based on ancestry or actions; it is based on God’s mercy and…

  1. It Is Based on Our Acceptance (25-33)

Paul quotes two prophets, Hosea and Isaiah, who foretold that His mercy consists of the Gentiles, and a remnant of Israel. I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved (Hosea 2:23). In other words, God reaches out to bring Gentiles into His family and be called the children of the living God. Next, Paul quotes Isaiah: Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved (Isaiah 10:22). God’s promises were never a guarantee that all Israel would be saved, for only a remnant survived the Assyrian invasion to which Isaiah was referring.

In conclusion, God’s words of promise were not just to the fleshly descendants of Abraham, but to the faithful remnant of Israel and to the Gentiles who accepted the righteousness which is by faith. The only reason any of the Israelites were rejected by God was because of their rejection of the Messiah. So to understand salvation, we must realize it is not based on ancestry or actions, but it is based on God’s mercy and our acceptance.

References:

Holy Bible

Next Week-Romans 10