Romans 10:5


Friday, 13 September 2013

For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” Romans 10:5

Paul now describes the righteousness which is of the law. In doing so, he won’t make up any new concept of it in order to make a claim against it. Instead, he will go to the law itself. Before looking at that, it would be good to understand the progression of what he is saying. This will establish why he is citing this. Notice the term “for” in the following verses and see how he builds upon each new thought –

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them.'” Romans 10:1-5

“For” in verse 5, is explaining verse 3 (and which is built upon in verse 4). And so he says, “For Moses writes…” The law was received by Moses and within that law is a note concerning the necessity to follow the very same law in order to obtain “the righteousness which is of the law.” And what is that note? It is Leviticus 18:5 –

“You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.”

Or, as Paul paraphrases, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

God promised life to any who could keep the law. In fact, it was a guarantee of right-standing and a ticket to the fullness of His blessing if it could be done. But the fact is that no-one was, or even today is, capable of such a thing. More so, no one is capable of obeying even the first commandment perfectly. And with Jesus’ words showing that intent is the same as execution (see Matthew 5:27, 28 for an example), we have utterly failed in any hopes of keeping any portion of the law.

The law shows that in order to be right with God, one must live in a right manner before God. And then the law turns around and shows that no one can live in a right manner before God. Because of this, blood sacrifices were needed as a form of grace to protect against the penalties of the very law they were described in. Something more was needed to be right before God, something apart from the law. This righteousness involves a Person, not a deed. This is what the law actually anticipated and it is found in Jesus.

Life application: God is looking for faith that He is fully capable of saving us apart from our efforts. If we add in our efforts feeling they are necessary for our salvation, we are lacking faith in His provision. Have faith; stand on Christ alone.

Lord God, today I am facing battles. Some are known only to You, but I know that You know them. Please help me to face these challenges according to Your will. Please don’t allow these trials to take my eyes off of You, but instead may they be used to bring us even closer together. I need Your hand of guidance and reassurance Lord, and I know that You will provide it. Amen.

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