Monday, 16 September 2013
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): Romans 10:8
Paul has been speaking of the righteousness of the law and how that is bestowed upon believers in Christ. To show that it is an easily accessible path, he has cited Moses from Deuteronomy 30. It isn’t far away in heaven, nor is it to be found in the great abyss. Rather, the words of Moses show us that “The word is near you.” It is something which is right here, right now, discernible, and readily accessible.
This is how Moses said it – “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.” Deuteronomy 30:14
To show how near it is, he says it is “in your mouth.” The sense of this is that just as we speak our language without difficulty, so are we aware of the message. If we sit at breakfast with an old friend and talk about the weather, we don’t pull out a dictionary and a thesaurus in order to engage in conversation. Instead, what we speak is as natural as breathing. In the same manner, the righteousness of faith is this clear and this natural.
And he continues by saying, it is “in your heart.” The heart from a biblical standpoint is often thought of as the seat of understanding rather than emotions as we speak of it in modern times. One of many examples would be Proverbs 2:1, 2 –
“My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;”
The sense of it is that the righteousness of faith is ingrained in the doctrine of Christ – His death, burial, and resurrection. If one has this knowledge, then they don’t need to ascend to the heavens to find it; He has already come down from there. And they don’t need to descend into the pit to find it; He has already risen from there. If one knows this, then they have the understanding in their heart. The mental knowledge should merely turn into the exercise of their faith. It is a step into God’s revealed light. And thus the final purpose, for which the law was given, is found in His work; He is the end of the law. This isn’t difficult to grasp, but is quite often ignored by those who continuously attempt to reinsert pet-favorite portions of the law into New Testament faith while ignoring countless other precepts found in the same law.
Paul then says, “that is…” He is not saying that what Moses spoke to the people at Horeb was the same message that was now available, but it has the same force and effect in the message. They had the law, it was spoken to them, lived by them, and available to them. They merely had to demonstrate faith in God’s provision through the law. When Christ came as the fulfillment of the law, it became the provision of God for the people.
This nearness and understanding concerning Christ is “the word of faith which we preach.” In essence, the message of the prophets and apostles concerning the work of Christ – His death, burial, and resurrection in fulfillment of the law – is the word of faith. This is what God asks us to believe and what restores us to Him, just as the law was God’s provision of the past.
The term “word of faith” is used only here and could have one of the following possible intents. The first is that it is speaking of the foundation and the object of our faith. In other words, Jesus (His person and His work) is the reason for and the object of our faith. The second possibility is that it is speaking of the force behind, and the movement of, our faith. Stated plainly, “I have heard the message about Jesus and my faith-based response is to accept that message as true, calling on Him as Lord.” The third is that both concepts are combined into one; it is an all-encompassing word of faith. No matter which, it is Jesus.
Unfortunately, in recent years the term “Word of Faith” has become synonymous with an aberrant form of doctrine. It teaches that by exercising faith, one can become wealthy, healthy, and prosperous. It is a distorted teaching of the gospel which certainly enriches the Word of Faith leaders, but which only waters down the message of Christ. Sound doctrine is abandoned in the pursuit of earthly gain. Be careful to not get caught up in this misdirected form of teaching.
Life application: Christ has come and His work is complete. The message is readily available to anyone who hears and believes. It is a message of faith, not works. Stand fast on the gospel message. What Jesus has done is fully sufficient to reconcile us to God the Father.
Glorious God! I have heard the good news! You sent Jesus to fulfill the law for me. Through Him, the demands have been met and peace with You has been restored. This is the word of faith which I accept. He is all-sufficient to reconcile us and bring me into Your family. I accept the premise, I receive the Gift. Yes, Jesus is Lord. Amen.