No Matter How Good The Plan Some Will Reject It
by Dr. Henderson Ward
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Most people do not like handouts; they feel like there is a catch somewhere. You give me something for nothing and I begin to feel mighty suspicious. The Jews in Paul’s day were just like that. They were highly religious and would not accept the concept of salvation by faith for they were addicted to pursuing salvation through the works of the law.
The Apostle Paul loved these people, for they were his very own, and he longed for their salvation in Christ. Here in this contemplation based on Romans 10:1-21, he is outlining to them, as he has done elsewhere, God’s redemption plan for the Jew and the entire world based not on conformity to The Law but on the work and person of Jesus Christ.
In the entire Bible it is pellucid clear that salvation is the work of God alone and, despite the Calvinism / Arminianism divide, man can do nothing to contribute to his own salvation, hence “All our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64: 6b). No matter how good you are, or the amount of good work you do, you can never earn salvation. Salvation comes by accepting Jesus Christ by faith as provided for in God’s redemption plan.
As we proceed with this meditation we will do so by examining some truths under the following headings:
FIRST WE NOTE THE PRINCIPAL REVEALED
We see Israel's pitiful condition
You can feel Paul’s deep concern and pity for the Jews as he describes their condition and desires their salvation, “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” (Romans 10:1)
He recognized their sinful condition even though they were religious and the covenant people with all the concomitant privileges and blessings.
Pity, sympathy and compassion for the lost are attributes of the believer.
Just like Paul each of us should have compassion for the lost!
We notice Israel's pious confusion
Israel wanted to worship God but they chose to do so by their own works and totally failed to please God, “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.” (Romans 10:3)
Man’s corrupt nature defined by Adamic characteristics cannot, apart from God’s transforming grace, produce anything good enough to please God.
A timely and powerful reminder to the Moralist of the futility of self-righteous living.
Some people think they can bypass Christ and get to heaven but in this they are mistaken, just like the Gnostics, for you cannot nullify the work and person of Jesus Christ and get anywhere with God. Never!
We glimpse the apostle’s powerful conclusion
The Apostle Paul shows that it is Jesus Christ who has fulfilled the just demands of the law and by so doing makes those who accept him free from the Law, and declared righteous in God, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10:4)
Paul is concluding that the Law is now fulfilled in Christ and God’s requirement for salvation and righteousness is now based on the person and work of Jesus alone.
Salvation is no longer a question of rules and regulations, does and don’ts but faith and trust in the person of Jesus Christ.
Living a proper life and doing a multitude of good works (Remember that faith without works is dead, James 2:17) is evidence OF salvation and not work FOR achieving salvation.
NEXT WE OBSERVE THE PLAN REGARDED
We recognize the procedure of the plan
Paul in Romans 10: 5-7 showed the Jews clearly that salvation is not found in keeping the statues or the various signs from heaven and earth but in accepting Jesus Christ and concluded, “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 shalt be saved,” (Romans 10:9)
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” means making a public avowal of the truthfulness, allegiance to and acceptance of the person of Jesus Christ.
“…shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead…” means that to be saved we must with our entire being (the heart being the foundation and core of ourselves) and without reservation place our faith and trust in the complete work of Christ.
The implications of this is mighty clear and it follows that:
We must accept his virgin birth
We must accept his sinless life
We must accept his earthly ministry
We must accept his death and resurrection
We must accept his role in heaven and all his promises
There must be no co-mingling for salvation for it must be Jesus and nothing else! Sorry Roman Catholics but you cannot append local beliefs and customs on to Christology and think that is okay with God and no one can add things like voodoo on to Christianity and please God.
We identify the promises of the plan
The plan of salvation takes believers from one state of being to another and so contains glorious promises as part and parcel of its provisions in Jesus Christ.
We have the promise that we will never be ashamed or disappointed, this is our firm assurance, “…Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:11b)
We will find full acceptance without partiality in God regardless of our present status, “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” (Romans 10:12)
We will never be punished for our sins for the atoning work of Jesus comes to our rescue, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
No one, but no one will be turned away!!
We know the provision of the plan
Paul explained to the Jews in Romans 10:14-15 that the whole exercise is the work of God communicated by a process of believing, hearing, preaching and accepting the message, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
Many may help a sinner to find his way to Christ, whether it's a friend, a parent, a preacher, a teacher or a total stranger but in the end it is Christ and Christ alone who saves him.
FINALLY WE NOTE THE PROPOSALS REJECTED
Israel's rejection is plain
Notwithstanding all the privileges and opportunities, the work and ministries of Apostles and Prophets, the spectacular signs and wonders and the most awesome miracles ever seen, the Jews clearly rejected the plan, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel.” (Romans 10:16a).
Even before Jesus was born Israel's rejection was clear, "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." (Proverbs 1:24-26)
This demonstrates quite clearly, yet again, that we should realize that opportunities, however abundant, will be of no consequence if we fail to make use of them.
The rejection is perplexing
The Apostle Paul in Romans 10:18-20, along with the other apostles and evangelists throughout the New Testament, was able to show the Jews the authenticity and chronology of The Messiah and they meticulously observed for themselves Jesus’ earthly ministry; so it is perplexing that they rejected him.
We regard this time, when the Jews are in rebellion against God as the “Time of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:25) and we should make the most of it.
Everyone not a Jew should be giving serious thought to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which they have heard over and over again, for the window of opportunity will someday be finally closed.
The rejection is proceeding
Israel was given God’s plan of redemption but they have chosen to reject it and go their own way, as Paul quoting Isaiah shows, “But to Israel he saith, All day long, I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” (Romans 11:21)
Jesus himself, in acknowledgement of this fact, said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” (Matthew 23:37)
Even today, at this very moment, Israel's rejection of Jesus Christ is still proceeding and the Bible reminds us, “The way of the transgressor is hard” (Proverbs 13: 15b.)
God’s plan of redemption is magnificent, flawless in its design and impeccable in its execution and efficacy and yet there are many who will have nothing to do with it. Why are we so stubborn, so determined to do our own thing when we have such an excellent alternative? God wants no one to mindlessly take him on trust for he says, "...and prove me" (Malachi 3: 10) to the tight-fisted Israelites and he is likewise eager for everyone to try his plan of redemption and establish that it works.
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