March 31 (Reading for March 28-April 3: Romans 10, NIV). Romans 9-11 deals with Israel: what God planned for them; how they failed Him as His people; and what will happen to them in the future. In order to help the Hebrew people find faith in Christ, Paul quoted the Old Testament more than 30 times in these chapters. Paul began chapter 9 by expressing his heartfelt sorrow that Israel had rejected Christ as their Messiah. He began chapter 10 in a similar manner: “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (v. 1).
We often speak of the “Roman Road to Salvation.” The journey on this “road” begins with the reality of salvation that God offers to every person. Paul wrote that the gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (1:16).
But there is a huge “bump in the road.” People in their natural state are separated from God’s salvation by sin: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23). The consequence of sin is death: “For the wages of sin is death” (6:23a). God wants to give us eternal life, but as sinners, we know only death.
Don’t stop there; continue on the “road” and discover the solution that God has provided for the problem of sin. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8). Paul clearly stated this solution: “(We) are justified freely by (God’s) grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (3:24). “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23b).
But as we continue our journey, we find that this solution is not automatically applied to our problem of sin. Paul wrote in this week’s reading: “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (10:9-10). We must believe, and then act upon our belief. What we confess with our mouth comes from the heart of faith. To call Jesus “Lord” is to give him total control over our life. Paul declared: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (10:13).
Paul explained the joyful result of traveling on this road of salvation. We have peace: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:1). A lso, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (8:1).
Paul concluded chapter 10 by showing how that all of us who have traveled this road and who know Jesus as Savior should now help other travelers who are burdened by their load of sin. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (10:14-15). What a joy and privilege it is that we can share this good news with those we meet on the road of life!
– Al Gary