Rom 10:1-4 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 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. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
In the previous chapter, Paul spoke about a remnant of the Jews that would walk in the righteousness of faith. They had stumbled at the truth that Jesus Christ was God’s anointed for the remission of sins, both of the Jew and of the Gentile. In reading the Acts of the Apostles, it is clearly seen that Paul was grievously persecuted by his Jewish brethren. Paul clearly shows here that, rather than rejoice in the plight of Israel, he held a great desire to see them prosper in the things of God.
In this, there is a great lesson in how we should feel about our brothers and sisters who may not understand the true sovereignty of God. We should ever have a great desire in our hearts for the Lord to show to them His power and might. At no point are we given leave to rail against them. Our prayers for those who seek the law of righteousness and lack the faith of righteousness should never cease.
Paul expresses this great desire for his brethren that they “might be saved (rescued – see Strong’s).” He was not concerned about their eternal destiny here. He stood as witness to the fact that they had a zeal of God. Being alive naturally does not give us a zeal of God. Only after God has taken up His abode in our hearts can we be said to have a zeal of God.
Since it was obvious to Paul that they possessed a zeal of God, his desire was to see them rescued from their ignorant self-righteousness. When we consider the word saved in the light of being rescued, it should be obvious that Paul was looking at his brethren as being alive in God. Every rescue effort is centered around those who are alive and in need of deliverance from some calamity. In this instance, the calamity was that Paul’s brethren had a zeal of God, but they did not understand how to walk in that zeal.
The reason that they did not understand how to walk in that zeal was not because they were ignorant of the zeal or did not know that there was a true and living God. Rather, they were ignorant of God’s righteousness. The proof lay in the fact that they were still trying to come into fellowship by the law. Rather than yield to the righteousness of God, they were still trying to prove their worth by their own actions.
There is a lesson here for us, whether we are (nationally speaking) a Jew or a Gentile. As long as we are trying to establish our own righteousness through the keeping of commandments, we don’t know how to properly manifest our zeal. Until we see that Christ is the ONLY answer, our zeal of God is not going to produce true righteousness. Christ alone is the end of the law for righteousness.
This is true whether we believe it or not. However, until we believe it (entrust our spiritual well-being to Christ) we stand in need of being rescued. This is not a question of where we will spend eternity (since we already have a zeal of God). Rather it is a matter of whether we will live here in the joy and peace that is only found in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
May we always seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first!