Romans 10:5-13 (VOICE) 5 Moses made this clear long ago when he wrote about what it takes to have a right relationship with God based on the law: “The person devoted to the law’s commands will live by them.” 6 But a right relationship based on faith sounds like this: “Do not say to yourselves, ‘Who will go up into heaven?’” (that is, to bring down the Anointed One), 7 “or, ‘Who will go down into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring the Anointed One up from the dead). 8 But what does it actually say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the good news we have been called to preach to you). 9 So if you believe deep in your heart that God raised Jesus from the pit of death and if you voice your allegiance by confessing the truth that “Jesus is Lord,” then you will be saved! 10 Belief begins in the heart and leads to a life that’s right with God; confession departs from our lips and brings eternal salvation. 11 Because what Isaiah said was true: “The one who trusts in Him will not be disgraced.” 12 Remember that the Lord draws no distinction between Jew and non-Jew—He is Lord over all things, and He pours out His treasures on all who invoke His name 13 because as Scripture says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
If you are looking for an example of clear and concise writing in scripture, I don’t know that you would want to put forward the above passage from Romans, written by the Apostle Paul. What it may lack in clarity, it makes up for in importance.
Part of why this passage can be a little confusing is that Paul is trying to help his readers and all of us understand the differences between life under ‘the law’ and life under the grace we have available to us in and through Jesus Christ.
To have a right relationship with God, or in theological terms to be righteous or justified, under the terms set up in the law is pretty simple: follow all of the commandments in the law. Simple, but also impossible. No one in Paul’s day, no one in our time, and no one in between has been able to live up to this standard.
In contrast to the impossible standard of the law, through Christ righteousness and justification doesn’t involve our action, but instead rests on the Jesus Christ himself and his perfection. Our role in becoming justified and righteous is simply to accept it. That is what Paul is telling us when he quotes the prophet Isaiah ‘the one who trusts in him will not be disgraced’, our part of our salvation is simply to trust in Jesus to provide it for us.
Our futures do no rest on our abilities or even our faithfulness to God, but rather in God’s faithfulness to us, demonstrated to us – and to the whole world – in and through Jesus Christ. We have been given this amazing gift, our part of this process is simply to accept the good gift and then to live in response to it.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Thank you for the gift of life we have in you. Help us to live in response to that gift. Amen.