Pastoral Commentary for Romans 10
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
The past couple days have been extremely frustrating for me. I am a cyclist. I love to watch bike races, and while there are some exciting times of strategic maneuvering, aggressive attacks or unexpected crashes during the race, most of the excitement is usually reserved for the end of the race, the last kilometer or so.
Consequently, on Tuesday when I watched the Tour of California I cannot express my degree of indignation when just a couple of kilometers (about 2 minutes worth of riding) from the end of the race Versus switched over to the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Arghhhh!) I didn't get to see whether the peloton was able to catch the breakaway of the three top riders, Dave Zabriskie, Michael Rogers and Levi Leipheimer, or who won the stage. Then last night I was watching the race on my DVR when the recording ended just one kilometer from the finish in Modesto. This time, I actually screamed in frustration at not being able to see if any of the other sprinters would be able to beat the fastest man in the world, Mark Cavendish.
Why is the end of the race most important? It's obvious. If you want to win, you must finish the course first. In Romans 10:4 Paul writes: "Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." When we hear those words we might be tempted to think that they mean Christ has done away with God's Law, declared it null and void, or thrown it out. Actually, what Paul means is much closer to the end of a race, than to something being removed.
The Greek word "telos" is the first word in Paul's sentence, showing us that the emphasis is on that word. Although it is translated "end" in the NIV, telos actually has a much deeper meaning. "Telos" means end or goal, and includes the idea of fulfiillment, completion, even perfection.
What Paul means to tell us then, is not that Christ has done away with the Law, but rather that he has completed or fulfilled it on our behalf. He did what we cannot do. He ran the perfect race, fulfilling every command of God without fault or defect. His fulfillment of the Law even included taking the punishment decreed by the Law (death) on our behalf.
As a result, we are no longer under the Law's condemnation. We can now look to God's Law for guidance and direction as to how to live righteous lives that will please God and honor Him. Since we have been declared righteous, through faith in Christ Jesus, we now have his power and strength to fulfill the Law in our own lives. But we don't have to worry about being perfect. Jesus already achieved perfection for us. He won the race in our place. When it came to "the end" he was perfect!
Pastoral Commentary for Romans 10
Author: Pastor Josh
From your perspective, what is the most powerful thing in the world? Is it an item? Is it a vision, or an idea? Is it a place, or a people group?
This question came to mind as I read today's chapter, also considering a story I came across recently. It is the story about a young man. In describing this person, someone said:
"I can truly say, and in saying I magnify the infinite grace of God as bestowed upon him, that I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker than was his when he came into my Sunday School class; and I think that the committee of the Mount Vernon Church seldom met an applicant for membership more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear and decided views of Gospel truth, still less to fill any extended sphere of public usefulness."
That quote is from D.L. Moody's Sunday School teacher, describing Moody as a young man in his late teen years.
Today, some consider D.L. Moody to be the greatest evangelist of the 19th Century. What brought such a transformation? What turned a person far from God, into a preacher of God's Word? The Answer: The Bible.
D.L. Moody, reflecting on life said these powerful statement when describing God's Word. He said, "I prayed for faith, and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, 'Now faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.' I had closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since."
Exponential growth in faith and growth as a person... the result of spending time in God's Word.
God says to us in today's reading: "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (vs. 17)
As you've taken time to read Romans Chapter 10, and are building a routine to consistently read the Bible, you are spending time with the most powerful thing known to mankind - something powerful enough to change a human life - God's very Word, given to us in the Bible. Way to go!
As you've done today... ask God to help you carve out time each day to spend time with Him in His Word. As you do, your life will never be the same, and will become richer and deeper than ever imagined.
Pastoral Commentary for Romans 10
Author: Pastor Zach
Today, I get to travel downtown for jury duty. Although I appreciate the opportunity to do my civic duty, I must confess that the tediously slow pace at which many of our government offices operate tries my patience. The stories of government offices operating at a snail's speed, of course, are legion. The sixteen weeks it takes fro the IRS to mail a tax return check. The oppressively long lines at the Post Office. And can a person talk about slow service without making reference to the horror stories that come out of the DMV, or DPS offices as the case may be, when getting a driver's license?
I asked a friend how long he thought my time at the courthouse would last. "Plan to be there all day," he replied. "But I'm supposed to report for duty at 8 am!" I protested. "How could it possibly take all day just to see if I'm selected to sit on a jury?" "Plan to be there all day," came my friend's reply once more. Slow service strikes again.
In our reading for today from Romans 10, Paul ends his remarks with a quotation from Isaiah 65:2: "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people" (verse 21). It seems as though even God himself is the victim of slow service from time to time. For God has been reaching out to his people with his grace, his love, his mercy, and his salvation all day long. And yet, his "disobedient and obstinate" and people refuse to trust and serve him.
Of course, the length of the "day" that God has been holding out his hand to his people is much greater than any time that could be spent at the IRS, Post Office, DPS, or County Courthouse combined. For God has been holding out his gracious hand ever since sin entered the world with Adam and Eve. That's one long "day." God calls to Adam, "Where are you" (Genesis 3:9)? But Adam refuses to come and find forgiveness for his sin in the hand of the Lord. Later, he holds out his hand to the children of Israel when he rescues them from slavery in Egypt "with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm" (Deuteronomy 5:15). But the children of Israel grumble against God and refuse to be guided by his strong arm. Even when God sends his Son Jesus Christ, the ultimate expression of his hand of grace, people do not receive him. Instead, they crucify him and drive nails through - what else? - his hands. Over and over and over again, people reject the very hand of God.
And yet, God continues to hold out his hand. In fact, I love the old King James Version translation of this passage: "All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people." God, it seems, has a long arm - a long arm that he has "stretched forth" across heaven to earth in the person and work of Jesus. The question is, are you going to keep God's long arm at arm's length or are you going to trust in his long arm for your salvation? If you refuse the long arm of God's salvation, you will still have to contend with God's long arm, but it will be the long arm of God's law and condemnation. So instead, trust in God's long arm of grace to take care of all your needs, your worries, your cares, and, most importantly, your sins. Because God is stretching forth his long arm for you.