Scripture: (Paul speaking) “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. (Clue!) For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, AND seeking to establish their own (like Adam), they did not submit to God’s righteousness…
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Ro 10:1-4)
Observation: Right after Paul talking about Election and God’s Sovereignty over creation (like who is a vessel of mercy and of wrath), Paul pours his heart about Israel. He probably had some certain former colleagues in mind…
Analysis: What is the difference between the emotion of “being in Christ” and the knowledge of “being in Christ?” I think it is how I deal with the word “believe.”
Two synonyms in my handy dandy Microsoft thesaurus are “Trust” and “Being certain or confident of.” Another word that is frequently associated with “believe” is “faith.”
Most every Christian would recall Heb 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen.” So, are “faith” and “believe” the same? What has been the two distinctions in my life? It has been that I have fiercely defended my faith, many times without knowing the facts about my faith—in other words, having “faith” without knowledge or blind, factless conviction. The second distinction is concluding that I need to know about the Faith in order that my faith is on solid foundations.
Paul relates that his former colleagues demonstrated zealousness for God. (I have known guys like that.) But, Paul continues, that their zeal doesn’t have knowledge behind it; and the insinuation is that their zeal is somehow misplaced AND, more importantly, misses the mark of salvation. Their zeal, missing that mark, is attempting to affirm righteousness before God with only zeal as the basis.
Is “faith”, without desiring or having a drive to know more, saving faith? I have misgivings. Certainly zeal alone isn’t enough.
One of the synonyms of study is “studious”, or the verb phrase “being studious.” The idea is persistently pursuing God by the main instrument of Grace available: The Bible.
I dreamed last night about speaking to a crowd. I began by saying “If there is one thing that I can communicate today is that the Word of God is GREAT! It is STUPENDOUS! I am excited now as I was when I was 15 years old reading my copy of the Living Bible as I am 50 years later.”
I want my zeal to ever grow through my years left on this earth. Not to establish my own righteousness or to be content where I am in Christ, but to realize, layer of knowledge upon layer of knowledge, that Christ is my righteousness.
What did I learn: Precept upon precept, line upon line; that is how I grow in Christ. A neat study trick is to read the scriptures out loud but like they are my words written instead of Paul’s. Read with appropriate inflection…out loud.
Prayer: Lord, I am thinking about lyrics: “I want to know you more. I want to touch you, I want to see your face, I want to know you more and more…” I am so appreciative for this forum, for what you cause me to think and write. I pray, Lord, that as it helps me drive towards you, it helps others as well.
I pray for my wife that she become more well…AMEN.