Romans – Wayne Barber/Part 49
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2007|
|Dr. Barber tells us about Jesus call to righteousness, and the ones to whom the call is issued.|
Righteousness is a Precious Provision, Part 3
Well, we move into verses 11-15. There is an elephant in chapter 10. There is one way to eat an elephant, one bite at a time. So we are just taking it one bite at a time.
We have already covered earlier the contrast of righteousness and the accessibility of righteousness. The third thing I want you to see about righteousness is the invitation to righteousness. This is, to me, one of the most precious parts of chapter 10. Let’s read verses 11-15 of chapter 10: “For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; for ‘Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!’”
Perhaps you don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. You may have adopted a standard and joined the church. You thought your baptism was going to get you into heaven. Now, through this study, it is suddenly dawning on you that whatever you have done will never qualify. It is not of works, lest any man should boast. You are beginning to realize that you have never bowed before the Lord Jesus Christ. I want you to know why we are preaching God’s invitation is open to you. You can never be good enough for God, but God came to do what man couldn’t do. And by putting your faith in Him, that is the only way of ever being reckoned as righteous in the Father’s eyes. That’s the invitation to righteousness.
There are several things about the invitation to righteousness. First of all, we want to see the perimeter of God’s righteousness. By perimeter I mean the boundaries. How far does it go? Is anybody excluded? Now listen, if you took righteousness and salvation, which is equated there, and you looked at Israel, Israel would tell you, “No, no, no. It is just for us.” Very narrow-mindedly they would single it out and say, “We are the only ones who would ever qualify for God’s righteousness for we were seeking after it.”
Well, the Apostle Paul pops that bubble. The word “whoever” appears in verses 11 and 13. That “whosoever” means whether it is a Jew or whether it is a Gentile. There are two basic groups of people here on this earth. Actually there are three. Corinthians tells us there are Jews, Gentiles and the church of Jesus Christ. A Jew is not a completed Jew because he receives Jesus. He is a brand new person, a brand new person in Christ Jesus. It is the same with the Gentiles. So there are basically three groups. It doesn’t matter what you are, if you put your faith in Jesus Christ, the invitation is open to you.
Paul quotes from the Old Testament to bring out this little word “whoever” or “whosoever.” You see, in their narrow thinking in the Old Testament it was “whosoever among them.” But that was not the concept. Paul is a converted Jew, and now he shows that whosoever, then and now, means Jew or Gentile. He first of all quotes from Isaiah in verse 11 of chapter 10. Verse 11 says, “For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’” Now this quote is out of Isaiah 28:16. Listen to how it is written in the Old Testament and see how Paul changes it just a little bit: “Therefore thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion [Jerusalem] a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation,…’”
I don’t know how in the world anybody can miss this because Jesus is the cornerstone. Without the cornerstone you have no measurements or anything else. You can’t build a building without a cornerstone. The cornerstone determines the rest of the building. He goes on to say, “…firmly placed. He who believes in it [this stone, this person Christ] will not be disturbed.” I thought it was interesting that little word “disturbed” means they will never hasten to run away from anything because he totally rests in confidence in the One in whom he has believed.
But let’s go back to Romans 10. He is quoting out of Isaiah in verse 11. The second quote in verse 13 when he uses “whoever” again he is quoting out of Joel 2:32. He says, “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered.” Now, “whoever” means whoever—Jew or Gentile. You know when that is found? It is in Joel 2:32. It goes on to say, “For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.” Do you know when this was written? This is talking about the days before the Great Tribulation, the terrible time that is coming to this earth. It is the 70th Week of Daniel. He is saying in those days whoever calls.
Now Israel would have thought, “Well, that is us.” But no, the word “whoever” means whoever, Jew or Gentile. He is saying in those days whoever will call upon the Lord will be saved. It is clear to me that in eternity past and eternity future, God has made it open and accessible to both Jew and Gentile. The invitation is to anyone who will call upon His name.
You may be saying, “Well, you don’t know what I have done.” Well, friend, you don’t know what I did before I was saved either. That is not the issue. It is not what you have done, it is what He did. And when you put your faith in Him, He can forgive you of whatever you have done and the invitation is open to you, to Jew, to Gentile. The perimeter extends to whoever will call upon Him.
The second thing I want you to see is the prerequisite that is involved in this invitation. You saw it in the verse. Let me go back to it in verses 11-13. There are three things that he mentions, actually one twice and then another one. First of all in verse 11 it says, “For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’” Verse 12 says, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him.” Then verse 13 continues, “for ‘Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
I want you to look at those three phrases there, “whoever believes in Him,” “who call upon Him” and “call upon the name.” Let’s see if they tell us something. First of all, the word “believe” is in the present tense. I want to show you something. Belief is more than just mentally comprehending. When God enables belief, it is not static. It is never static. It is something that starts and never ends. Oh, it may grow dull at times, but it will never leave you. Now this is where a lot of people mess up. “Have you ever believed in Jesus Christ?” “Yeah, about 20 years ago but I don’t believe in Him anymore.” No, no. You comprehended 20 years ago, but you did not scripturally believe because belief is never static. Belief starts and never stops. Now it doesn’t mean that you won’t have difficult times in your life to where it is difficult to believe, but you will always return. You will return. You will return. There is something in you, a supernatural ability that comes in you when you believe that never leaves you.
In Philippians 1:29, I think Paul brings it out very clearly. I stumbled into this one day teaching Philippians. I was looking at the sufferer for His sake, but I stumbled right over this. Verse 29
says, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” Do you know what the tense of that little infinitive, “not only to believe in Him,” is? It is present tense, not aorist, to believe at a certain time and say that it saved you. To believe, continue to believe, continue to believe, continue to believe.
I will give you another illustration. In the book of 1 John, there are two tenses that come out more than anything else in the whole epistle. One is the perfect tense. Do you know what the perfect tense means? It means that something happened back here, something critical happened back here. God enabling the faith that He gave to every man. Something happened back here. As a result, there is something going on up here. It is never a situation like something happened back there, and I sure hope something is going on now. No, no. Something happened back there that is continuing to effect you even up until now.
Then when he talks about those who believe, in 1 John, it is always in the present tense. Not just believe once (aorist), but believed, continues to believe, continues to believe. And again, that does not mean perfection. That does not mean having difficult times when belief is difficult. That is not what we are saying. The ability to believe is always there to put your confidence in, to surrender to, and to obey. And so, if you are going to receive this invitation, you receive it by belief. God has given every man a measure of faith and as you choose to bow before Him and then God enabling that, that belief will continue on. It is not just something that starts and stops.
Secondly in verses 12 and 13, the term “call upon,” is important because each verse says something just a little bit different. Verse 12 says, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him.” Who is he talking about? The Lord. When the Lord is mentioned in the New Testament, it is obviously referring to the Lord Jesus Christ. So if you call upon Him, that identifies who you believe in.
The second instance has to do with the power of that person. It says in verse 13 that we call upon the name of the Lord. Did you know that the word “name” means and refers to the character of someone? I found something out the other day that I am not really excited about it. My name means “wagon.” Wayne means wagon. Wagon, burden bearer. A lot of people have gotten into naming their children according to the character you want them to grow up and have. Well, when you call upon the name of the Lord, you are saying something a little bit different. Yes, it is Him. It has not changed. But you are calling upon Him because He is the one who can do what you are asking Him to do. Nobody else can. “Christ, you are the only One who can save me. Christ, I call upon you.” The power of that person, the character and the power, the ability that person has.
Now the tense of the phrase, “call upon,” in both verses 12 and 13 is in the aorist middle. Now that is important. Aorist means at a certain point in time. Salvation happens at one moment when you call upon Him, when you see your need, when you realize who He is and what He has done and you cry out to Him, call upon Him. But the middle voice is significant. Middle voice means first of all, you are calling upon Him for your own benefit. You are not calling upon Him for somebody else’s benefit.
I would love to call upon Him for others’ benefit. You do pray for them. I don’t mean that you don’t pray for others, but you cannot make the final decision. It is made before the foundation of the world. We have put all that together in chapter 9. Anyway, you pray for them, but they have got to call upon God for their own benefit. They have to understand how desperate they are and call upon Him, middle voice.
Middle voice also means they themselves, by their own choice, call upon Him. Boy, I have watched it over the years. You can go to a meeting and you can tell any story and if you tell it emotionally enough, everybody will come down and cry and make whatever decision you want them to make. But they are not calling upon Him because of the need that He has exposed in their life, that they are desperate lost sinners and they will never be saved unless Jesus does what He has said He will do. That is the key.
I did a meeting down in another state and 700 kids came forward, but it was so emotional. Hardly any scripture was used. We had to follow them up six months later and found out about 25 of them would even admit they were at the meeting, much less having made a decision. That is what I am talking about. This person has to come to the point in his life that he realizes there is no hope, there is nothing except the Lord Jesus. Jesus died for him, and he sees it. He understands his education and his intellect and all these other things won’t get him into heaven. Then he cries out in desperation, “Oh, God.” And God will do immediately what He says He will do. He cries out depending on the character of who God is and the ability that God has. But he cries out for himself and no one makes him. This is something he chooses to do.
Now when I say “no one makes him,” we know the Holy Spirit has played a real role in this,but no person makes him. It is something that God is generating and doing in that person’s life.
Well, the third thing I want you to look at is the promise of this invitation. When somebody responds to it, the promise God makes is he will not be disappointed. Verse 11 says, “For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’“ I like that word. It is the word kataischuno. It is the word that means he will never be put to shame, he will never be humiliated. God will do exactly what God says He will do. Now he is not saying that he won’t go through bad times and that people won’t humiliate him and people won’t shame him. That is not what He said. But the God whom he calls upon, the one he puts his confidence in, will never humiliate him, will never put him to shame. You can trust Him now and you can trust Him forever. He will never disappoint you.
Friend, that is good stuff. “Do you mean to tell me that if I put my faith into the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is everything that He says He is and He will never disappoint me?” That is exactly right. He will never disappoint you, never put you to shame, never humiliate you. You are His child when you put your faith into Him.
Secondly, God’s eternal supply is made available. Verse 12 reads, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him.” Abounding in riches. Whew! That word “abounding” means that you are supplied to the point that you have more than enough. You are over-supplied. Man, think of the riches.
Now remember, riches here never means material riches. You go into the book of Ephesians and it talks about the riches of God and how He will strengthen you according to the riches of His glory. It is spiritual riches. In Ephesians, referring to the bank of all His riches, it says, “He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus.” Jesus is the First National Bank of all the riches of God and those riches are made available to people who call upon Him, who do not trust their own works, who do not trust their own way, but only trust in Him. He says all of those riches are made available.