Righteousness is Ours
by David Thompson
We have been speaking a lot about covenants and these 13 verses are ripe with the promises (or covenants) of God. This section starts out by stating that the heart of God was to see the Israelites saved. He points out that His chosen people have a lot of zeal, but that it is not backed up with a lot of knowledge. I've spoken to people with a lot of zeal for something, perhaps the home football team. They talked all kinds of "trash talk" about the opposing team, but as it turned out they didn't have a well informed knowledge about how good the opposition was. These people started out feeling superior only to realize by the second quarter how good the other team was and the trouble the home team was in for this game.
The same could be true about us and our Christian walk. If we don't round ourselves out by getting an input of biblical knowledge through reading or listening to our bible, by listening to good sermons and by being aligned with a community of believers to help us interpret what we hear or read, we could be in for trouble. So what happened to the Israelites and what might happen to us, "...they did not submit to God’s righteousness." The text says that they grabbed on to their own righteousness and not God's. This can be dangerous as we can fall into the trap that many before us have of following some leader that is not truly leading you in the ways of Christ.
So what is the true way? Again let's look at the passage. It states, “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
Do you have the assurance that you are truly saved. If so, great! If not, read on. The passage continues, "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." I struggle with the "heart" as it is an organ. It does not have a thinking portion. No, the above statement doesn't mean the organ in your chest. The statement means that in the very deepest part of our being we believe and because of that belief, we are justified and saved.
The passage finishes with an affirmation that all who believe and call on the Lord will be saved. This word "all" is inclusive and means the Jews and everyone else. The good, no the great news is that we, you and me, are among the people that are assured of being saved. Hallelujah...
Dear God, help us to believe in our hearts and profess with our mouths that Jesus is our Lord. Please put that solid assurance in each person's heart and mind. We love you Lord and want to be yours forever. Amen!