Romans (21): The End of Torah (ch. 10)

Date: 11/16/2008
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Romans 10: An Exposition (21) - The End of Torah
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * November 16, 2008

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of my fellow Israelites is for their salvation. 10:2 For I can testify that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not according to truth. 10:3 For without the truth of God’s covenant faithfulness, and seeking instead to establish their own covenant status, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 10:4 For Christ is the final goal of Torah, with the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believes. 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is out of Torah: “The one who does these things will live by them” (Lev. 18:5). 10:6 And the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart (Deut. 9:4), ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 10:7 or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Deut. 30:12) (that is, the word of faith that we announce), 10:9 because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10:10 For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Is. 28:16). 10:12 For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. 10:13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. . . .10:18 But I ask, have they not heard? Yes, they have: Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world (Ps. 19:4). 10:19 But again I ask, didn’t Israel understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous by those who are not a nation; with a senseless nation I will provoke you to anger” (Deut. 32:21). 10:20 And Isaiah is even bold enough to say, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I became well known to those who did not ask for me” (Is. 65:1). 10:21 But about Israel he says, “All day long I held out my hands to this disobedient and stubborn people!” (Is. 65:2) (Romans 10:1-21)

The End of _____________________________ - Paul begins chapter 10 where he started chapter 9, expressing grief that Israel pursued salvation as a matter of their Judaistic identity (“works of Torah”), not as a matter of dependent-faith in the grace and mercy of God. Israel’s rejection of Jesus is the natural consequence of pursuing the Torah in the wrong fashion. They sought to establish their own righteousness rather than receive it in Christ. Those who have pride in their self-identity or self-achievement will be rejected. God opposes the proud...
The End of ______________________________ - Now Paul shows the entire story of Israel pointed to Christ (10:4). Jesus was the “telos” of Torah, the “final goal” or end point. He fulfills the old covenant system which was only “until a time of reformation” (Heb. 9, Gal. 4:4-5). The Law/Torah was never an end in itself, but to envision the righteousness and glory of God’s image. By the right use of its conviction of sin, humility and dependence it would transform Israel into a new humanity and motivate a mission of redemption to the rest of the world. But Israel failed to be fit vessels of this righteous purpose. Then there was exile. Jesus took on Israel’s darker mission and purpose, to be a sacrifice for sin. This was finally seen in the cross (Rom. 3:25). Those who read the Law without seeing this are missing the Torah’s meaning and purpose.
The End of _____________ - The Covenant Prophets predicted Israel’s rejection after exile. In terms of Deut. 30, the promised word of restoration was near them (10:9-10). Doing Torah after exile meant hoping in Christ. The Gentiles must be brought in according to the Prophets. “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Is. 28:16), whether Jew or Greek. Hence, no status of ethnic identity or “works” finally matter. Only faith matters. We must all rest in the mercy of God or we shall not rest at all.
Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more