Paul’s Prayer for the Jews

Text: Romans 10:1-4

Paul was a Jew. Yet before his conversion, he was chosen to take the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15). However, that did not mean he had no interest in his Jewish brethren. In our text, he expressed his desire for them, and explained the fundamental reason why they rejected Christ.

His Desire for Them (v. 1)

  • His desire was included in his prayer – this is what should be included in our prayers as well (Philippians 4:6)
  • Notice what Paul does not mention – prosperity, national prominence, military success, peace; some of those may have been desirable, but not the priority
  • Paul’s heart’s desire for them was salvation – this is more important than anything else (Philippians 3:7; Matthew 16:26)
  • He had a strong and sincere desire that they be saved (Romans 9:3) – but his choice couldn’t save them; they needed to make the choice to come to God on His terms

Their Zeal for God (v. 2)

  • They had a zeal for God – but zeal alone will not save anyone; it is often directed against the Lord (Philippians 3:6; Acts 9:3-4; 22:3-4)
  • To be good, zeal must be “in accordance with knowledge” – knowledge of God’s word; the lack of knowledge leads to destruction (Hosea 4:6), no matter how zealous one might be
  • We are to be “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14) – these are defined in Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17); zeal for lawless deeds, no matter how well-intentioned, will cause us to be lost (Matthew 7:21-23)

Their Own Righteousness (v. 3)

  • They did not know God’s righteousness – they rejected the gospel which revealed God’s righteousness (Romans 1:16-17)
  • Their own righteousness was a human standard apart from God’s standard – but there is no salvation outside of Christ (Acts 4:12); even a different form of the gospel will lead people to be lost (Galatians 1:6-7)
  • We must choose either God’s standard of righteousness or man’s standard of righteousness – cannot combine them or “mix and match” according to our desires (Revelation 22:18-19)

Christ is the End of the Law (v. 4)

  • He fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17-18) – the Law defined sin (Romans 7:7); Jesus lived without sin (Hebrews 7:26-28)
  • The Law pointed to Him (Galatians 3:24) – the OT spoke about Christ (Luke 24:44)
  • He abolished the Law (Colossians 2:14) – brought salvation by His grace (Acts 15:10-11)

Conclusion

  • Regardless of whether one is a Jew or Gentile, God wants him to be saved (Acts 10:34-35; 2 Peter 3:9)
  • The gospel is the power for salvation to those who believe (Romans 1:16) – not “faith only” (James 2:24), but belief in a comprehensive sense to include obedience (Hebrews 5:9)

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