Monday, March 24, 2008

Romans 10:9-13: Are "Confess" and "Call" Post-Justification?

I'm going to finish up the last series on The Devil Is In the Details, but I'm going to start another one as an answer to something my good friend and good Christian brother, Thomas Ross, has written (on this page and entitled: Romans 10:9-14: Sinner's Prayers for Salvation? He'll let you have a copy for free in pdf). I want us to have an opportunity to deal with this openly. A lot of what Brother Ross says is good. I think it is important to distinguish the true gospel from easy prayerism. However, I believe that he, in an attempt to abolish easy prayerism, misrepresents these passages and the role of a "sinner's prayer" in justification. I also do believe that confusion about this could affect the gospel.

The Pre-Context

Romans 10 comes in a context of salvation and especially the salvation of the Jews. We are obviously seeing a Jewish antagonist who thinks that God doesn't want to save Israel. This isn't unusual for Israel. They complained about this repeatedly in the Old Testament. God regularly argues that He is able and willing to save, but that the problem is Israel herself. We see the same in Romans 9-11.

At the beginning of Romans 10, we can see that this antagonist also was saying that Paul didn't care if Israel was saved. Paul answers that in v. 1. It wasn't true. He cared as much as he could.

In vv. 2, 3 Paul explains the reasons why Israel wasn't saved. It wasn't God and it wasn't him; it was them. Why? Because of their ignorance and pride and rebellion. You can read it yourself. These are still the major reasons why people won't get saved. In contrast to this, v. 4 says that Christ is the end of righteousness. They'll get righteousness through Christ, not through themselves.

Beginning in v. 5, Paul references Deuteronmy 30:11-14. He uses the OT passage to deal with one of Israel's excuses---God hadn't made salvation accessible enough. This is still used by people as an excuse. Salvation was as available as it could be as seen in the description in vv. 6-8. Again, read it yourself. Salvation is so close that the word of salvation is in Israel's mouth and heart. Paul has preached that message of justification and it is found beginning in v. 9.

We'll see more of this soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

I look forward to searching the Scriptures with you on this subject. However, I will not be able to respond to what you say, in all likelihood, with any kind of detail until after the 9 week block of teaching at Falls is over and my grades are in. That is probably about a month from now. Anyone who is reading this article: Please read what I wrote on this subject at the link Pastor Brandenburg provided so that you can see what his critique is about (or click here: and then go to the Romans 10:9-14 article.

Grace and peace in Christ,

Thomas Ross