Monday, March 31, 2008

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

This continues an answer to something my good friend and good Christian brother, Thomas Ross, has written (click on the link 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.

In the first part of this series, I dealt with the pre-context of Romans 10:9-13. You can see from the pre-context that Romans 10:9-13 is not talking about living the Christian life but about the simplicity of the plan of salvation, the gospel message. The pre-context gives no clue as to the prayer life of an already justified individual. The immediate pre-context is about the accessibility of salvation to the Jews.

Paul references Deuteronomy 30:11-14 in the verses preceding Romans 10:9-13. At the time of Deuteronomy God had already delivered to the nation Israel through Abraham the Abrahamic covenant. God promised the seed of Abraham blessing, which included the land. That blessing is represented by the blessings of Mt. Gerizim and Deuteronomy 28. However, individual Jews (and Gentiles because God would bless all nations through the seed of Abraham) would not experience the fulfillment of those blessings without obedience. It is prophetically clear in Deuteronomy 30:1-3 that Israel would fail at obedience.

Israel would be driven into other nations as a captive. Israel would fail because the law could not enable obedience. Israel would fail because the Abrahamic promise could not enable obedience. Israel would not receive the blessing because she needed forgiveness of sins and a changed heart. In other words, she needed another covenant. Deuteronomy 30:6 is the first mention of that covenant, what Jeremiah 31:31-34 calls "a new covenant," and it promises what the other covenants could not provide, a changed heart.

Deuteronomy 30:6--And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Jeremiah 31:31-34--31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Both the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants were ratified with animal
sacrifices. However, animal sacrifices cannot and could not take away sin.

Hebrews 10:4--For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
The new covenant was ratified by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Luke 22:20--This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
His blood could take away sin and this new covenant could change someone in a way that would allow for obedience---a new heart.

With this change on the inside and the forgiveness of sins, a man could practice obedience necessary to experience the blessing of the Davidic and Abrahamic Covenants. A man who is born again will enter the kingdom of God, which will be the land, the blessing, and the King provided through those two Old Testament salvific Covenants.

Paul later refers twice to Isaiah 52, 53 in the context of God's promised means of salvation, the fulfillment of His salvific covenants.
Isaiah 52:7--How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Romans 10:15--And how shall they preach, except they be sent?as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Isaiah 53:1--Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

Romans 10:16--But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

God would make bear His holy arm of salvation through His Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12), Jesus Christ. To receive the salvation, Israel needed to believe the report (Isaiah 53:1).

The report to be believed for salvation was at least two fold. First, the message of the beautiful-footed messenger was (52:8): "Thy God reigneth." Second, the Suffering Servant would die a substitutionary ("he" for "our") death to bare people's iniquity and transgressions (53:1-12).

Therefore, God made the plan of salvation accessible to the Jews. They could receive the salvific blessing (Deut. 30:9), if they hearkened unto His voice and turned to God with their whole heart (Deut. 30:10). This commandment was nigh unto them, both in their mouth and in their heart (30:11-14).

Paul capsulizes the salvation plan in Romans 10:9, 10. It is obvious that this plan was dealing with a change of heart (conversion) and forgiveness of sins, the provisions of the New Covenant. This was the means by which Israel would receive the salvific blessings of the Davidic and Abrahamic Covenants. The salvation was ultimate physical deliverance but far more a spiritual deliverance.

(More to Come)

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