Father Santosh Madanu: Righteousness that Comes from Faith

Our preaching series on St. Paul’s letter to the Romans continues. Sermon delivered on Trinity 9A, Sunday, August 9, 2020 at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Westerville, OH.

If you prefer to listen to the audio podcast of today’s sermon, click here.

Lectionary texts: Genesis 37.1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105.1-6, 16-22; Romans 10.5-15; Matthew 14.22-33.

Kenyan runner Abel Mutai was only a few meters from the finish line, but got confused with the signs and stopped, thinking he had finished the race. A Spanish man, Ivan Fernandez, was right behind him and, realizing what was going on, started shouting to the Kenyan to keep running. Mutai did not know Spanish and did not understand.  Realizing what was going on, Fernandez pushed Mutai to victory. A reporter asked Ivan, “Why did you do this?” Ivan replied, “My dream is that one day we can have some sort of community life where we push ourselves and help each other win.” The reporter insisted “But why did you let the Kenyan win?” Ivan replied, “I didn’t let him win, he was going to win. The race was his.”   The reporter insisted and asked again, “But you could have won!” Ivan looked at him and replied: “But what would be the merit of my victory? What would be the honor of this medal? What would my Mother think of it?” The values are transmitted from generation to generation. What values do we teach our children.

The values must be transmitted from one generation to the next.  People must speak of my good story of life.  Our value system should be part of history.

God the Father loved us and transmitted the eternal values thorough His son Jesus.  The heavenly values are love, joy, Justice, righteousness, faith, kindness, trust and peace.  This is what we are seeing in the letter of St.Paul to Romans.

ROMANS 10.   

As we look at Romans 10 verses 5-15, we must remember how they relate to the rest of the chapter. Note the abundance of connecting words with which Paul links one thought to another: 

Throughout chapters 9-11, Paul talks about the salvation of Israel and the broadening of the plan of salvation to include Gentiles. Israel’s unbelief is a problem (9:30-33), but Paul expresses his “heart’s desire and my prayer…that they may be saved” (10:1). “For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness” (10:3), and have failed to understand that “Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (10:4).

ROMANS 10:5.  THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW

5For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law, “The one who does them will live by them.”

“For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law“ where Paul spoke of his “heart’s desire and prayed  to God for (his fellow Israelites) that they might be saved,” and their “ignorance of the righteousness of God,” preferring to establish their own righteousness.

In this verse, Paul sets up a contrast between “the righteousness of the law” and “the righteousness which is of faith” (v. 6).

“The one who does them will live by them“ (v. 5b). Paul paraphrases Leviticus 18:5, where Moses said, “You shall therefore keep my statutes and my ordinances; which if a man does, he shall live in them: I am Yahweh.” Israel staked its salvation on keeping God’s ordinances, and Israel’s devotion to God’s law, while far from perfect, distinguished Israel from other nations but if they failed to keep the commandments, there is punishment with death when  as in the new testament we have Jesus Christ who took our failurs and sins on the cross. Jesus Christ made us righteous with forgiveness and love.

There were, however, two problems related to Israel’s keeping God’s law:

• The first was their frequent failure to do so. The law demanded a high standard of obedience, which Israel largely failed to achieve.

• That, in itself, would not have been fatal had Israel been able to appreciate the role of faith in salvation—but they did not. Paul said that Israel “didn’t arrive at the law of righteousness…Because they didn’t seek it by faith, but as it were by works of the law. They stumbled over the stumbling stone” (9:31-32). The law, which had been intended as a help and guide, became a stumbling stone when Israel came to rely on it rather than faith—when they sought to establish their own righteousness and failed to submit to God’s righteousness (10:3).

ROMANS 10:6-8.  THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS OF FAITH

6But the righteousness which is of faith says this, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down);7or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)” 8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;” that is, the word of faith, which we preach:

“But the righteousness which is of faith“ (v. 6a) contrasts with “righteousness of the law” (v. 5a). Paul spoke earlier of “righteousness which is of faith” (9:30) and “God’s righteousness” (10:3).

“Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down); or, ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.) ‘But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart’“ (vv. 6b-8). Paul alludes to Deuteronomy 30:11-14, where Moses exhorted the Israelites to obey Yahweh’s commandments—commandments that were neither too difficult nor too remote to observe. Those commandments were nearby, in their mouths and in their hearts. Yahweh had made those commandments accessible so that the Israelites could, without difficulty, know and obey them.

Moses emphasized that, when God commanded observance of the law, he was not requiring the impossible. The law was not distant from Israel (in heaven or beyond the sea), but was, instead, present with them (“in your mouth, and in your heart”).

“Don’t say in your heart“ (v. 6) alludes to Deuteronomy 9:4, where Moses warned Israel, “Don’t say in your heart, after Yahweh your God has thrust them out from before you, saying, ‘For my righteousness Yahweh has brought me in to possess this land;’ because Yahweh drives them out before you because of the wickedness of these nations.”

Moses was warning against a presumptuous attitude on Israel’s part—assuming that they had achieved personal excellence. This allusion reinforces Paul’s emphasis on“righteousness which is of faith“ (v. 6) rather than “righteousness of the law“ (v. 5)—and reinforces that true righteousness is a gift of God rather than something earned.

Just prior to these verses in Deuteronomy, however, Moses spoke of curses that would result from sins (Deuteronomy 27:11-26) and blessings that would result from obedience to God’s law (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). He warned Israel of the consequences of disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). He clearly expected Israel to disobey and to suffer the consequences. But Deuteronomy 30 says that Israel will return to God—and the Promised Land .

Paul omits the last few words of the Deuteronomy quotation—”that you may do it” (Deuteronomy 30:14). He wants to emphasize righteousness achieved by faith rather than righteousness achieved by observing the law, and “that you may do it” falls too heavily on the side of righteousness achieved by observing the law.

Paul reinterprets these verses from Deuteronomy to speak of Christ rather than commandments, asking: “‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down)” (v. 6) and “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)” (v. 7). In doing so, Paul reveals a hidden layer of meaning to these verses from Deuteronomy that could be understood only after the resurrection.

The parallel between the Deuteronomy 30 wording and Christ’s experience (his ascension into heaven and descent into the abyss—see Ephesians 4:9-10) certainly encourages such a reinterpretation. The more significant parallel is between the commandments and Christ as God’s means of life-giving grace. Christ’s coming did not abolish the commandments, but instead brought them to their highest fulfillment (Matthew 5:17)—making God’s grace accessible in ways that it had not been previously.

“‘The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;’ that is, the word of faith, which we preach“ (v. 8). Just as the commandments were not “too far away,” but were “in your mouth, and in your heart” (Deuteronomy 34:11, 14), so also, Paul assures these Roman Christians, the word of faith is near—”in your mouth, and in your heart” (v. 8). Paul notes, “we proclaim” this “word of faith” (v. 8).

ROMANS 10:9-13.  CONFESS, BELIEVE—BE SAVED

9that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (kurion—from kurios), and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the Scripture says, “Whoever (Greek: pas—all, everyone) believes in him will not be disappointed.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all who call on him. 13For, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

“that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (kurion—from kurios), and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved“ (v. 9). In verse 8, Paul said, “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart.” Now he tells us what that means in practical terms. The word on our lips (v. 8) means confessing that Jesus is Lord (v. 9). The word in our heart (v. 8) means belief in the resurrection (v. 9). One oddity: The order seems backwards. One must believe before one can confess. Paul’s adopts the confess/believe order because Deuteronomy 30:14 puts “mouth” before “heart”: “But the word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it” (Deuteronomy 30:14).

The word kurios is used thousands of times to refer to God in the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament). While the word kurios does not always refer to God, Paul clearly intends its use in this verse to place Jesus on the same level as God.

Today, confessing Jesus as Lord with one’s lips is often limited to a worship setting in a church sanctuary. We invite people to confess their belief that Jesus is Lord as a part of the baptismal rite or the recitation of the creed, but that is pretty much the end of it. We hesitate to announce that Jesus is Lord in other settings lest we offend someone. We are conscious—overly so—that we live in a multicultural world where people have differing beliefs, and are sensitive—overly so—about stepping on someone else’s religious toes.

When we read this verse about “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord,” we should remember the setting in which Roman Christians did so. Rome considered Caesar to be Lord, and required its citizens and subjects to say, “Caesar is Lord.” To proclaim Jesus as Lord was to invite charges of disloyalty or treason, for which the penalty was death. It is likely that some of the Christians to whom Paul wrote this epistle knew Christians who had died for confessing that Jesus is Lord—and yet they continued their public proclamation—and so the church prospered, even as it was nurtured by the blood of the saints.

“believe in your heart” (v. 9b). Both Old and New Testaments use the word, heart, to refer to the core of the person.  When Paul talks about believing in your heart, it is clear that he means something greater than mere intellectual assent. Heart belief is a wellspring at the core of our being, and determines not only what we think but also how we act and the direction that our life will take.

“that God raised him from the dead” (v. 9c). Faith in Christ and belief in the resurrection are essentially synonymous.

“you will be saved” (v. 9d). We are saved by the grace of God, =but our faith and confession of that faith are essential components of that salvation.

“For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation“ (v. 10). Paul reverses the order of verse 9, putting belief before confession—a more conventional order.

In verse 10, Paul uses two words, justified and saved, that, while having different meanings, are nevertheless related. Justification is the process by which a person is counted as righteous and brought into a right relationship with God. Salvation comes about as a result of justification, and involves deliverance from sin and punishment.

“Whoever (Greek: pas—all, everyone) believes in him will not be disappointed“ (v. 11). A literal translation from the Greek would be: “All who believe in him will not be put to shame.” In this case, the literal translation seems preferable, because “All” highlights the inclusive character of God’s saving action. The idea is that everyone who believes in Jesus will be saved—both Jew and Gentile.

This allusion to Isaiah 28:16 (cf. Joel 2:26) was more fully developed in Romans 9:33, where Paul quoted it this way: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense; and no one who believes in him will be disappointed.”

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all who call on him“ (v. 12). Earlier, Paul said: “For there is no distinction, for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (3:21-23). In chapter 3, the “no distinction” was our sin. In chapter 10, the “no distinction” is God’s grace.

“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved“ (v. 13). Paul alludes to Joel 2:32, “Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The original context was “the great and terrible day of Yahweh” (Joel 2:31), and those saved were to be from “Mount Zion and in Jerusalem” (Joel 2:32). In Romans, however, “Everyone” takes on a broader character, because “there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all (Jew and Gentile) who call on him” (v. 12).

To call on the name of the Lord implies a call for help—a call for salvation, whether temporal salvation (being saved from immediate perils) or eschatological salvation (being saved for eternity).

In its original context, “the Lord” would have meant YHWH, but Paul reinterprets “Lord” to mean Jesus—a fact made apparent by his “Jesus is Lord” language in v. 9.

ROMANS 10:14-15.  HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in him whom they have not heard? How will they hear without a preacher? 15And how will they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News of peace,
who bring glad tidings of good things!”

The four questions in these verses explain why it is necessary to preach the gospel. Paul has just said, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” That is a wonderful promise, but many people have not called on the name of the Lord. In some cases, they have refused to do so because they are in rebellion against the Lord. In other cases, they have neglected to do so because they were consumed by other concerns. But in many cases, they have not called on the name of the Lord because they know nothing about the Lord. They need someone to tell them.

The four questions in these verses are progressive and deal with what is needed if people are to call upon the name of the Lord (v. 13):

• The first requirement is that they believe (v. 14a).
• But they cannot believe in the Lord unless they hear about him (v. 14b).
• And they cannot hear about the Lord unless someone proclaims him (v. 14c).
• And no proclamation can be made unless the proclaimer is sent (v. 15a).

“And how will they preach unless they are sent?“ (v. 15a). Sent by whom? By God! The church is also involved in the sending. It ordains people to various kinds of ministry and provides them with resources—but it simply acts as the agent of God, who called the people to ministry in the first place. It is God who calls and sends, and it is God who empowers.

Today, we sometimes hear stories of people who happen to pick up a bible—perhaps a Gideon bible in a hotel room—and by reading it are brought to belief and salvation. Paul does not talk about the possibility of reading the word, but instead focuses on hearing the word. The reason is simple. While some people in that time were literate, most were not—and those who were literate had limited access to reading material. Almost without exception, if they were to know Christ, it would be because someone told them. Even though we now live in a world where literacy and reading materials are common, most people still come to Christ because someone told them.

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (v. 15b). Paul alludes to Isaiah 52:7, which says: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

In its original context, Isaiah was talking about the messengers who brought news of release from Babylonian captivity—and the joy of those who received that news from the messenger. Everything about those messengers would seem wonderful to the people who received the good news from them.

Even the messengers’ feet—a part of the body not usually considered beautiful—would seem beautiful because of the good news that they brought. Those feet were, after all, the feet that carried the messenger across miles of roads so that they could deliver the good news.

Of the Justification of  man

Gerald Bray commentary on justification of man as follows:

The fundamental question of Christian theology is justification by faith.  No one is righteous in the sight of God with their works but purely by the faith in Jesus Christ.

Luke 23:4343 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Christians have hope in Jesus Christ to have justification based on His mercy and grace.  The doctrine of predestination and purgatory may mislead the believers and have false hope in God.  What are we suppose to say about the fate of those whom we know have never heard the Gospel? The Apostle Paul told the Athenians that God has over looked the time of ignorance ( Acts 17:30).

Romans 1:18 and 2:16 speaks about Pegans have turned away from God and although they will not be judged by  a law they have never heard of.  

As good Christian our duty is to preach the Gospel.  so that those who hear it will have a chance to believe and repent.  Our job is to sow the seeds of the Gospel whenever we can and not to choose or reject the ground it falls on in advance ( Mathew 13:3-8). 

Martin Brucer and Archbishop Cranner explained in most balanced manner, the election and predestination are the part of eternal plan of God for our redemption.

God in His eternal wisdom would rescue and restore His creatures- human beings in and through the cross of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit works in due season to bring about conversion.

Romans 8: 38-39  The elect obtain everlasting happiness by the mercy of God.

The benefit of our election are great:

  The Holy Spirit mortifies the works of flesh( Romans 8: 13), 

The Holy Spirit turns our minds to higher things ( 8:5)

The Holy Spirit establishes and confirms our faith in eternal salvation. ( Romans 8:16)

It is still axiomatic for some Protestant writers that the principle of justification by faith was ‘discovered’ or ‘ rediscovered’ by the Reformers. This often implies that the important principles expounded by Paul about the truth of salvation were overlooked or misunderstood by most of the early and medieval Church until Luther, meaning that not until the sixteenth century was Paul’s teaching about the imputation of the righteousness of God to the sinner by faith properly interpreted and integrated into Christian history.

 Justification:

The Anglican believes that justification means to be accounted as righteous by God. The basis for it is the work of the Lord Jesus, especially his death. It is not based on how good we are, or on what we do. The way we receive justification is by faith in the work of Christ.

Proclaiming  the Gospel of Christ

How one can take the Gospel of Christ to many especially to the unknown?

As St. Paul says one can take the Gospel of Christ when the missionaries are sent.  It is the every Christian responsibility to share the salvation in Christ Jesus.  This is where the Church is so important.  That is what Jesus did.  he chose 12 apostles and sent them to whole world to proclaim Good News.

What is church? Why Church?

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”… Mathew 16:17-19

Jesus is the head of the church.   And all the believers are  part of the church.

We have visible church and invisible church.

?All the Baptized are considered as visible church.

? In Invisible church true believer who truly believe in Christ as the head.

Paul being a good Jew, know THORAH  and practiced all the commandments sincerely speaking his fellow Jews and Romans that only righteousness of faith in Christ will save us.

Gospel Reflection:

[25] And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them (which means about 4 am, which means they had been battling this storm for about 6 hours… you know what that means, Jesus did not come immediately—he let them fight the storm for most of the night before he came!) 2 , walking on the sea. [26] But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. [27] But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 

Jesus doesn’t come immediately. And then when he does come, he comes strolling by at a distance so close they can see him and hear him

But does he come right up to them and hop in the boat and say, “It’s OK, I’m here to save you!”? No. Mark 6:48, a parallel account of this, adds: “He meant to pass by them.” How odd! They’re struggling for their lives… “I’ll see you on the other side.” 

  • To get his help, they have to call out. 2 John MacArthur, Matthew 8–15,  • QUICK LESSON: Never overlook human initiative in gaining the help of God as you struggle. HE’S THERE TO HELP BUT YOU GOT TO ASK… • And I love this… they don’t even cry out in faith, they cry out in fear. Which is bad faith. But JESUS answers them. Do you know what that shows you? God is a compassionate father who responds to his children when they call upon him. “…Call upon me in the day of trouble, he says, I will deliver you, and you will glorify me.”

[28] And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” [29] He said, “Come.” Notice, Jesus did not fix the disciples’ problem by making the storms go away. He just gave Peter another command. “Come.” 

You’re in difficulty? Maybe you should Stop asking God for to fix the situation, and start asking him what his command is. NOTHING WRONG with asking him to fix the solution, BUT FIRST ask him what his command is! 

Stop demanding and start listening! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. [30] But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” [31] Jesus immediately reached out his hand (he’s always close, in difficulty) and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Why is this story in there? You should always ask that. 3 Psalm 50:15 This story is not in there to inspire us to actually walk on water. (In Acts, when Paul is in a shipwreck, it never occurs to Paul to get out of the boat and start strolling to shore.) This story is to show us how to continue what we start in faith.  Because that’s going to be one of the biggest problems for Christians. 

So here’s the lesson: (A) Initial faith is not enough. We need staying faith. When Jesus said to Peter at the end, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” he is not talking about the intensity of Peter’s faith, but its duration. Peter’s faith, when it started, was very strong (he was the only one who got out of the boat). It just didn’t last long. Initial faith is not enough, we need sustaining faith… (B) We find staying faith at the same place we found initial faith. Where did Peter’s initial faith come from? 2 places: 1. A vision of Jesus. Vs. [27] But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” when Jesus says, “Take heart, it is I,” in Greek that is ego eimi. “I am.” Which was the name of God. “Don’t be afraid; I am.” Peter saw that the Great “I am” was standing on top of everything that terrified him. 2. Jesus’ command. Peter figured that it was more important to obey Jesus’ command than to focus on the circumstances. The Great I AM is on top of those waves, what he is said is larger than the waves rising up against me. He focused not on what he had walk through, but whom he was walking to. Write this down: Peter is not so much walking on water as he is walking on the promises of God; he’s not so much standing on the waves as he is standing on the character of Jesus. It was when he dafraid, and beginning to sink he cried out… Focus on the WORD and you’ll walk on water. Focus on the waves and you’ll wallow in weakness.

 You see, let me give you… A little secret to this passage The point of this passage is not to demonstrate the greatness or weakness of Peter’s faith. The point is to demonstrate the greatness of God’s grace. 

Jesus is always close. When you call out to him, even if it’s in fear for from a lack of faith, he helps. Ps 94:18, “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your steadfast love, O Lord, supported me.” Our God is a God who will always be there to catch us, pick us back up, and lift us on top of the waves. 

In this story Peter may have failed at what he set out to do, but Jesus succeeded in proving exactly what he wanted to prove.”5 That he is always trustworthy. HOW MUCH MORE should we see this on this side of the cross? There we see Jesus not only came to us in the storm, he took into himself the storm of God’s wrath; he not only walked on top of the waves, but soared over sin and death in the resurrection; not only did he lift us up on top of the waves, he filled with the power of resurrection life; and I know that if he reached all the way down to hell to rescue me from my sin, I know he’ll help me when I stumble. If he reached out to save me when I was his enemy, certainly he’s reach out to help me now that I’m his son. You see, I’LL SAY IT AGAIN: ultimately, GOD’S PURPOSE in the Christian life is to teach you to trust him.  In Peter’s first letter to the church, 1 Peter, he writes to Christians going through their own storms and he says this: 1 Peter 1:6, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials [STORMS], so that the tested genuineness of your faith…may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Proverbs 10:2

Ill-gotten treasures ,have no lasting value,
    but righteousness delivers from death.