Romans 10:1-4 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
Paul had such a desire for his fellow countrymen to be saved. Yet, he saw their stumbling block – their religion. The critical element missing throughout is their faith. They trusted their righteousness, their heritage, and their zeal for their religion.
The definition of religion comes down to the system of beliefs we hold, and the performing of it. I can be religious about my health, my finances, my work, or my family. Religion will say, “We are Christian,” and in their beliefs and practice of those beliefs, be far from biblical.
I hold to a church with historical ties to a belief system. Yet, I will tell you I am a born-again, Bible-believing, child of God. My identity is not in the church I attend, though I am active, devoted, and loyal to her. The moment she departs from Biblical teaching and practice, I will have a decision to make.
We hold our identity to people groups, fellowships, and societies. They are tangible, visible, and have a history. There is no greater history to hold to, than with the Bible and its heritage.
We stand with Abraham, whose faith led him out of the comfortable into an unknown land by a God he could not see. We follow the faith of Moses, who led over a million people out of bondage to the most powerful nation in its time. We follow the faith of a David who, with all his faults and failures, is known as a man after God’s own heart.
We see the golden thread from Genesis to Revelation of God’s love for us, His providence, His provision, His power, and His protection.
Let us not slip into cruise control in our walk with God. We should allow Him to change us, move us, correct us, teach us, guide us, and transform us into the image of Jesus Christ.
When we become satisfied with where we’re at in our walk with Him, we will tend more to religious behavior than living by faith. I would never want to be thought of as ‘ignorant.’ Yet, without living each day by faith, we open ourselves to grow comfortable, numb, and cold.
The operative word that Paul used was ‘submit.’
We must submit ourselves to the righteousness of Christ and not try to establish our own. We often seek validation, acceptance, and love, when we are already given all this and more as children of God.
Religion takes no faith to be accepted or work within its framework. Faith is evidenced by what God does in and through us.