Read Romans 10:1-4. Keeping in mind all that came before, what’s the message here? How could we, today, be in danger of seeking to establish our “own righteousness”?
Legalism can come in many forms, some more subtle than others. Those who look to themselves, to their good deeds, to their diet, to how strictly they keep the Sabbath, to all the bad things they don’t do, or to the good things that they have achieved – even with the best of intentions – are falling into the trap of legalism.
Every moment of our life, we must keep before us the holiness of God in contrast to our sinfulness; that’s the surest way to protect ourselves from the kind of thinking that leads people into seeking their “own righteousness,” which is contrary to the righteousness of Christ.
Romans 10:4 is an important text that catches the essence of Paul’s entire message to the Romans. First, we need to know the context. Many Jews were “going about to establish their own righteousness” (Rom. 10:3) and seeking “the righteousness which is of the law” (Rom. 10:5). But with the coming of the Messiah, the true way of righteousness was presented. Righteousness was offered to all who would fix their faith in Christ. He was the one to whom the ancient ceremonial system had pointed.
Even if one includes in the definition of law here the Ten Commandments, it doesn’t mean that the Ten Commandments were done away with. The moral law points out our sins, our faults, our shortcomings, and thus leads us to our need of a Savior, our need of forgiveness, our need of righteousness – all of which are found only in Jesus. In that sense, Christ is the “end” of the law, in that the law leads us to Him and His righteousness. The Greek word for “end” here is telos, which also can be translated as “goal” or “purpose.” Christ is the final purpose of the law, in that the law is to lead us to Jesus.
To see this text as teaching that the Ten Commandments – or specifically the fourth commandment (what these folks really mean) – are now nullified is to draw a conclusion that goes against so much else of what Paul and the New Testament teach.
|Do you ever find yourself proud of how good you are, especially in contrast to others? Maybe you are “better,” but so what? Compare yourself to Christ, and then think about how “good” you really are.|
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons