Faith Brings Salvation!

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What glorious truths are found in Romans 9-11!  It’s like a treasure hunt, and the golden nuggets are invaluable!  I hope you are enjoying this week’s study as we examine the Jewish roots of our Christian faith.  We’re headed into Romans 10 today, but if you missed the previous two posts, I recommend you back up and catch them so that you get the fullness of today’s lesson.

Paul opens Chapter 10 driving home the idea that righteousness and salvation are attained by faith alone, not by works.  Then, he cuts straight to the chase in verses 9-10:

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

That’s as plain and simple as it gets!  In fact, if you are following this study (or you simply stumbled upon this post) and you have tried to gain God’s acceptance through anything but simple faith, it is not a coincident that you are here!  He is speaking to you this very moment!  Our Lord longs for relationship with you and you can do nothing to earn it.  Salvation truly is simple: confess and believe!  (Click here for more guidance about how to be saved.)

Salvation is the same for everyone…Jews or Gentiles.  Paul goes on to explain that in verses 12-13 of Romans:

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

However, verses 14-21 allude to the difficulty of the Jewish people in understanding and trusting in faith alone.  To call upon God, they must believe.  To believe, they must they must hear.  To hear, there must be a preacher. Preachers must be sent.

Well, throughout history, God sent “preachers.”  They were called prophets in the Old Testament!  Men such as Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah and others foretold of Christ the Messiah who would come to the Jews.  The preachers came…and the Jewish people heard.  Yet, they did not simply believe by faith.  Instead, they tried to keep the law of Moses.

Verse 15 talks about the beautiful feet of those who bring good news (the Gospel).  The Gospel is all about faith and nothing more.  I want beautiful feet, how about you?  I want to share the good news with others (including Jews).  May we all yearn for beautiful feet!

Allow me to divert for a moment.  Sadly, there are very large Christian organizations (such as Christians United for Israel [John Hagee, who denies Jesus as Messiah] and International Fellowship of Christians and Jews [Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein]) who wholeheartedly love Israel and care for the Jewish people, but WILL NOT “preach the Gospel” to them.  (I’m not suggesting obnoxious “in your face” evangelism that is unnecessarily offensive, but about intentionally taking the opportunities God gives to share the love of Christ both in word and deed.)  How sad that the very key thing Paul teaches about regarding Jewish-Christian relations is not innocently overlooked, but intentionally set aside.  (You can find out about Jewish-related ministries and their sometimes veiled objectives here.)

Romans 10:19 compels us to be a nation (people group) willing to show the love of Messiah, in order to make the Jewish people jealous.  Let’s practice what God’s Word commands!

We’re headed for Romans 11 tomorrow, and it gets REALLY good at that point!  So, here’s your homework: go read that chapter, then join us here again tomorrow as we launch into that chapter!

UPDATE: Friends, I just watched a video that corresponds so closely with our study this week about Christian-Jewish relations.  Tune into an interview with Eitan Shishkoff, an American-born “hippie Jew,” who now lives and ministers in Israel.  He has incredible insight into Jewish-Christian relations.  Catch the interview at the 1:19:50 mark here:

Christ Revealed – Episode 9

(Christ Revealed is a 9-part documentary, with a single episode released each day.  This was Day 9, and I believe the video is available only until 6:00pm Pacific time today.)

Does John Hagee Deny Jesus as Messiah?

Hi friends!  I have prayed long and hard about this post, and want to share it only with the sensitivity God’s Word encourages.  I share it because it carries tremendous importance in our understanding of God’s plan…which I will explain.  Please proceed prayerfully.

As many of you know, John Hagee is founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), and he is a tremendous supporter of the state of Israel.  I’m not sure I have ever been to Israel that I haven’t run into CUFI-sponsored tours.  John Hagee and his ministry have taken literally tens of thousands of people to the Holy Land.  In addition, CUFI is one of the largest pro-Israel organizations on the planet.  Kudos to them!

However, while I have always appreciated his zeal for encouraging people (primarily Christians) to love Israel, I have personally never been a big follower of Hagee and CUFI, primarily because of doctrinal issues in which I disagree.

Two of those issues have recently come to light:  Hagee’s seeming denial of Jesus as the Messiah, and his stance that Jews don’t need the Messiah as they may be saved by following Mosaic law.

Eitan Bar, an Israeli Messianic Jew, born in Tel Aviv, has responded clearly to those issues from a Biblical position.  With a BA in Biblical studies from Israel College of the Bible, an MA in Theology from Liberty University, and now a doctoral student at Dallas Theological Seminary, Eitan has the cultural and spiritual background and Biblical knowledge to authoratatively state an opposing case.

This is important because the way we view Israel and the Jewish people is vitally important.  We will all take the “Israel Test” at some point!  (ie – do we stand with or against them, and do we “move them to jealousy” for the Messiah, as Romans 11:14 commands?)  Our understanding of God’s covenants with His people is vital to understanding our role as Christians.

Thus, please take a few moments to hear John Hagee’s words, then read Eitan Bar’s grace-filled response.  Here is my favorite Eitan Bar quote: “Please don’t love us (Jewish people) more than you love your Jewish Messiah!”  The article will elaborate!

See the video and read the article here: Pastor John Hagee (CUFI), Let My People Go!!

PS: This is not intended to be a slug in the face to John Hagee.  I don’t doubt his salvation, nor do I question his love for Israel.  Nor do I believe Christians should “pound Yeshua into the Jews.”  But woe to us as Christians if we deny that Jesus is the Messiah, rather than moving our Jewish friends to jealousy for Him!  Now is a great time to pray for that!