There are three stages in every successful relationship, including romance. First, you must get to know the other person. Second, you must like the other person. Finally, you must love the other person. Our relationship with Jesus involves all three stages. Paul emphasizes this in Romans 10:1-13.
Knowing Jesus involves knowing what he wants us to do so we can be saved. The Jews were outwardly eager to know God, but they were not eager to know Christ. They failed to submit to God’s righteousness. They tried to be righteous before God on the basis of their own works. They sought to establish their own righteousness and missed the gift God offered them. For the Jews to receive God’s righteousness, they had to stop relying on works and start believing in Christ’s work.
Asking Christ to be our Saviour requires us to give up control in order to have real life. The Jews did not want to give up that control. Asking Christ to be our Saviour also involves breaking through the barriers of generation gaps, social status and culture-something else that the Jews did not want to do. True happiness only comes when we discover the treasure house that Jesus makes available when we come to Him in faith.
Asking God to save us but not change us is like asking a surgeon to remove a cancerous growth from our bodies without cutting. Cutting and breaking are a part of healing in God’s kingdom. Healing can only come when we allow Jesus to enter our hearts and remove anything that is useless or harmful.
Knowing Christ involves knowing what he did for us. The word “end” means that Christ is the goal or fulfillment of the Old Testament law. He was the object to which the law pointed. The Mosaic law is no longer binding on us as Christians. The Mosaic law looked forward to Christ. It ended when Christ came to earth.
If a person chooses to be justified by the law, he or she must live by the law. There is no room for error. The entire law must be kept because keeping a portion of it has no value. If someone breaks one of the laws, he or she breaks all of them. The law demands absolute perfection without any mitigation. Christ was the only person who obeyed the law perfectly, so he was the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
An outward expression of our faith in Christ gives outward evidence of inward faith. We need to believe in the resurrection and the complete truth connected with it. That includes Jesus’ sin-bearing death in our place and God’s approval of Christ’s work. Trusting in Christ is the pathway to salvation, not deeds. We can’t earn salvation through our own efforts. It can only be obtained through faith in Christ. Faith is a heartfelt belief in the reality of Christ’s resurrection. In Christ’s resurrection we see that his claim to deity is valid. We also see that his death brings salvation to us.
When we place our faith in Christ, God looks at us just as He looks at Jesus. Jesus completely obeyed the law, without exception and without fault. Christ’s perfect record becomes ours through faith. Anyone who puts his or her faith in Christ will be saved and will receive eternal life.
Paul speaks of righteousness as if it is a person. We do not need to ascend to heaven to bring righteousness down. Christ has already done that. We do not need to descend into the grave. Christ has already been raised from the dead. We do not have to go on a journey around the world to find it. Christ is accessible by faith, as near as our mouths and hearts. All we have to do is reach out and receive Him by faith.
Knowing Christ involves confessing that Christ is our Saviour. Confessing Christ is evidence of genuine faith. Salvation comes through belief in Christ, acknowledging that He is God, and was raised from the dead. His death satisfied God’s demand for the penalty for sins. His resurrection validated both His claims and the Father’s statements that He is God.
When we are saved, we need to anchor our faith in the promises of God and nothing else. If we pray a prayer of salvation, our hearts and mouths must go together. Words are not enough. Real life begins when we depend on Jesus, when we call out to Him to give us what we can’t earn ourselves-a right relationship with God. That can only happen through faith in what He did for us on the cross.
When we are saved, that does not mean that we won’t have any problems in life. What it does mean is that our eternity will be set in heaven with God. In return, we are to tell the world about Jesus. We are called to either go where God sends us or donate money or anything else that will help others go into the mission field.
Because Christ is God, His death, burial and resurrection took care of the world’s sins. Just as all who sin will be judged, all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Christ lived the life we could not live and took the punishment we could not take to offer the hope we can’t resist. His sacrifice forces us to ask the question: If he so loved us, can we not love each other?
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