The Key of David

"the physical, visible reveals the spiritual, invisible things of God"

Short Answers: What about Christ being the End of the Law?

Romans 10:4

The Apostle Paul’s desire was that his people, Israel, might be saved, for they had zeal for God, but not according to knowledge (Rom 10:1-2). However, Paul cites Isaiah: “‘Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay’” (Rom 9:27-28 – from Isa 10:22-23) … the prophet Isaiah continues, adding that Israel is not to fear the Assyrians who have taken them captive, for in a little while God will “wield against them a whip, as he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb” (Isa 10:26). But the house of Israel never returned from Assyria. Although Sennacherib fled from Jerusalem as the Midianites had before Gideon, the Apostle Paul assigns an endtime application to Israel’s prophecy by equating returning to the Promised Land with salvation. Plus, God has not carried out His foresworn wrath against Israel (Ezek 20:8, 33). So either God has delayed in fully carrying out His wrath upon the earth, or Isaiah’s prophecies had a physical application and have a spiritual application in which Assyria is a euphemism for death as Egypt is a representation of sin.


The subject under discussion in Romans chapters 9–11 is the salvation of Israel:

Paraphrased, Paul writes that although Israel will be many, only a remnant will be saved, for God will carry out His sentence of death upon the earth (Rom 9:28-29). Then Paul asks, “What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith” (Rom 9:30). So salvation comes by righteousness—“a righteousness that is by faith.” Israel pursued a law that would have led to righteousness, and here is where understanding is required:


The lawyer correctly answered Jesus’ question about how to read the Law:

A lawyer sought to test Jesus and asked what he must do to inherit eternal life (Luke 10:25). When Jesus asked the lawyer how he read the Law, the lawyer said that a person was to love God fully and love neighbor as self. The lawyer quotes from Deuteronomy. And Jesus told the lawyer that he had answered correctly, that he was to go out and do. So Jesus’ testimony is that righteousness can come by the Law, which is what Paul affirms.

But for righteousness to come by the Law, the nation would need to turn to God and begin to love God with heart and mind, keeping His commandments and His statutes when the nation was in a far land (Deut 30:1-2). God would then bring Israel back to the Promised Land which the Psalmist calls God’s rest (Ps 95:10-11), where God would give Israel circumcised hearts (Deut 30:6). Turning to God in a far land requires faith. And it is this turning to God when Israel is in a land of foreign gods that equates to a person of the nations turning to God by faith.


What is required when turning to God?

Paul tells the saints at Philippi to imitate him (3:17), and in his defense to Festus, he said that he had committed no offense against the law of the Jews or against the temple (Acts 25:8).

On the plains of Moab, a second covenant is made with Israel and mediated by Moses (Deut 29:1). This second covenant requires Israel to choose life or death (Deut 30:15-20) — and choosing life is to love God and neighbor, keeping His commandments and statutes, and doing all that is written in the book of Deuteronomy (Deut 30:10). This second covenant is ratified by a song (Deut chap 32), so this covenant is not an earthly thing that is a copy of a heavenly thing as was the covenant ratified by blood at Sinai (Heb 9:22-23). This covenant is a heavenly thing, and this is the covenant to which better promises were added [better promises are not added to a covenant that has been abolished] when its mediator became the glorified Christ Jesus.


The righteousness that comes by faith:

Paul’s desire and prayer is that Israel may be saved. He bears witness that Israel has a zeal for God, but the nation is ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God … as Abraham’s faith was counted unto him as righteousness (Rom 4:22), the faith of disciples who believe in the One who raised Jesus from the dead will be counted to them as righteousness (v. 24). The man Jesus is the righteousness that has come from God (John 1:1-14); thus, the disciple who hears the words of Jesus and believes the One who sent Him (John 5:24) acknowledges that Jesus is the righteousness that comes from God. Therefore, Christ is—by way of a disciple’s belief that comes by faith—the end of the Law by being the righteousness that has come from God.

The above, however, is not the end of the matter, for Paul continues, “But the righteousness based on faith says—” and Paul cites Deuteronomy 30:11-14.


Gentiles are not under discussion:

The Israelite who, when in a far land, turns to God by faith and returns to loving God and keeping His commandments chooses life. Since Calvary, however, to turn to God by faith requires the profession with the mouth that Jesus is Lord and belief in the heart that God raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 10:9). And for the Observant Jew to make such a profession requires the Jew to undertake a mental or spiritual journey of a distance equivalent to the physical distance of Abraham’s journey of faith from Ur to the Promised Land.

What was physical becomes spiritual: the geographical territories of Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon form the visible shadows of the mental topography of sin, death, and the kingdom of this world (see Rev 11:15) … as only a remnant of Israel returned from geographical Babylon, only a remnant of spiritually circumcised Israel will leave this world and journey to the plains of Moab where life and death is set before this spiritual nation. Those that choose life will figuratively cross the Jordan and enter into God’s rest (cf. Ps 95:10-11; Heb 3:16-4:11). Those who choose death will remain in Moab.

Israel goes from being the physically circumcised nation to being the nation whose circumcision is of the heart, by Spirit, and not by hands (Rom 2:28-29; Col 2:11).

Therefore, “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Rom 10:12-13). And the righteousness that comes by faith (v. 6-8) will have every Israelite with a circumcised heart keeping all that is written in Deuteronomy, where Moses writes of Jesus (John 5:46)


Calling on the name of the Lord:

If Paul would have written nothing more about the subject after writing, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Rom 10:13), then those who teach lawlessness would have scriptural support for salvation coming from a mumbled sinners’ prayer. But Paul adds, “But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed” (Rom 10:14).

Jesus said that He did not come to accuse Israel, for the nation already has one who accuses the nation: Moses. And Moses accuses Israel of rebellion against God in Deuteronomy (Deut 31:25-27), the book Moses commanded to be placed to the side of the Ark of the Covenant. Whereas the two tablets of stone on which were inscribed by the finger of God the ten living words lay inside the ark—and was analogous to the laws of God being written on two tablets of flesh, the heart and the mind of a disciple—the book of Deuteronomy was outside the Ark and placed there as a witness against Israel. It remains the accuser of Israel.

The person who believes in the Lord and who hears the words of Jesus will be the one who keeps the commandments and teaches others to do likewise (Matt 5:19). This is the person who will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. And this is the person who will be heard when the person calls on the name of the Lord (see Ezek 20: 2-3). The lawless will not be heard (Matt 7:21-23).

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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."