Scripture Text: Romans 10:11-13
There is a problem in the church today. Maybe you have noticed it. Churches have become inclusive, internally focused people who have forgotten who they are or what they should be doing. Many churches have become members only clubs that are focused on themselves and what they want at the expense of reaching others for Christ. Some do not even welcome others into their community. Many churches have become family chapels that are based on the bloodline of founding members rather than the blood of Jesus Christ. It is a shame when that happens, as God’s Word affirms many times that He desires all people to be saved and by extension of that, a part of His Church. God did not send His Son to die on a cross so that we can decide who is in and who is out. If it is His Church, then He determines who we are, who belongs, and what we do. Unfortunately, many have forgotten that the Church belongs to Christ, not to us!
In this section of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he has explained the nature of salvation. Last week, we read about two kinds of righteousness. The first is the righteousness that is based on the Law of God. If a person is able to do all that the Law requires, this will lead to life. The problem is that no one is able to live up to the requirements of the Law. Living this way misses the purpose of God’s Law — to show our sin and point us to our Savior. It is meant to lead us to Christ so we can be declared righteous by faith. The other kind of righteousness is based on faith. It does not require superhuman efforts to reach God. Faith is readily available for those who will simply believe and confess that Jesus is Lord. Within this chapter is one of the most helpful passages for pointing people to the way of salvation by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and believing God raised Him from the dead. The passage today continues that wonderful promise and affirms another truth — salvation is for everyone who will call on Him.
The Condition and the Cure is the Same for All
What is the mission of the Church? It is to tell others how to glorify God. Why is this our mission? It is God’s mission and we are His people who are called to fulfill His mission. God has been seeking people to call His own for a very long time. Unfortunately, people get in the way of God’s work and try to make it complicated. Throughout history, Christians would segregate people by race or wealth or status. Some would make distinctions between groups of people. In this passage, Paul appealed to Scripture to show that God makes no distinction between people. Paul quoted the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 28:16) to show that the gift of salvation is for anyone who will receive it. He used the Word of God, the very words that the Israelites should have known, to show that God offers salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. Look at verses eleven and twelve.
Romans 10:11-12 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
This was good news to non-Jewish people, who were excluded from the Jews. Why is there no distinction between people? It is because every person in the world has the same condition, the same human nature, which is sin. Not one person, except for Jesus, was born without this condition. Paul affirmed this fact earlier in the letter.
Romans 3:22–24 22 …For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. If we stopped there, we would be in a pitiful state. We would have no hope, but thanks be to God, there is more to the story. The sin condition of mankind is universal. We all have it. Because the sin condition is universal, the solution for that condition is also universal — it applies to everyone. This is a universal offer of salvation to everyone, not a universal declaration of salvation of everyone. Some believe that everyone in the world will be saved by virtue of God’s grace. That is not what this passage says. This passage says the offer of salvation is open to anyone who comes in faith to Jesus Christ. All anyone must do is confess Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the grave. If they do this, they will not be disappointed on the last day when God judges who goes to heaven for everlasting peace and joy and those who will depart from Him to everlasting punishment.
There is no other way by which people can be saved. There is no distinction between people. Anyone who comes to Christ in faith will be saved. It does not matter who you are, what your background is, what color your skin is, how wealthy or how poor you are, if you put your trust in Christ for your salvation and righteousness, you will be saved. It also does not matter what you have done. Everyone who calls upon the name of Christ will be forgiven and saved. Period! Do we make distinctions of people? Is there anyone you would not want to worship with you? If someone walked in with ragged clothes, an undesirable smell, a messy look, would you welcome that person? If someone does not go along with your way of doing things, do you welcome him? Is there anyone you cannot imagine spending eternity in Heaven? Eternity is a long time. If we cannot worship for one hour here on earth, how will we do it together for all eternity? Perhaps you say we will be different then. Why wait? Shouldn’t we practice holiness now?
There is One Lord Over All
Salvation is for both Jews and Gentiles since there is one Lord over both. This passage affirms that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. What does it mean for Him to be Lord, though? Primarily it means that Jesus’ authority is absolute, unlimited, and universal. Those who come to Christ by faith acknowledge that they have placed themselves entirely under His authority to do whatever He may choose for them to do. There is no such thing as salvation apart from lordship. Lord implies authority, but it also implies protection and care. There have been earthly lords who abused their power. They were expected to care for and protect their people and did not. Fortunately, we serve a Lord Who not only has supreme authority and power and deserves our obedience, but Who has supreme love and care for His people. He is a loving Lord.
Confessing Jesus is Lord would have also been a public matter in Paul’s day. It would have endangered the life of the one confessing Jesus as Lord. Is He Lord over your life if you confess Him privately? Are you ashamed of Him or scared what others may think of you? Why? Would you be ashamed to speak about your husband or wife in the company of strangers? Would you be afraid to tell others about the love of your life? Then why would you be afraid to speak the name of Jesus Christ? Who is Lord of your life — you, someone else, the government, or is it Jesus Christ? In verse thirteen, Paul quoted another passage of Scripture from the prophet Joel which said, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Here is what Joel wrote.
Joel 2:32 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.
The name of the Lord that Joel mentioned was the name of God that was given to the Israelites. Joel wrote that those who call upon the name of a God will be saved. What did Paul mean when he quoted this passage? He meant that the Lord Joel mentioned in this verse was the same Lord Who died on a cross and was resurrected from the grave. This is the same fact Jesus confessed to the Jews. Look at the following passage.
John 8:58–59 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
Why did the people who heard Jesus say this want to stone Him? It was because He confessed that He is the great I AM. Saying Jesus is Lord means Jesus is God. He is the same Lord Who was in the beginning and created all that exists and for which all that exists. He is the same Lord Who spoke to Moses from the burning bush. When you confess Jesus is Lord, you are saying He is the great I AM. Some may say, “Jesus is Lord,” but what they mean to say is that He is Lord in name only. If He is Lord, it is more than a title. Some will say, “This may be His Church, but we decide what to do?” If Jesus is Lord, He calls the shots, not you or me. If He is our Lord, we must discern what He wants us to do. Some will say, “This may be His world, but I will do what I want with MY money and MY possessions.” If Jesus is Lord, then He owns everything and He decides what you will do with His stuff. Is Jesus Lord over all? Is Jesus Lord over you?
The Riches of Lordship Apply to All
Jesus’ lordship means that He has all authority and power in His Kingdom. What does that mean for those who confess Him as Lord and accept Him as Savior? Do those who follow Jesus Christ receive anything? For that, let us turn to verses twelve and thirteen.
Romans 10:12-13 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
When you confess Jesus is Lord, God bestows His riches upon you. This sermon series is called The Romans Road to Riches. The Romans Road, or the Gospel Road, is a road to the riches of God. We are not talking about wealth and prosperity here. We are not talking about money and possessions. We are talking about something far more precious than anything of earthy value, and these riches are for all who will call on Christ. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but all are declared righteous and receive the riches of His grace through Jesus Christ. This is the universal kindness of God and it is promised as far back as Genesis. Look at the following passage.
Genesis 12:3 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
This passage, a promise to Abraham, shows that God has always been a missionary God! Although God’s redemptive plan was worked out in history through the Israelites, it was meant for the benefit of all people everywhere. The richness of God’s blessing is primarily salvation itself, but there is so much more. Imagine an elderly couple living in a dilapidated farmhouse. They can barely afford the few groceries and medicines that they need. There is not even enough money to keep the heat on all the time. Then a short while after they both have died, a goldmine is discovered on their old homestead. All their years of poverty were lived out sitting on top of untapped wealth. Unfortunately, many Christians go through life like that elderly couple. Such believers have boiled Christianity down to its most basic elements: God saved me and someday I’ll go to Heaven. Being saved only means they will escape Hell and live forever in Heaven.
Is that all it means to you? Jesus offers an abundant life now (John 10:10), but many believers are not living it. They are spiritually poor people who have failed to tap into the vast reservoir of God’s abundant grace. Eternity begins the moment we are saved; there is no reason to wait until we reach Heaven to enjoy the Lord’s riches. God has lavished His grace upon us. We receive righteousness. We receive freedom from legalism. We have an unbreakable union with our Heavenly Father. We have a peace that passes all understanding. We have a hope that is stronger than all fear. We have the very Spirit of God dwelling within us Who empowers us to do extraordinary things. If you know Christ, then you have the riches of God’s grace now. Are you living with it?
In closing, many churches have focused on themselves and have forgotten who they are in Christ and what God desires for the world. What does this passage say about that? The basic message from this passage is that the offer of salvation is available to anyone who will call upon Christ. We have to remove any distinctions we make of people and reach everyone for Jesus Christ. This passage also teaches us about the lordship of Jesus Christ. If we submit to the lordship of Christ, we have to put aside any claim that this is about us. We have to submit completely to His authority and rule. He is either Lord of all or Lord of none. Lastly, we ought to live now in the riches of His grace. Those who have trusted in Jesus Christ are adopted into His family and are promised an abundant life now and a glorious inheritance for the future. This is Good News!
This sermon was delivered at Good Hope Baptist Church in Wake Forest, NC. More information about Good Hope may be found at the following site: www.GoodHopeBC.org.