Things That Are Above

Gospel Thinking for Gospel Living

“Why Jesus?” A Sermon on Romans 10:5-13

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In the midst of editing my research paper on Romans 9-11, I had the privilege to preach on Romans 10:5-13. This text is the heart of Romans 9-11, this section’s main point. In his recent Pauline theology, N. T. Wright convincingly argues that Romans 9-11 is a chiasm, the center of which is 10:5-13, most specifically 10:9 (Paul and the Faithfulness of God, 1161-1176). (Wright’s book was published subsequent to my initial writing of the paper, and my initial reading of its section on Romans 9-11 allowed me to cite Wright solely for his explicit rebuttal of theologians who try to argue that Jews can be saved by Jesus without believing that he is the Christ. Although I find Wright’s chiastic structure of Romans 9-11 compelling, I do not agree with some of his interpretations concerning Romans 9-11. Once I read this mammoth tome in its entirety I hope to engage its many arguments in more detail.) Because Romans 9-11 is chiastic, the central text is central to the section’s meaning. The basic problem of Romans 9-11 is how God is faithful despite many Jews’ rejection of Christ’s gospel and thus exclusion from the people of God. Romans 10:5-13 solves this problem: “confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (Rom. 10:9) is the only way for God to be faithful and save people.

In the broader argument of Romans 10:5-13, Paul maintains that no one has ever been saved by keeping the law because no one (except Jesus) keeps the law (Rom. 10:5). In fact, the law itself has always pointed to the need of Jesus to save us from our lawlessness (Rom. 10:6-10). Finally, the law has always called all people to believe in the Messiah, who we know is Jesus of Nazareth, for salvation (Rom. 10:11-13).

So my sermon on Romans 10:5-13, “Why Jesus?” answers the question, “Why trust Jesus for salvation?” Romans 10:5-13 gives us three good reasons:

  1. Put your faith in Jesus because you can’t save yourself (v. 5).
  2. Put your faith in Jesus because the law calls you to trust him for salvation (vv. 6-10).
  3. Put your faith in Jesus because anyone can be saved by faith in him (vv. 11-13).

The audio for this sermon was recorded at Calvary Baptist Church on March 23, 2014. You can listen to the sermon here by clicking play on the on-screen Flash player. May God use this sermon to bring non-Christians to faith in Jesus for salvation by his death and resurrection, and may he use it to encourage us Christians to continue confessing and believing Christ firm to the end.

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