Paul’s heart for those who do not know Jesus, specifically his Jewish brothers is clearly seen in Romans 10:1-4. He says that he desires to see them come to salvation to the point that he almost wished he could be condemned in their place! What an amazing burden for his lost Jewish brothers!
Now that Paul was a believer, he saw what was holding the Jews back and he speaks frankly to the problem. In verses 2-4 Paul says, “they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”
When Paul says they desire to know God, but “not according to knowledge,” he is not implying that they were not intelligent. The word is describing a “lack of full knowledge.” The Jews knew they needed to be righteous but they were missing something. Paul makes clear they had a faulty understanding of righteousness. What was wrong with their view? The Jews were trying to establish their righteous standing before God on their efforts, and that is not possible.
Instead of an approach that is lacking full knowledge of how righteousness is obtained, Paul says that the Jews need to “submit to God’s righteousness” instead of try to earn it. What does he mean? The word “submit” was a military term describing soldiers under the leadership of a commanding officer. The Jews were not willing to yield to the Commander (Jesus) and accept the gift of righteousness he offers. They could not bring themselves to submit to Jesus as Savior and God.
Father, thank you for helping me to understand that I could not achieve a righteous standing before you. It is only by trusting in Jesus to forgive my sin and give me life because of his death and resurrection that I could be righteous in you eyes. I also am challenged today with the question, “who do I long to see come to Christ like Paul did?” Revive my heart for evangelism.
Following Jesus with you,