As we move in to Romans 10, Paul shifts from the Jews of the past to his fellow Jews of the present time (at least the present time when he was writing this). He starts with a compliment. They are zealous for God.
That isn’t a good thing. That is a great thing. Paul himself is zealous for God. He is writing this letter because of His zeal. He is particularly writing these chapters of this letter because of his passionate desire for more Jews to receive the gift of faith.
But he also has a shared background of his zeal for God before he met Jesus. Paul has a very passionate and specific perspective on the plight of the Jews.
The illustration I think of is someone free floating in space. No booster packs, not rockets, no ropes. Just, plop, there you are in space, with nothingness around you. Paul is saying these Jews see the light and they are absolutely zealous. They are flapping their arms and legs and screaming and shouting and bending and stretching and everything else you can physically imagine. And, they are going nowhere. All of that motion, alone is space, produces nothing.
But, if we tether ourselves to Christ, in faith in Him, then everything changes. We are not alone. We are connected. We join his ship of righteousness and, all of a sudden, we are going places not just flailing about.
The answer to your problems and challenges, your hurt and pain, your shame and your fears, will not be found in more zeal. Everything you do, every self-help, every good intention, is nothing more than flapping your arms and hands about unless and until you are tethered to something solid that is on the right path. There is only one thing in the universe that is offering you a life line and His name is Jesus.
He is a Jew, a Jew’s Jew. His parents and relatives are all Jews. Most of his friends are Jews. Plus he has a heart that is being shaped to be like Jesus and Jesus loves God’s chosen people.
Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit intercede for us – I am called to do the same for family, friends, neighbors and even those I don’t know.
They didn’t know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness
The law was a foreshadowing of what Christ would provide as the ultimate sacrifice. It was a direction not a destination. Jesus is the destination. We cannot earn our righteousness because the fact that we don’t have it is an admission that we are broken and we cannot be unbroken on our own.