Salvation is the blessed hope of everyone who accepts Jesus’ sacrifice to forgive their sins. In Romans 10, Paul shares that his greatest desire and prayer was for the Israelites to be saved. But his message was hard for them to understand. Though they had zeal, it was misplaced. They focused on earning righteousness by keeping the Law, when they really needed to find righteousness through God’s Son, Jesus, the fulfillment of the Law.
Because the majority of Israel has rejected Jesus as its Savior, some might worry that God’s Word isn’t unfolding as He said it would or that He has forsaken His people. But that’s not true! Through a remnant of Israelites who are faithful to God’s Word and the Good News of Jesus, God’s promise continues. Stay tuned to hear how Chris addresses what Romans 10 teaches about salvation and what it means for Israel.
If you missed part 1 of this series, you can listen here.
Steve Conover: Welcome to the Friends of Israel Today, I'm Steve Conover, and with me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. Right at the top, I want to remind you to visit our website foiradio.org, to keep up on all things related to the Friends of Israel Today radio program. It's there you can listen to all of our broadcasts, five years worth of content with links to our featured products highlighted in the show. Or you can support our ministry by clicking on the donate button to help us continue teaching biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Again, visit us at foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Now, we're continuing our series on Romans 9 through 11. Why Israel still matters to God today. And we believe this is so important for us to understand, because oftentimes what you hear is that, "Oh, Israel, it's something from the Old Testament, it's something that God had planned for the Old Testament, but now in Christ things have changed." Well, no, we don't believe things have changed. Now, God is still going to use Israel, he still has a plan for Israel. He hasn't forgotten Israel. And I think one of the greatest New Testament arguments that God's not through with Israel comes from Romans 9 through 11. We're going to be studying Romans chapter 10 today on our second episode of this series.
But before we get there, we want to just give a shout out to our podcast listeners. If you're not listening on our podcasts, we hope that you go there. And if you do listen, we want you to comment on our program. Our program can be heard on Apple, Spotify, Google, TuneIn, Stitcher, the host of many podcast platforms. We'd love to hear from you. And your ratings actually help us. They help us because it allows others to gravitate to our program. So, if you value Israel, you love Israel and the Jewish people, and you want more Christians to know about this, then please go and comment, especially on Apple with our podcast. And thank you for listening online.
Steve Conover: Yeah, thanks Chris, we sure would appreciate that. But first in the news, the Israeli government requested that Twitter remove anti-Semitic and anti-Israel tweets posted by Iran Supreme Leader. He used the social media platform to call for the genocide of the Israeli people. Twitter denied the request, citing the statement qualified as quote unquote, "Comments on current affairs." The decision comes after Twitter policed President Trump for his tweets alleging they glorify violence and spread misinformation.
Chris Katulka: Steve, I saw this actual interview that the Israeli government had with one of the Twitter executives on why they would allow Ayatollah Khamenei's very genocidal tweets about Israel and the Jewish people to go out. They wouldn't censor that, but then they would censor President Trump. And really what it comes down to is, Twitter just said, "Ayatollah Khamenei is okay and Trump's not." Israel and the Jewish people are constantly needing to defend themselves from enemies that surround them, and now the digital double standard of those who wish to ignore nations who call for their destruction. They silence President Trump for what? His political opinion. While giving voice to a leader who denies women's rights, murders people for their sexual orientation, is the lead state sponsor of global terrorism, they're Holocaust deniers and they want to eradicate Israel and the Jewish people. Folks, this double standard has got to stop.
It's interesting to me how there is certain opposition to Israel that comes from the world. The UN and their human rights commission has condemned Israel more than any other country, which at face value is just absurd given the grievous human rights violation some of the countries on the council have committed. Countries like North Korea, Pakistan, Qatar and Afghanistan. These countries tell Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East who provides freedom of speech and has the freedom to practice religion. Israel is condemned by North Korea, Afghanistan. But it's not just in the UN, many countries individually oppose Israel. European countries negatively label products that come from Judea and Samaria. Many countries refuse to move their embassy to Jerusalem because they stand in opposition to Israel.
So, in the world you can sense... You don't have to be a political scientist, in the world there is definitely opposition to the Jewish state. And I'll be honest, I'm not shocked by that, I'm not shocked by the world's response to Israel. Satan has been trying to divide and conquer the land of Israel and the Jewish people since the early chapters of the Bible. But here's what gets me, when Christians who value the Word of God don't believe Israel matters anymore. Don't believe Israel matters anymore. When church denominations like the Presbyterian Church of the United States decides to divest from Israel because of their misunderstanding of how Israel handles issues in the West Bank, which is also called Judea and Samaria. Or when theologians in the body of Christ try to show biblically that God no longer cares for the reestablishment of the State of Israel. That God's agenda no longer includes a future for Israel and the Jewish people.
How can it be that the Bible, which is a Jewish book, prophesied and promised the coming of a Messiah, who is Jesus, who is Jewish himself and gathered among himself 12 apostles who were Jewish and added another apostle to reach the Gentiles, Paul, who is also Jewish? How can it be that Christians today don't believe Israel, the Jewish homeland has a future? Well, I think Paul wants to tackle this issue head-on in three chapters; Romans 9, 10, and 11. Paul wants Gentile Christians to know that God still has a plan for Israel and the Jewish people. And last week we looked at Romans nine and we heard from Paul himself on his passion to see his kinsmen come to faith in Jesus, the Messiah, how he himself would be willing to sacrifice his relationship with Christ to see his fellow Israelites, he uses that title, Israelites come to faith. Paul used that term, Israelite for a reason.
And listen, if you want to know what that reason is, you have to go to foiradio.org to listen to our first message in the series, Israel still matters to God. You can go to foiradio.org to listen. So, I hope that you do that. But today I want you to open your Bibles to Romans chapter 10. Paul at the end of Romans chapter 9 highlights that all people, Jew and Gentile alike must be saved by grace alone, through faith alone. Jewish people do not get a special dispensation that is different. They must approach God and find righteousness in God the same way that Gentiles do. It's by grace, through faith. Jewish people believe that keeping the law to the best of your ability will earn you favor with God and righteous standing with him. Well, that flies in the face at everything Paul was just teaching about in Romans one through eight. You can't earn God's righteousness. God considers you righteous because of your faith in the work of Christ who shed his blood for our sins.
And Paul wants you to know that Jewish people are working according to the law to earn God's favor. And that's why he opens chapter 10 saying this, listen to these powerful words from the beginning of Romans chapter 10, starting in verse one, "Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire," This is Paul writing, "My heart's desire and prayer to God on behalf of my fellow Israelites.." There's that title again, "... is for their salvation. For I can testify that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with truth. For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God's righteousness." Verse four, "For Christ is the end of the law and the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believes." Paul is saying that zeal is good. Hey, we need more Christians with zeal and passion for God.
But when Paul is talking about the Israelites, he's saying that the zeal that the Israelites have is directed toward the wrong place, that zeal is put toward establishing their own righteousness by trying to keep the law. By doing that, they're missing the righteousness that comes from God through Christ. And listen to how Paul connects this concept of law and righteousness in Christ when he says this in verse four, "For Christ is the end of the law with the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believes." When Paul says this, he's not saying that the law is over or done with. The Greek word that Paul uses for end is télos, which can mean the goal or the culmination of. Jesus is the goal of the law. Essentially, Jesus fulfilled the law. He lived a sinless life. So, the righteous demands of the law were fulfilled in him, and this is why he's able to provide righteousness to everyone. This is why our righteousness doesn't originate from ourselves, but it comes from him because he fulfilled all the demands of the law in his sinless life. That's amazing.
He is the télos, the goal, the culmination of the law. If you want to know what the law was supposed to look like, Jesus, when he was walking and ministering is a perfect picture of the télos, the goal of the law. And Paul wants Jew and Gentile to know that faith in Christ is the only way to attain righteousness. And he even goes on to say, if we jumped down to verse eight, "But what does it say? The word is near you in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith that we preach. Because if you confess it with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. For as scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Amen. Let's just wrap up this program. Thank you, Paul. What a great message! That's it.
Everyone who trusts in the Lord Jesus will be saved, Jew and Gentile alike. This is such an important statement here. But as we're talking about the fact that Israel still matters to God today, that God has a plan for Israel today and in the future, he hasn't rejected them, it's important to remember that God doesn't show partiality between Jew and Gentile. The creator of heaven and earth loves all of his creation. He wants all mankind to have the joy of following and knowing him. When God chose Israel... Remember this, when God chose Israel, he promised to Abraham that through the Jewish people, all the families of the earth would be blessed. God's choosing of Israel was designed to return all of his creation to him, not just Israel. It wasn't just for Israel. God was using Israel to benefit the nations.
The offer of salvation for all people that the gospel must go out. Remember what it means to be saved when we talk about being saved, this is very important. It doesn't just mean you're saved from your sins. When Paul's writing in the book of Romans, he's actually thinking of something else as well. When it talks about being saved, you're saved from the judgment of God that's coming. This is why Paul opens up Romans focused on everyone, not just Israel, because judgment is coming. And everyone must know that God has provided a way through his son, Jesus Christ, to be saved, to be delivered from the coming judgment. And this is why Paul says this in Romans 10:14, "How are they to call on the one they have not believed in? How are they to believe in the one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How timely is the arrival of those who proclaim the good news!'"
This is why I always like to link Paul with Jonah. Jonah unwillingly went to the Ninevites, who were Gentiles that really controlled the known world at that time. God wanted Jonah to let the Gentiles know that judgment was coming for their sins, but they will be spared if they repent. You can read this in Jonah. It's a quick couple chapters you can read. And that's exactly what these Gentiles did, the Ninevites, they repented, they turned to God and God relented his wrath as he promised. And here's what's amazing to me, God didn't command Jonah to tell the Gentile Ninevites to become Jewish by getting circumcised first and then following all the strict rules of the laws of Moses and keeping kosher. No, instead he said, "Repent and believe in the message that God would forgive you if you repent." That's faith. And Ninevites didn't become Jewish, but they repented and as Gentiles they were delivered from God's wrath.
Paul to me is a New Testament version of Jonah, but he was willing to go to the Gentiles. He didn't run from God, but he willingly went right to the Gentile nations. And I believe Paul, as a Jewish person, knows that God's judgment is coming on the Gentile nations and they need to hear the good news. Now, in verse 18 of chapter 10, Paul wants to get us back on track with Israel because we're but a few verses away from chapter 11, which to me is the pièce de résistance of the New Testament argument that Israel still matters to God. But before we get to the end of chapter 10, I want to share with you something, because I want you to continue your study here on Romans nine through 11. You should know more about this, and we want to provide a resource for you that will help you dive even deeper into the study of Romans nine through 11.
This subject is very important here to us at the Friends of Israel that we actually dedicated an entire conference to it a few years ago, 16 messages on three chapters that best display God's plan for Israel. That God's not through with Israel, that he has a plan for them. And the Apostle Paul believed that it was important for the early church to know these truths about Israel and the Jewish people. And we believe Paul's message couldn't be any more relevant to the world that we're living in today.
Steve Conover: Yeah. And Chris, I'll add that, you can listen to all 16 of these messages, two of which were taught by Chris. And this audio teaching series is available on CD MP3 and as a digital download. To purchase, you can visit us at foiradio.org, that's foiradio.org. We'll have the link on our homepage, or you can call our listener line, it's (888) 343-6940 and someone will return your call during our regular business hours. Again, that's (888) 343-6940, or to order in Canada, call (888) 664-2584. Once again, in Canada, that's (888) 664-2584.
Chris Katulka: So, we're continuing our study on Romans 9 through 11. And we are now at the end of chapter 10. Quick recap here. Paul's concerned that his Jewish brothers and sisters have not embraced Jesus as their Messiah. Paul would be willing to give up his own relationship with Christ to see the Jewish people come to faith. While some people might be concerned that God's Word isn't turning out the way it planned, Paul remains confident because he knows God has worked with a remnant of Israelites over the years who would remain true to God's Word. And that remnant of Jewish people is the true Israel as Paul says in Romans chapter nine. God is preserving his promise through those Jewish people who believe. Paul knows that the problem is that the Jewish people have stumbled over the issue of how they attain righteousness. It's not through the keeping of the law, the attempt to fulfill all the different aspects of the law. That's essentially trying to make your own righteousness before God.
Instead, Paul is driving us to the idea that it's Jesus who is the fulfillment... The one who makes us righteous because he is the fulfillment of the law. Faith in Christ, faith in the Messiah, Jesus, makes us righteous, and this goes for a Jew or Gentile. But Paul is drawing us back to the issue that Jewish people have here. Listen to how Paul ends Romans chapter 10, verse 18, "But I ask, have they not heard? Yes, they have. Their voice has gone out to all the earth, their words to the end of the world. But again I ask, did Israel understand? First Moses says, 'I will make you jealous by those who are not a nation, with a senseless nation I will provoke you to anger.' And Isaiah even bold enough to say, 'I was found by those who did not seek me, I became well known to those who did not ask for me.' But about Israel, he says, 'All day long I held out my hands to this disobedient and stubborn people.'" What a way to end chapter 10!
Listen, Israel's rejection of Jesus is a rejection of God's will for them. And this isn't some new concept, everybody. The entire Old Testament is a story of God's people that he chose disobeying him. I mean, I just finished reading through the book of Judges in my own personal morning devotional time, and the book ends with this phrase, "In those days, Israel had no king, everyone did just as they saw fit." Just before Stephen was stoned in Acts chapter seven, he looked at the Sanhedrin and said to them, "You're no different than our ancestors, step-by-step they rejected those God sent them to lead them to freedom."
And Stephen says this in Acts chapter seven verse 51, listen, it sounds just like Paul's ending of Romans chapter 10. "You stubborn people," Stephen said, "With uncircumcised hearts and ears, you are always resisting the holy spirit like your ancestors. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. You receive the law by decrees given by angels, but you did not obey it." Ouch. Listen, Paul is saying the same thing as Stephen, as he ends Romans chapter 10. And one might think if they're reading this for the first time that God is ready to be done with these people. But Paul has set the stage now for Romans chapter 11. So, this is why you need to come back next week as we continue our study on why Israel still matters to God today.
Steve Conover: Israel on the verge of becoming a State, a teenaged Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the holy land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations. Many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collective writings from well over 50 years of ministry, continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: The Bible says that the people of Israel are God's chosen people, his peculiar treasure. Israelis consider this to be a great honor, but most forget there are conditions for them to receive God's blessings. In Deuteronomy chapter 11 verses 26 through 28, the Lord said, "Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing, if you obey my commandments and the curse, if you do not obey my commandments." Many Israelis believe that just because they live in Israel God will bless them regardless of disobedience. I recently met some who believe this way, I told them, "My friends, it is not enough that you live in Israel. Deuteronomy chapter 12 verse one states, 'These are the statutes and judgment which you must observe in the land which the Lord God is giving you to possess all the days that you live on the earth.'" They responded, "We realize you are a Christian, and you want us to receive Jesus as our Savior as you people always say. We know you are not courageous enough to tell the rabbis what you're telling us."
I replied, "Everyone must hear the truth about our Savior. And actually many times I have told rabbis what I just told you. One day, when you stand before the Lord to give an account for your life, your rabbis will not stand with you. You will stand before him alone. Neither do the rabbis have the power to forgive your sins." They became interested in what I was sharing, but one of them said, "Our fathers lived and died following these traditions, it is hard for us to forsake the old ways." "I understand your concerns," I told him, "But if you do not change your ways, when you die you will be lost forever with no opportunity to be saved."
They seemed frightened and asked, "Do you think we have already gone too far?" "No," I answered, "This is only the beginning. When you start to fear, your eyes will be open to see biblical truth. You will see the folly of following old traditions and not accepting the responsibility for your eternal souls." One of the men said, "We have studied the Talmud all our lives. You cannot teach us anything we do not already know." And then I asked the entire group, "Which book is more important? The Talmud or the Torah? If you are good Jews, why do you not keep the law as it is written in Deuteronomy chapter five verse seven, 'You shall have no other gods before me.'"
This is only one of the many commandments that Israelis do not keep. Every person is responsible for himself before the Lord and Ezekiel 18:20 tells us that the soul who sins shall die. Our fathers and rabbis cannot save us. But if you receive the Lord, you will be blessed rather than cursed. At the end of our conversation one said, "We never realized that those who believe in Jesus follow the Bible so closely. This is the first time we have heard what you really believe." I pray for them that the Lord will cause them to meditate on what they hear, that they will recognize the truth as it is written in his word, and that they will open their hearts to him as their Savior and Messiah.
Steve Conover: We're so glad you chose to be with us these last 30 minutes for the program. Chris, we're continuing our study next week, tell us where we're headed.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, we're doing Romans chapter 11. So, if you've enjoyed chapter nine and chapter 10, chapter 11 is where I think Paul is driving us to, to let us know that God still has a plan, a future, a hope, a bright future for Israel and the Jewish people.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
2014 Prophecy Conference CD Set
God’s not through with Israel! Paul devoted three chapters, Romans 9–11, to this very fact. We devoted an entire conference to these chapters!
Enjoy listening to these sixteen messages from The Friends of Israel’s Bible teachers explaining God’s plan for Israel from these three chapters.
Apples of Gold: It is Hard For Us to Forsake the Old Ways
Zvi encountered Israelis that believed God would bless them just because they lived in Israel even though they did not believe in His Son. He asked them where they got their authority from: the Bible or books written by man. They accused him of trying to proselytize because he was a believer in Jesus. Because of the Jewish faith of their fathers, it was hard for them to believe in anything else. Hear how Zvi explained where his authority and hope came from.
Zvi’s story is available in Elwood McQuaid’s book, “Zvi: The Miraculous Story of Triumph over the Holocaust,” available at our online store.
More stories from Zvi are also available in his book, “The Best of Zvi,” available at our online store.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.