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Zeal Without Knowledge

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Rom. 10:1-3). Here is indeed a sad condition for old fleshly Israel to be in before God but alas it was true.

1. Paul wanted them to be saved which shows that in their condition of zeal without knowledge they were lost. Paul later was put in prison for preaching Jesus Christ and he told the Jews in Rome that “for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain” (Acts 28:20). The hope of Israel is the Jesus Christ that Paul preached. Without faith in Jesus Christ people die in their sins (John 8:21). It matters not how much zeal they have in their own religions they are still lost.

2. Zeal is very important. Christians are told that they are to be a zealous people (Tit. 2:14). Jesus Christ was zealous (John 2:17). Zeal must be tempered with knowledge. We have to know and practice what is true and right with zeal. In I Kings 18:21-29 the prophets of Baal prayed from morning until 3 P.M. for Baal to send fire down and consume their sacrifice. They became so zealous for an answer that they cut themselves and the blood gushed out, but no answer came because Baal is nothing. It mattered not how zealous they were, their religion was in vain. The same thing can be said of the Jews of the first century because in rejecting Christ they rejected salvation. He is the author of eternal salvation only to those who obey him (Heb. 5:8,9). Zeal without the proper knowledge of and practice of the truth is worth nothing to our souls.

3. They were ignorant of God’s righteousness. There is ignorance because one just has not been taught better. A good teacher can enlighten such a person if his mind is open. There is willful ignorance when people have closed their eyes, ears and hearts to the truth
(Mat. 13:13-15). There are many cases where with envy the Jews contradicted and blasphemed Paul and those with him after they had been taught the gospel of Christ (Acts 13:45; 17:5). These people were ignorant by choice because they rejected Jesus Christ and His spokesmen as well. Ignorance is no excuse, but God wants all men to repent (Acts 17:30). We all face the judgment. If we could have known the truth, but rejected it, we will be no valid defense before the King of Kings.

4. They established their own righteousness. This would be righteousness based on the law but they did not realize that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”(Rom.10:4)
The law did not have a Savior. The law only pointed to Jesus Christ. He fulfilled the law (Mat. 5:17). Some people of our day try to establish their own righteousness. They send out people to survey a community to find what the people want in a church, then based upon these findings, establish a church to please the people. They are establishing their own righteousness and not submitting to the righteousness of God. When people set up a worship that is a program to please the people they are not worshipping in spirit and in truth like the Lord Jesus Christ told us to do (John 4:23, 24).

5. The righteousness which is by faith is described in Romans 10:6-18.
A) It is based upon faith which comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:14, 17). Hearing what pleases us will not save us. Hearing what God says, believing it, and acting upon it will save. Like Jesus we must say, “not what I will but what Thou wilt” (Mk. 14:36). We must pray like Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven” (Mat. 6:10). We need to ask what that will is, seek that will, and knock for it to be opened to us (Mat. 7:7-10).

B) It is based upon calling on the name of the Lord to be saved. Calling on the name of the Lord is not prayer but obeying the gospel (Rom. 10:16). The people on Pentecost day called on the name of the Lord by believing, repenting and being baptized (Acts 2:37,38). Saul was told that as a believing, repentant, confessing person he needed to arise and be baptized and wash away his sins calling on the name of the Lord.
(Acts 22:16).

In conclusion just anything in religion will not save us. We need to do God’s will through Jesus Christ.

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