Key Verse: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
AFTER LEADING ISRAEL out of Egyptian bondage, Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the Lord your God … Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.” (Lev. 18:2,5) This was God’s message of salvation to Israel. However, in all the time since Moses delivered these words, none had succeeded in meriting life under these statutes. Jehovah’s Law was perfect, and it was impossible for imperfect man to live up to its requirements.
Paul’s message of salvation in today’s Key Verse meant a departure from the requirements of the Law of Moses to a reliance upon the meritorious value of Christ’s death. This new way to salvation was not hidden from those under the Law in Paul’s day, for he quotes from Deuteronomy 30:11-14 in today’s Selected Scripture passage. Paul made this same point to the Jews in Galatians 3:23-26, saying, “Before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
In Romans 10:1-4 Paul sets the stage for today’s lesson: “My brothers, from the bottom of my heart I long and pray to God that Israel may be saved! I know from experience what a passion for God they have, but alas, it is not a passion based on knowledge. They do not know God’s righteousness, and all the time they are going about trying to prove their own righteousness they have the wrong attitude to receive his. For Christ means the end of the struggle for righteousness-by-the-Law for everyone who believes in him.”—J. B. Phillips New Testament
Paul’s message of salvation proclaimed that Christ was the end of the Mosaic Law for everyone that believes on him. Jesus’ death settled the claims of the Law upon all Israelites who accept the value of his ransom, represented in his shed blood. A path to life was now achievable by accepting the redemption provided through Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. This was the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which, according to God’s own purpose and grace was given before the world began. Now, it was made manifest by the appearance of our Savior Jesus Christ, who “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”—II Tim. 1:7-10
This proclamation that faith in Christ is the condition of release from condemnation before God was not limited to natural Israelites. Their own prophets had declared this message included the opportunity for the salvation of all mankind. Isaiah had prophesied the principle of today’s Key Verse, saying, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.” (Isa. 28:16, New Living Translation) The Prophet Joel gave a similar message in Joel 2:32: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (New International Version) Let us be constant in proclaiming this message of salvation which is universally offered to everyone who will hear and obey.—Rom. 1:16