An equation is created by values that are equal. Like 2+2=4. Of 2x=8. Or simply, the stuff on the left equals the stuff on the right. In Paul’s wonderfully woven message in Romans 10, do we have the framework for an equation or something completely different? Is it a quick problem, Declaration + Believe = Salvation or is Paul’s statement one of inspired vitality? Is this language a cheap and quick way to make Christians or is this a way Christians are made?
Paul is grieved that his own people, his family, his nation have not accepted the message of Jesus. Jesus is salvation. “The Lord is my light and my salvation”, or “Surely God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid.”. They stumbled over the stumbling block, Jesus.
John the Baptist, baptized Jews in the Jordan River, the very river they crossed to come into the promised land. He was asking this nation to repent and start over. Not physically. They could not go back to captivity in Egypt, through the wilderness. He was asking them to start over spiritually and await the Messiah. But as John sat rotting in prison, Jesus the Messiah was eating with tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners. I imagine he was confused by this version of Salvation. So he asked this question:
“Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Paul was pleading that the Church of Rome would be equipped to answer this question. Is Jesus the one who is to come, or is there another? The letters Paul wrote all motivated people to unify under the banner of faith in Christ Jesus. Paul’s base motivation for this chapter and “the equation” is the restoration of his people, the Jews, through the Gospel message preached by the Church. That the Church would confess Jesus to the lost and hurting.
This verse is not a simple formula to be saved. It is a call to be filled with compassion and declare Jesus. The call that came from Paul now comes from all of us that have brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, that neither know Jesus nor the life he brings and desperately desire their salvation.
Seek God, love Him; seek others, love them.