“Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3).
What must I do to be right with God and go to heaven? Many people have asked themselves that question over the centuries. However, the answers people give to that question vary widely.
For example, some believe that if they do enough good works in service to God and their fellow man, they will become right with God and be able to go to heaven. In other words, if their good works outweigh their bad works God will accept them. Others believe if they adhere to a certain standard of conduct or moral code God will be pleased with them. Still, yet others, believe if they simply practice going to church services on a regular basis that this will assure their place in heaven. However, what does God say I must do to be right with Him?
In the 10th chapter Romans, Paul addresses the answer to this question as he considers his own beloved brethren of Israel. He mentions how they had a “zeal for God” (Romans 10:2). This was a commendable quality for them to have. Yet, there was a problem. Their zeal for God was “not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2). Although Paul greatly desired to see his countrymen be saved (Romans 10:1), he knew they could not if they continued “seeking to establish their own righteousness” (Romans 10:3). Paul addresses what they needed to do to become right with God.
First, they needed to stop “being ignorant of God’s righteousness” (Romans 10:3). They needed to understand what God expected them to do to become righteous. Israel had rejected God’s Son Jesus. When Pontius Pilate asked them what he should do with Jesus, the Jewish crowd had said, “Let Him be crucified!” (Matthew 27:23). They had rejected the very One who could save them, redeem them from their sins, and make them right with God. They needed to understand that Christ “in the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). Embracing Jesus as both our Lord and Savior is the only way we can be made righteous before God.
However, not only did they need to understand that Jesus was the only way for them be made right before God, but they also needed to submit to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3). It is one thing to know God’s Will; it is another to submit one’s will to God’s Will. Paul tells them how to begin submitting to God’s Will that they may be made righteous before God. He says, “…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). Confessing Jesus as our Lord, believing in His atoning sacrifice for our sins (Romans 5:8-10), and expressing our love for Him by submitting to His commandments is how we are made right before God (John 14:15).
I realize I cannot make myself right with God by doing a certain amount of good works, living perfectly by some moral code, or simply by attending church services. I rejoice that God has revealed to me through the Gospel of Christ the news that I can be made right with God by acknowledging Jesus as my Savior and submitting to God’s Will for my life!
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).