“For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” Romans 10:3
We may have a form of zeal for God, very active, very disciplined, but it may be a zeal that is not according to knowledge. The knowledge of God’s righteousness, which is not on the basis of works, but on the basis of God’s gracious choice to show mercy to us who were once disobedient, giving us righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. So, if it is on the basis of God’s choice, then it is rooted in His purpose, and if rooted in His purpose, then it is for His glory.
Yet this way of living must be condemned in our hearts. There is none righteous, no not one. For us to establish our own righteousness is futility in it’s highest endeavors; we are fighting against God’s design to shut us all up in disobedience and to show mercy to all of us, and so by doing this we are refusing His mercy and stumbling over the Rock of Offense as we try to support the root when we are but branches. To subject ourselves to the righteousness of God is to place ourselves in a position of dependence to receive that righteousness. As Paul stated in Romans 10, “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” In other words, ‘I am trusting in Jesus and His work to make me righteous, I am declaring by my life that He is Lord and that I am dependent on my Master’s will.’ In calling on the name of the Lord, I am not calling on any other help but Jehovah Himself, because by this point He has revealed clearly enough that there is salvation in no other. In all of this I am laying down dependence on all others, including myself, and placing it solely in Christ Jesus. In this way I subject myself to the mercy of God, and reject the efficacy I placed on my own works, my heritage, my standards and my zeal to make me right before God. All we have is Christ and by His grace He will live, the righteousness that He Is, in and through us. If it does not originate from God then it still comes from us, and that is not true righteousness. If it is true righteousness, it all comes from Him, and so He gets all the glory! We did not make the first move, we did not want God before He wanted us. We are at the mercy of His choice, and praise be to God He has shown us that mercy! There is nothing we have that we did not receive, and there is nothing we have or can give God that He should owe us repayment.
Now is the time to subject ourselves to the righteousness of God – Jesus Christ – and to trust in Him so that we will not be disappointed. For this takes the glory we were striving for and rightfully ascribes it to Christ; the righteousness we sought secretly for our own praise, now is ours, but to the praise of Jesus Christ. Therefore we must reject the righteousness that comes of works, and submit ourselves to Jesus Christ, that His divine influence in our hearts might outwork in our lives.
“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy; For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 9:16; 11:36