Romans 10:4 says, “For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to everyone who believes.” Christ is the end of the law. This means that He has completed and terminated the law. He came to fulfill the law (Matt. 5:17). By fulfilling the law He ended and terminated the law. The result of Christ’s terminating the law is that God’s righteousness is given to everyone who believes in Christ. When He died on the cross, Christ completed and terminated the law. The law ended in Him. Since the law was terminated on the cross of Christ, we should be under it no longer. We may simply receive God’s righteousness by believing in Christ.
The Jews treasured the law and tried to keep it that they might establish their own righteousness before God. They did not see that the law had been fully completed and terminated by Christ. If they had seen this, they would have stopped their attempts to keep the law. They would never again have tried to establish their own righteousness before God, but would have taken Christ as their righteousness.
The principle is the same with a great many Christians today. After being saved, they make up their minds to do good to please God. As a result, they spontaneously make regulations for themselves, regulations which may be considered as their self-made laws, and they endeavor to fulfill them in order that they may be pleasing to God. Like the Jews, they do not see that Christ is the end, the termination of all regulations and that they should take Him as their life that they may live righteously before God. Furthermore, they need to see that the genuine righteousness before God is Christ, the One who has terminated the law that He might be the living righteousness to everyone who believes in Him. Romans 10 unfolds so much of Christ that we may know how to participate in and enjoy Him as our real and living righteousness before God.
We need to read verses 5 through 7. “For Moses writes that the man who does the righteousness which is out of the law shall live in it. But the righteousness which is out of faith speaks in this way, Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven? That is, to bring Christ down. Or, Who will descend into the abyss? That is, to bring Christ up from among the dead.” Paul’s writing is very deep. Apparently these verses do not mention the incarnation and resurrection of Christ; actually both are included in this portion. Although Paul did not use the words incarnation and resurrection, he nevertheless had both of them in mind when he wrote this part of Romans. Paul quotes Deuteronomy 30:12 saying, “Do not say in your hearts, Who will ascend into heaven?” He then points out that this means “to bring Christ down” and that this refers to Christ’s incarnation, for Christ came down from the heavens in His incarnation. Furthermore, Paul says that we should not ask, “Who will descend into the abyss?” To “descend into the abyss” means “to bring Christ up from among the dead,” and this refers to Christ’s resurrection. To descend into the abyss means to die and to enter into hades. When Christ died He descended into the abyss, and in resurrection He was brought up from among the dead, that is, out of the abyss. Christ is the One who has passed through incarnation and resurrection. Therefore, we may say that He is the “processed” Christ, Christ incarnated and resurrected.
Christ has passed through a long process from incarnation through resurrection. In this process He accomplished everything that is required by God’s righteousness, holiness, and glory and all that is needed to enable us to partake of Him. He was God incarnated to be a man, and, as a man, He was transfigured through resurrection into the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). Now in resurrection as the life-giving Spirit He is so available to us that we may receive Him and take Him in at any time and in any place.
We need to say a word about the “abyss” mentioned in verse 7. In Greek the word rendered as “abyss” is abyssos. This word is used in Luke 8:31 (translated “deep” in KJV) referring to the dwelling place of the demons. It also occurs in Revelation 9:1, 2, 11 (always translated “bottomless pit” by KJV in Revelation) denoting the place out of which the “locusts,” whose king is Apollyon, will come; in Revelation 11:7 and 17:8 signifying the place out of which the beast which is the antichrist will ascend; and in Revelation 20:1, 3 specifying the place into which Satan will be cast and imprisoned during the millennium. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, uses this word for the word “deep” in Genesis 1:2. Here in Romans 10:7 it points to the place Christ visited after His death and before His resurrection, which place, according to Acts 2:24, 27, is hades. For Acts 2:24, 27 reveals that Christ went into hades after He died and rose from that place in His resurrection. So, according to biblical usage, the word abyss always refers to the region of death and of Satan’s power of darkness into which Christ after His death descended as into the lower parts of the earth (Eph. 4:9), which He conquered, and from which He ascended in His resurrection.
Please pay attention to what Paul says in verse 8. “But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart: that is, the word of the faith which we preach.” The resurrected Christ as the living Word is near us, in our mouth and in our heart. In this verse Paul suddenly uses the term “the Word” interchangeably for Christ, indicating thereby that this Word undoubtedly is Christ Himself. Christ in resurrection as the life-giving Spirit is the living Word. This corresponds to the New Testament revelation that the Word is the Spirit. If you read Ephesians 6:18 in the Greek, you will discover that the Spirit is the Word. Hence, Christ in His resurrection is both the Spirit and the Word. He is the Spirit for us to touch and He is the Word for us to understand. We may receive Him as both the Spirit and the Word. The resurrected Christ as the life-giving Spirit is the living Word that is so near to us. He is in our mouth and in our heart. Our mouth is for calling, and our heart is for believing. Thus, we can call upon Him with our mouth and believe in Him with our heart. When we call on Him we are saved; when we believe in Him we are justified.
After being processed through incarnation and resurrection, Christ today is both the Lord sitting on the throne of God in heaven and the life-giving Spirit moving on the earth. Thus, He is near and available to us. He is so near that He is even in our mouth and in our heart. No one can be nearer than this. He is so available that whoever believes in Him with his heart and calls on Him with his mouth will partake of Him. He has accomplished everything and He has passed through every process. He is now moving on earth, ready for and available to anyone who will receive Him.
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