Main point summary
Paul desires Israel to be saved. He bears witness of Israel's zeal for God without knowledge. They seek to establish their own righteousness and do not receive the righteousness of God by faith.
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.
For Christ is the end of the law
for righteousness to everyone who believes.
For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law,
“The man who does those things shall live by them.”
But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way,
“Do not say in your heart,
‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ”
(that is, to bring Christ down from above )
or, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ”
(that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
But what does it say?
“The word is near you,
in your mouth
and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith which we preach):
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.
For the Scripture says,
“ Whoever believes on Him
will not be put to shame.”
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek,
for the same Lord over all is rich to all
who call upon Him.
For “ whoever calls on the name of the Lord
shall be saved.”
In other words: God is far away. Salvation cannot be received
Paul's desire of Israel's salvation just as in Rm 9:1-5.
Verse 1-2 Zeal without knowledge Paul prays for Israel salvation because they have zeal for God but not according to knowledge. Verse 2-3 Zeal in deception misses the righteousness of God Israel's zeal for God is not according to knowledge because they have not submitted to the righteousness of God. Verse 3-4 Righteousness of God apart from works Israel has not submitted to the righteousness of God by seeking to establish their own righteousness. The righteousness of God in Christ for all that believe is apart from any efforts of keeping the law. Israel is ignorant of that. Verse 4-5 Christ and the law Christ fulfilled the law. He is the man who did all those things and lived by them so that all who believe in Him get His righteousness accounted to themselves. Verses 1-5 alternative to Verses 6-13. Works-based vs Faith-based righteousness If ones own performance to keep the law is the basis for righteousness, how much keeping is required to be righteous? No mere human ever kept it perfectly. If our performance is the base, then righteousness is far off and unattainable. Alternatively to the way Israel seeks righteousness, to be right in God's sight is very near. It can be received by an act of faith, by a sincere utter of prayer, by trusting Christ and His righteousness.