Religion's Response to Grace.

When religious people hear the Gospel, they respond to it sincerely from a heart that has been trained religiously. They generally reject God's free offer of grace without knowing so as they continue to work for God's favor. God never intended people to work for salvation; it is impossible! In fact, "religious good works shipwreck grace." God offers the free gift of eternal life only through His Son (Romans 6:23).


Romans 10:1 begins with Paul's reiteration of his tremendous desire for his fellow Jews to be saved. Verse 2 explains that religious people have a zeal for God, but they do not fully understand Christ. Paul knew this from experience. As a Pharisee, he had memorized the entire Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) and studied the Talmud in detail (the collection of human tradition in the Jewish religion).

Paul had compassion and patience with religious people who rejected God's grace (verse 3). We can respect their sincerity, since all people are created in God's image and designed to worship. The commandments of Scripture are important and valuable. But instead of earning us favor with God, they serve as guideposts to show us our imperfection and our need for Christ.

Grace is offered to everyone and anyone who will believe (Romans 10:4). God's sovereignty is always coupled with His grace.

The Central Issue (Romans 10:5-7)

Religious people's central issue is misinterpreting their own Scriptures. Paul used the words of Moses to connect with a Jewish audience. God's Word converts the soul. Paul quotes Leviticus 18:5 to remind hearers that they would have to keep God's moral code perfectly in order to find eternal life on their own. True saving faith is all of God and not of human effort. Quoting Deuteronomy 30:12-14 emphasizes that God's plan of salvation could never be imagined by any human, let alone initiated by one.

Grace's Response to Religion (Romans 10:8-13)

Some religious people know what they are rejecting. Jesus was not shy to tell Nicodemus that he should have recognized the Messiah (John 3). A religious person's tendency is to believe they have a corner on truth; but no one does. Jesus Christ is the truth, and He has been revealed to all people. God's offer is always the same: confess your sin, understand who Christ is, and submit your heart to Him alone, and you will be saved! For the Christian, assurance is as simple as recognizing those realities in your life.

Application Points

How should Christians respond to religious people who have not yet accepted God's grace?

  • Don't ever stop praying.
  • Develop compassion and patience for those who do not understand Christ yet.
  • Respect the sincerity of the religious person. Appreciate their heart and effort – this could soften their heart to hear you.
  • Share God's Word. Only that can convert a soul.
  • Extend God's simple offer of grace. "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 John 1:9 – Confessing our sin.