There is a difference between the righteousness that the Law offers and the righteousness that comes by faith. Paul started out this chapter by saying the Israelites were zealous for God but their zeal wasn't based upon the truth of Jesus and because of it they sought to establish their own righteousness based upon the law ( Romans 10:2, Romans 10:3 ). Then in verse four he made an amazing declaration that Christ was the end of the law so we could be righteous and holy by faith ( Romans 10:4 ). This is an amazing truth but difficult to accept unless one's heart is in alignment with this truth from God's word.
Our relationship with God has always been based upon a heart change even at the time that the Law was given this was the objective. Moses warned the Israelites when he gave them the law that the man who obeys them will live by them ( Leviticus 18:5 ). It wasn't based on Ten commandments, it was more extensive and based on over four hundred laws and precepts. If you religiously followed one law then you had to follow all laws. Moses warned them about this. However he also understood that this revelation of God's decrees was simply intended to get them ready for the promised Messiah and not to be a means to an end. It outlined everything Jesus would be and it showed us how He would be the perfect sacrifice before God in our stead. Moses warned that if anyone was trusting in the law to save them, they would soon discover how impossible it was. If you live by the law then you will die by the law.
James said the same thing, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" ( James 2:10 ). The Law is an all or nothing thing. So in that sense it is impossible to live by it because of the sinful nature with which we were born. Fortunately for us we do not have to live this way because "but the righteous will live by his faith" ( Habakkuk 2:4 ). The Amplified Bible put it this way, "but the [rigidly] just and the [uncompromisingly] righteous man shall live by his faith and in his faithfulness" ( Habakkuk 2:4 Amp ). Meaning that faith in Christ is how we must live and this fulfills the law in our own hearts. Because the law looked forward to Christ and made him its object. Jesus brings us into relationship with God and our heart changes and aligns to His in the process.
What does Jesus say about the Law? When questioned about it Jesus responded, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" ( Matthew 22:37-40 ). Fulfilling the first commandment can only be accomplished with true lasting heart change. We cannot love God with all of our hearts when it is only an intellectual ritualistic thing. To love God takes every ounce of our being we can only do this when our heart is aligned to his heart. This only happens when we experience the love of Christ. John said, "we love because he first loved us" ( I John 4:19 ). Our love is a natural response to His love towards us. We can love him with everything we are because through grace we are a redeemed and holy people. By loving God in this way we fulfill the intent of the law because we are looking to him for everything and not relying on ourselves.
In the same way, because of His love pouring out of us we can love others where before we couldn't. In fact we can love others more by accident than on purpose. This is because we are living our lives from a real change of heart that focuses on God for everything. It is not a self centered thing. Love flowed from the cross and overflows into our hearts and we have become like Him through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. Paul encourages us with the same thought, "The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." ( Galatians 3:14 )."Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." ( Romans 13:8 ). This love is based upon Christ who is the end of the law ( Romans 10:4 ).
Today, I am thankful that Moses foresaw the coming Messiah and challenged the Israelites to look forward to Him in faith instead of living by the dictates of the Law. I am thankful that Christ has come in the flesh to redeem mankind. By trusting in Jesus you are saved and loved and equipped to love one another. May this revelation of Jesus Christ bless you today, amen!