4.11 Romans -- But What About Israel?, cont.
At the beginning of Rom 10 is the following verse:
Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes (Rom 10:4).
Other versions read:
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (KJV).
For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified (RSV).
This verse has been the source of much scholarly contention, focusing on the Greek word "telos" -- "culmination," "fulfilment" or "end." The NIV translation makes Christ the "culmination" of the Law, which implies that the Law may remain in effect for those not covered by the righteousness of faith. The other meaning is that Jesus' coming not only fulfilled the Law, but ended its authority. This online study agrees with the Expositor's Bible Commentary:
"Both concepts seem to fit rather well in our passage. However, the decisive factor that favors 'termination' rather than 'purpose' as the main idea is the contrast in 9:30ff. between the law and God's righteousness. Though the law is righteous, it fails as an instrument of justification (cf Ro 8:3-4). Paul's contention regarding the Jew (Ro 8:3) is not the incompleteness of his position, which needed the coming of Christ to perfect it, but the absolute wrong of that position, because it entailed an effort to establish righteousness by human effort rather than by acceptance of a divine gift" (Expositor's Bible Commentary, X, p. 111).
Yes -- the coming of Jesus ended the role of the Law in the scheme of salvation. Faith replaced works, grace replaced merit, Jesus' sacrifice replaced Temple ritual. There are not two parallel routes of salvation, one for law-abiding Jews, one for faith-believing Gentiles. The New Covenant in Jesus supplanted the Old Covenant.
Next, Paul condenses the entire "apparatus" of salvation into one commandment, but he introduces his gospel with a quotation from the Old Testament:
If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Rom 10:9).
There it is -- Paul's message to the world. He has lopped off all extraneous complications and elaborations. This is the definition of the "righteousness of faith" which he introduced back in Rom 3:21. This verse "fulfills" the Old Testament Scripture that preceded it.