1Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. 3For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. 4For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
5Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” 6But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say?
“The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
"They have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened" is not only a good way to describe the Jewish approach to God, as Paul describes, but it is also a good way to describe other religious approaches as well. The issue isn't zeal or sincerity. Many religions have zealous believers and deep sincerity about what they believe. The determining issue is whether what they worship and their beliefs about what they worship are enlightened, i.e., whether the reference and meaning of their worship are true.
Paul writes that Christ is the "end" of the law. "End" here is the Greek telos, conveying the sense of "purpose" or "aim." Christ, in other words, is what the Law is ultimately about. The Law (OT Law) finds its own fulfillment in Jesus Christ. The Word of God written is fulfilled by the Word of God Incarnate.
The next sequence in Paul's writing talks about how salvation is attained through Jesus. Not terribly complicated really. "Confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Literally that's what it says. Confess and believe in your heart. And this simplicity of salvation is true for everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike. "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" is another way of putting the matter.
Salvation, according to Christianity, is centered on the Person of Jesus the Messiah, recognizing who he is and what God did through him. Salvation outside of Jesus is not possible according to the Scriptures. Even those who might be saved without having heard of Jesus (like infants and people without any access to the Gospel of Jesus) are saved through Jesus, the Crucified and Risen Lord.
Profound Simplicity. Solus Christus (Latin for "Christ Alone") was the Reformation's declaration of salvation. Not the institutional church, not the church's sacraments, not priests, not almsgiving, not penance, not pilgrimages, not set prayers, not any works-righteousness. Simple trust in Jesus for one's life and salvation is the essence. Trusting him, hoping in him, and loving him. Getting to know him. Following him. Being transformed by him through the Holy Spirit. Is it really that complicated? No, not really. Sola Fide ("Faith Alone") from Sola Gratia ("Grace Alone"). Our response? Soli Deo Gloria ("Glory to God Alone").
Let's pray: Lord Jesus, we thank you for saving us, from our alienation, our lostness, our benightedness, and our works-righteousness. You did it all. What you did and what are you doing are entirely sufficient for us to be saved. Saved from certain things but also saved for other things -- like intimacy, knowledge, purpose, meaning, relationships, and transformation. We are so thankful for the gift of salvation, in you. Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.