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Currency for the Bank of Heaven

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Romans 10:4–13

The righteousness we all need to be acceptable to God is readily available to us and absolutely free. It comes not from our faultless performance but from a faultless Person—Jesus Christ.


Most religious Jews of Paul’s day had the game of religion mastered. They assumed they had a monopoly on how to win heaven. They knew the rules, even the ones that were hard to remember. They could strut around Jerusalem—after all, they believed they owned a piece of heaven.

But their bank accounts of religious rituals and ceremonies that looked so impressive were just like Monopoly money. Maybe you have played the game of Monopoly before; you stayed up until one o’clock in the morning, purchasing houses and properties and collecting stacks of Monopoly money. Maybe you won the game that night.

Well, all your Monopoly money was good for the game, but you could not deposit it in your local bank account. Monopoly money is worthless there.

In the same way, the impressive currency of religious ceremonies cannot transfer into the bank of heaven. No matter how much you accumulate, it will never purchase your redemption.

The question then becomes, What kind of currency does God accept? Paul has already answered that in verse 3: Heaven only negotiates in the currency of God’s righteousness. That is the only kind of “money” the bank of heaven accepts. Everything else is like Monopoly money! It is make-believe.

So, the important question is this: How do we get the currency of God’s righteousness into the wallets of our souls?

Paul answers in verse 4: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Christ is the end of the law. We have explained before that as followers of Christ, we are not under the Old Testament law. We are no longer controlled by it or subjected to it (Romans 6:14).

But Paul is saying something a little different here. The Greek word he uses for “end” is telos, meaning “goal” or “culmination.” Many commentators, in fact, prefer to translate Romans 10:4, “Christ is the goal of the law.” The law pointed to Him; it anticipated His arrival and His work. Christ is where the law leads you—to the need for a Savior and to the righteousness that only He can provide to everyone who believes.

Paul then proceeds in this passage to contrast two kinds of righteousness. One kind of righteousness is like Monopoly money. It can give you good feelings of success and spiritual wealth, but it is only make-believe. The other kind of righteousness is real. It is authentic, genuine, spiritual currency.

Paul writes in verse 5, “For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.” The one who seeks righteousness through obedience to the law, however, is doomed, for nobody can keep that righteous standard.

Then, beginning in verse 6, Paul quotes the Lord’s words from Deuteronomy 30:11-14 and provides some commentary of his own as he goes along:

“Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). (verses 6-7)

In other words, you have everything you need to properly respond to God. Nobody has to go up into heaven to bring Christ down because He has already come down. And nobody has to descend into the abyss, the grave, to bring Christ up from the dead, because He has already risen from the dead.

His work of salvation is complete—and this message is “near” Paul’s readers, according to verse 8. They do not have to go searching for it; it is readily available through Christ.

The true currency of the gospel, which is accepted in the bank of heaven, does not have to be earned—and it cannot be. It will be deposited into your bank account of life, upon salvation, which is by the grace of God and is received by faith.

I read about one student who recounted an unforgettable experience that illustrated this truth of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.

She left work early so she could have some uninterrupted study time before her final exam at Hannibal College in Missouri. When she finally got to class, everybody was getting in some last-minute studying. The teacher came in and said he would review with the class before the test. Most of this review came right from the study guide, but there were some things he was reviewing that most of the class had not studied. When questioned about it, he said these things were in the book and they were responsible for everything in the book. And they could not argue with him on that.

Finally, it was time to take the test, and the professor placed their exams face down on their desks. When everyone had one, he told them to turn them over and begin.  

To the students’ astonishment, they found every answer on the test was already filled in—by hand. Each student’s name was written on his or her exam in red ink. And at the bottom of the last page, the professor had written these words:

This is the end of the exam. All the answers on your test are correct. You will receive an A on the final exam. The reason you passed this test is because the creator of the test took it for you. All the work you did in preparation for this test did not help you get the A.

The professor then went around the room and asked each student individually, “What is your grade?” “An A.”  “Do you deserve this grade you are receiving?” “Not at all.”  

Then he said, “Some things you’ve learned in this class from lectures, some things you’ve learned from research, but some things you can only learn from experience. You have just experienced grace.”[1]

Is that not what Paul is declaring here in Romans 10? This is the word that you have! And there is no impartiality with God; Jew and Gentile alike are included. Paul declares this glorious truth in verse 13: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Jesus Christ came from heaven and rose from the grave to offer His grace to you. Jesus Christ is the solution to your final exam—He has handwritten all the answers required of you for salvation. He has written your name in His roll book of everlasting life.

You had nothing to perform, no perfect score to earn on your own in order to have your name entered, and yet there it is—beside your name is a perfect score.

This passage in Romans 10 begins in verse 4 with Paul’s explanation of God’s righteousness through the living Word. And this is connected in verse 8 to the spoken word, “the word of faith that we proclaim.”

The law was delivered at Mount Sinai; grace was delivered at Mount Calvary. The righteousness of the law leads to legalism; the righteousness of the Lord leads to liberty. Grace is not a benefit of the law; it is a blessing from the Lord!

Salvation is not the result of a faultless performance; it is a relationship with a faultless Person—Jesus Christ! He is our hope and our righteousness. We can do nothing to earn it; we can only receive it by faith. Paul presents this precious promise in verses 9-11:

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

The F—the failing grade we have all earned as sinners—is replaced by grace with a perfect score through Christ. He is our amazing Savior—this is His amazing grace.

[1] David Ward, Sermon illustrations,, September 25, 2006

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