“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” ~Romans 10:1-2
The passage shows that is it possible to have zeal without having knowledge. We have to have zeal that is based on knowledge of God’s word. This knowledge is not referring to pure ‘head knowledge’, but rather a true understanding of God’s word that comes from knowledge. If we do not have the correct understanding, then we run the risk of establishing our own standard of righteousness, instead of submitting to God’s righteousness.
Jesus prophesied that at the time of his return there would still be people whose zeal would not be based on knowledge. Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Only believers would call Jesus “Lord”, yet these ‘believers’ do not have faith and deeds that are based on God’s word or His will. Only those who do the will of God will enter the kingdom of heaven, but we can only do God’s will if we know what it is. For this we need knowledge, and true understanding.
Proverbs 19:2 says, “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.” Who was “the Way” at the time of the first coming? Jesus (Jn 14:6). We must make sure we have zeal that is based on knowledge and true understanding so that we do not “miss the way,” and so that we are not those whom Jesus prophesied about in Matthew 7.
Have you ever been really zealous about something?