Romans 10


The Vindication Of God’s Choices

A brief outline of chapters 9-11

1. God’s right to choose as shown by many illustrations:

Isaac, Jacob, Pharaoh, the potter, by Hosea the prophet (those, not His people would be called His people), and by Isaiah the prophet (not all of the Israelites were saved even in the Old Testament age), Romans 9:1-10.

2. The next section shows why they were rejected, Romans 9:11-21.

a. They were seeking it by the works of the law and stumbled, Romans 9:30-33.

b. They were ignorant of God’s righteousness, Romans 10:1-4.

c. He shows what true righteousness is, Romans 10:5-15.

d. Israel had heard and should have known, Romans 10:16-20.

e. Their rejection was because of their rebellion, Romans 10:21.

3. God had not cast away His people, Romans 11:1-31.

a. Paul was an Israelite, Romans 11:1.

b. Elijah was wrong when he thought none were faithful in Israel, Romans 11:2-5.

c. They were temporarily hardened to open the way for the Gentiles, Romans 11:6-16.

d. God could now graft them in if they did not continue to abide in unbelief, Romans 11:7-31.

4. All of this worked out in accordance with God’s plan, so He might have mercy on all and all glory belongs to Him, Romans 11:32-36.

“Brothers and sisters, 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 of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10:1-4

In Romans 10 the apostle, once again, expresses his deep grief about the state of Israel, because of what he has just had to say about their failure. That expression, ‘my heart’s desire for them’, means, literally, ‘the goodwill of my heart’.

The Good News for modern man translation says, ‘I wish with all my heart’ that they might be saved.’

There is no doubt in his mind where the problem lies. It lies in their ignorance of the truth. (And, by the way, you will surely realize from what Paul says here, that there is no such thing as an irrevocable decree! Which says that Israel must be saved or, for that matter that Israel must remain lost!

Paul knows what the present condition of the Jews is, they are in a lost state. But he also knows that the case is not altogether hopeless, they can be saved.

This is why he expresses himself in this way. If there were no possibility of Israel being saved, there would have no point in making such a statement. My prayer for them is that they might be saved.

Romans 10:2 talks about zeal or enthusiasm are good. With zeal there is hope. Our Lord had zeal. John 2:17. Zeal without knowledge is no good, and neither is knowledge without zeal.

People in various denominations generally have zeal without knowledge; brethren often have knowledge without zeal. Other examples of misguided zeal, Matthew 13:15 / Acts 26:11 / Philippians 3:6.

Notice in Romans 10:3 that the Jews were so concerned to establish their own righteousness by trying to keep the law, that they ignored God’s righteousness. They did not submit to the plan which God had put forward and which is designed to make men righteous, to put them right with Himself.

They were ignorant of God’s plan to make men righteous and went about establishing their own. They thought that by their works they could earn salvation and would be in a position to make demands of God. The result was that they had not submitted to the righteousness of God.

Today men have their own theories of justification, e.g., ‘faith alone,’ ‘Holy Spirit religion,’ ‘revelations of Joseph Smith.’ The result is that they are not obedient to the righteousness of God.

Romans 10:4 tells us that, they did not know that Christ is the end of the Law, in order that everyone who has faith may be justified. The expression ‘Christ is the end of the Law’ means two things.

1. That Christ is the one to whom the law points, to whom the law led. The word which Paul uses is the word ‘telos’, and it means the termination, the conclusion. Galatians 3:24-25.

You will recall what Paul wrote to the Galatians about the law being a schoolmaster, ‘pedagogue’, to bring men to Christ. The law led to Christ and He, therefore, is the end that God had in mind when He gave the law.

2. Christ is also the end of the law in the sense that he came to fulfil the law, and in fulfilling it, He brought it to a close.

The very thing the Jews sought after is now possible in Christ. Seeking righteousness is over when one believes (includes obedience) in Christ. When righteousness (justification) is obtained, one has reached the purpose toward which the law was designed. The law has served its purpose when one attained the righteousness of God by faith. Galatians 3:21-29.

“Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” Romans 10:5-7

Romans 10:5 points out that Moses said that if a man kept the law he would be a righteous man. But Paul has already shown that no one ever succeeded in keeping the whole law, and therefore by the law, no one could be justified.

The law required perfect obedience. Leviticus 18:5 / Galatians 3:10-12. A person had to live by it and do exactly as it said, in order to obtain righteousness. Since all had sinned and violated the law, and since the law had no means of pardon, it was impossible to be made righteous by the law.

The design of the law was to bring men to Christ where they could be justified by faith. Paul gave a quote from the law to describe what the law required. He will do the same regarding the word of faith which they preached.

Romans 10:6-7 tells us that on hand, neither does righteousness come through merit or as a reward for good behaviour. You do not need to ascend into heaven to bring Christ down. You do not need to descend into the Abyss, into Hades, to bring Christ up from the dead. It is so much simpler than all that, it is a matter of faith.

The righteousness of faith is personified. In Deuteronomy 30:12-13, Moses told the children of Israel that God’s commandments were not in heaven, nor beyond the sea, but were at their disposal so that they could do them.

As Paul draws from Moses’ words, he adds his own information and shows that the same is true regarding the righteousness of faith. The Jews expected their Messiah to remain forever. John 12:34.

“But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:8-11

Romans 10:8-11 Paul says it is a matter of hearing, believing and obeying the Gospel. It is then the case that Israel doesn’t believe because they have not heard? Verse 18 says certainly not. They have heard because the Gospel has gone out into all the earth.

If it says neither of those things, what does it say? There is no need to ascend into heaven or descend into the deep to learn the word of faith. It is as close as belief in one’s heart or words in one’s mouth. His word has been implanted in our minds. Hebrews 8:10.

These verses reveal the accessibility of the word and the simplicity of that required, in contrast with the obedience necessary under the law. ‘With the mouth’ and so, here the ‘confession’ does not refer to confessing Him by the way we live. We must go to other passages for that.

‘The Lord Jesus’, ‘Jesus as Lord’ (ASV, NASV) ‘Jesus is Lord’ (RSV, NIV, NCV) ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’, Matthew 16:18. see also Acts 8:37.

All of these mean the same, that is, we confess our allegiance to Him. He is Lord of our lives; He is the Son of God (Deity) and therefore has the authority to command.

Both ‘Lord’ and ‘Christ’ are founded on His resurrection and glorification. Acts 2:36 / 1 Peter 3:22 / Philippians 2:9-11. The resurrection of Christ is fundamental to the Christian system. The Gospel is preached, the testimony is believed, the mouth confesses one’s belief, and the result (when all other conditions are met) is salvation.

People in their hearts exercise faith which leads to right standing before God. The mouth confesses what the heart believes to obtain salvation from past sins. One does not believe to obtain one blessing and confess to obtaining another, and so, ‘righteousness’ and ‘salvation’ are equal.

‘Righteousness’ (justification) is having the death of Christ credited as payment for one’s sins, and so, his sin debt is paid and he stands just (righteous) before God. These are not the only things required, e.g., repentance is also required. Luke 13:3 / 2 Corinthians 7:10.

Romans 10:11 is a quote from Isaiah 28:16, a Messianic prophecy. The one who believes in Him will never be ashamed, confounded, or filled with regret.

‘Belief on Christ’ or ‘faith in Christ’ in the Scriptures is often used as a ‘Synecdoche’ (a figure of speech where a part is used for the whole). And so, to the inspired writers, a believer was one who both believes and obeys Christ. ‘Whosoever’, refers to all. This is proof that anyone (whether Jew or Gentile) who believes will receive the blessings.

“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:12-13

Verse 11b supplements verse 12b. One will not be ashamed because the Lord is rich to all who call upon Him. Some think that the Jews are still the object of God’s special delight and have a glorious future in store for them. However, they are mistaken. This was hard for the Jews to see, but it was the teaching of their own prophets.

Romans 10:13 is a quote from Joel 2:32. Again, this is important information to the Jew. God’s offer of salvation is universal (to both Jew and Gentile).

‘Calls on the name of the Lord’, means more than mere lip service, Matthew 7:21, or to pray to Him for salvation, John 9:31 / Proverbs 28:9. It includes obedience. Acts 22:16. When one obeys in baptism, he calls or makes an appeal to God for forgiveness, 1 Peter 3:21, NASV.

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15

His comment about calling on the name of the Lord brought up several rhetorical questions. The answer to these first three questions is implied, ‘they cannot.’

These questions show that believing in Christ is not a direct gift from God. They could believe in Him without hearing or without a preacher if the Holy Spirit operated directly on their hearts, saved them by an ‘experience,’ etc.

These verses refer primarily to the sending of inspired teachers. They taught (were sent, commissioned to do so) the Word which brings faith; thus, acceptable faith comes as a result of the Word which they brought.

A person today could believe without a preacher simply by reading. John 20:30-31. Nonetheless, we need to do all we can in sending preachers because many will fail to believe without them.

‘Beautiful are the feet’ means their message is precious and wonderful to those who accept it. Preaching the Gospel is the grandest, highest, noblest, holiest, most needed, and vital work known to this sinful world. 1 Timothy 4:16. However, very few people think so.

‘Tidings of good things!’ To name only a few, the tidings of God’s love, benefits of Christ’s death, peace with God, the forgiveness of sins, a better life, the joy that is full, and hope of eternal life.

“But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” Romans 10:16-20

Despite the ‘good things’ announced, many have rejected them. The verse plainly shows that one must obey the commands of the Gospel to receive its rewards. Obedience was the aim and design of the preaching.

‘Lord, who has believed our report?’, again, he quotes Isaiah to confirm his point. Many prophets had been sent, but despite it, many did not obey.

Likewise, today, many preachers have been sent bearing the glad tidings, but the great majority are not interested. Paul is saying that the Israelites have not obeyed the Gospel because, as was the case with Isaiah’s report, they had not believed it.

Again, this shows that the inspired writers always wrote with the understanding that acceptable faith included obedience. God had afforded them the opportunity, but they had refused it. Some believed, but the majority remained disobedient.

Faith comes by hearing, that is, by hearing the Word of God. Without the hearing the message, there is no faith. Also, whatever is not found in the Word of God is not properly a matter of faith.

In Romans 10:18 he used the words in Psalm 19:4 to describe the spread of the Gospel and thus shows they had heard it. Colossians 1:23. The Jews had no one to blame but themselves.

‘Did Israel not know?’ means Israel should have known by their many prophecies.

‘By those who are not a nation…a foolish nation’, refers to the Gentiles who were how they were regarded in the Jew’s estimation. They could not say they did not know about the Gospel system, for Moses had spoken of a time when God would provoke Israel to jealousy by the Gentiles. Verse 19 is a key verse for understanding much of what is said in chapter 11. See Romans 11:11 / Romans 11:14 / Romans 11:25-26.

Verse 20 shows from the prophets that God would be made known to another nation. His point here is that it was prophesied that God had planned to save the Gentiles before their seeking and asking to be saved.

It was God’s choice to bring other nations into His new covenant. Israel was ignorant of its rejection, though Moses and Isaiah plainly foretold of it. See also Jeremiah 31:31-34 / Hebrews 8:8-12.

“But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” Romans 10:21

Why then are they still unsaved? Verse 21 tells us because of disobedience and rebelliousness. Notice the use of the word ‘contrary’. The word ‘antilego’ literally means to set oneself against someone, to refuse to have anything to do with him.

Even to declare oneself to be opposed to a person. And that word is ‘disobedient’, is the word, ‘apeitheo’. And it means ‘not to allow oneself to be persuaded.’ They had actively rejected God’s invitations.

‘All the day long’, shows that He was meek, patient and longsuffering in His dealings with them.

‘To disobedient and contrary people’ means, they were a rebellious people who refused to submit to God. And so, they were not His chosen people, not because He had forsaken them, but they had continually rejected Him. So, you see how rebellious the Jews were.

They set themselves against Christ, they refused to allow themselves to be persuaded by evidence and declared that they did not wish to have anything to do with Him.

But Paul is not finished yet. You might have thought that all this would be sufficient explanation for the failure of the Jews to find salvation, but Paul asks another question in Romans 11.

Go To Romans 11