Chapter Ten

Verses 1-4

1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

    The personal attitude of Paul regarding his fleshly brethren, the Jews, is almost sad. It is sad, not because his attitude is unworthy, but because it is so heart-rending how he loved his fellowman so much, yet they refused to come to the source of blessing. He had already stated in chapter nine, verse three, how he wished he might be accursed if that would be of any value in bringing them to Christ. Now he expresses with a tone of great sincerity that it was his heart's desire that Israel be saved. He prayed to that end. Certainly he did not pray for their salvation in their rejection of God's plan, but he prayed that they might receive God's plan, and thereby, be saved.
    The Jews had the good quality of being zealous. They were fervently religious. They thought many times they were doing good even though they were actually doing wrong. Paul could understand that because he had been guilty in the past of that same action and misunderstanding himself. They had a zeal to serve God, but they were trying to serve God the wrong way. They were ignorant and ill-informed as to what they had to do to serve God. By turning from Christ and rejecting Him, they had turned from the only way that one can acceptably serve the Lord of heaven. They were ignorant of "God's righteousness." It refers to the commandment of God, as explained in Psalm 119:172, that man must obey in order to be counted righteous, and be forgiven of sins that separate him from God. The people of Israel, as noted earlier, persisted in establishing their own way, or continuing to conform in a fashion to the former ways under which they had lived, but which were no longer operative, inasmuch as the all-sufficient and eternally intended system of redemption was now effective. Determined to follow the old law as given by Moses, and coupling with that their many traditions and customs, they refused to submit to the "righteousness of God," that system of salvation God planned before the foundation of the world, and delivered through Christ.
    Paul states emphatically, and it seems most difficult that anyone could misunderstand such a forthright declaration, that Christ is the end of the law. The word "end" means goal, target, that which was in view. The coming of Christ was that toward which the old law pointed. "End" here is like the term "end" in First Peter 1:9, where Peter wrote, "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." The goal, target, that which is in view of faith, is salvation. In like manner, Christ was the "end" of the old law of Moses. It is the same thought here as in Galatians 3:23-25 which teaches the purpose of the law was to bring to Christ.

Verses 5-11

5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

    Paul calls upon Moses to describe the significance of the old law under which not even the Jew continued to live as subject. Moses said the old law was a law of works, a law whereby one could be declared righteous only if he was perfect, a law by which one would be acceptable unto God only because he merited acceptance by the Lord. The old law was a system where eternal life was obtainable only upon perfection, which simply meant, eternal life was not actually attainable under the old law. To violate one point meant being guilty of the law, a law that did not provide for forgiveness (James 2:10; Hebrews 10:4).
    In contrast to that, the system by which man can truly have life is the system of faith that demands complete trust and confidence in Christ. Those who subscribe to the system of salvation by faith do not ask questions, or make demands, that in essence challenges God, or continually ask for signs and miraculous evidences and proofs before they accept what the Lord has declared. Those who walk and live by faith do not seek for Christ to come again and manifest Himself personally as He once did, nor that He be resurrected over and over again before they will believe. This kind of attitude would be one of disbelief in what God has already done, or caused to be done. It would be the very opposite of the trust and confidence that is an essential part of the system of faith.
    What does the system of salvation by faith declare? It declares the Word that the Roman Christian had, and spoke, and in which they believed, indeed, the Word of truth that Paul preached. The system of salvation by faith declares the gospel Paul and the other apostles were teaching. There is a parallel stated here between the message of faith and the message being preached. What was being preached was the very system of faith that God brought through Christ.
    What was that message of faith that Paul was preaching? Verses nine and ten state the necessity of faith, and confession of that faith. This passage, if there was no other teaching related to being saved, (there are many others), would prove forever that salvation by faith alone in the sense of giving mental assent to certain facts of truth cannot and does not save. Confession of that faith is also mentioned. It is mentioned twice in the two verses as being necessary to salvation. One may argue that if a person truly believes, he will obey the teaching to confess. This is exactly correct. Also, if one truly believes, he will obey other commands for salvation, such as repentance and baptism into Christ, which are also parts of the system of faith.
    There is not presented here a checklist of steps to be taken to be saved as if this is all there is to be done by man. But these two things are essential, and the passage presents in understandable terms that salvation is by a system of faith, and that system includes more than mere mental assent. One must place his complete confidence and dependence on Christ to be saved. One must hold deeply and dearly the conviction in his own heart of the true identity of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the true and living God of heaven. One must hold that conviction so stedfastly that he will acknowledge his faith and trust in Christ by making confession of that faith with his mouth. We read of several instances in the New Testament of people who verbally confessed that they believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. This is the kind of confession under discussion here. It is more than the conviction that Christ is God's Son, which, of course, is not to be minimized whatever. But it specifically makes reference to a confession made with the mouth. Salvation is no more solely based upon one's verbal confession than upon one's mental assent to certain facts regarding Christ. The terms confession and belief are used to represent the entirety of the system of salvation. They are but two parts of that system, which is based upon the merit of the blood of Christ, offered by the grace of God, and blesses those who are obedient.
    This system, rather than the one upon which the Jews had for so long looked with favor, was and is the one that brings release from the sin and shame that deprives a person of spiritual life, but brought spiritual death. Paul repeats himself in verse eleven by saying almost the same thing he did in verse thirty-three of chapter nine. He is repeating the same message the prophets of old had forecast concerning the way of salvation. The way of faith is the way of salvation, and the way of escape from being ashamed before God. The emphasis of the passage is that salvation is one based upon complete and unquestioning trust in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. Such trust and confidence naturally necessitates acceptance of and conformity to whatever commands He has given in His law.

Verses 12-17

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    The following passage presents one of the examples of indisputable logic and order in the presentation of divine truth. Step by step, Paul traces the connection between the Word of the Lord and salvation. The passage gives emphasis to the necessity of the message of truth, without which there can be no salvation for man.
    In verse twelve, the point is made that had been previously established in the book on several occasions, that God approaches all men alike, there is no respecter of persons, Jew and Gentile are both in need of salvation, and both have the same avenue open to them to become children of God. The Lord treats all men alike with respect to their service before Him without regard to their nationality, ancestry, or other such barriers that once existed during former ages. He is over all, and rich unto all that call. Under the system of faith "there is no difference." Everyone has access to the riches of God the same way; namely, through calling on the name of the Lord.
    Those who call on God shall be saved. This is a theme repeated from the prophets and accentuated in New Testament teaching. The question does not present itself as to whether one is saved who calls on God, because this is unmistakenly affirmed to be the true case. The question is, "What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord?"
    It means more than mere belief that God is, even though man must acknowledge that truth. Mental assent that Jesus is the Christ is not all it means. Mental assent is not calling on the name of the Lord. Christ warned during His personal ministry on earth that just calling, "Lord, Lord," would not suffice (Matthew 7:21). The way some act and teach, you would think speedily repeating the name, "Jesus, Jesus," is what it means. But that is not it. Therefore, one could actually believe in God, even believe that Jesus is the Christ, and still not call on the name of the Lord and receive salvation. Jesus made it clear that calling on the name of the Lord involves doing what is instructed by the Lord. It means doing His will. There is something to be done. Obedience is absolutely essential in calling on the name of the Lord in order to be saved. Matthew twenty-five reveals how some at judgment will have thought they served God, but learn that they had failed in their purpose because they did not do as they were instructed to do. Keep in mind, even as one does what he is commanded, he cannot and does not earn his salvation.
    Calling on God is making an appeal unto God for salvation according to His will. First Peter 3:21, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." God calls -- man must answer. In answering, he makes his appeal to God. It is plain that answering God's call involves baptism. Acts 22:16 makes the point even clearer. Ananias told Saul (the writer's name before he became an apostle), "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." In the passage now under consideration in Romans, Paul makes it plain that those who shall call, shall be saved. This calling, therefore, involves belief and trust, but also the doing of other commandments directed by the Lord in order to enter into a saved relationship with God. This includes repentance (Luke 13:3), confession of faith, as noted even in this passage, plus being baptized, an action of obedience by which we enter into Christ (Romans 6:3,4; Galatians 3:27). The system of faith, therefore, does not exclude obedience, but necessitates obedience.
    But inasmuch as obedience to God must be from the heart (see Romans 6:16-18), it logically follows that one who obeys must first have an understanding of what he is doing. Having such information, assuming he does believe what he has been taught, and does possess a real conviction of the truth he has learned, he can call on God for salvation as noted above. But until one believes, he cannot call. (It should be quite evident to us that believing and calling on the Lord are not identical, but are two distinct operations, although certainly related and connected. But they are not the same. Calling on the Lord for salvation is not merely believing. Believing comes before the calling. Paul put something between believing and salvation, and he identified it as calling on the name of the Lord.)
    Continuing the logical and orderly presentation, Paul now insists that until one hears about the Lord and His plan of salvation, he cannot possibly, intellectually, emotionally, or in any other way believe and have confidence in Christ. You cannot be convicted of something about which you have no knowledge. The heart (mind) must be informed before there can be faith. We see the necessity of hearing the will of God.
    Before one can hear, (meaning more than having audible sounds fall on the ear drum, but includes comprehension and understanding of what is taught), there must be someone who will preach the gospel. Before one can preach, he must be sent. The apostles were sent to do this preaching of the glorious system of faith. Since their day, others have continued to "preach the word," using many methods of doing so. That which is to be preached is the Word of the Lord, the message of salvation by grace, extended to man through Jesus Christ, made possible by His blood, and appropriated by obedience faith.
    The process is simple. One is sent with the Word. Some hear and understand. The evidence in the message convinces them of the truthfulness of it, and they believe it is true. Now, in a believing state, they call on the name of the Lord by rendering obedience to the commands given in the message of salvation. All this is traced back to the Word of God. Where there is no knowledge, there is no faith, no ability to obey. It begins with the preaching and comprehension of the Word of God. Faiths comes as the evidence of the Word is presented. The hearers must be persuaded and convinced by the message of truth. Without it, there can be no salvation.
    Verse fifteen turns back to an Old Testament statement that declares the beauty found in those who present the message of glad tidings, the gospel, the good news of salvation. The beauty is not in the messenger, but the message. I think this statement has primary reference to the apostles through whom the truth was given to the world, and who were, at the time of Paul's writing, engaged in revealing and proclaiming to the world the plan of salvation that was heretofore a mystery. On the other hand, it surely must have application to any person who would preach God's truth to his own generation.
    Unfortunately, not all who hear will believe. This spells their spiritual death. It was true when the gospel was first preached, and it is true even yet, that not all who have the opportunity to hear, believe, and obey do so. Many, like the Jewish nation generally, persist in rejecting the message of God. This is an eternal tragedy, and our hearts are pained to personally know some who will treat God's holy will in such fashion. But regardless of how men respond (favorably or unfavorably) to the Word of the Lord, the presentation of the Word, belief in that message, obedience to that message, is still the way God has devised to bring men unto Him.
    Let me encourage the reader to study in this connection John 6:44,45; Acts 15:7; James 1:21; First Peter 1:22,23. These and other passages emphasize the Word in order to be saved.

Verses 18-21

18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. 20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

    Paul returns specifically to the theme he introduced significantly in the first part of chapter nine, and again at the beginning of chapter ten; namely, the spiritual condition of the Jews. Having noted that Christ was rejected by the Jews generally, one wonders why. They had heard the Word. The sound or message of truth had gone to the ends of the earth, as prophesied in Psalm 19:3,4, to which Paul refers. No excuse could be given for not having been taught. Paul asks, "Did not Israel know?" The answer is clear. Yes, they knew. In fact, if they had paid proper attention to such revered people as Moses and the prophets, they could have quickly and easily known they were supposed to respond to the plan God devised. Moses had spoken the Word of the Lord to Israel, telling Israel that God would allow the Gentiles, "them that are no people," to provoke them to jealousy. In other words, seeing how Gentiles would desire to enter into the saved relationship with God, God anticipated that through the use of the Gentiles, the Jews might be provoked to salvation. Not only do we see how God used the Jews to bring salvation to the entire world, including Gentiles, but God also used the Gentiles to motivate the Jews to be saved as well.
    Paul reminds his reader how Isaiah had prophesied that the Gentiles, "those who sought me not," found the Lord, and God manifested Himself to the Gentile. But the case with the Israelites, unfortunately, was so different. As God had pleaded with Israel, as revealed in Isaiah 65:2, God stretched forth His hand, extended His invitation to Israel, (a people who badly needed salvation as much as the Gentiles), but the people of Israel turned their backs against the invitation. This is the sad and deplorable state, not only of the Jews as a nation even yet, but the state and spiritual condition of any and all who reject the gospel, God's plan for saving man.

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