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Romans 10 (web)

Israel's Rejection

10:1 Brothers, my heart's desire and my prayer to God is for Israel, that they may be saved.
10:2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God,
but not according to knowledge.

10:3 For being ignorant of God's righteousness,
and seeking to establish their own righteousness,
they didn't subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

Righteousness by Faith

10:4 For Christ is the fulfillment{or, completion, or end} of the law
for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Description of the Word of Faith

10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness of the law,
"The one who does them will live by them." (Lev 18:5)
10:6 But the righteousness which is of faith says this,
"Don't say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'(Deut 30:12)
(that is, to bring Christ down);
10:7 or, 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (Deut 30:13)
(that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)"

10:8 But what does it say?
"The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart;" (Deut 30:14)
that is, the word of faith, which we preach:

Proclamation of the Word of Faith

10:9 that if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus,
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10:10 For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness;
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
10:11 For the Scripture says,
"Whoever believes in him will not be disappointed." (Is 28:16)

10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich to all who call on him.

10:13 For,
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Joel 2:32)
10:14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?
How will they believe in him whom they have not heard?
How will they hear without a preacher?
10:15 And how will they preach unless they are sent?
As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!" (Is 52:7)

10:16 But they didn't all listen to the glad news.
For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" (Is 53:1)

10:17 So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Luke 8:11)

10:18 But I say, didn't they hear? Yes, most assuredly,

"Their sound went out into all the earth,
Their words to the ends of the world." (Ps 19:4)
10:19 But I ask, didn't Israel know? First Moses says,
"I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation,
With a nation void of understanding I will make you angry." (Deut 32:21)
10:20 Isaiah is very bold, and says,
"I was found by those who didn't seek me.
I was revealed to those who didn't ask for me." (Is 65:1)
10:21 But as to Israel he says,
"All day long I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people." (Is 65:2)

Discussion Questions

vs 1 Are Jews automatically saved, just because they are Jews?
vs 2 What knowledge is he referring to?
vs 3 What does it mean to submit to God's righteousness?
vs 4-8 How does Paul contrast the righteousness which is of the law
with the righteousness which is of faith in this section?
vs 9-13 Does this mean that you can just ritualistically chant "Jesus is Lord" and you are automatically save? (Consider the implications of vs 14)
What if people declare "Jesus is Lord", but deny it by their lifestyle?
vs 14-17 What role does the Bible have in developing your faith?
What does it mean by "faith comes from hearing the message"?
Have you had any personal experience with this?
Have you heard of any misconceptions as to how to develop faith in people?
vs 18-21 Has everyone heard the gospel? If not, then what is this verse talking about? (Consider the context of Psalm 19:4)


Pray for Jews to be Saved

Rom 10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.

There are those who are under the misconception that Jews are automatically saved just be being born Jewish. The Catholic church for example teaches that misconception. But Paul, himself a Jew, acknowledges that Jews are not automatically saved. And such is a very dominant theme in his letters and in the book of Acts. And likewise Jesus says to the Jews that salvation is contingent upon faith in Him. "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." John 8:24 A Jew cannot be saved apart from faith in Christ according to the gospel. Yes they have a covenant with God. That covenant is that if they fully obey the Law of Moses, they are righteous. But in fact no Jew has ever done so but the Lord himself. Paul, himself a Pharisee, admits, "Clearly no one is justified before God by the law" Gal 3:11

There are even those under the misconception that Muslims can be saved through Islam, which is even further from the truth. But whether it be unbelieving Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists or the like, we Christians should desire and pray that such be saved. Everyone needs to be saved. But there are those Christians or alleged Christians who disregard such people in their heart and prayers by either falsely reckoning them already saved or saved by some other means. Or those who reckon such people are predestined to hell and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Quite contrary to such a fatalistic viewpoint, Paul desires and laborers for their salvation. Paul writes, "I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved." 1Cor 10:33 Yet there are those of certain theological persuasions who reckon that attempts to save people simply marginalizes God's sovereignty. Perhaps most famous example of this was when John Ryland heard William Carey talking about becoming a missionary to India, and told him, "Sit down, young man. When God decides to save the heathen, He will do it without your help."

But God has so orchestrated the ministry of the gospel as to put salvation into the hands of his saints by, for one thing, making salvation contingent upon hearing the gospel. And much as that concept may be considered foolish, "it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." 1Cor 1:21b, of which will also become clear later in this chapter.

God's Righteousness Not Our Own

Rom 10:2,3 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.

Pr 19:2 "It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way." There's a sort of indoctrinated zeal whereby one is zealous about one's preconceived notions or zealous about institutional/denominational dogma of which one has not really personally thought through. Such zeal discards knowledge before really examining it. But consider the Bereans. "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11 For they neither offhandedly discard what Paul said, as had so many unbelievers, nor presumptuously accept what Paul said without examining it in light of scripture, as had others. Yet those others were equally susceptible to false teachings, as was indicating in the book of Galatians. Among believers, the Berean of spirit are most noble in their handling of knowledge, and consequently least susceptible to false teachings. "But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always" Gal 4:18 So long as one's zeal does not interfere with one's objectivity.

Being righteous on God's terms is most frequently not the same as being righteous on our own terms. Indeed many have their own concept of righteousness or the obtaining of a righteous standing with God which is at odds with God's. For example notice the contrast in chapter 3 Paul makes between the righteousness of law versus that of faith where he says, "No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." Rom 3:20-22

Christ the End of the Law

Rom 10:4,5 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man who does those things shall live by them." (Lev 18:5)

The righteousness of the law is a performance based righteousness. One is righteous so long as they do the things required by law. Not so with regards to the righteousness which is by faith in Jesus Christ where salvation is granted as a gift which one does not work for. Having been saved by grace through faith, eternal life is guaranteed as there are no rules or regulations one must abide by in order to obtain nor maintain one's salvation status. Rather having believed, one receives the right to become a child of God and as such is born-again by the Spirit of God which affects one's behavior such that righteous behavior is naturally characteristic of those born of God. And that is the sense in which verses are to be taken that speak of the correlation between a person's behavior and their salvation status, rather than in a legalistic sense as some have misconstrued. In contrast the law of Moses is all about rules and regulations, and failure to live up to them may quite literally end in death. Christ ended the reign of law "having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." Col 2:14

Salvation by Faith Attainable

Rom 10:6-7 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).

The questions come from the Law of Moses (Deut 30:12-14). From the context of Deut 30:11 "For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off." It is apparent that these questions have to do with the difficulty of obtaining righteousness. But which righteousness? That of the Law or that of Faith? For the reasoning in Deut 30:11-14 is that the Law should be easy to keep. But in fact it turned out not to be the case due to the sinful human nature. But Paul is proposing that these verses are alluding to the righteousness which is of faith. For obtaining the righteousness which is of faith is a very easy thing indeed.

"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).
The Word of Faith

Rom 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:

The word of faith is the message of the gospel. When asked, "What must I do to be saved?" The Word of God responds, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." Acts 16:30,31 It's as simple as that.

And while the Old Covenant embraced by external rituals, the the New Covenant is embraced in the heart: And it is not only the obtaining of the righteousness which is of faith that is an easy thing, but also practicing the righteousness of faith is also easy, as John notes in God's commands are not burdensome to those who have been born of God. Rather such become natural to them, having become new creatures in Christ (2Cor 5:17).

How to Be Saved

Rom 10:9,10 That if you confess 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 confess and are saved.

This is an example of the word of faith which Paul preached. Of course many presentations of the gospel we find in the Bible elaborate upon many of these points. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John elaborate extensively on who Jesus is and give the factual history of his death and resurrection. And in particular the first three elaborate upon Jesus being Lord, while John speaks much of the concept of salvation through faith in Christ, as does much of Paul's writings.

Consider the essential elements upon which salvation is contingent:

1. Confessing with your mouth - is speaking of a genuine conviction upon which you're willing to take action, rather than a mere opinion which one keeps to themselves. And while such an opinion may be characterized as "faith", it is not the kind of faith that saves.

Paul writes in 2Cor 4:13 It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak. Thus speaking of one's conviction is an outworking of the kind of faith that saves. In contrast are those unwilling to take a public stand for the faith. For example it says in John 12:42 "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith" And there are those who to this day claim to have faith in Christ but refuse to take a public stand on that faith, whether it be avoiding getting baptized, or neglecting to be involved in evangelism, or shunning association with the Christian community.

2. Jesus as Lord

To accept Jesus as Savior is not sufficient. Many are not told that "he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2Cor 5:15 To confess Jesus as Lord is to pledge allegiance to obey Him. Eternal life is free like joining the army is free. It's not merely like signing a fire insurance policy.

3. Believing in your heart

At the same time it shouldn't be mere confession. For Jesus said, "Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?" Luke 6:46 Mere lipservice is not the same as heart belief.

4. The Resurrection

Jesus's resurrection is essential part of the gospel. Paul writes, "What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" 1Cor 15:3,4

Believe and Confess unto Salvation

Rom 10:11-13 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame." (Is 28:16) 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." (Joel 2:32)

The quote from Isaiah 28:16 was mentioned previously in Rom 9:33 as also Peter mentions it in 1Peter 2:6 The word "trust" (NIV) is literally the word "believe" (pisteuo) Though one who believes in Jesus will likely suffer shame in this life, just as the Lord himself did, they will never suffer shame in the sight of God. But Paul's emphasis in quoting this verse is the "ANYONE", which includes ANYONE. Faith in Christ is the sole requirement for salvation for everyone.

But faith is exercised firstly by prayer as indicated by the quote from Joel, and those who have believed characteristically talk to the LORD Jesus in prayer. Peter also uses the quote from Joel in his first sermon on Pentecost recorded in Acts 2:21, preaching the gospel. But it is not a matter of technique. You'll read many tracts today which end with some version of a sinner's prayer. The downside of including such a prayer is that people may get the impression that it's just a matter of technique. But faith in Christ is not faith in a technique, let alone a matter of ceremony. Nor is having someone pray for you the same as you yourself calling on the Lord. If you believe in Jesus, then talk with him. Don't simply go up to him and read off something someone else has written.

Furthermore some simply pray in a sort of experimental fashion. When you're calling on the Lord for salvation you shouldn't have to use the word "IF". But if you have not yet come to faith, you can nonetheless pray in a Rev 3:20 fashion that you would like to get to know the Lord. Then later after you've gotten to know some about him you may come to trust in him, at which time you can call on him for salvation.

Jesus is the LORD God. And it is necessary to acknowledge that fact to be saved. For the verse in Joel 2:32 "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Is preceded with "I am the LORD your God" Joel 2:27

Preaching Necessary

Rom 10:14,15 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 they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Again notice that calling on the Lord in a sort of experimental fashion is excluded here. For the kind of prayer he refers to here is contingent upon a person actually believing in Christ. A person cannot legitimately call on the Lord in the sense spoken of here unless they first believe.

But how can a person come to believe in Christ if they don't know about Christ? How do you get to know Christ? It's not by some sort of spiritual experience or through dreams. It's by hearing what has been recorded of him in the Bible. For notice that he goes on to indicate that the kind of "hearing" he's referring to is hearing a message which is preached to them by some human being who had been sent on a mission to do so. This as opposed to one imagining that they hear God's voice speaking to them directly in their head. For that's not the way God ordained the message of the gospel to be communicated.

Thus Jesus commissioned his disciples, a commission passed on to the whole of the Christian community, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." Mk 16:15 Salvation, under the New Covenant is contingent upon hearing and believing the gospel. And thus salvation of the world is in the hands of the Christian community. For if we withhold the message, if we neglect to preach the gospel, there will be people who will not be saved who could have been saved, had they heard and believed.

Obviously I have issues with those who excuse themselves and discourage others from being active in the ministry of the gospel saying, "If God wants those people saved he can do it without your help.", which is what William Carey's Presbyterian minister said to him with regards to his ministry in India. In contrast, after preaching the gospel in Acts 2, with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Acts 2:40 For God has ordained that people be saved through cooperation - cooperation on our part as ministers of the gospel, working together with God in the ministry, and cooperation on the listener's part, accepting the message by faith. This as opposed to the fatalistic view advocated by some in the Christian community.

You Christians who know the gospel, the Bible authorizes you to propagate the message. "God has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us." 2Cor 5:19b-20a The Thessalonians had been believers for just a short time before Paul wrote to them saying, "The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia— your faith in God has become known everywhere." 1Thess 1:8a And Paul writes, "I believed and therefore I spoke" 2Cor 4:13b The Lord authorizes you to preach the gospel and make disciples. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Mt 28:18-20 The church age has not ended yet, so get to it! Consider yourselves sent.

Faith from Hearing the Message Preached

Rom 10:16,17 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" (Is 53:1) Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of God.

Paul quotes Isaiah to indicate that the scriptures had predicted that most Jews would not come to believe the good news. And Paul is quoting the first verse in Isaiah 53. How can a Jew read Isaiah chapter 53, which their own prophet wrote, and not see Christ in it? This is a great defense to Jews who argue that God endorses only those who are popular among Jews. For who are they to argue against the scriptures. In fact throughout the whole of the Old Testament, the principle seems to have been that the majority of Israelites characteristically went the wrong way again and again and again. Thus Jesus said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." Mt 23:37

But for those who are listening and learning from the Father, faith in Christ comes from hearing the message of the gospel. The message is not heard through the preaching of one's "personal testimony", much as one's personal experiences may win a hearing. But the message leading to genuine faith in Christ is heard through the preaching of the Word of God - the Bible. "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation." Eph 1:13a

Ignorance is No Excuse

Rom 10:18 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." (Ps 19:4)

Notice the context of the quote from Ps 19

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Ps 19:1-4a

This is not the gospel message. This is not the good news. Paul writes of some the essentials of the gospel saying to the Corinthians, "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" 1Cor 15:1-4 But here there's no mention of Christ's death, burial, or resurrection. No mention of Christ dying for our sins.

What Paul is referring to here is the same as he referred to in Romans 1:20, namely that "since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature— have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

That is, with regards to the existence of God and consequently one's accountability to God, there is no one who can exuse themselves on these matters seeing as there is sufficient evidence that God is our Creator. This information is sufficient to condemn a person, but not to save them. To be saved they have to hear and believe the gospel

Provoking Jews to Envy

Rom 10:19 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." (Deut 32:21)

The context of the quote from Deut follows: "You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth. The LORD saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. "I will hide my face from them," he said, "and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful. They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding." Deut 32:18-21 That's how the scriptures characterize the Israelites. Despite their religious elite attitude and prejudice against Gentiles, they are not characteristically godly. Such is their history.

Also Paul later writes, "salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious." Rom 11:11b Such envy results in some coming to faith, but leads others to persecute Christians. "When the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul." Acts 13:45 The effect is part of human nature in that if you take any religion, say there's a Catholic who apathetic about his religion and doesn't take it seriously, but if you criticize Catholicism, suddenly he'll become very Catholic. Or if one thinks themselves to be religiously superior to others, but then finds those others to know and put into practice the scriptures better than he, that may motivate such a person to take his religion more seriously. For some it's a positive effect, for others a negative.

God Rejects the "Religous"

Rom 10:20-21 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." (Is 65:1) But concerning Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people." (Is 65:2)

There are those who seek the Lord and are encouraged to do so. "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near." Is 55:6 But then there's the parable of the hidden treasure. "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field." Mt 13:44 The impression is that the man simply happened to find it walking across a field. This is like those who aren't particularly seeking God, but happen to hear the message and come to faith. The quote from Is 65:1 continues, "To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’" Likewise it says near the end of the Bible, "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." Rev 22:17

But the quote from Is 65 continues concerning Israel, "All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations— a people who continually provoke me to my very face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on altars of brick; who sit among the graves and spend their nights keeping secret vigil; who eat the flesh of pigs, and whose pots hold broth of unclean meat; who say, ‘Keep away; don’t come near me, for I am too sacred for you!’ Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day." Is 65:2-5

Likewise is God's attitude towards Christians who reckon themselves religiously elite, but who walk in ways that are not good, pursuing their own imaginations. But Jesus said, "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." John 14:21

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jan 28,2022