Bible Conversations: Romans 10-11

Romans 10‑11  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Queries, expositions, comments original or selected, references of all sorts, parallel passages and other notes on Rom. 15 xvi. can be sent by any subscriber, addressed " B. C." Editor of B. S., 27 Paternoster Square, E. C., on or before the 25th instant.
All communications must be brief and pointed, diffuse commentaries on the whole Scripture being avoided. The papers sent may be shortened, or omitted wholly, or in part, at the discretion of the Editor. No communications can be returned, but each will be acknowledged at the head of the Conversation.
Communications received from Edo,-C. H. P.,-A. E. W.,-G. K. B., -E. M. B.
Rom. 10
A. E. W.- Does not the doctrine of this chapter refer to what is taught in Deut. 30? where, having been driven out consequent upon their breaking the law, they were no longer the people of God on the ground of their obedience. But what grace might do (the secret things of Deut. 31:2929For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. (Deuteronomy 31:29)) remained with God, but revealed to faith.
G. K. B.-Verse 1. R. V. reads " for them" instead of " for Israel"; which is more expressive of affection than the common text.
Ed.-Yes; and the correction makes the chapter follow on naturally after the end of the preceding one.
G. K. B.-Verse 2. Zeal for God (R. V.) They had zeal for God, but not the knowledge of His ways.
Ed.-A great proof of the error of those who hold that it does not matter much what a man holds so that he is really in earnest. Earnestness in error is of no use.
G. K. B.-Verse 3. They were ignorant of God's righteousness, revealed in the gospel. Man's merits composed the basis of their hopes, eked out by Divine promises, priesthood, rites, and observances. Messiah himself was regarded as the crown and complement of their privileges; not as a suffering substitute, and a Savior. They saw no ground of righteousness on God's part, by virtue of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The grace of the Savior by His work enables God to act righteously in accounting just, us who believe; while it humbles us who own the truth of our utter sinfulness, instead of leaving us to gratify self by setting up a righteousness of our own, and hence keeping us from submitting to His righteousness in Christ as the sole ground of justification before Him.
Ed.-Observe how the subject of God's righteousness reappears here. It has not been mentioned since Chapter 3:26.
G. K. B.-Ver. 5-9. Faith applies when all is lost under law, and its righteousness is impossible.
A. E. W.-The word of truth is in ver. 9, " If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Edo.-Verse 9. "If thou shalt confess." Do we remember, in pleading the promises, that there are conditions for us to fulfill? May not our want of realizing them more arise from our not realizing the " ifs "?
G. K. B.-Verse 9. Confession with the mouth is put first, not as the most important, but as that which comes into notice to the praise of Christ.
A. E. W.-Is not the word " heart," and " mouth," in contrast with law, which was doing or not doing, upon which ground they had no righteousness (nor any other man), but by faith? How much more difficult this 9th verse must have been for a Jew than even for a Gentile; because the fact of being particularly guilty of His death enhanced their condemnation, which they acknowledged, by believing that God raised Him from the dead. Is not this particularly demonstrated in Paul's ministry? because we find in the Acts that nearly all his persecution amongst the Jews arose from his testimony of the resurrection of Jesus. (Chapter 17:3-5;18. 5, 6; 22:20, 22; 23:6; 24:4-16; 26: 6, 7; &c.)
E. M. B.-In Chapter 3:22 we have " no difference," in that " all have sinned "; here we have " no difference," in that " the same Lord.. is rich unto all that call upon Him." Sin had placed all on a like footing before God; grace raises up all alike, through faith.
A. E. W.-In ver. 14. "they" refers, I think, to Gentiles; because, the Jews being hedged in, the Gentiles were hedged out: so that the Jew considered the Gentile neither knew nor heard anything about the true God.
G. K. B.-v. 15-21 The law, the psalms, and the prophets all told of Israel's rejection of grace and the bringing in of the Gentiles.
Edo.-Verse 17. How encouraging this verse to workers for Christ! " Faith cometh by hearing": then let us be "the voice," causing others to hear. None need tremble to enter the ranks as His servant with this simple service. We have only to read the Word, and the Holy Spirit does all the rest.
C. H. P.-Ver. 18. What is the meaning of this verse of Col. 1:2323If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; (Colossians 1:23): "the gospel... which was preached to every creature which is under heaven "? Are there not millions who have never heard the gospel?
Ed.-It refers to the character of the preaching, as seen in Acts 2, rather than to its literal extent.
Rom. 11
G. K. B.-God foreknew His people when He chose and called them; and, knowing all their evil beforehand, He certainly will not cast them off. Israel were chosen in time; christians, and the church, before the world's foundation. In the days of Elias, God had an election out of Israel, so now the apostle was the proof that God had not cast off His people; only it is by grace, and not by works.
E. M. B.-Ver. 2—5. The contrast between the intercession of the prophet against the nation, and the Divine response, is instructive. The righteous soul of God's devoted servant leads him to make intercession against Israel. The effect of his long and weary experience of the apostasy of the people from God was to concentrate his thoughts and desires upon himself. He ceased to reason by faith; hence, while zealous for God, he forgets in his affliction that the name of the Lord on whom he called is the God of Israel. But man's intercession against his fellow brings forth the blessed response of God's power and grace: " I have reserved," &c. While the solitary unit was filling all the prophet's view, " I only am left," a large and godly band was being kept by the power of God true to Himself.
G. K. B.-v. 12-15. If their being brought low was for the blessing of the world, what would the future restoration and fullness be but as life from the dead, for this poor, dark, sin-stricken world?
C. H. P.-v. 12. Does " their fullness" refer to the millennium or to the eternal state?
Ed.-We should say certainly to the millennial state.
A. E. W.-Ver. 18 seems to prove that God had taken care that His testimony should go out to the Gentiles; ver. 20 that the Gentiles were obedient to it; and ver. 21 that the chosen nation were disobedient; while Chapter 11 corrects what might have been a misunderstanding, that though they as a nation were disobedient, yet God had not entirely cast them off, but had, according to sovereign grace in election, kept a remnant.(ver. 5); and the apostle, as an Israelite, refers to himself to prove this truth.
E. M. B.-By the expression " first-fruit " does not the apostle mean the nation of Israel in its primal calling and honor? As it is written, " Israel was holiness to the Lord, and the first-fruits of his increase"? (Jer. 2:33Israel was holiness unto the Lord, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 2:3).) We have the same term in James 1:1818Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18): has it any reference to the passage before us? or is it applied (i.e. James 1:1818Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18)) to the church?
C. H. P.-Ver. 16-18. Does " the root " mean Christ? What is the difference between the two figures of the vine and the olive tree?
Ed,-Is not "the root" what E. M. B. speaks of? The wild olive tree is symbolic of the Gentiles: the vine is never so used.
G. K. B.-v. 17-21. The Gentiles stood only on the ground of faith: if therefore, as a body, they departed from it, they would be in turn broken off. We have here nothing to do with the church, or union with Christ, but with the tree of promise in this world, beginning with Abraham, to whom, and to whose seed, the promises were made.
A. E. W.-In ver. 16 Abraham is shown to be the root, and that while the unbelieving Jews, as natural branches, have been cut off, and Gentiles (ver. 17) who are the wild olive tree, grafted in, yet it is by faith they continue (ver. 20); and so in ver. 22 the continuance of the Gentile is made to depend upon their continuance in the sense of His goodness and grace. This not being so, develops the apostasy; yet all Israel (ver. 26) shall be saved, but apart from merit: it is because God hath spoken it, who cannot lie; and the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Is it not, in this chapter, with regard to the Gentiles as with the Jews respectively, more a question of privilege or position, than life?
G. K. B.-Ver. 30, 31. The Gentiles had of old been unbelieving, so now it was pure mercy to them: the Jews had rejected this mercy to the Gentiles, and were themselves in unbelief; so that it had become pure mercy to them also. Thus God had concluded all in unbelief, that all might be mere objects of mercy.
E. M. B.-We have " riches " in connection with God three times in this epistle!-" The riches of His goodness " (2:4); " The riches of His glory " (9:23); " Riches of wisdom and knowledge" (11:33).
G. K. B. (Ver. 33-36.) God is the source, means, and end of all He has counseled, accomplished, or purposes still to effect for His own glory. The gospel is His; the righteousness His; the grace His, and so is the glory. To Him be glory forever. Amen.