On the Epistle to the Romans 10

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The apostle then enters more fully into this subject-the difference between legal righteousness, and that which is by faith, the righteousness of God. This is of the utmost importance. Legal righteousness is human righteousness. True, there is no such thing; but conscience feels, and rightly so, that man must have righteousness. Where there is confidence in self, one presumes to accomplish this righteousness, and to be able to offer it for God's acceptance. That man is responsible is perfectly true; but not only has he never fulfilled his responsibility, but he has not even made a beginning, because the flesh is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. The carnal man is contrary to God. The righteousness of God is in God Himself, in His being; it is exercised in grace towards men, and imputed to them through Christ. One's own righteousness is nothing but pride and want of conscience; it is only found where the heart is not divinely enlightened. For the light of God gives us clearly to know that we are sinners, and brings this upon the conscience before God. In this light the law also, applied by the Holy Spirit, can convince of sin, but it cannot produce righteousness for us; for the ministry of the law is the ministry of death and condemnation; 2 Cor. 3.
The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel (Rom. 1:1717For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17)); and we have become this righteousness in Christ; 2 Cor. 5:2121For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21). Let us examine how this has taken place. On the cross Christ was made sin for us, and there bore all the believer's sins. In this position He perfectly glorified God- His majesty, truth, righteousness against sin, His love to sinners, yea, all that He is; and that by having proved His obedience unto death, and His love to His Father in perfect self-sacrifice. The proof of the righteousness of God, and that with regard to what He is in Himself, to what sin is, and what it is in relation to Him, is now shown in God's having glorified Christ, who perfectly glorified Him in all that He is, in this place of sin, where by man's sin, all this had been dishonored; and His having set at His own right hand the Man who died-His own Son-and crowned Him with divine glory. This is what the Lord says in view of His death after Satan had entered into Judas. " Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him," John 13:31, 3231Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him. (John 13:31‑32). The Son of man has glorified God on the cross, and God has glorified Him with Himself. A man is ascended into the glory of God. (See John 17:4, 54I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (John 17:4‑5); Phil. 2:5-115Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5‑11).) The righteousness of God has been revealed in that He has given Christ, who glorified Him, a place with Himself in divine glory. In John 16: to this is expressly declared. The descent and presence of the Holy Ghost upon earth is the proof of righteousness, because, since it did not believe on the Son, but had rejected Him, there was none in the world. The presence of the Savior in heaven at the right hand of God is, likewise, the proof of the righteousness of God: the same Person who was rejected by the world, has been accepted by God, and is now, as come in grace, forever separated from the world.
But now the question arises, How can we have part in this? It is because the work which placed Him in the glory was accomplished for us. Through it He has glorified God. If we, who believe on Him, were not justified and made like Him, He would not see of " the fruit and travail of his soul." It forms part of the righteousness of God to give Him this fruit. Individually, of course, He is glorified; but a Redeemer without the redeemed would have lost the reward of His work and sufferings. We form part of the glory of Christ; and it is a deep source of joy to our souls that we, by our likeness to Him, in eternity shall be the proof of the value of the work of Christ. God only manifests His righteousness towards Christ in giving us the same glory with Him. How sure is our hope! We shall be with Him in the righteousness of God throughout eternity.
The Jews wanted to have their own righteousness according to the law-a human righteousness, had such a thing existed, which, however, was not the case; therefore they stumbled at Christ, the stone of stumbling, because for this purpose He had to be abased. His death was necessary to redeem us, and to acquire righteousness for us, and even glory, according to the counsels of God. Thus Christ was the end of the law for righteousness to every believer. It was impossible for the law to be maintained any longer as the rule and measure of righteousness for man, after divine righteousness had been revealed in Christ, and bestowed on believers. The righteousness of the law was human, and besides, did not exist at all; the righteousness imputed in grace to the believer was divine and perfect. The law has not lost its validity for those who were under it, for they who have sinned under the law shall be judged according to the law. But we have died with and in Christ, and the law has dominion over a man only so long as he lives. Whoever wants human righteousness must accomplish it for himself, for the man which doeth the requirements of the law shall live by them.
The apostle then quotes a passage from the Book of Deuteronomy (chap. 30: 12-14), on which I would say a word. Moses had in this book declared the commandments of God, to the observance of which was attached the possession of the land into which Israel should be introduced. He had presented the blessings as consequent upon obedience, and the curse as consequent upon disobedience. Then in the chapter quoted (ch. 30) it is presupposed that Israel, in consequence of their disobedience, would lose the land; and a promise is given as to what the mercy of the Lord would do, after the people, languishing in captivity, are through grace brought to repentance. As this promise will be fulfilled in Christ, the apostle applies verses 12-14 to Christ. It is impossible for Israel to fulfill the law in a strange land; but when the people return in heart and in obedience to Jehovah, then God will bless them, although the law could not be observed. And since the doing of the law was impossible, this blessing will take place on the ground of a righteousness which is of faith, as Paul shows in verse 6. Therefore Christ, being Himself for the Jew the object of hope, is here introduced as the restorer of the nation. The apostle says it is not necessary to go far, to ascend or descend, to find Christ. If the word, which, according to the power of the Holy Ghost, reveals Christ as risen from among the dead, is in the heart; if in sincerity of heart one confesses Him, one is saved. " For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth [that is to say openly] confession is made unto salvation." And this applies to the Gentiles quite as much as to the Jews, for " whosoever believeth on him [whoever he may be] shall not be ashamed." There is no difference between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich in grace towards all that call upon Him. How beautiful this verse is when one compares it with chapter 3: 22, 23. There, there is no difference, for all have sinned; here, no difference, for the same Lord over all is rich in grace towards all that call upon Him. " For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved " (v. 13). But to be able to call upon Him one must believe on Him; and to be able to believe on Him, one must have heard of Him; but to hear of Him, He must be preached, and for that there must be a preacher. As it is written: " How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! " (ver. 15); that is to say, divine blessings. But all have not obeyed the gospel, as Isaiah says: " Lord, who hath believed our report? " So then, faith is by a report, the report is by the word of God.
The apostle then alludes to the relative position of the Jews and Gentiles, with regard to this report. Of the Jews Isaiah says, " Who hath believed our report? " But it was the purpose of God that the testimony should sound forth to the ends of the earth, and be heard by the heathen. For Moses says that God would provoke Israel to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation would anger them. " But Esaias was very bold and saith: I was found of them that sought me not, I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith: All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people." Israel accordingly fell under God's judgment, was excluded from His presence, and, on the ground of responsibility, had lost all claim to the promises. Was he then rejected forever? By no means. Such is the answer, the teaching of the following chapter.