The Epistle to the Romans: Romans 10

Romans 10  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Chapter 10
It has pleased God to give us a further testimony from the apostle of his love for his nation, following that with which the ninth chapter began. The delight of his heart and his, prayer to God for Israel was for salvation for them. This affection for his kinsmen according to the flesh persisted, though they hated him as they hated his Master. Nor does the Epistle at any point speak of the persecution Paul had to endure from the Jews. Here, as in the ninth chapter, they are spoken of in grace, with tender regard for their feelings.
“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.”
What marks the Christian is that he has submitted to the righteousness of God, knowing that he has no merits of his own; all the merit is in Christ, who is the end, or termination of law for righteousness to every one that believeth (verse 4). It is through the cross of Christ that God can act according to His righteousness in conferring righteousness on us who believe.
“Ye shall do My judgments, and keep Mine ordinances, to walk therein; I am the Lord your God. Ye shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which, if a man do, he shall live in them. I am the Lord." This was uttered many years before Israel entered the promised land of Canaan.
Next, Deut. 30 is referred to, for in it there is foreseen the total failure of the nation, resulting in their being put out of that fair possession, and carried away as captives to be scattered among the Gentiles. But in the future day, bearing the curse of the broken law, all hope gone of attaining righteousness by keeping the law, this Scripture declares that Israel may look in faith to God, and that He will have mercy on them.
The last verse of Deut. 29 shows that the purposes of God in grace were not yet made known; "the secret things belong unto the Lord our God"; and the ground upon which a righteous and holy God might deal in mercy could not be revealed until His Son had died, the Just One for the unjust. It is in this way most interesting to compare the 6th to 10th verses of Rom. 10, with verses 11 to 14 of Deut. 30, realizing that the same Holy Spirit wrote through Moses in the one case, and through Paul in the other. Christ, once crucified, now glorified, is seen to be the key to the present dealing of grace.
“The Word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart"; so near has He brought His word of truth, suited exactly to the need of man; yet how few believe it!
In Rom. 10:88But 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; (Romans 10:8), with the utmost suitability that verse is quoted, and then it is added, "that is, the word of faith which we preach; 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.”
The mouth is to be used to tell what is believed in the heart; and I own the Lord Jesus as my Savior, believing that God has raised Him from the dead Who died for my sins; my sins are gone, then, never to be brought up again for my condemnation. How preciously simple the gospel is!
You will notice that "mouth" and "heart" are in these verses in clear contrast with works. "Heart" here refers to an inward conviction: "with the heart man believeth unto righteousness." Yet something more goes with salvation: "with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Have you confessed your Savior to others? You are not truly on Christian ground until you have announced His title to you. Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed; it takes courage to confess Him, but there is not the slightest reason to be ashamed of Him, or what He has done for you; rather, on the contrary, is there every reason to be confident and to rejoice in Him.
The apostle has been quoting from the Old Testament Scriptures which the Jews acknowledge, in order to show that what God is now doing is not contrary to, but in fullest harmony with what these Scriptures declare. That there is no difference, for all have sinned, and come short of God's glory, was proclaimed in chapter 3, verses 22, 23; here, in the 12th verse, it is said again,
“There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek (or Gentile); for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him." Did the Old Testament say this? Yes, for the 13th verse is a quotation from the prophecy of Joel, chapter 2, verse 32.
There it stands, undeniably, in the Jewish Scriptures. They would have limited God's mercy and blessing to Israel's race, but "whosoever" means every one, whether Jew or Gentile. "How then", the apostle proceeds, "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?" (verse 14). Was it not in every way right that the good news should go out to the Gentiles? the apostle and his companions and fellow laborers were then after all doing the work of God.
“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." This is, quoted from Isa. 52:77How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! (Isaiah 52:7)-not the whole verse, as you will see, but enough to show that it is of God to spread good news from Himself; the preachers who faithfully publish His word have a commission from God.
Then follows a further reference to the Old Testament. O, it is good to have the written word of God to depend upon, whether it shows me myself in the pride and naughtiness of the natural heart, or points me to Christ the Savior and the Lord. They have not all obeyed the gospel, says the apostle. Indeed this is a gracious, a tender way to speak, for as far as we can gather from the Scriptures, few only of the children of Israel knew God by faith in Old Testament days. Esaias (Isaiah) said, in chapter 53 of the longest of the prophetic books, "Lord, who hath believed our report?" What then could a Jew say to this?
In these two chapters God has been showing that neither birth nor position give salvation to the soul, and so verse 17 follows,
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
How simple is God's way, the only way, I need not remind you, of salvation! And how precious to us who believe; but how costly to Himself! Does some reader of this page say, I have not faith to believe what you believe? O, then, I would say, just read the 17th verse again: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Open your ears to hear His Word; open them wide, and it will find its way to your heart. Then you will be ready to confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus.
Verse 18 brings in another Old Testament Scripture; it is Psa. 19, in its first part, verses 1 to 6, where it is shown that God's testimony is not to be limited to Israel's land, but to cover the whole earth. That testimony, it is true, is of God's creation power, but the Psalm illustrates the principle that He proposes blessing for Gentiles as well as for Jews, who would selfishly keep it for themselves alone.
And so we pass to the 19th verse. "But I say, Did not Israel know?" Was the grace of God overflowing the boundaries of their race and spreading out to the distant and darkened nations a total surprise to the sons of Jacob? What saith the Scripture? Turn to Deut. 32:2121They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. (Deuteronomy 32:21) for the answer, quoted in this verse, and next (verses 20, 21, to Isa. 65:1,21I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. 2I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; (Isaiah 65:1‑2)). And so we reach the end of this wonderful chapter of God's Word.
(To Be Continued, D. V.)