The Epistle to the Romans

Romans 10‑11  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
In the next chapter (10) the Apostle carries on the subject, showing in the most touching manner his affection for the people. He at the same time unfolds the essential difference between the righteousness of faith and that of law. He takes their own books and proves from one of them (Deuteronomy) that in the ruin of Israel the resource is not going into the depths, nor going up to heaven. Christ indeed did both; and so the word was nigh them, in their mouth and in their heart. It is not doing, but believing; therefore it is what is proclaimed to them, and what they receive and believe. Along with this he gathers testimonies from more than one prophet. He quotes from Joel that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. He quotes also from Isaiah-"Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed." And mark the force of it-"Whosoever." The believer, whosoever he might be, should not be ashamed. Was it possible to limit this to Israel?
But more than this—"Whosoever shall call." There is the double prophecy. Whosoever believed should not be ashamed; whosoever called should be saved. In both parts, as it may be observed, the door is opened to the Gentile.
But then again he intimates that the nature of the gospel is involved in the publishing of the glad tidings. It is not God having an earthly center, and the peoples coming up to worship the Lord in Jerusalem. It is the going forth of His richest blessing. And where? How far? To the limits of the holy land? Far beyond. Psalm 19 is used in the most beautiful manner to insinuate that the limits are the world. Just as the sun in the heavens is not for one people or land alone, no more is the gospel. There is no language where their voice is not heard. "Yea verily, their sound went forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." The gospel goes forth universally. Jewish pretensions were therefore disposed of-not here by new and fuller revelations, but by this divinely skillful employment of their own Old Testament scriptures.
Finally he comes to two other witnesses-as from the Psalms, so now from the law and prophets. The first is Moses himself. Moses saith, "I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people," etc. How could the Jews say that this meant themselves? On the contrary, it was the Jew provoked by the Gentiles-"By them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you." Did they deny that they were a foolish nation? Be it so then; it was a foolish nation by which Moses declared they should be angered. But this does not content the Apostle, or rather the Spirit of God, for he goes on to point out that Isaiah "is very bold" in a similar way; that is, there is no concealing the truth of the matter. Isaiah says, "I was found of them who sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me." The Jews were the last in the world to take such ground as this. It was undeniable that the Gentiles did not seek the Lord, nor ask after Him; and the prophet says that Jehovah was found of them that sought Him not, and was made manifest to them that asked not after Him. Nor is there only the manifest call of the Gentiles in this, but with no less clearness there is the rejection, at any rate for a time, of proud Israel. "But unto Israel He saith, All day long have I stretched out My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people."
Thus the proof was complete. The Gentiles-the despised heathen—were to be brought in; the self-satisfied Jews are left behind, justly and beyond question, if they believed the law and the prophets.
But did this satisfy the Apostle? It was undoubtedly enough for present purposes. The past history of Israel was sketched in Romans 9; the present more immediately is before us in chapter 10. The future must be brought in by the grace of God; and this he accordingly gives us at the close of chapter 11. First he raises the question, "Has God cast away His people?" Let it not be! Was he not himself, says Paul, a proof to the contrary? Then he enlarges and points out that there is a remnant of grace in the worst of times. If God had absolutely cast away His people, would there be such mercy? There would be no remnant if justice took its course. The remnant proves then that even under judgment the rejection of Israel is not complete, but rather a pledge of future favor. This is the first ground.
The second plea is not that the rejection of Israel is only partial, however extensive, but that it is also temporary, and not definitive. This is to fall back on a principle he had already used. God was rather provoking Israel to jealousy by the call of the Gentiles. But if it were so, He had not done with them. Thus the first argument shows that the rejection was not total; the second, that it was but for a season.
But there is a third. Following up with the teaching of the olive tree, he carries out the same thought of a remnant that abides on their own stock, and points to a reinstatement of the nation. And I would just observe by the way that the Gentile cry that no Jew ever accepts the gospel in truth is a falsehood. Israel is indeed the only people of whom there is always a portion that believe. Time was when none of the English, nor French, nor of any other nation believed in the Savior. There never was an hour since Israel's existence as a nation that God has not had His remnant of them. Such has been their singular fruit of promise; such it is at present, even in the midst of all their misery. And as that little remnant is ever sustained by the grace of God, it is the standing pledge of their final blessedness through His mercy, whereon the Apostle breaks out into raptures of thanksgiving to God. The day hastens when the Redeemer shall come to Zion. He shall come, says one Testament, out of Zion. He shall come to Zion, says the other. In both Old and New it is the same substantial testimony. Thither He shall come, and thence go forth. He shall own that once glorious seat of royalty in Israel. Zion shall yet behold her mighty, divine, but once despised Deliverer; and when He thus comes, there will be a deliverance suited to His glory. All Israel shall be saved. God, therefore, had not cast off His people, but was employing the interval of their slip from their place, in consequence of their rejection of Christ, to call the Gentiles in sovereign mercy, after which Israel as a whole should be saved. "0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counselor? or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever."