Romans Chapter 10

1 Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for {their} salvation.

Paul longed to see the Jews saved. He said this in the beginning of chapter nine, and he says it again at the beginning of chapter ten. To understand Romans chapter ten correctly we must keep in mind the thing that is driving Paul to write it, namely, his longing to see the Jews saved.

The subject of this chapter is salvation, and more specifically, salvation of the Jews. Paul wants to understand why the Jews are not getting saved.

Note that if Paul really believed in election he would not pray for the salvation of the Jews. If salvation is by election then prayer is not going to affect the outcome. Those who pray for other people’s salvation do not really believe election, do they?

2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.

The reason why Paul wants to see the Jews saved is not sentimental – it is because he has seen that the Jews want to have a relationship with God. The Jews want God, but they are not trying to get near to God in the way that God has laid out, but by their own way.

Have you seen a child want something bad, but go about getting it in the wrong way? Have you longed to help the child learn the correct way but the child won’t listen? That longing is similar to the longing that Paul feels for the Jews.

As an aside, we learn something important here – that when it comes to God, we must approach Him, not in our own way, but in the way that He has asked us to. When we want to please someone we ask him or her how they would like to be pleased, and then do as they ask. The same holds with God.

3 For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

The Jews wanted to be righteous. They did not know God’s way of becoming righteous. So they invented their own way – just like the religions of the world. As a result, the Jews did not do it God’s way, and hence did not become righteous.

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Paul’s reminds us that if we believe in Christ then we no longer have to keep the Jewish law in order to be righteous. This is what the Jews refused to accept.

5 For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.

If you try to become righteous by keeping the Jewish law then you must keep the whole law. If you transgress any part of the law even once you cannot attain righteousness via the law.

Since every man and woman has not kept all of the law always this method of attaining righteousness is practically useless.

6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: "DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, 'WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?' (that is, to bring Christ down),

7 or 'WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)."

So we see that Paul has explained why the Jews are not able to attain righteousness by keeping the law. So then, Paul anticipates and responds to their question, “If not by the law, then how?”

Should someone go up to heaven to find out how to become righteous? Should someone go down to hell to find out how?

8 But what does it say? "THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART"--that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,

“Not at all”, says Paul. You don’t have to go anywhere to find out God’s way for man to be righteous. It is right here – it is the message of righteousness by faith that Paul is preaching.

9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

11 For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."

The message is simple – confess Jesus as your Lord (that is, make it your goal to please Him, which is the same as repenting), and believe in your heart (not your mind) that God raised Him from the dead. Do this, and you will be saved.

Just as a true believer is not afraid to confess his belief, true righteousness is righteousness that leads to salvation (from sin).

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same {Lord} is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;

13 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."

Paul now emphasizes that salvation is for all that believe, whether they are Jew or Gentile. Not for all that are elected, but for all that believe.

God abounds in riches for all that call upon Him, not just for the so-called ‘elect’.

To think that God offers salvation to all, and that no man is able to respond to that call by himself, but God enables only some to respond, is to accuse God of partiality.

If you had a high jump event with the bar 50 feet high (that is, so high that no one can make it on their own) and then you only provide some of the athletes with ‘booster shoes’ so that they can jump so high, would you not be partial?

In the same way, if God says that He makes the offer of salvation to all, and none can respond on their own, and so God helps only some to respond, then He is partial. Whatever explanation you might give, I still say that it would be partial; and if you let your conscience speak to you (instead of suppressing it) you too will agree that it would be partial.

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? And how will they hear without a preacher?

15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!"

Thus far, Paul has expressed his desire to see the Jews saved. He knows that the Jews want to be saved. He explained that even though the way to salvation is simple to understand, the Jews have not understood it. He now tries to understand why they have not understood it even though it is so simple. He outlines the steps to salvation and then checks each step to see exactly where in the series of steps the Jews have missed out.

The steps are: send the preacher; preacher preaches; person hears; person believes; person calls upon God; person gets saved.

Note that there is no step called ‘election.’

16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?"

17 So faith {comes} from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; "THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD."

Since the Jews are not getting saved, it is obvious that they have not called upon God. Why are they not calling upon God? It must be because they do not believe. Their unbelief is no surprise because Isaiah prophesied it.

But why didn’t they believe? Is it because they did not hear the message of salvation? After all, they can only believe if they hear the gospel, because faith comes by hearing the gospel.

The Jews have heard the gospel. Scripture itself says that the gospel has been preached. In fact, Paul himself preached the gospel to the Jews. So did Peter and the other apostles.

So here is the situation then: the Jews want to become righteous. They have heard the gospel (God’s method for becoming righteous), but refuse to believe it. Strange, isn’t it? That is what puzzles Paul too. In Romans chapter eleven Paul explains the solution to the puzzle.

Note that Paul says that the gospel is preached to all the earth, and to the ends of the world, implying that not just the Jews have a chance to hear it, but also the Gentiles.

19 But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, "I WILL MAKE YOU JEALOUS BY THAT WHICH IS NOT A NATION, BY A NATION WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING WILL I ANGER YOU."

20 And Isaiah is very bold and says, "I WAS FOUND BY THOSE WHO DID NOT SEEK ME, I BECAME MANIFEST TO THOSE WHO DID NOT ASK FOR ME."

21 But as for Israel He says, "ALL THE DAY LONG I HAVE STRETCHED OUT MY HANDS TO A DISOBEDIENT AND OBSTINATE PEOPLE.”

The Jews should know that God has now gone to the Gentiles too, because Moses told them that God would go to ‘that which is not a nation’ or ‘a nation without an understanding (of God, His laws, and His nature)’. These terms refer to the Gentiles.

In fact, even Isaiah told them the same thing very boldly and clearly.

Why did God do this? In order to make the Jews jealous. You see, God stretched out His hands to the Jews, but they were stubborn and didn’t listen to Him. So God went to the Gentiles just to show the Jews that they are not God’s only alternative. God did this in order to turn them back to Him.


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