Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. In these verses, Paul stated the content of that message concerning faith. Confessing with the mouth that Jesus is Lord is mentioned first to conform to the order of the quotation from Deuteronomy 30:14 in Romans 10:8. The confession is an acknowledgement that God has been incarnated in Jesus (cf. v. 6), that Jesus Christ is God (Yahweh – the self-existent One). Also essential is heart-faith that God raised Him from the dead (cf. v. 7). The result is salvation. The true order is given in verse 10: For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified (lit., “it is believed unto righteousness”), and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (lit., “it is confessed unto salvation”).
Yet these are not two separate steps to salvation. They are chronologically together. Salvation comes through acknowledging to God that Christ is God and believing in Him.
The normal chronological order is that one believes and then acknowledges his or her belief (i.e., confesses; cf. v. 10; 2 Cor. 4:13-14).
"Confess" means to say the same thing about something as someone else does (Gr. homologeo; cf. 1 John 1:9). In this context, it refers to saying the same thing about Jesus Christ as other believers in Him do. It is an acknowledgment of one's faith in Christ. Obedient Christians in the early church made this confession verbally and in water baptism, as we do today (cf. Matt. 28:19-20).
Notice in verse 10 something that's very basic. The word "righteousness" is equated with the word "salvation." They are referring to the same thing. With the heart man believes unto righteousness, with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. It doesn't take a great scholar to figure out then that righteousness equals salvation, salvation equals righteousness. You confess unto righteousness, you believe unto salvation. You believe unto righteousness, you confess unto salvation. They're synonymous.
In the early church the phrase, "Jesus is Lord" was one of the most common and simple expressions by which believers confessed their faith in Christ (cf. Acts. 2:36; 1 Cor. 8:6; 12:3; Phil. 2:11). It is a confession parallel and very similar to Israel's basic confession of faith in Yahweh: "Yahweh our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6:4, the Shema). In the Roman world, faithful citizens were increasingly being expected to acknowledge that Caesar was Lord (divine). So the original recipients of this epistle, especially, had to face the issue of who really is divine, Jesus or Caesar.
We take it that, for Paul, the confession that Jesus is Lord meant the acknowledgment that Jesus shares the name, the nature, the holiness, the authority, power, majesty and eternity of the one and only true God." Paul is speaking of the fact of the lordship of Christ, which is the very cornerstone for faith, something without which no one could be saved."
The fact that Jesus is Lord (God and Savior) became clear when He arose from the dead (cf. v. 7). Jesus' resurrection was the proof that He really was the divine Messiah, God's Holy One (cf. Ps. 16:10-11). Belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ meant belief that Jesus is Lord.
Ro 1:3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Ac 8:37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
Mt 10:32 "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
The contrast between mouth and heart needs to be observed. But we may not tone down the importance of confession with the mouth. Confession without faith would be vain (cf. Matt. 7:22, 23; Tit. 1:16). Likewise faith without confession would be shown to be fake. Our Lord and the New Testament in general bear out Paul’s coordination of faith and confession (cf. Matt. 10:22; Luke 12:8; John 9:22; 12:42; 1 Tim. 6:12; 1 John 2:23; 4:15; 2 John 7). Confession with the mouth is the evidence of the genuineness of faith and sustains to the same the relation which good works sustain (cf. 12:1, 2; 14:17; Eph. 2:8–10; 4:1, 2; James 2:17–22).
1Jo 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.
Belief in Jesus Christ in one's heart results in acceptance by God (i.e., imputed righteousness, justification, and positional sanctification). Testimony to one's belief in Jesus Christ normally follows and normally is verbal. Paul was describing the normal consequence of belief. Witmer wrote that the confession is to God. One's confession that Jesus is Lord would be to God initially (i.e., expressing trust in Christ to the Father), but most interpreters have believed that the confession in view goes beyond God and includes other people as well. This seems to be a reasonable conclusion since the confession is to be made with the mouth.
Righteousness has to do with what we become. Salvation has to do with what we don't become. Righteousness has to do with what we receive. Salvation has to do with what we don't receive, punishment. Righteousness has to do with entering into blessedness. Salvation has to do with escaping cursedness. Two great terms describing two sides of God's saving work.
When you're saved, you receive a new kind of life. What kind of life? Righteous life, holy life.
Ro 4:22 And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness." 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
Ac 13:29 "Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. 30 "But God raised Him from the dead. 31 "He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. 32 "And we declare to you glad tidings--that promise which was made to the fathers. 33 "God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus.
Verse 32 he says, "We declare unto you good news, glad tidings, the promise which was made to the fathers, God has fulfilled the same unto us their children." How did God do it? "In that He raised up Jesus again." In other words, he says God's promises are all fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Acts 16:30, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, thou shalt be saved.’" But what were they to believe? What was the point of their faith? What was it about Jesus Christ that they were to accept?
You say, "Well, Paul must have told them something. What did he tell them?" Well, what did he do to them immediately after this? Verse 33, "He took them the same hour of the night, washed their stripes and was baptized." The jailer took care of them and he was baptized. What does baptism signify? When you go down in the water and you come out, what's that an identification with? The resurrection of Jesus Christ. They must have gotten very clearly the message of resurrection.
Acts 17:30, "God commands everyone everywhere to repent because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained concerning which He has given assurance unto all." How did God give assurance to all that this in fact was the Messiah, that this in fact was the Lord that this in fact was the judge and the coming king? How did He do it? "In that He raised Him from the dead, raised Him from the dead." That's the key.
1 Peter 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And you can read the whole fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. The resurrection was the ultimate approval, substantiation, verification of the ministry of Christ. It showed that He indeed was God in human flesh, able to conquer death, hell, Satan. It showed that He had lived a perfect life for death had no right to hold Him. There was no sin for which He must pay. It showed that He conquered death, all of that, that the Father approved of His work on the cross and took Him out of the grave and set Him at His own right hand. Philippians 2 tells us that He humbled Himself, took upon Himself the form of a man, found in fashion as a servant. And He went through all the suffering that He went through and then it says God has Highly exalted Him, given Him a name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.
The resurrection was the Father's stamp of approval. An infinitely holy God put His stamp of approval on the work of Jesus Christ. That is what you say when you believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead
Back to Romans 10 — that you believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, you're saying something that's far more than just believing in an isolated event. In essence, what you're saying is that you believe that this is the incarnate God who came into the world, God in human flesh, lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, went into the grave and conquered death, came out the other side having purchased salvation for us, is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, and someday will come again as the Father's appointed judge and King to judge men and to rule the world forever. That's all bound up in the resurrection.
If Paul had picked any other event, it wouldn’t have been as significant as this. The resurrection says He is Son of God. The resurrection says He is Messiah, He is Savior. He is the ultimate Lamb, the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He is the perfect one, the sinless one, the one exalted at the right hand of God, the one to be the judge, the one to be the King. The only Savior, the judge of all men, the conqueror of death, the coming King, the eternal monarch of glory; all of that is bound up in the resurrection. And that's what we're called to believe.
In other words, you couldn’t say, "Well, I believe that Jesus rose from the dead. It just doesn't matter to me." No, that's not the kind of belief we're talking about. It's when your heart affirms all that the resurrection is intended to affirm. Affirming that the resurrection of Jesus was a historical fact won't save you. It is when you see in the resurrection the divine verification of all that Jesus claimed to be and do, that's the issue, it's believing that.
The Greek word in one form or another for faith and believing is 484 times in the New Testament. That's a lot of times. It's the key to salvation.
John 8:30 Jesus is talking to the population there, the area around Jerusalem. And He says things to them about Himself, about the Father. Then in verse 30, "As He spoke these words, many believed." Well there wasn't any resurrection yet so they couldn't believe that. What did they believe? Well they believed He was a prophet, they believed His words were true. They believed that He was a messenger from God. They believed He was a miracle worker. They believed He was a teacher. Whatever. But Jesus said to those Jews who believed, "If you continue in My Word then you're My real disciples." Something more than believing, right? There's continuing. In other words, it isn't enough that you've accepted Me as a miracle worker, or that you believe I'm a teacher from God, you've got to continue to believe everything else that I have to say about Myself. And that's what cut them out.
There are people who believe Jesus is the Son of God. And they may believe that He died on a cross and that He came out of the grave. But that's not saving faith because it doesn't imply that they embrace in the deepest part of their being all that His work meant. Do you understand that? All that it meant. All that it implied. In John 2 it says some people believed but He didn't commit Himself unto them because He knew the heart of man and He knew what their thinking was. And it wasn't adequate. It wasn't sufficient. James talks about the kind of faith that is dead faith. Because it has no product. What kind of believing is this? Well it's superficial believing. It's shallow believing. It doesn't encompass everything. And that's why in Romans 10 Paul says you must believe in the fullest sense from the deepest part of your person that God raised Him from the dead. In other words, all that that implies must be believed.
Believes means an ongoing condition not a one-time event of belief. True faith is a way of life.
Saving faith consists of three elements:
- Mental - The mind understands the gospel and truth about Christ
- Emotional - one embraces the truthfulness of those facts with sorrow over sin and joyfulness over God's mercy and Grace
- A volitional or voluntary submission of the sinners will to Christ and trusts in Christ alone as the only hope of salvation.
CONFESSION VERIFIES AND CONFIRMS THE FAITH OF THE HEART.
Jas 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
Lu 4:33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, 34 saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!"
The words of Thomas are very familiar to us, when he sees Jesus he says "My Lord and My God." “God” has to do with deity, “Lord” has to do with sovereignty. And if they both meant the same thing then he was repeating himself. “Lord” is the word that indicates sovereign power, sovereign control. “God” is the expression of deity.
The point is that the true heart that really believes, understands the fullness of who Christ is and willingly submits to His authority.
In the book of Acts, He is called “Savior” two times and “Lord” 92 times. And in the whole New Testament the word, "Lord" appears 634 times. “Savior,” appears 24 times, and never before “Lord,” but always after 116 times. God and Savior twice. Therefore, the context here of Romans 10 fits right into the standard understanding of this word kurios, that it is a word of sovereign ruler ship.
Tit 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
Salvation is to believe that He is all of that and to affirm that you take your place under His sovereign ruler ship.
Demons believe the right stuff, but have no capacity to submit to the lordship of Christ. That's why the Bible in Romans 1 calls it the obedience of faith. It is faith that leads to obedient submission to the lordship of Christ.
Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man who does those things shall live by them." 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or," 'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 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 preach):
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW vs. RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH IN CHRIST (5-15)
Ro 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man who does those things shall live by them."
That is to say, Moses speaks of the righteousness which is of the law and defines what it is and he also speaks of the righteousness of faith. For the former Leviticus 18:5 is quoted and for the latter Deuteronomy 30:12, 14
If a Jew or anyone is to receive righteousness by keeping the demands of the Law, that would be human achievement; it would not be from God. However, a Jew or anyone would need to keep the entire Law perfectly all his life—an impossible task
Jas 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
But then Paul also quoted Moses in support of his righteousness-by-faith position centered in Christ as “the end of the Law” and the means by which righteousness is available for everyone who believes. It does not seem appropriate that Paul was merely borrowing Moses’ words and applying them to something foreign in Moses’ thought. This says that righteousness by faith is not a new concept, but had been proclaimed to Israel by Moses.
Paul quoted from the Old Testament to prove to his readers that they did not even understand their own Law. He began with Leviticus 18:5 which states the purpose of the Law: if you obey it, you live.
“But we did obey it!” they would argue.
Galatians 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law,” as many people as want to live by the works, as many people want to live by law, want to be self-savers, “are under the curse." They are all accursed. "For its written, cursed is everyone that continues not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." So if you've ever not done something you ought to do, or ever done something you should not have done, you're out, you're cursed.
“You may have obeyed it outwardly,” Paul would reply, “but you did not believe it from your heart.” He then quoted Deuteronomy 30:12–14 and gave the passage a deeper spiritual meaning.
The theme of Moses’ message was “the commandment” (Deut. 30:11), referring to the Word of God. Moses argued that the Jews had no reason to disobey the Word of God because it had been clearly explained to them and it was not far from them. In fact, Moses urged them to receive the Word in their hearts
When we think of the truth expressed in Deuteronomy 30:12–14, we can see the appropriateness of the use of this passage to show that the same principles over which the Jews stumbled are the principles which verify to the fullest extent the truth of the passage from which the apostle quotes.
De 5:29 'Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever
De 6:5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.13:3
De 30:6 "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.). The emphasis in Deuteronomy is on the heart, the inner spiritual condition and not mere outward acts of obedience.
- Involves the mouth and the heart (6-8)
Ro 10:6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or," 'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 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 preach):
The material in Deuteronomy was part of Moses’ charge to the generation of Israel about to enter the land of Canaan. This exhortation was the conclusion of Moses’ prophetic description of God’s dealing with Israel. Blessing was promised for faith and obedience, and chastisement would result from rejection and disobedience. If Israel forsook God, Moses said, she would face worldwide dispersion and affliction. When the people then finally do turn to God in faith, He will restore them to blessing, prosperity, and prominence among the nations (Deut. 30:1–10). The point of Moses’ exhortation (Deut. 30:11) is that the generation to whom he was speaking had the message (it was very near you and in your mouth, Deut. 30:14) and they could respond by faith (in your heart, Deut. 30:14) and walk with God in obedience. Since the Israelites in Moses’ day had the message, they did not need to ask that it be brought down from heaven or that someone “cross the sea to get it” (Deut. 30:13). Instead, the word (Moses’ instructions) was “near” them (Deut. 30:14).
De 30:10 "if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
The Jews were trying to do the impossible. They were trying to ascend to heaven. That's what a works system does; save yourself, get up, and crawl up to heaven on your own. Descend into the deep.
Those are two Jewish proverbs. In fact, to be high and afar off was a Jewish way of saying something is unattainable. Thou art high, it says of God, that art very high. It says of the wicked, God sees them afar off, that is there's no way to reach them. To the Jew to be high in the heavens or deep in the depths, to ascend to heaven, to go down to hell was to do what was impossible. So he reaches back to Deuteronomy 30 and says Moses says that the righteousness of faith is not available just for those who can do the impossible. It's available for anybody. It's right there.
Paul assures us that the intent of this passage in Deuteronomy is a call to faith. He even calls it in Romans 10:8 the word of faith. It is a call to a heart response. It is a call to faith. It is the obedience of the heart that he is after, not just some external behavior. A call to faith, a call to a true heart relationship to God in Deuteronomy, is based on the covenant of grace. Deuteronomy is not simply a call to legal externalism; it is a call to respond in faith to a covenant of grace.
De 9:4 "Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, 'Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land'; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you. 5 "It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 "Therefore understand that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.
It is better, therefore, to take the statement as implying that the Jews are saying Jesus never came down from heaven and the preceding question as the taunt of unbelief. What Paul is insisting on is the accessibility, the nearness of revelation. That Christ came down from heaven and tabernacled among men is the most significant proof of this fact. We dare not say: who shall ascend to heaven to find the truth? For this question discounts the incarnation and is a denial of its meaning. In Christ, the truth came to earth.
Ro 10:7 or," 'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
The other statement: “that is, to bring Christ up from the dead” (vs. 7) should be interpreted as a denial of the resurrection. The question: “who shall descend into the abyss?” echoes the same kind of unbelief as that of verse 6. It is to the effect: who shall go down to the abyss to find the truth? The abyss as representing that which is below is contrasted with heaven as that which is above. The question, as the language of unbelief, discounts the significance of Christ’s resurrection. The second phrase means that Jesus went to the realm of the dead and returned to life again. We do not need to go down to the abyss to find the truth any more than we need to ascend to heaven for the same purpose. For as Christ came from heaven to earth so also did he come again from the lower parts of the earth and revealed himself to men.
Eph 4:8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men." 9 (Now this, "He ascended" --what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
1Pe 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
In effect, Paul indicated that the same truth applied to his generation, with the added fact that Christ had come in the flesh (John 1:14) and had been resurrected. Therefore there was no need for anyone to ask to bring Christ down (in His Incarnation) or to bring Christ up from the dead; He had already come and had been resurrected. The message of righteousness by faith in Paul’s day was “near” his readers (available to them) and this was “the word” (rhēma, “saying”) of faith he was proclaiming (rhēma, “the spoken word” is also used in Eph. 5:26; 6:17; 1 Peter 1:25). Thus the gospel, “the word of faith,” is available and accessible
Isa 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, 'Seek Me in vain'; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
Ro 10:8 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 preach):
Verse 8 is the affirmation of what is the burden of Deuteronomy 30:12–14 and is, with slight alteration, quotation of verse 14. Paul now specifies what this word is: it is “the word of faith, which we preach”. So the word of Deuteronomy 30:14 is applied directly to the message of the gospel as preached by the apostles. “
The word of faith” is the word to which faith is directed, not the word which faith utters. It is the word preached and therefore the message that brings the gospel into our mouth and heart.
Deut 30:10 Original Context if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 11 "For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 "It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?'
Paul gave us the spiritual understanding of this admonition. He saw “the commandment” or “the Word” as meaning “Christ, God’s Word.” So, he substituted “Christ” for “the commandment.” He told us that God’s way of salvation was not difficult and complicated. We do not have to go to heaven to find Christ, or into the world of the dead. He is near to us. In other words, the Gospel of Christ—the Word of faith—is available and accessible. The sinner need not perform difficult works in order to be saved. All he has to do is trust Christ. The very Word on the lips of the religious Jews was the Word of faith. The very Law that they read and recited pointed to Christ.
God doesn't scorn the lost soul by mocking him with an offering of salvation that is utterly unattainable and expecting him to go on an impossible quest.
Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To see the importance of combining zeal with the right kind of knowledge
2) To understand that Israel had plenty of opportunity to heed the gospel of Christ, but for the most part they had rejected it
As Paul continues to explain God's dealings with the nation of Israel, he repeats his expression of love towards them (1). Though as a nation they had plenty of zeal, unfortunately their zeal was not according to the right kind of knowledge (2). Thus they rejected the righteousness of God while trying to establish their own righteousness through the Law of Moses. But Paul explains that Christ is the fulfillment of the Law and has brought it to an end (3-4).
The righteousness God now offers is based upon faith in Christ, not keeping the Law. It involves not the accomplishment of some great feat (like ascending to heaven or descending to hell), but such things as confessing Jesus as Lord and believing that God raised Him from the dead (5-10). As foretold by Scripture, it is offered to all, both Jew and Gentile (11-13). And it is offered through the medium of preaching the Word (14-15).
The problem with the nation of Israel, then, is that not all of them received the gospel message, even when they had ample opportunity (16-18). But as Moses predicted, the day would come when God would provoke Israel to jealousy by another people, who Isaiah said did not seek God yet found Him, while Israel was constantly rebelling against Him (19-21).
The theme of this chapter is Israel’s present rejection. Paul moved from divine sovereignty (Rom. 9) to human responsibility. He continued the theme of righteousness introduced at the end of the previous chapter (Rom. 9:30–33) and explains three aspects of Israel’s rejection
ROMANS 10.1-4 ISRAEL'S REFUSAL OF GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS (1-15)
The Reasons for Their Rejection (Rom. 10:1–13)
You would think that Israel as a nation would have been eagerly expecting the arrival of their Messiah and been prepared to receive Him. For centuries they had known the Old Testament prophecies and had practiced the Law, which was “a schoolmaster” to lead them to Christ (Gal. 3:24). God had sought to prepare the nation, but when Jesus Christ came, they rejected Him. “He came unto His own [world] and His own [people] received Him not” (John 1:11). To be sure, there was a faithful remnant in the nation that looked for His arrival, such as Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25–38); but the majority of the people were not ready when He came.
How do we explain this tragic event? Paul gives several reasons why Israel rejected their Messiah.
PAUL'S EXPRESSION OF CONCERN FOR ISRAEL (1-4)
- That Israel be saved, for they have zeal but not real knowledge (1-2)
Ro 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
They did not feel a need for salvation (v. 1). There was a time when Paul would have agreed with his people, for he himself opposed the Gospel and considered Jesus Christ an impostor. Israel considered the Gentiles in need of salvation, but certainly not the themselves. In several of His parables, Jesus pointed out this wrong attitude: the elder brother (Luke 15:11–32) and the Pharisee (Luke 18:9–14) are two examples. Israel would have been happy for political salvation from Rome, but she did not feel she needed spiritual salvation from her own sin.
Ro 10:2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
They were zealous for God (v. 2). Ever since Israel returned to their land from Babylonian Captivity, the nation had been cured of idolatry. In the temple and the local synagogues, only the true God was worshiped and served, and only the true Law was taught.
So zealous were the Jews that they even “improved upon God’s Law” and added their own traditions, making them equal to the Law.
Paul himself had been zealous for the Law and the traditions (Acts 26:1–11; Gal. 1:13–14).
Ac 22:3 "I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers' law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.
Ga 1:13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers
it was as if Paul had been considering himself a 100-watt light bulb, surrounded by people who were only 75-, 60-, and 25-watt light bulbs. But, when Jesus appeared to him, the righteousness of Jesus was like the brightness of the sun. When Paul realized that, he gave up trying to create his own righteousness and instead placed his faith in Jesus, which was the only sensible thing to do.
But their zeal was not based on the right kind of knowledge; it was heat without light. Sad to say, many religious people today are making the same mistake. They think that their good works and religious deeds will save them, when actually these practices are keeping them from being saved. Certainly many of them are sincere and devout, but sincerity and devotion will never save the soul. “Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Rom. 3:20).
- Through ignorance, they seek to save themselves by the Law, and do not submit to God's righteousness in Christ which brings an end to the Law (3-4)
Ro 10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
They were proud and self-righteous (v. 3). Israel was ignorant of God’s righteousness, not because they had never been told, but because they refused to learn. There is an ignorance that comes from lack of opportunity, but Israel had had many opportunities to be saved. In their case, it was an ignorance that stemmed from willful, stubborn resistance to the truth. They would not submit to God. They were proud of their own good works and religious self-righteousness, and would not admit their sins and trust the Savior. Paul had made the same mistake before he met the Lord (Phil. 3:1–11).
The godly Presbyterian preacher, Robert Murray McCheyne, was passing out tracts one day and handed one to a well-dressed lady. She gave him a haughty look and said, “Sir, you must not know who I am!”
In his kind way, McCheyne replied, “Madam, there is coming a day of judgment, and on that day it will not make any difference who you are!”
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
They misunderstood their own Law (vv. 4–13). Everything about the Jewish religion pointed to the coming Messiah—their sacrifices, priesthood, temple services, religious festivals, and covenants. Their Law told them they were sinners in need of a Saviour. But instead of letting the Law bring them to Christ They worshiped their Law and rejected their Saviour.
Ga 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
The Law was a signpost, pointing the way. But it could never take them to their destination. The Law cannot give righteousness; it only leads the sinner to the Saviour who can give righteousness.
Christ is “the end of the Law” in the sense that through His death and resurrection, He has terminated the ministry of the Law for those who believe. The Law is ended as far as Christians are concerned. The righteousness of the Law is being fulfilled in the life of the believer through the power of the Spirit (Rom. 8:4); but the reign of the Law has ended (see Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14). “For ye are not under the Law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14).
Ga 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Mt 5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
Whether you're reading in the Old Testament passages such as 1Kings 9, Deuteronomy 28, or the NT in Luke 21, you hear these passages that promise tragedy to Israel. And in the lifetime of the Old Testament prophets and people, these tragedies came to pass. And in the lifetime of the New Testament writers, these tragedies also came to pass. And it continues even to our own time that we see the devastation, the destruction, the lostness of the nation Israel. And we ask ourselves the question, what happened? And that's the very question that Paul is posing in this part of Romans. How is it that the people of God have missed the blessings? How is it that the nation Israel to whom were given the very covenants of God and promises of God and laws of God and the Holy Scriptures and the prophets, how is it that they have missed out on God's blessing? How is it that they have been set aside for judgment and punishment? And Romans chapter 10 is written to answer the question. And basically it is because of Israel's ignorant unbelief.
Because of their ignorant unbelief, they forfeited God's blessings as all men and women do who live in unbelief, and bring upon themselves God's judgments.