The Epistle to the Romans
by Neville Clark at TTG Bible Class.
Reading – Romans
Paul teaches the Jewish believers who thought they were better than the Gentile believers that they were all saved by faith not works..
Study 11 -The epistle of Paul to the Romans by Neville Clark TTG 2017
Reading: Romans Ch. 10
The righteousness of God with Israel
Last fortnight, you will recall we began with Romans Ch 9, the section section I have highlighted there in orange, those three chapters, Rom 9,10,11, “The righteousness of God with Israel.” We made the point at the time, this is two weeks ago, that this section formed somewhat of a climax to the argument of the Apostle that he was making in the book of Romans. A climax, that is to say, as opposed to simply concluding in Ch 8, as has often been the practice. When you get to Ch 9, you see, the Apostle has so successfully argued that righteousness doesn’t come by law, and that salvations is available to Gentiles a well as Jews, that there’s likely to be, by the start of Ch 9, considerable Jewish feeling against him. And further than that, it begs the ultimate question, Does God still have a purpose with the nation of Israel? If, apparently, the whole reason that the nation came into existence. That is the Mosaic code, the priesthood, the prophets. If none of that can give you eternal life, what was the value of it? And further, does God still have a purpose with the people to whom it was originally given? Well, the answer is in the affirmative, but here’s the structure as we began to see it, of Chs 9, 10 and 11.
Fleshly descent doesn’t make you a child of God
What was the story briefly of Ch 9? Well the Apostle begins the chapter, you will recall, with a genuine distress for the predicament of the nation. His distress wasn’t just that they didn’t believe, but that they did so in the face of such enormous privileges as they had been given, the greatest of which, of course, was that the Messiah himself came from among them. And he goes on to explain the fact that Israel didn’t believe what God said, didn’t mean that God’s purpose with them had failed; didn’t mean that at all, because God did no promise that he would save every Jew. Abraham, for example had two children, one was God’s seed, one wasn’t God’s seed. Well the Jew looked at that and said, ‘Well that’s very simple, they had different mothers, one was a Jew and one wasn’t a Jew, it is very easy. So Paul moves the next generation, ‘Well what about Jacob, he also had two children, two boys, twins in fact, from the same mother, yet still, only one was God’s seed, and they might have both been Jews in that sense. From that, you see, very clearly, that fleshly descent, doesn’t of itself, make you a child of God. But there was more to that in the case of Jacob and Esau, however, wasn’t there, because not only was Jacob selected over Esau, but the decision was made before the boys were even born, before they had even done good or evil. Now what does that prove? Well, that proves, if it proves anything, it proves that works of law don’t commend you to God, because neither boy had the chance to do anything, good or bad.
Just stop for a moment and think about the power of that argument. I actually think that’s brilliant logic that the Apostle uses, we are only a dozen verses or so into Ch 9 and he has already demolished the whole pedigree, if you like, of the Jewish argument. So God wouldn’t have to save every Jew to save the whole nation of Israel. Moses, as we found by his prayers couldn’t save the whole nation. Pharaoh by his stubbornness couldn’t destroy the whole nation. God’s purpose with the nation would be accomplished but it wouldn’t involve every individual born into that nation. Well, then the questions arises, of course, half way through Ch 9, well, if God raises up people like Pharaoh with a stubborn heart simply so that he can use him as his will describes, how can he ever condemn Pharaoh for resisting his will, isn’t he doing what God made him do? Is man still responsible for his own actions.? The answer comes back, once again, in the affirmative. Of course, it all has to do with how the clay responds to the potter, and the simple answer is that the potter will continue to work with the clay so long as the clay is malleable. Vessels are only destroyed when they are beyond help. Furthermore, in accordance with God’s long-suffering, he didn’t destroy Pharaoh as quickly as he might have but used him to save other people, not willing, you see, that any should perish. And since salvation now depends on God’s mercy, rather than than on man’s nationality, well then, Gentiles, as well as Jews, can be saved. And towards the end of the chapter he quotes four quotations, two from Hosea, and two from Isaiah; two quotations from Hosea, to prove that not all Gentiles would be lost, and two quotations from Isaiah to prove that not all Jews would be saved. So some Jews would be saved, though they had all the advantages, and some Gentiles would be saved, though they had none of the advantages. It is all a question, you see, on how you sought God, which is how Ch 9 finishes, from V 30-33. The Gentiles sought God by faith. The Jews sought him by works, and you’ve got a couple of phrases in Vv 30 and 31 which describe how the Apostle describes those two approaches to salvation. The Gentiles attained, at the end of V 30, “the righteousness which is of faith,” The Jews followed, in the middle of V 31, “the law of righteousness,” or “righteousness by law.” Which of course, is no righteousness at all but that was the pursuit they made, you see, and that was what characterised the Jewish vs the Gentile approach to salvation before God.
Righteousness by faith, or righteousness by law.
As a consequence of that the Gentiles found God but the Jews did not, because they searched in all the wrong places, and with all the wrong method. And you see, that’s the real tragedy of Romans Ch 9. You think of all the blessings given to the Jews, as compared with the Gentiles. Like, the enormous number of blessings, beginning with manna in the wilderness, the crossing of the Red Sea, for the next 1500 years until the Apostle is writing this in the first century. The law, the prophets, the priesthood, even the Messiah all came to that nation but far from assisting their salvation, when you look back at history, you might think those blessings were more of a curse than a blessing, because by the end of the first century, not only was the Messiah dead, the nation in dispersion but by all conserve estimates the Gentiles overwhelmingly outnumbered the Jews in the ecclesial world. And as we closed last week, we made the point that these are lessons that you can never ever lose sight of in the Truth, because the day we take the Truth for granted, the day we stop taking God at his word, the day we read into our Bibles what we want to read into them rather than what they say, is the day we begin on the slippery slope that Israel took. And it is as simple as that, that is exactly what happened to them. They looked for God in all he wrong places, by which I mean, they looked for him in the wrong way, they re-created God.
Paul’s interrogation of Israel on God’s behalf
Well that brings us now to Chapter 10. But when you come to Ch 10, there is a difference, as compared with Ch 9. In Ch 9 the main focus, as I have just described that story to you, you can see that the main focus of the chapter is upon God and God’s dealings with Israel. You might say that Ch 9 is Paul’s interrogation of God on Israel’s behalf. When you come to Ch 10, it is the opposite, it is Paul’s interrogation of Israel on God’s behalf, because you see, now the tables are turned. By the time you get to the end of Ch 9 Israel might have been able to claim, that perhaps they hadn’t been given a fair chance, as compared with the Gentiles, so they weren’t really aware of the consequences of their disobedience, that God was more merciful to the Gentiles than he should have been. Perhaps he was more merciful to the Gentiles than he even was to them? And that, now, begets the story of Ch 10, as we can see half way down the slide here. Vv 1-4, the self-righteousness of Israel. But before the Apostle embarks on his interrogation of the nation, he repeats again his concern for the plight of his country and that’s what the verses begin with. He repeats very similar words to what you saw at the outset of Ch 9, and then Vv 5-10 of Ch 10, two modes of righteousness. We met them as I described them in Ch 9:30-31, righteousness by Law vs Righteousness by faith. I mean, I suppose they are two methods of righteousness, self-righteousness, the other is called godly righteousness, but nevertheless two modes of righteousness as the Apostle begins to describe them. This was the Jewish approach vs the Gentile approach to the Truth, one right, one wrong. Vv 11-13, righteousness is available to Jew and Gentile, or if you like, salvation is available to Jew and Gentile. Why is that? Well because righteousness comes by faith and not by works of law, therefore you didn’t have to be under the law. Therefore you didn’t have to be a Jew born into the mosaic covenant, you didn’t have to be any of those things to still be saved. And if salvation is available to those outside the law, then clearly, it is available to Gentiles. Vv 14-18, Scripture anticipates the preaching to the Gentiles, don’t be surprised by that, says, Paul, Scripture always said that the truth would be preached to the Gentiles, it was always part of God’s plan, and he goes quote, quote, quote to prove it. And then concludes the chapter in the last few verses, 19-21, and when the Truth is preached to the Gentiles, as compared to the Jews, they will accept it, and they will approach God in the appropriate manner.
Ch 10, and v 1. “Brethren,” he says, “my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that he might be saved. So the closing verses of Ch 9 speak about the fact that the Gentiles attained unto righteousness whereas the Jews didn’t. Paul now is going to elaborate on that in this chapter, but he is going to prefix his remarks with a restatement of his pure motives. This is, as I said a moment ago, this is very similar language to the opening words of Ch 9, because he is at pains to point out that his criticism of the nation which is going to follow is not because he is going to have a go at them, because he cares about their national well-being. His prayer, he says, is that they might be saved, because, as we read in verse 2, it’s not as if the Jews weren’t religious. Their zeal was genuine, but it was misdirected. And who better to understand that than the apostle himself.
In Gal 1v14 Paul says he profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals, being more exceeding zealous of the traditions of the fathers. And in Phil 3v6 he says – “concerning zeal, persecuting the ecclesia”. So, you see, there’s every reason they should have accepted his sincerity. He was once one of them, he knew how zealously motivated they were. So his feelings for Israel are based on his own situation. And he knows now just how ignorant he was then. And so are they – “not according to knowledge”, that is, the right knowledge. Well, what was wrong with their knowledge? And in verse 3 we read “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”. And there’s the difference. There are two forms of Righteousness in the world: one you establish, the other you submit to. And that’s it in a nutshell. If you establish your own righteousness, you elevate personal merit, you put God in your debt and earn salvation. If you submit to God’s righteousness, you confess you have no righteousness of your own and you depend on his mercy, and you allow God to save you. That doesn’t mean you do nothing. Your works don’t save you, but they do identify you with the character of Christ. And on that basis, God can save you. But that’s the funny thing about works. They can’t save you, but they can kill you, because if your works are out of harmony with the character of Christ, you may die because of them.
And how was it that the Jew made such a serious mistake? Verse 4 – they rejected Jesus. Christ is the end of the Law. No definite article here. He’s the end of law, period. The word “end” means termination or limit. The point is, the law stops when Christ comes. Galatians says it like this in Gal 3v24 “the law was our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith”. So when Christ came, the law ended. But there’s even more to it than that. Think about it. Christ was the pre-eminent example of law-keeping and the law cursed him. So if a perfect man couldn’t get life out of the law, whoever could? If the Law couldn’t even give life to a perfect man, then what could it do for anyone. That’s the second way, of course, that Christ becomes “the end of the law,” he is the only one who could actually offer a solution to sin, even the law couldn’t do that. Well, of course, the Jew wasn’t all that easily convinced, because look at V 5. In Vv 5-10 are now where the Apostle really hops into the heart of the subject.
Two modes of righteousness
Two modes of righteousness. Now what’s going to happen here is this. The Jew of course, thinks he’s got Scripture on his side. In V 5 he’s going to quote, or Paul on his behalf, is going to quote Lev 18:5 to prove that you absolutely can get eternal life from the Law of Moses. You can get eternal life from keeping law, because this is what the Jew believed. Now what I am going to say is that the way Paul writes, Rom 10:5, he writes it the way the Jew would read it. He doesn’t agree with this natural interpretation of V 5 here. It is not true that you can get eternal life out of the Law of Moses. But the Jew believes you could, so he accepts the quotation and puts it on the table as the Jew would have taken it. And then he’s going to answer it from Vv 6-8 by quoting Deut 30 to prove that was never God’s intention. God never intended, ever, that you would get eternal life from the Law of Moses. So let’s see how he does it, look at V 5. “For Moses describes the righteousness which is of the Law.” You remember that? I have made that point before, the righteousness of the Law, Ch 9:31, compared with the righteousness of faith,” Ch 9:30. So here’s the righteousness of the Law in V 5 and you will see the righteousness of faith in V 6, it is these two modes of righteousness, one a bogus mode of righteousness, yes, yes, but two contrasted modes of righteousness nevertheless. “Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the Law, that the man which doeth those things shall live by them,” and when we read “live by them” we read, “live eternally.” That is, if you kept the Law of Moses, you could have eternal life. That is going to pose us a problem, of course, because if the Jew is right, then there are evidently two ways of achieving eternal life, one by works of Law, and another by faith. The fastest way, you know, to establish the apostle’s true position on this subject is to come to Gal 3. So do that for me now. Galatians is like a mini-Romans. It is arguing much the same subject, but in a whole lot less chapters, because of course he is dealing, at least in Galatia, with a substantially Gentile audience whereas in Rome it had a far, far higher Jewish population, at least at certain times.
Law does not given eternal life
Gal 3:11, here it is. “But that no man is justified by the Law in the sight of God is evident” he says. Or Hab 2:4, “The just shall live by faith, and the Law is not of faith,” but Lev 18:5, thats our quote, but “the man that doeth them shall live in them. So, clearly what he is saying in Vv 11-12 of Gal 3, is that the Law can’t give you eternal life, because he is making a contrast here. “It is evident,” he says, “that no man is justified by law, but he goes on in V 12 and says, but you can still have life through the Law, so you say, ‘How does that make sense?’ Can you get life by Law or can you not? Well whatever the form of life was that the Law of Moses could give you evidently wasn’t eternal life, because that would require justification in V11, or forgiveness, if you like. So what could the Law give you? What could the Law of Moses actually do for you? Well, this is what Moses says. In Deut 32:46 he says to them “set your hearts unto all the words which ye shall command your children to observe to do all the words of this Law. For it is not a vain thing for you because it is your life. And through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.” So there is the answer. What sort of a life could the Law of Moses give you? Answer, “Long life in the land.” Not eternal life. So ‘Yes’ the Law could give life, but not the life we want to talk about. It could prolong your life in the land and that was all the Law could give you. It was never intended to be able to give you eternal life. So what we are saying, is that the Jew is mis-reading Lev 18:5 when he says that you can get life from the Law of Moses. It is talking about a different kind of life. Do you want to see how powerfully the Apostle makes that point? You come over the page to Gal 3:21. Look, think about this from God’s point of view. Gal 3:21, “Is the Law of Moses then against the promises of God, by no means, for if there had been a law given which could have given life,” I mean, eternal life, “if there had been a law given that could have given eternal life, verily, righteousness should have been by the Law.” God says, if it was possible that I could give mankind eternal life by having him follow a law, any law, I would have done it, rather than killed my son, then it wasn’t possible that eternal life could come by law, not possible, and therefore I had to send my son, who would be “the end of the law.” Gal 3:24, “And the Law was a teacher to take you to that point.” So on every count, God would have loved to have provided a law that could have given life, because he could have kept his son intact, but that was an impossibility. So, not only was the Jew wrong in his reading of Lev 18:5, by reference, for example, to Deut 32, he was wrong, even from the perspective of God, as a consequence of the Law not being able to give eternal life had to sacrifice his only son.
A change of heart required
And let’s look at the other side of the argument. Come with me to Luke Ch 10, the beginning of the parable of the “Good Samaritan.” Here is the Lord Jesus Christ now, and he’s going to use Lev. 18:5. Same quote, so you’ve seen this quote appear in Rom 10, in Gal 3 and now in Luke 10. Look at what it says. V 25 of Luke Ch 10. “Behold a certain lawyer,” so, this fellow, he wants to know something about the Law, because he is a lawyer. “A certain lawyer stood up and tempted Christ saying Master what shall I do to receive eternal life?” We’ve got a lawyer who is skilled in the Law, talking about how you get eternal life. Like, it’s got all the ingredients we want, hasn’t it? And Jesus said to him “Well, what’s written in the Law, how readest thou?’ And the lawyer answered and said, “Well, thou shalt love God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and all thy strength,with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thyself. And Jesus said to the lawyer, thou hast answered right, this do and thou shalt live.” And you will have a little ‘g’ in your margin which takes you to Lev 18:5. Now what does Jesus mean by that? Because when he says in v 28, “This do and thou shalt live, he means, live eternally, because that was the question in V 25. So Jesus is quoting Lev 18:25 as a proof of eternal life by law, or is it? Not quite. Which part of the Law was the lawyer going to have to keep to get eternal life? Well, all that part in V 27. Loving God with his heart, soul, mind and strength and his neighbour as himself. It would require a change of heart by the lawyer, not simply a compunction to do well. Jesus said, ‘If your heart were to change, you’re no longer a legalistic, you are going to develop a character of faith or belief in God, and that will give you eternal life. So what’s the point? The point is this, very simply, the Law as mere law, could never give you eternal life, but it could lead you to eternal life by teaching you faith, and it is faith that would give you eternal life. It would be many thousands, in fact hundreds of thousands of Jews, all those years under the Mosaic covenant who will be in he kingdom of God on the basis of faith, but who grew up under Law, because that Law was a schoolmaster to them to lead them to the kind of character they had to develop. Jesus says, ‘Do that and you will have eternal life, not by law, not simply by keeping the rules of law without any change of heart, but if your heart was to change then all of a sudden, you are gong to get eternal life on the basis of something other than law. So couldn’t give you life but it could lead you to life.
The word in mouth and heart
Well, that’s how Paul answers Lev 18:5 in Gal 3, it is how Jesus answers it in Luke 10, come back to Romans, how does the Apostle answer it in Romans 10? Well this his how, in V 6, he is going to quote Deut 30 against the Jewish mis-interpretation of Lev 18:5 which you have just read of in V 5 of Rom 10. So V 6, “But the righteousness which is of faith,” all right, so we’ve got the righteousness which is by law in V 5 contrasted now with the righteousness which is by faith in V 6, “speaks on this wise, Say not in thy heart, who shall ascend into heaven, that is to bring Christ down from above, or who shall ascend into the deep, that is to bring up Christ again from the dead. But what saith it?” What saith the Law of Moses. “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart, that is, the word of faith which we preach.” Now this is the original from Deut 30, what is the wider context from what Deut is saying? Well, Rom 10:6-8 quotes Deut 30:12-14. Starting at V 11 of Deut 30, it says this, “For this commandment which I command thee this day,” Moses says, “is not hidden from thee, nor is it afar off, it is not in heaven, that ye have to say, Who is going to go up to heaven to bring it down, and it is not beyond the sea that thou should say, Who should go over the sea for us and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it, But the word is very nigh thee,” he says, “in thy mouth and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” ‘You don’t have to run far to find out what God requires of you,’ says Moses. “See, he says, I have set before you this day life and good and death and evil, and that I command thee this day, to love Yahweh thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his commandments, his statutes and judgments that thou mayest live and multiply in the land whither thou goest to possess it.”so he says, you don’t have to go far to find the commandment of God, I am instructing you to love God and to keep all his commandments that you might live in the land where you are currently dwelling now. That’s the context that the Apostle is quoting here from Deut 30.
The word of God is very near
So, what is his answer? How does that answer the mis-quotes that the Jew gives in V 5 of this chapter? Of Romans 10? Well, what the Apostle does is by quoting Deut 30, gives a great list of all the things you don’t have to do in order to have life, because you see what the point is, of quoting Lev 18:5, in V 5 of Romans, is to say you can have righteousness, or you can have salvation by keeping the Law. He immediately puts up against that a quote that says, ‘You don’t have to keep anything, you can find the Word of God right next to you and all you’ve got to do is believe it with all your heart, and love the God that gave it. Because, he says, you’ve got to change your heart. You don’t have to climb he highest mountain, scale the works of the Law to heaven, swim the greatest ocean, you don’t have to do any of that, you’ve got to believe with your heart, and confess with your mouth. The trick is, however, that Paul has made some changes to Deut 30 when he quotes it in Romans 10. “Beyond the sea,” as you will see it on the screen has been changed to “descend into the abyss,” or “the grave.” The deep here doesn’t mean the deep ocean, is the word is ‘abussos,’ and it means ‘the grave.’ He’s added these little these little parenthetical statements at the end of V 6 and the end of V 7, they don’t appear anywhere, in Deut 30. So how does Paul know that Moses is talking about Christ, in Deut 30, I mean how would you have known, and have put that into Deut 30? I don’t think Moses was actually talking about Christ, but the Apostle has just made the point in V 4 that “Christ is the end of the Law,” that is the Law finishes when Christ comes, and therefore he can replace everything that Moses says about the Law with Christ because Christ is simply the sequel to the Law, and that’s what he does. That’s all he does, simply extrapolates Moses chapter about the Law and replaces the Law with Christ. And therefore in the same way as the Jews didn’t have to ascend into heaven or descend the deep to serve God neither do we, God has already done far greater works than we can ever do, and he has provided a son, right there. We’ve just got to believe on him, we’ve got to copy, we don’t have to go far to find out what that example looks like. In fact, there is really only one thing God hasn’t done, I mean, he’s conquered every height and every depth, he’s brought Christ down from heaven, he’s raised him from the dead, far greater works, if you like, far greater works than any Law could compel a man to do. God’s already done that, so what further works do you think you can add to that?
The word is nigh thee in thy mouth
But there is one work that God hasn’t done, and it is the only work he hasn’t done because he can’t do it, that is to forcibly take control of our heart, he hasn’t done that, that’s up to us. And as it turns out, as you know, and I know, giving over control of your heart is the hardest thing that you will ever be asked to do. I am not talking about giving away your heart in marriage, I am saying giving away your free will to your heavenly Father, that’s a much harder thing to do, certainly in the case of Israel, it turned out to be impossible, didn’t it? Completely impossible. They would much rather have scaled the enormous mountain of works over the 1500 years by the nation. They would rather try and climb that to get to heaven than to give away control of their heart. It wasn’t the form of righteousness God was looking for. And therefore they came up with nothing. Paul concludes in V 8 by speaking about the heart and the mouth. “What saith the Law, the word is nigh thee even in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that is the word of faith which we preach,” he says. Well that ‘mouth’ and ‘heart’ now becomes a bit of a theme. It began in V 6 if you like, “Say not in thy heart, What works shall we do?” That is say with your mouth, not in your heart, what works shall we do. “No works,” he says, “I want you to believe,” that’s the work, so no great physical work, the Jews were looking for crowning acts of achievement. ‘They don’t exist,’ says God, ‘I want a change of heart.’ V 9, “If ye shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hast raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus,” what does that mean? Confess that he lived? Confess that he died? What does it mean ‘to confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus?’ Well I think you’ve got the clue in the second half of the verse. “With your mouth you confess the Lord Jesus,” put that to one side. “And with your heart you have to believe that God raised him from the dead.” Ah, that’s because in Vv 6-7 you’ve got those ideas. In V6 he concludes by saying that God brought Christ down from heaven and in V 7 he says that he raised him from the dead. Ah, so you see what this is about. When it says in V 9 that we should confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus, what it means is, that you should confess that God brought home down from heaven. And when it says that you believe in your heart you are going to believe that God brought Christ again from the dead. So those are the two parenthetic additions of Vv 6 and 7. All Paul has done in Vv 6 and 7 is he has taken Moses from Deut 30 and completed the ellipsis for the Christian Era, and then said, these are the things you’ve got to believe. Well of course for the unconverted Jew they were almost monumental obstacles. When it says “For the Jew that he has got to confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus, that is, that God brought Christ down from above, he’s got to confess that he is son of God and son of man, that’s what he would be required to confess, not just believe Jesus Christ was a carpenter but to confess that he was the son of God, that he came from above and, what’s more, that he came from having been killed from beneath as well. Do that, the Apostle says, and you will be saved. That is not all there is to it, however, Why is he saved in V 9, “Speak with your mouth and believe with your heart?” What else are you going to speak with and what else is he going to believe with? Why does he have to say that? The point is, if you want to be saved you’ve got to use your heart and your mouth, not your feet and your hands. It is not that works aren’t important, but salvation comes by faith, salvation doesn’t come by works. That’s the point he is making in V 9.
Speak with your heart and with your mouth
And so V 10, “with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation,” that’s why the heart and mouth are important. In Psa 51. “O Yahweh open thou my lips and my mouth shall show forth thy praise, for that thou dost not desire sacrifice else would I give it, thou delightest not in burnt offerings, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart O God, thou wilt not despise.” That’s why He says you’ve got to use your heart and your mouth. It is easier to scale a mountain of works with your arms and your legs than to give over your heart or your mouth. It is easier to do the external, physical works. I want the works that are going to cost you something. I want the works that mean I own your heart and that I encamp within you, that’s what He wants. Go back, however, and look at V 1 and then link that with V 9. V 1 the Apostle says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.” What do you think of that for ‘heart and mouth?’ “My hearts desire and my prayer of my mouth to God for Israel is that they might be saved.” V 9 says “You confess with your mouth and believe with your heart then you will be saved.” He says, well I am doing it, I want them saved. Remarkable in fact, personal if you like, a little fulfilment of the application of V 9 in the Apostle’s life with relation to his own countrymen.
Righteousness available to both Jew and Gentile
Well Vv 11-13 now forms a new section. Having got to the end of V 10, a new section begins, and we know it is a new section, because he is going to talk now about the fact that righteousness is available to both Jews and Gentiles. And perhaps the big clue of this section is that V 11 is the same quotation as you read in Ch 9:33. It is a quotation from Isa 28:16, the same quotation appearing in both places, so you could almost as a consequence of that put Vv 1-10 of Romans 10 in parenthesis and read straight from Ch 9:33 into Ch 10:11 and go from Isa 28:16 to Isa 28:16 and carry on. You really have addressed the section of two forms of righteousness by the end of Ch 10, that is those two forms which you met in Ch 9:30-31. Well, new section, yes, righteousness available to Jew and Gentile, yes, he’s made the point you see that salvation comes by faith as opposed to being through Law and that the Jew wasn’t really saved by works at all, as a consequence of that. And if works no longer count towards salvation, then the Jew wasn’t really, in that sense, therefore, any different to the Gentile. “No man commends himself to God by works of law,” therefore any man who approaches God on the basis of faith can be saved. Therefore the hope of salvation applies equally to Jews as it does to Gentiles. So V 11, “For the Scripture says, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed,” and the emphasis here is on the word ‘whosoever,’ Jew or Greek, ‘whosoever.” But look at another quotation, Isa 28:16 as I said, same as Ch 9:33. So salvation is open to everyone. V 12, “There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek, for the same lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. So not only are Jews and Greeks, all reduced by a common subjection to sin, but they are all equally under the lordship of the same God, and before God, therefore, there is no difference between Jew and Greek. The Apostle Peter paraphrases this point in Acts 11 when he speaks to Cornelius in Acts 11:34-36. “I perceive that God is no respecter of persons,” he says.”In every nation, he that fears God and worketh righteousness is accepted by Him through Jesus Christ who is lord of all,” and that’s what V 12 says, “The same lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” So Peter picks this very same point up.
The importance of Scriptural Redundancy
V 13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Now you might look at this and say, ‘Why are we repeating ourselves?’ Don’t you think V 13 says almost exactly the same thing as V 11? I mean V 11 is a quotation from Isa 28:16, V 13 is a quotation from Joel 2:32. So they are different quotations, but they are saying basically the same thing, why would you pull two quotations to say exactly the same thing? What are they saying, they are saying that salvation is available to Jews as well as Gentiles, or Gentiles as well as Jews. Well, I will show you the answer to that in a moment, but let’s make one point about V 13 before we do, and it is obvious what it is saying, the Pentecostals however make a meal out of V 13 and V 11, because they say is that what these verses prove is that works have got no importance whatsoever, once you are saved, you are always saved, because it says so in Rom 10. Well, as you now can see the context of these verses is not the summary of the requirements for salvation. The context of the verses is all about the sort of people who are eligible for salvation. By no means could you read these verses to say that is all you need to be saved. Proof of that would be this, Acts 2:21 which is in the margin beside V 13. Acts 2:21 quotes the same quotation from Joel 2 on an occasion when Peter baptises 3,000 people. So he says, Ah Ah, there is more to simply calling upon the name of the Lord, Peter quotes the very same quotation and then baptises 3,000 people, so you could at least say baptism is essential in addition to simply calling upon the name of the Lord.
All right, but what about our original question. Vv 11 and 13 are sort of duplicates, how come, how come we quoted both of them? We’ll have a look at the screen, because it is going to be quicker like this. Do you remember, he raised the issues of the mouth and the heart in V 8 of this chapter. And you find the mouth and the heart appear again in V 9 and they appear again in V 10, and then, well V 10 says “with the heart man believes and with the mouth he confesses. Can you see that V 11 is the ultimate conclusion. “With the heart man believes and with the mouth he confesses.” With the heart he believes, so V 11 says, “Whosoever believeth on God shall not be ashamed.” And “with the mouth he confesses.” V 13 says, “And whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” You see here’s the conclusion to the heart and the mouth in Vv 11-13. Yes, they say the same thing, but that’s why the Apostle’s got two quotations there, because Moses entered the picture with the heart and the mouth.
How shall they hear?
Well then, in V 14, we’ve got a problem. We are talking now all about Gentiles being saved, the only problem with that great idea is that Gentiles don’t know what to call, do they, because they’ve never heard the Truth. Paul says they should “call on the Lord” in V 13, that is the Lord of Jew and Greek in V 12, that’s who the Gentiles should call on, well, fine, but in order to do that the Gentiles are going to have to know the Truth. To know the Truth, they are going to have to hear it. To hear it, they are going to need a preacher and for there to be a preacher there is going to have to be a mandate, there’s going to have to be a decree by God sending out that preacher. But what it begs the question is there any biblical support for the idea that God ever intended to send preachers to the Gentiles. And the answer is V 15, absolutely there is, Isa 52:14, “How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed,” that is, the Gentiles, “how shall they believe in whom they have not heard? How shall they hear without a preacher? How shall they preach except they be sent?” Ah, Ah, “but it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things,” he says. Here’s Isa 52. What you are reading here is Isa 52:7, but if I go a little wider in the context of Isa 52, look what we found. At the top of this thing I’ve got V 7, “how beautiful upon the mountains,” so that’s the quote that the Apostle puts in V 15 here. The problem is that V 7 of Isa 52 is preaching to Jews. There is a problem with that, because this is all about the Gospel going to Jew and Gentile, and the fact that the Gentiles can’t call upon the name of God if they haven’t heard about him. To quote Isa 52:7 wouldn’t seem to be very fair would it, because, well, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings that publishes peace, that brings good tidings of good and that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth, that’s the preaching to the Jew, but keep reading. The next verse of Isaiah, “Break forth into joy, sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem. Jews! V 10 of Isa “Yahweh has made bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations. Gentiles! V 15 of Isa 52, “So shall he sprinkle many nations.” So yes, the preaching will go out, and what would be the sequence? Jew first, then Greek, and the Gospel of Peace that began to be preached upon the mountains in V 15 would very soon percolate out to “all the nations.” That’s what would happen, says Isa 52.
Who hath believed our report?
So, the Apostle is right in quoting Isa 52, he just has to keep reading the verses to find that the gospel, whilst it begins with the Jews, doesn’t remain with the Jews. But, V 16, the truth’s gone out, but they haven’t all obeyed the gospel. Yes, true, because Isaiah said, “Who hath believed our report?” Well, where does Isaiah say that? Isa 53:1, so keep reading the story of Isa 52, he says, the preachers are going to go, the gospel’s going to go, to the Jew, the Jew, the Jew, the Gentile, the Gentile, the Gentile, and they wouldn’t all believe, be they Jew or Gentile, they wouldn’t all believe. And you are into Isa 53, the very chapter of the Messiah, well the Jews certainly, didn’t believe anything about that. And to this day, they don’t believe that Isa 53 is about Christ, they’ve given a Hezekiah application, anything, anything, to remove the possibility that they killed the Son of God 2,000 years ago. Well, he says, they wouldn’t all believe, but I knew that when I sent the preacher, because Isaiah was written a long time before these preachers went out. So then, V 17, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” but that in many ways reiterates what you have just read in V 14. V 14 says that preaching results in hearing, which results in believing, which results in calling upon God. V 16 and 17 says that the word of God results in hearing which results in faith, which results in obeying God. So it is not very complicated, but what you can infer from V 17 is this, if whatever we say is not soundly based upon the word of God, then it is never going to result in faith. It may result in a convincing argument, you might gain adherents, but you will never, ever develop in them the kind of faith that will save them, it just underlines how closely we have to stick to Scripture in everything we do.
Why did Israel not believe?
Well the obvious question that arises from all this then is, well, why didn’t Israel believe? I mean, you might say that is obvious, they were stubborn, well all right, is there another reason. Think about this from the Jewish point of view, is there another reason other than abject stubbornness, that Israel didn’t believe? They heard the Bible, yes, but did they hear the right message? Have they got a mitigation for why they haven’t come to the Truth? For why they haven’t believed God’s report? V 18, “But I say, have they not heard?” The NIV says, “But I ask, did they not hear?” Did Israel not actually get preached to like they should have? The answer is, ‘Of course they did.” So the NIV actually for V 18 says, “But I ask, did they not hear? Of course they did.” And then he quotes in V 18, Psa 19:4, which describes the silent witness of creation. This is the Psalm that begins, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day after day the heavens utter speech, night after night they show knowledge.” And what the Apostle is doing is to say that the creation about us gives abundant testimony to the existence of a creator. The message is a very general message, a very blunt message. By ‘blunt’ I mean not a detailed message, but nevertheless, testifies to design by a creator. He makes the parallel therefore between the witness of creation and the witness of God. He says both the Bible and creation witness to the glory of God. We’ve got here therefore an unspoken message of the heavens, going out to all the earth, in the same way as the gospel is preached to every creature under heaven.
They are without excuse
So creation speaks of the existence of God, the Bible speaks of the existence of God and the Apostle quotes Psa 19 to say, ‘And this is how the word went out,’ almost like a sunrise illuminating the world so that in 24 hours the Truth has gone from one side to the other, that’s how he describes it here. “Have they not heard?” he says, “Yes, verily, there sound went unto all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” Now that is interesting, you know, he says here that “the word of the Gospel has gone to the end of the world.” In Matt 24:14, Jesus said that the gospel would be preached to the end of the world for a witness to all nations and “then would the end come.” So you see, as Paul writes these very words in V 18 in about 58AD, 13 years before the destruction of AD 70, time is ticking away, because Jesus had already said some 40-odd years earlier, or 30 years earlier than this, that once the gospel got to the end of the world then would the end of Judah’s Commonwealth come, that is when the gospel got to Rome, then would the end come. He’s writing to Rome. The end is coming, for those of AD 70. And of course, when that happens, what becomes of the prayer of Ch 10:1? When the nation is all but wiped off the face of the earth? Taken in chains to the slave markets of Europe? And amongst this, actually, embedded in the midst of this chapter, “But I say,” in V 19, “did not Israel know?” NIV, “Again I ask, did not Israel understand?” So the first question was “Is there a chance they did not hear?” No. V 19, “Is there at chance they heard but never, ever understood?” No. The point is, they were without excuse. God tried very hard and for very long, and in plain and simple, well I was going to say “English,” but I should say “Hebrew,” but there was no ambiguity about the message. They had ample opportunity and he’s going to quote three Scriptures to complete the chapter. In V 19 he’s going to quote Deu 32:21 to prove that the Gentiles would be called. In V 20, he’s going to quote Isa 65:1 to prove that the Gentiles would respond. And in V 21, he’s going to quote Isa 65:2 to prove that Israel would not respond. It was already mapped out. I’m going to call the Gentiles, they are going to respond to that call, and you are not, said Isaiah and Moses. So V 19, “I say,” he says, “did not Israel know, didn’t they understand?” First, Moses says, “I will provoke you to jealousy by a people that are no people and by a foolish nation will I anger you,” he says. No, you understood just fine, and because you understood and still refused, I am going to send that message to other people to try to incite at least a jealousy in you. It was a vain hope, but I am at least going to try to do that. That was what Moses said, but Isaiah was even bolder, V 20. “I was found of them that sought me not, I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me,” he says. “Very bold.” This is Isa 65:1. Isaiah puts it in an extreme case here. All Moses said back in V 19 was that God would provoke Israel by preaching the Truth to the Gentiles. What Isaiah says is, ‘this is how he is going to do it.’ He is going to go up to people who don’t even know who he is and who don’t want to know who he is, and aren’t even looking to find out who he is, and he is going to say to them, ‘Look, her am I,’ and they are going to instantly take notice and believe. Well then that is a little bit different, can you see, to going to the Gentiles and tapping them on the shoulder and shaking them like this and saying, ‘Look, here’s the truth.’ He goes to the Gentiles who are not wanting to find the Truth, and just stands there and they instantly make recognition and instantly believe. That’s what Isaiah says. And the contrast, V 21, back to Israel, “All day long have I stretched forth my hand to a disobedient and gainsaying people,” he says. All day long, and despite the fact that Israel was the subject of Gods continual entreaty, day after day, year after year, sacrifice after sacrifice, they turned their back and walked away. And for 1500 years since Moses, God had held out his hands and all they have done is laugh at him. And as you come now to the end of the chapter, we’ve also rounded off this argument that began at the end of chapter 9. In Ch 9:30, the Gentiles were not looking for righteousness but they found it. That’s exactly what it says in Ch 10:20. In Ch 9:31-32, on the other hand, Israel followed after the law of righteousness. They hunted through their Law night and day and never found the “righteousness of faith.” That’s exactly what happens in Ch 10:21. “All day long,” God says, ‘I stood there before you, arms outstretched. You disobeyed me, you argued with me, you reinterpreted me, you never found me, though you looked for me with a magnifying glass, you never found me. And of course, as we close it, the risk for us is that we can do the same thing, because you see a little earlier, all it requires us to do to embark on this slippery slope of Israel, is to begin to commend ourselves for the things we do. Perhaps for the family we belong to, perhaps for the ecclesia we belong to, perhaps for our legacy in the Truth, for the works that we might have done. It is not hard for self-justification to begin. And then if we were to take our Bibles and start reading into them messages that we want to hear or justifications that we want to make, or imprint on these words, Gods after our own images, believing all the while that we would never make the same mistake as Israel, then we have just made the same mistake as Israel. These words you see, are written for our admonition upon whom the end of the age has come. Never let it be said that we never learned from the history of that nation.
Transcription by Fay Berry 2017.
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