I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my hear
It’s All About God’s Plan
Romans 10:1-4 ,8b-18a;11:28-32 Oct. 23 2011
Paul has shown righteousness has always been a gracious gift, sovereignly bestowed by God on those who have faith (Rom. 9 ). Now he argues that God has not rejected His covenant people. They have rejected Him.
Paul cares passionately for his own race. He admits their religious zeal . But he knows their problem well: they “disregarded” God’s righteousness and tried to establish their own, even though the two are totally different in nature . Whether Jew or Gentile, one must be saved by faith .
But now we sense another objection. How can the Jewish race believe, not having heard this stunning message? But, Paul says, the Good News was preached. Israel simply did not believe. “Hearing,” which in biblical thought implies responding appropriately, requires first a message, but then requires understanding and acceptance by those to whom the message is given. Even in Old Testament times Israel did not understand and refused to accept what God cried out to them through Moses and the prophets . The message of salvation by faith has echoed throughout history—and been ignored.
1. The apostle’s earnest desire for the salvation of the Jews. (Romans 10:1-4)
Romans 10:1 Brethren, the longing of my heart, and my prayer to God, on behalf of my countrymen is for their salvation. 2 For I bear witness that they possess an enthusiasm for God, but it is an unenlightened enthusiasm. 3 Ignorant of the righteousness which God provides and building their hopes upon a righteousness of their own, they have refused submission to God’s righteousness. 4 For as a means of righteousness Christ is the termination of Law to every believer.
The Jews built on a false foundation, and refused to come to Christ for free salvation by faith, and numbers in every age do the same in various ways. The strictness of the law showed men their need of salvation by grace, through faith. And the ceremonies shadowed forth Christ as fulfilling the righteousness, and bearing the curse of the law. So that even under the law, all who were justified before God, obtained that blessing by faith, whereby they were made partakers of the perfect righteousness of the promised Redeemer. The law is not destroyed, nor the intention of the Lawgiver disappointed; but full satisfaction being made by the death of Christ for our breach of the law, the end is gained. That is, Christ has fulfilled the whole law, therefore whoever believeth in him, is counted just before God, as much as though he had fulfilled the whole law himself. Sinners never could go on in vain fancies of their own righteousness, if they knew the justice of God as a Governor, or his righteousness as a Saviour.
2. The difference between the righteousness of the law, and the righteousness of faith. (Romans 10:5-11)
Romans 10:5 Moses says that he whose actions conform to the righteousness required by the Law shall live by that righteousness. 6 But the righteousness which is based on faith speaks in a different tone. “Say not in your heart,” it declares, “‘Who shall ascend to Heaven?’”—that is, to bring Christ down; 7 “nor ‘Who shall go down into the abyss?’”—that is, to bring Christ up again from the grave. 8 But what does it say? “The Message is close to you, in your mouth and in your heart;” that is, the Message which we are publishing about the faith— 9 that if with your mouth you confess Jesus as Lord and in your heart believe that God brought Him back to life, you shall be saved. 10 For with the heart men believe and obtain righteousness, and with the mouth they make confession and obtain salvation. 11 The Scripture says, “No one who believes in Him shall have reason to feel ashamed.”
The self-condemned sinner need not perplex himself how this righteousness may be found. When we speak of looking upon Christ, and receiving, and feeding upon him, it is not Christ in heaven, nor Christ in the deep, that we mean; but Christ in the promise, Christ offered in the word. Justification by faith in Christ is a plain doctrine. It is brought before the mind and heart of every one, thus leaving him without excuse for unbelief. If a man confessed faith in Jesus, as the Lord and Saviour of lost sinners, and really believed in his heart that God had raised him from the dead, thus showing that he had accepted the atonement, he should be saved by the righteousness of Christ, imputed to him through faith. But no faith is justifying which is not powerful in sanctifying the heart, and regulating all its affections by the love of Christ. We must devote and give up to God our souls and our bodies: our souls in believing with the heart, and our bodies in confessing with the mouth. The believer shall never have cause to repent his confident trust in the Lord Jesus. Of such faith no sinner shall be ashamed before God; and he ought to glory in it before men.
3. The Gentiles cautioned against pride and unbelief, The Jews shall be called as a nation, and brought into God’s visible covenant again. (Romans 11 :28-32)
Romans 11:28 In relation to the Good News, the Jews are God’s enemies for your sakes; but in relation to God’s choice they are dearly loved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For God does not repent of His free gifts nor of His call; 30 but just as you were formerly disobedient to Him, but now have received mercy at a time when they are disobedient, 31 so now they also have been disobedient at a time when you are receiving mercy; so that to them too there may now be mercy. 32 For God has locked up all in the prison of unbelief, that upon all alike He may have mercy.
Of all judgments, spiritual judgments are the sorest; of these the apostle is here speaking. The restoration of the Jews is, in the course of things, far less improbable than the call of the Gentiles to be the children of Abraham; and though others now possess these privileges, it will not hinder their being admitted again. By rejecting the gospel, and by their indignation at its being preached to the Gentiles, the Jews were become enemies to God; yet they are still to be favoured for the sake of their pious fathers. Though at present they are enemies to the gospel, for their hatred to the Gentiles; yet, when God’s time is come, that will no longer exist, and God’s love to their fathers will be remembered. True grace seeks not to confine God’s favour. Those who find mercy themselves, should endeavour that through their mercy others also may obtain mercy. Not that the Jews will be restored to have their priesthood, and temple, and ceremonies again; an end is put to all these; but they are to be brought to believe in Christ, the true Messaih whom they crucified, and become one sheep-fold with the Gentiles, under Christ the Great Shepherd. The captivities of Israel, their dispersion, and their being shut out from the church, are emblems of the believer’s corrections for doing wrong; and the continued care of the Lord towards that people, and the final mercy and blessed restoration intended for them, show the patience and love of God.
Paul continues his defense of the righteousness of God’s dealings with Israel. In sovereign grace God has chosen those who show faith, not those who “qualify” by mere physical descent from the patriarchs (Rom. 9 ). Israel’s present rejection has come because they sought righteousness by works, not by faith, despite God’s constant proclamation of His Good News (Rom. 9 ). And there is more! Now, as in the past, God has reserved for Himself Israelites who do believe . These too have been chosen by grace, not on the basis of their works, and those who rely on works have been hardened in their self-chosen path .
It is true that the present mass conversion of Gentiles is a “mystery”—an event not revealed in the Old Testament. But the Gentiles have been, as it were, grafted into an essentially Jewish tree. When God’s time comes He will restore the natural branches . Paul continues his stunning revelation of God’s once hidden plan. When the “full number” of Gentiles has been saved God will keep the promises made through Old Testament prophets and then “all Israel will be saved” . Paul concludes with a doxology. How wonderful the complex purposes and plan of our awesome, Almighty