Romans Chapter 10

Note: Chapters Nine through Eleven are taken from the series, “The Relationship Between Israel and the Church” and mirrored here.

Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

Speaking of unbelieving Israel, Paul sincerely desired their salvation. As he said in the first verse of our study, he would gladly be cursed by God and separated from Christ for the good of his fellow Israelites. From the bottom of his heart he wished for the salvation of the unbelieving Israelites. They stumbled over the Rock that is Jesus and were not believers. Paul wished they were believers.

Romans 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

Paul was an Israelite, a Benjamite (Romans 11:1) by birth (and thus a Jew), and a Pharisee (see Philippians 3:5-6). His zeal for the Law caused Him to persecute the Church of Jesus Christ. As far as the Law was concerned, Paul prided himself in being blameless under the law. Of course it is impossible to be truly blameless in one’s own efforts to follow the Law. Yet Paul considered himself to be so until his Damascus Road experience. Because of these things, Paul completely understood the Israelite mindset. He is a staunch and credible witness to their devotion to God. Yet he also knew their devotion was misguided. They sought to find salvation through their own works of obedience to the law.

Romans 10:3 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.

They attempted to establish their own righteousness by obeying all the minutiae of the law. They tried to adhere explicitly to each of the 613 laws of the Torah. Their assumption was that obedience to the law was all God required of them. Thus they were trying to work their way to God. Specifically, they were attempting to get to God through their own efforts in obedience to the law.

God sent the prophets to the Israelites to tell them He, God, wanted their hearts to be right and pleasing to Him. Yet they depended on their religious rites and actions to save them. God was not pleased with that. They had no knowledge of the righteousness of God that He imputes to believers. Our righteousness is not ours at all. We receive it from Christ, who is righteous and changes not (Romans 4:24). The unbelieving Israelites were not knowledgeable of this fact, so they just kept on trying to work their way to God. They did not understand or acknowledge that only Christ could bring righteousness to them. Paul said that they had chosen not to submit to God’s righteousness. They chose to pursue their own path and would not choose the path of true righteousness. They would not submit to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

The word translated “end” is τελος, telos, a word Aristotle used to denote his ideal of the ultimate good. Telos can be understood as the purpose, aim, or goal of a thing. To say that Christ is the end of the Law, using the word, telos, is to say that he is the ultimate goal, aim, or purpose of the Law. He is thus to believers, but to unbelievers, he is an impostor. With the advent of Christ, the Law is fulfilled. Now, since the Law was fulfilled in Christ, our attention should be to Christ, just as our attention was once to be focused on the Law. Christ has fulfilled the Law, thus following Him is the equivalent of following the Law. After all, He is the Word of God (John 1:1).

Romans 10:5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

In other words, if a man will be saved by obeying the law, he must obey all 613 of them without exception, ever. Is that possible? Sadly, no. The Israelites tried for almost a millennium to obey the Law. They always failed. If that makes you feel smug, have you ever sped while driving? Did you ever disobey your parents even once? You are not so hot yourself are you? I certainly am not so hot. I have transgressed the Law many times. Remember you must obey all the laws all the time. You cannot slip up even once or you are condemned by the Law.

Romans 10:6-7 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) (7) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

These are the words of Moses spoken in Deuteronomy 30:10; 11; 12; 13. The Babylonian Targum expresses this (according to Dr. John Gill): “the law is not in heaven that it should be said, ‘oh that we had one of us, as Moses the prophet, who could go up to heaven and bring it to us!’ nor is it beyond the great sea, that it should be said, ‘oh that we had one of us, as Jonah the prophet who could descend into the depths of the great sea and bring it to us;'” We should not be asking in our hearts how we can best get to Christ through our own efforts or who can get Christ for us. Instead,

Romans 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

This is a quote of Deuteronomy 30:14. The Word is very near to us and very apparent. It is in our hearts and even in our mouths to speak it. God has written His Word in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). Because His word is in our hearts, it is very close to us, indeed it in inside us and therefore in our mouths. Though the Word is so close to us, we still need someone to tweak our minds so that we may understand the Word. Here is the Word:

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

This is the Gospel in a nutshell. Verse 10 is the second verse in the Romans road to salvation, or simply The Romans Road. The first is in 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Thus all are unsaved. This, the second verse, after we acknowledge we are sinners incapable of saving ourselves, is the one we must adhere to. We are to acknowledge (confess) with our mouth (and by extension, believe in our heart) that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God raised Him from the dead, we are saved. The confession is that He is our Lord, and we are his servants or slaves (δουλος doulos). In other words, we are acknowledging that fact by our confession. This is something we must do out loud and often. It is in the aorist tense and active voice. It is therefore without the confines of time and is done with purpose. One translation says that we should always be confessing Jesus as Lord, in every circumstance. The Concordant Literal Version puts it this way, “that, if ever you should be avowing with your mouth the declaration that Jesus is Lord, and should be believing in your heart that God rouses Him from among the dead, you shall be saved.

This verse is not about responding to the invitation and confessing Him before the church, though that is a manifestation of it. This is the verbal acknowledgement that we have made Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives. We confess it verbally to confirm to ourselves that He is Lord of our lives from that moment forward. The confession is also designed to recognize that fact openly before others. Conversely, if we are not able to confess Him as our Lord in the presence of others, then it is impossible to say He is our Lord. Here in His word, in this verse, He commands us to confess with our mouths that He is our Lord. If we cannot do that we are disobeying Him and He cannot be our Lord. For one is obedient to one’s lord, whoever that lord is. If you disobey your Lord, then He is not really your Lord.

Note in the second verse in this passage, that faith comes first and confession second. We must believe in Jesus before we can confess Him as our Lord. Paul is stating the two things that happen immediately upon salvation. As soon as we believe, we are justified and declared righteous. At the very same time we are confessing that Jesus is Lord of our lives and because He is our Lord, we are saved. The two are inseparable.

Romans 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

In Summary of the last few verses, we need not try to work our way to salvation by either following the law, or trying work our way up to Christ. We need only believe in Him in our heart to receive salvation and that will lead us to confess that He is Lord of our lives. We will delve further into this in verse 13.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

We need to look at another passage in Romans to help us understand this one: Romans 3:28-30 (KJV), “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (29) Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: (30) Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. (NRSV, “For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. (29) Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, (30) since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.)” Since all people are justified by faith in Christ, there is no difference between men that have so been justified. To be justified simply means to be declared not guilty. If you are accused of a crime and you go to court and the jury finds you not guilty, your slate is wiped clean and you are justified under the law. The same applies to sin. Once you receive forgiveness of your sins because of your faith in Christ, you are justified or “not guilty.” Your sin slate is wiped clean and you are no longer a sinner headed for the Lake of Fire.

God is not God of the Jews only. Here we refer back to Hosea 2:23, “and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” This is an absolute reference to the Gentiles. Those that had not obtained mercy were the Gentiles for the Israelites were chosen of God and did obtain His mercy.

Since He is God of both Jews and Gentiles, He justifies both in the same manner-through faith in Christ. There is no distinction in God’s eyes; all who have faith are His children, both circumcised (Jews) and uncircumcised (Gentiles). The circumcised Jews are justified by faith in Christ and so are the uncircumcised Gentiles justified by that same faith in Christ.

Circumcision in this context refers to the ritual circumcision of the male Jews and not the medical circumcision of male Gentiles. Many Gentile males are circumcised, but they were circumcised for medical reasons and not religious or ritualistic reasons. The circumcision Paul is discussing is that which distinguishes male Jews from male Gentiles. Female circumcision is not intended, nor is it proposed by this discussion, and it should never be practiced; it is an atrocity.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

This is a verse that refutes Calvinism. The Calvinist says that the people that are going to be saved are already chosen for salvation and no one else can be saved. Yet the subject here is whosoever. Webster defines the word, “any one; any person whatever.” So that is the English. Many KJV only folks say that English is all you need for understanding and the original languages are unnecessary. But for those who question the translation, “whosoever,” let s look at the underlying Greek.

The Greek word rendered “whosoever” is πας, pas. Here is the definition according to the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: “each, every, any, all, totality, every kind of, all sorts of, all flesh, everyone, etc.” The English Definition from Webster is “Any one; any person whatever.” We could easily apply each of these definitions here and get the same denotation. What Paul is getting at is that anyone out of all flesh and in totality, in other words, everyone who calls on the name of Lord Jesus will be saved. What it does not imply or denote is that only some (i.e. the predestined) can be saved. Not only does this tell us that anyone that does this will be saved, it also erases the distinction between Jew and Gentile. Anyone may be saved, either Jew or Gentile.

What Paul is saying here, is that any person that believes on Jesus Christ, either Jew or Gentile, will be saved. This is a quote of Joel 2:32. We will look at the entire verse, (NASB) “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.” To call upon the Name of the Lord, is to cry out to him for help. We can gather that from the stem of the Hebrew word, which comes from a combination of letters that literally means to meet together in the cool of the evening. This evolved into the word meaning to call out to someone else by name in order to meet with him or gather together with him. So we can say that to call out to the Name of God is to entreat Him to come together with us and save us. Here are some related verses:

John 15:4-6 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (6) If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

When we call on the Lord Jesus to save us, He will. It takes belief and faith in Jesus to actually call upon Him. The Holy Spirit enables us to understand our need for a Savior and the knowledge of our need allows us to have faith in Christ. Our faith saves us. Then we are able to confess that He is Lord of our lives.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Paul now gives us the sequence of events leading up to our salvation. First, Paul asks, how can we have faith in Christ if we do not believe in Him? But before we can believe in Him, we must know about Him. Moreover, how can we know about Him unless someone tells us about Him? The word translated preacher is simply one who proclaims the Gospel to others. This includes you and it includes me. All Christians are able to proclaim the Good News. So it is not just the clergy that is to proclaim the Gospel to others; all Christians are to do so.

Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Why do we tell others about the Good News of Jesus Christ? Well, we have been sent by the Lord Jesus Himself. Jesus pronounced the Great Commission Himself (Matthew 28:19-20). He repeated His command shortly before He ascended to Heaven (Acts 1:8). So we are sent. The sequence, then, is: Christ sends us, His church, out into the world to proclaim the Gospel. Someone hears us. The Holy Spirit enables that person to truly understand the Gospel. The person believes and His faith saves Him.

Calvinists have a big problem when it comes to these verses. Their belief is that only those predestined to salvation can be saved. So there is a group of people God has pre-chosen to be saved and no one else can be saved. These verses state that all people may call on the Name of the Lord and be saved, and not just a limited, pre-chosen few.

Now before you go and quote Romans 8:29 to me, understand what that verse says. It says that those whom God knew before they were born would believe on Jesus and be saved. It does not say that he chose only a few to foreknow. It simply means that God, being omniscient, knows the end from the beginning and therefore He knows who will call upon His Name for salvation. He did not do something to make them be saved. He just knew who would and who would not. What does the verse say about predestination? It says that all who are His own people are predetermined to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. That does not mean that we are predestinated to salvation, for the verse implies (as does verse 28) that those folks it alludes to are already saved.

This is a quote of Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” To those who will be saved by the Good news, event the feet of the Gospel carrier will be beautiful. Lenny Smith captured the essence of this verse in his song, Our God Reigns:

      • How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him
      Who brings good news, good news;
    Announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness:
    Our God reigns, our God reigns!

Copyright ©1974, 1978 Leonard E. Smith

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

No matter how much we preach the Gospel, not all will hear it. Some will follow the leading of the Spirit and believe; others will reject His leading and not hear the Gospel. Isaiah predicted this in 53:1. This verse applies to both Jews and Gentiles. Both Jews and Gentiles have believed in Christ. Yet these same two groups have folks in them that reject Christ. Paul wants us to know that not everyone we preach to welcomes the Gospel. There will always be some that reject it, some that refuse to hear it, and some that are militantly opposed to it.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

To recap, even though some will reject the Gospel, it is still imparted to others through their sense of hearing. God sent us into the world to preach the Gospel. But the hearer must hear the word that Christ commanded us to preach. It is also the supernatural power of God that allows us to really hear and understand the Gospel. We must preach to the listener and we must preach what is the absolute true word of God so the listener will be able to believe.

Romans 10:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

He is speaking of all people here. The first objection to the above discourse is, “You say all this, Paul, but have people ever heard the Word of God?” His answer is yes, His Word was preached to the ends of the earth, so everyone has had every opportunity to hear. He quotes Psalm 19:4 here (their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world). Psalm 19:1 states, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” The Psalm goes on to declare that the creation speaks to us day and night about the Creator. Every person in every language hears the news of the Creator. The sound of the creation has gone throughout the earth proclaiming God to every nation, tongue, and individual on earth. So, yes, all have heard of God.

Romans 10:19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

The second objection is, “But how about Israel; did they know?” He quotes Deuteronomy 32:21 (NLT), “They have roused My jealousy by worshiping things that are not God; they have provoked My anger with their useless idols. Now I will rouse their jealousy through people who are not even a people; I will provoke their anger through the foolish Gentiles.” Since natural Israel heard and did not believe, God said he would make the jealous and angry by saving the Gentiles.

Romans 10:20 But Isaiah is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

Isaiah spoke boldly on this matter as well. He plainly indicated that God would extend the hand of salvation to the hated Gentiles and that they would know Him as God, even though they never sought Him.

Romans 10:21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

Paul goes on to quote Isaiah 65:2. There He tells of God’s wrath at Israel because of their idolatry. In verse 8 (CEV), Isaiah says “Here is what the LORD says: A cluster of grapes that produces wine is worth keeping! So, because of my servants, I won’t destroy everyone.” In summary, Paul said that the creation shows the creator and that everyone who has observed nature, has observed that there is a God. He says that Israel heard the word as well. They heard it from their prophets. Paul cites Moses and Isaiah who foretold of God’s wrath with the Israelites and his seeking out the Gentiles. But he then tells us that God will not destroy all of His chosen people.

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