In Romans 10, Paul continues his admonition to the Jews that salvation is not by the Law but by Christ. Furthermore, he emphasizes the need to preach the gospel. And he states that the Jews have already heard via the Old Testament revelation that God will reach out to all nations. Salvation is not only for the Jews.
Romans 10 Outline
Romans 10:1-4, Paul’s desire and Christ is the end of the Law.
Romans 10:5-7, righteousness is by faith not the Law.
Romans 10:8-13, righteousness is by faith in Christ.
Romans 10:14-17, the need to preach the gospel.
Romans 10:18-21, the Jews have heard that God will reach out to all nations.
Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.
My heart’s desire (εὐδοκία τῆς ἐμῆς καρδίας, eudokia tase emas kardias)
Desire is εὐδοκία eudokía.
Eudokía is used nine times in the New Testament (Matt. 11:26; Luke 2:14; 10:21; Rom. 10:9; Eph. 1:5, 9; Phil. 1:15; 2:13; 2 Thess. 1:11). It means a deep desire of benevolence toward another.
For example, Eph. 1:5, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention [eudokía] of His will.”
Paul deeply desired that Israel be saved, even to the extent of his own damnation.
Rom. 9:3, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
Paul manifests his anguish for the Jewish nation in the writing of Romans. In it, he pleads with Israel to come to Christ. He repeatedly uses varying approaches to speak to his brethren including code in the Old Testament about justification by faith and including the Gentiles in God’s sovereign plan.
Since God elects and predestines individuals, how then does this example of Paul’s pleading with the Romans relate to election and predestination?
First of all, we do not know the mind of God and how he determines election and predestination.
We do not know who the elect are.
Paul’s job, as is ours, is to preach the gospel and plead with people to come to Christ.
We are in sales, not production.
For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.
I testify, (μαρτυρέω marturéō)
From this word, we get the English word martyr. A martyr is one who testifies to the truth of who Christ is – and sometimes that testimony l can lead to one’s death.
They have a zeal for God
The Jews were well-meaning, and they sought to please God and obey God’s Law. The danger is, of course, that they will put their hope in their law-keeping rather than God himself.
But not in accordance with knowledge
They had a blind zeal that prevented them from seeing the truth of who Christ was. They were aware of what the Law taught but not to whom the Law pointed, namely, Jesus.
For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
The Jews failed to understand that redemption is not found by establishing one’s own works, but in the righteousness before God that is by faith.
Phil. 3:9, “and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”
Rom. 1:17, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
Rom. 3:21, “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets.”
For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Because the Jews were ignorant of Christ, they were ignorant of justification.
Practically speaking, all who have a false Christ, have a false means of justification.
The Law cannot justify us, so Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness. We are justified by faith, not by the Law. That’s why Paul says to everyone who believes.
Rom. 7:6, “But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”
For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on Law shall live by that righteousness.
Lev. 18:5, “So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the Lord.”
Rom. 2:13, “for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.
Gal. 3:10, “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”
There is a great difference between the righteousness of the Law and the righteousness that is by faith.
The righteousness of the Law is based on one’s own works.
The righteousness that is by faith is based on God’s works.
Paul is pointing out that anyone who seek to be justified by that Law must keep that Law.
Gal. 5:2–4, “Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by Law; you have fallen from grace.”
Notice that Paul teaches that to do even one thing related to the Law means that a person is then seeking to be justified by that Law.
But this would shut all people out of heaven, for no one can keep the Law – except Jesus. This is why our justification is by faith, faith in Christ and his work, not ours.
But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down),
Deut. 30:12, “It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’”
Paul does not directly quote the verse in the Old Testament, but he references it.
To bring Christ down
Paul is saying that we cannot go into heaven where God is and bring Him down. The Jews, who had the Law, did not have access to heaven. By the Law, they could not force God’s hand.
This could be understood as an indirect statement dealing with the deity of Christ since the implication is that he was/is in heaven.
But Christ has already descended from heaven. Therefore He is a greater revelation than the Law.
or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”
ἄβυσσος ábussos, occurs nine times in the New Testament (Luke 8:31; Rom. 10:7; Rev. 9:1, two, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3)
Note that the word only occurs two times outside the book of Revelation.
In the book of Revelation, abyss refers to the bottomless pit (Rev. 9:1, 2).
It is the place to which demonic forces can be sent (Luke 8:31).
It is referenced as a place of death (Rom. 10:7).
Smoke ascends out from the bottomless pit (Rev. 9:2).
The angel of the abyss is called Abaddon (Rev. 9:11).
The beast comes up out of the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8).
Satan is bound for a thousand years in the abyss (Rev. 20:1-3).
Note regarding the Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim that Abaddon is Jesus.
“When Jesus was on earth as a man, he was a Hebrew, and now in his capacity as Jehovah’s royal Executioner he is called by the Hebrew name Abad’don, which means Destruction. (Job 26:6; 28:22; 31:12; 12:23; 14:19) In the Greek in which the inspired Christian Scriptures were written his similar title is Apollyon, which means Destroyer.” (Watchtower 12/1/1961, p. 719)
Like the previous verse, Paul is telling us that we don’t have the ability to go to heaven or down to hell and bring down or bring up anything, especially God. We are powerless. But Christ has manifested both from heaven and from death.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
Paul is referencing Deut. 30:14, “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.”
But he does not quote everything. He takes two-thirds of it and applies it to the issue of faith, and how salvation is achieved.
In Paul’s preaching is the presentation of the gospel – which is the work of God, so that all that is left for us is faith in His work.
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
Paul lays out a quick summation of salvation, in these two verses. Notice the different elements within it.
Confession with your mouth.
It is not technically necessary to speak the words. A mute person could not do it. Rather the issue is dealing with public acknowledgment and confession, whether it be by sign language, nodding of the head, writing, etc.
Belief in Christ’s resurrection
The resurrection is the approval of God the Father regarding the sacrifice of Christ. The resurrection is proof that what Jesus did on the cross was acceptable as a sin sacrifice.
For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
Paul continues to push the issue of faith. Remember, he addresses it to a mixed crowd, but there are a lot of Jews within that crowd.
Rom. 1:7 “…to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints…”
Rom. 2:17, “But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God.”
Rom. 3:1–2, “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 2 Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.”
Paul quotes the Old Testament again.
Isaiah 28:16, “Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.
Πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων, pas ho pisteuon, all the believing one.
It is true that whoever believes in trust in Christ will not be saved.
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;
To the Jewish mindset, the Jews and the Greeks (non-Jews) were completely distinct. The God of Israel was not their God; that is, they did not acknowledge Him. So for Paul to say there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek goes against the ear of the Jews who believed there was a distinction – based on law-keeping, God’s revelation to them, the past prophets, etc.
The same Lord is Lord of all
But on the other hand, Jews knew that God was a sovereign King over all people of the earth.
Josh. 3:11, “Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over ahead of you into the Jordan.”
Zech. 6:5, “The angel replied to me, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going forth after standing before the Lord of all the earth.”
for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Paul quotes Joel 2:32, “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.”
Πᾶς ὃς ἂν, pas hos an, “all the” ‘an’ is a particle used with the subjunctive, in the aorist middle subjunctive of “will call.” Aorist (past tense). Middle’ voice’ (performing the action on one’s self). Subjunctive (Showing possibility, i.e., to wish, desire). The aorist middle subjunctive designates that an outcome is guaranteed as a result of another action. So, whoever calls upon the name of the Lord, will be saved. It is guaranteed.
Call on the name of the Lord
The phrase “call on the name of the Lord” designates prayer, trust in, to invoke, and the worship of God Almighty.
1 Kings 18:24, “Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people said, ‘That is a good idea.’”
Psalm 116:4, “Then I called upon the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!”
1 Cor. 1:2, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”