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Tuesday, November 28th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 10

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

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Verses 1-21

Chapter 10

Now Paul again reaffirms his love and desire for his brethren after the flesh.

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge ( Romans 10:1-2 ).

They are zealous for God, yes. Some of those zealous ones beat up the mayor in Jerusalem just a day or so ago because of some of his rulings that they felt did not coincide with their desires. They wanted Jerusalem to be shut down completely on the Sabbath day, and he just let their sections be shut down but allowed cars to be driven in other sections. They beat up on him the other day. They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness are going about to establish their own righteousness, and they have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes ( Romans 10:3-4 ).

Now, what Paul declared of the Jew then is still true today. They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. And so you will see them at the wailing wall, you will see them as they tie to them a little box, the phylacteries as they bind them to their foreheads and as they put on their prayer shawl and they go up to the wall and they begin to bob up and down and they go through their prayers and all, a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. For they're ignorant of God's righteousness and they are going about to establish their own righteousness.

I had a Jewish fellow one night as we were talking say to me, "Well, Chuck, my father is a very religious man. He says his prayers every day. He observes Sabbath; he loves God. Do you mean to tell me that because my father does not believe that Jesus is the Messiah that he is lost?" And I answered him, "That is a very difficult question for me, because I do believe that your father does love God, has a zeal for God, but what is he doing about his sin? When God established His covenant with Israel, God established the various offerings that they must bring to Him for their sins. God established that they had to bring an animal and kill the animal in their stead, that their sins must be transferred onto the animal and the animal slain. Your father is not offering sacrifices. He is not coming according to the covenant that God established by Moses for sins to be forgiven. Thus, how can your father have the forgiveness of sins which is essential for fellowship with God?" He told me how that they now feel that their good works will make them acceptable to God. Thus, their good works must outweigh their bad works. Thus, they are seeking for a righteousness from works, their good works, and they have rejected that righteousness that God has established for them. They are really rebelling against God's path of righteousness, having established now their own righteousness by works, as Paul here declares. But they are not even doing the works that God requires in the offering of a sacrifice. And thus, I have great difficulty with their present and current status before God. For the Jew stumbling at Jesus Christ going about by works trying to establish a righteousness before God.

Paul declares they just haven't made it and can't make it for they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God and Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. The law cannot make a person righteous before God, nor can it give a person a righteous standing before God. For if the law could give a man a righteous standing before God, then it was not necessary for Christ to die. Jesus in the garden prayed, "Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me." If what is possible? If salvation for man is possible by any other means, if man can be saved by the law, if man can be saved by his own efforts, by his good works, if a man can be saved by sincerity, then, God, let this cup pass from Me. Let the cross pass.

Now the fact that Jesus went to the cross is God's witness before the world that there is only one way that a man can come to God, and that is by the cross of Jesus Christ. For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. For He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man can come to the Father but by me" ( John 14:6 ). You say, "Chuck, that is too narrow. I can't accept it." I'm sorry you can't accept it, but that is the way it is. Jesus said, "Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to eternal life and few there be that find it, but broad is the way and broad is the gate that leads to destruction" ( Matthew 7:13-14 ). Beware of those endeavors of men today to broaden the gate. And we hear it on all sides. "Oh, God surely loves all mankind, and God loves the Buddhist and God loves the Mohammed, and God loves everybody." And they are broadening the gate so that you breathe, "Oh, God loves you," you will be saved because you are breathing.

But God has established the way through Jesus Christ. And the cross offends people, because the cross tells you there is only one way to God. If it were possible that man could be saved any other way, the cross would not be necessary.

For Moses described the righteousness which is of the law, [he said,] That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaks like this, Don't say in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring Christ again from the dead.) But what does it say? ( Romans 10:5-8 )

The righteousness which is of faith, what does it say to us? It say's this,

The word is close to you, it is even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is Lord, and will believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved ( Romans 10:8-9 ).

You see how simple God has made it? Man seeks to complicate it. Man goes back to the righteousness of works. If you will go around and knock on a hundred doors a day and peddle the magazines and wake people up, continue this faithfully, and you will be saved. If you crawl on your knees for five miles to kiss the statue you can be spared several days of purgatory. Man complicates the issues. Now, our flesh likes the complications, because I would like to take some credit and receive some glory for salvation. I would like to boast about what I have done, the dangers that I have braved for God, the sacrifices that I have made, the dedication that took me through those dark, smelly, dangerous swamps.

"But there is no place for boasting neither now or eternally when we get to heaven and when before the throne I stand in Him complete. Jesus died my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat, for Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left its crimson stain, but He washed me white as snow." Where then is boasting? Paul said, "It is eliminated." By keeping the law? No, if by keeping the law, then that encourages boasting, but it is eliminated because I am saved just through simple faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is so close to every one of you tonight. If you will just confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is the Lord. Just say it, "Jesus is my Lord," and believe in your heart that God did raise Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. It is close to you. It is even as close as your mouth. Salvation isn't something far off, difficult to obtain. Oh, let's all get our climbing ropes and let's all climb into heaven and let's bring the Messiah down. Or let's put on our asbestos suits and descend into hell and bring the Messiah back from the grave. Do some great brave wonderful marvelous thing. No. Salvation isn't way off in heaven some place. It is close to you; it is as close as your mouth. Confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek ( Romans 10:11-12 ):

Quite a statement for Paul a Hebrew of the Hebrews to make--no difference between the Jew and the Greek, that is, as far as salvation is concerned. It is as equally simple to the Jew as it is to the Greek.

for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved ( Romans 10:12-13 ).

Now it is interesting that this follows Paul's declaration about how God will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy and harden those whom He will harden. He speaks of the sovereignty of God having elected that it might stand by election. But now he turns around and says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Now, when you call upon the name of the Lord, God doesn't go down the list and say, "Let's see. Is he one of those that we elected? Well, I am sorry. Your name is not on the list." No, you see, this opens the door to every man no matter who you are, predestined or not, elected or not, chosen or not. Whoever you are, God's promise is to you that if you call upon the name of the Lord you will be saved. You say, "Well, I can't reconcile that with God's divine election." Anybody being able to . . . Well, I can't either, but God didn't call me to reconcile it, He just called me to believe it.

I tried to reconcile it for years until I was in such mental gymnastics I was worn out. One day I was in my office studying Romans, and I was just so upset I put my Bible down and I said, "God, I can't reconcile it," and I walked out of the room. And I was mad because I had been trying so long to do it and tie ends together. As I was walking out of the room God said, "I didn't ask you to reconcile it; I only asked you to believe it." So I believe it. I believe that whoever you are, chosen or not, predestined or not, if you will call upon the name of the Lord you will be saved. That is God's promise.

So we have the divine sovereignty of God, but we also have the human responsibility of man, and you will not be saved unless you do call upon the name of the Lord. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. There is the balance. Never lose the balance. If you get out on the extreme and, unfortunately, some people do. They get so extreme in the election predestination and all, they get so extreme that there are some churches that will not put a scripture on the board out in front, lest some sinner who has not been elected might walk by and believe in Jesus Christ and get saved when he wasn't predestined to do so.

Don't get extreme. If you get extreme on the Calvinistic side and into election and predestination and all, then you have lost the center of truth. Truth lies in the center between extremes. Yes, God is sovereign. Yes, God has chosen and elected and predestined. Yes, whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. They are both true, so you can't reconcile. They're both true. Tonight whoever you might be salvation is so close to you, all you have to do is call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved. But interesting question, how can they call upon the name of the Lord?

How can they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how can they believe in him in whom they have not heard? and how can they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach unless they be sent? ( Romans 10:14-15 )

Here now we have the basis for missionary activity by the church. Having received, having heard, having known the grace of God through Jesus Christ, we are now obligated to let the world know of that same grace.

I have a very good friend, Keith Erickson, whom I love in the Lord. He and his wife, Adrian, are beautiful people. I have had Bible studies in their home in Santa Monica, and Keith was by here the other day. And I heard Keith giving his testimony on television the other night and he said that living here in southern California, going to UCLA and all, he was twenty-four years old before he ever heard about Jesus Christ. No one had ever witnessed to him. Now there is a tremendous failure some place of getting the message out.

For how can they call on Him who they don't believe in? And how can they believe in Him unless they hear about Him? How can they hear about Him unless someone preach to them? Or to proclaim to them the truth. And how can they proclaim it unless they be sent?

So the basis for missions: having heard, having believed, having known, we are now responsible to send those to tell others of this glorious salvation and righteousness that God has offered to all men, Jew and Greek, who will just simply believe on His son Jesus Christ.

as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! ( Romans 10:15 )

Oh, how I love that phrase.

That is why I love the ministry so much, because I have the privilege to bring to men glad tidings of good things. Now you won't get that on television, nor will you get that in your evening newspaper, watching the news or reading Time Magazine. You won't get glad tidings of good things. You will get the foreboding of this world with all of its problems. But oh, thank God we have a message to tell to the nations. A message of peace and of life, glad tidings of good things. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but can know the eternal life of God and the glory of God's eternal kingdom and can share as children of God, heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, kings and priests in that glorious age that is coming. Glad tidings of good things, but not all who hear obey.

They have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah said, Lord, who has believed our report? So then faith must come by hearing, and hearing by the word of God ( Romans 10:16-17 ).

A person cannot believe unless they hear. Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God. It is through the Word of God that we come to know God. Knowing God we come to believe and trust in God. The Word of God is essential for the development of faith within my heart. Many times people say, "Oh, I wish I had more faith," and I think that oftentimes we almost insult God by our lack of faith.

I have heard people pray, "Oh, Lord, help me to believe. Just help me to believe." I wonder what my response would be if I came home in the evening and said, "Honey, I have decided to take you out for dinner tonight, thought we would go out and get prime rib." She would say, "Oh, help me to believe you, Chuck, just help me to believe you." This would make me wonder what kind of a character am I that she is having such a hard time believing me. Yet, how many times we take the promises of God and say, "Oh, God, just help me to believe. Help me to believe, Lord." Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God.

We are told in Jude that one of the ways by which we keep ourselves in that place of blessing, the blessings of God's love, is building up ourselves in the most holy faith. And, of course, the way we build up ourselves in the most holy faith is through the Word. It is hard to trust somebody you don't know. When a person comes up to me and says, "Oh, I have the hardest time trusting God," what they are really saying is, "I really don't know God very well." Because if you know God well you will have no problem trusting in Him at all.

How can you know God? Through His Word. Because for He has revealed Himself to us. So faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God. If you want your faith increased, study the Word of God.

But I say, [Paul said,] Have they not heard? Oh yes very true, for their sound went out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world ( Romans 10:18 ).

Yes, they did hear. The story of Jesus Christ passed through all of the Jewish communities around the world.

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

God sought by His work among the Gentiles the pouring out of His grace and love and blessings, to provoke the jealousy of the Jew, so that the Jew will seek after God through Jesus Christ. When they see the way God has blessed the Christian believer and their love for God and for the Lord Jesus Christ, that they'll be provoked to jealousy, when they see the Gentiles receive the covenant and the grace and the blessings and the glory of God.

As we were studying the book of Romans recently I sought to illustrate this by this beautiful, sharp, darling, little granddaughter of mine, who I love so greatly, as I do all my grandchildren. But this one is a special little angel. And she gives me the worst time because she knows how totally she has me wrapped around her little finger. And she takes advantage of it and gives me a bad time, because she is totally independent when it comes to Grandpa.

She loves to play her little independent games. So I have found by my making over my other grandchildren she'll come elbowing her way in to get close to Grandpa. So when the other grandkids come over, I make a big to do over them, exaggerated. "Oh, come over here and sit on Grandpa's lap. Oh, how nice you look today. Let me hold you." And boy, she comes elbowing her way in and she is going to get right there next to Grandpa. And I love it. I am crazy about this little doll, but it is necessary for me to get her close to me to provoke her to jealousy.

Now that is exactly what God is seeking to do to the Jews. He still loves the Jews, independent as far as God's way of righteousness and all, but God still loves them, and thus, He blesses you, and says, "Oh, come and receive the kingdom and into the joys and the blessings and all." All the while God is wanting the Jews to come elbowing, which is a trait for them anyhow, to come on in and get close.

Moses said, "I will provoke you to jealousy by them that were not my people. And by the foolish nation I will anger you."

Isaiah was very bold, and he said, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that ask not after me. But unto Israel he said, All day long I have stretched forth my hand unto a disobedient and gainsaying people ( Romans 10:20-21 ).

So God's grace and mercy extended towards the Gentiles. But still, all day long His hand stretched out to the Jew who refused to come God's way through Jesus Christ. Does that mean then that God is through with the Jew forever? No, we will find out next week as we move into Romans 11:0 that God still has a plan whereby He is going to bring salvation to the Jew.

May the Lord be with you and may the blessings of the Lord surround your life as you walk with Him. May you experience the joys of His power, of His presence, of His glory, as God day by day showers you with His goodness and with His love. May you begin to experience greater victory in your walk with Jesus Christ as you yield yourself to that touch of God and as He molds and shapes you into that person He wants you to be, and as He conforms you into the image of Jesus Christ. May God bless you and may God work in your life this week in a very special way. May faith be increased as you study His Word. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Romans 10". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/romans-10.html. 2014.
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