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Israel rejected through lack of Faith
In Romans 9 St. Paul, defending the gospel against objections founded upon the fact that it had been rejected by the Jews as a whole, showed that God had never bound Himself to the Israelitish race, but had always kept Himself free to choose His own instruments. In Romans 10 he declares that Israel have caused their rejection by failure to recognise God’s methods, and by obstinate rebellion in spite of the patience of His love.
1-15. The zeal of the Jews is useless, because they follow their own way instead of God’s (Romans 10:1-4), although God’s way of salvation is so easy (Romans 10:5-11), and open to all (Romans 10:12-13), and made known to all (Romans 10:14-15).
Paraphrase. ’(1) I pray for the salvation of my people, (2) for they still are zealous for God, though with such lack of insight (3) that they are blind to His free offer of salvation, and Vainly seek to win acceptance by their merits, (4) whereas faith in Christ has taken the place of obedience to law as the motive and inspiration of life and the condition of acceptance with God. (5) The old system of works called for an obedience beyond human power to give. (6) But acceptance by faith in Christ makes no impracticable demand. Christ has brought Himself within our reach by His Incarnation which made Him man among men, (7) and by His Resurrection which restored Him to us for ever; (8) so that the faith the gospel asks for is a simple thing, (9) only to acknowledge publicly that Jesus is Lord and really to believe in His Resurrection. (10)
All that is required can be done by human hearts and human lips, (11) even as Isaiah promises complete security to every one who has faith in the Christ. (12) The promise is for all, for Christ’s Lordship extends over all races of men, and He has love enough for all who worship Him (13) as Joel testifies; (14, 15) and God has made His offer known by commissioned preachers, so that the Jews have no excuse for unbelief.’
1. Might] RV ’may.’
2. Zeal] which St. Paul had shared: cp. Galatians 1:14; Philippians 3:6. Of] RV ’for.’ Knowledge] i.e. insight into God’s will: cp. Colossians 1:9.
3. God’s righteousness] i.e. His gift of free acceptance on condition of faith.
Going about] RV ’seeking.’
4. End] i.e. termination. Law, as the means of winning favour with God by its fulfilment, has been brought to an end now Christ has come: cp. Galatians 3:10, Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14. For] RV ’unto,’ i.e. so that every one who has faith may be accepted.
5. RV ’For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness.. of the law,’ i.e. all the Law requires, ’shall live thereby’: from Leviticus 18:5.
6. Speaketh] The words that follow are selected from Deuteronomy 30:11. where they refer to the accessibility of the Law. St. Paul applies them to the gospel, as opposed to the Law, not as formal quotation of Scripture, but as adapting familiar language. Yet the passage is one of several which show that holy men under the Law looked forward to the spirit of the gospel: cp. Psalms 51:16.; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:8.
7. Deep] RV ’abyss,’ i.e. Hades, the abode of the dead: cp. Acts 2:27; 1 Peter 3:19; 1 Peter 4:6.
8. The word of faith] i.e. which announces faith as the method of salvation.
9. Confess] i.e. at baptism; in daily life; and in persecution: cp. Matthew 10:32. The Lord Jesus] RV ’Jesus as Lord,’ i.e. as King and God: see on Matthew 10:12, and John 20:28; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5. Raised] cp. Romans 4:24.; The Resurrection is spoken of as the object of faith, because, if not risen, Christ would be no Lord and no Saviour, and union with Him would be impossible.
10. Unto] i.e. resulting in. Salvation] i.e. final salvation. ’Confession’ represents the whole life of devotion to Christ which springs from faith.
11. From Isaiah 28:16: cp. Romans 9:33.
12. Difference] RV ’distinction’: cp. Romans 3:22. Greek] i.e. Gentile. The same Lord] i.e. Christ: cp. Acts 10:36; Romans 9:5. Over all] RV ’is Lord of all.’ Rich]cp. Ephesians 3:8. Call upon him] i.e. as His worshippers: cp. 1 Corinthians 1:2. From the custom of beginning prayer with the name of the deity, the expression ’to call upon the name of’ came to signify ’to be a worshipper of.’ Hence, this verse implies the Divinity of Christ. In the next verse, the name ’Jehovah’ (’Lord’) is applied to Him: cp. John 12:41.
13. From Joel 2:32.
14. Not heard?] supply, ’but they have heard.’ Without a preacher?] supply, ’but there are preachers.’
15. Sent] The Gk. word is that from which ’Apostle’ is derived. Supply, ’but apostles have been sent.’ How beautiful] from Isaiah 52:7.
16-21. The Jews have had every opportunity, and their fall is due to their own obstinate wilfulness.
Paraphrase. ’(16) It is no argument against the message to say it has only partially succeeded, for Isaiah lamented that the Jews would not listen to it, (17) in words which imply that there would be a Divine message about Christ meant to call forth faith. (18) Nor can any one say that the Jews have not heard the message, for it has been preached everywhere. (19) Nor can it be said that the nation which had received the Scriptures did not know that the Gentiles were to be included in God’s favour. Even so far back as Moses they were warned that it would be so; (20) and Isaiah uses the plainest language. (21) No excuse can be made for them. Their fall is due to the same stubborn rejection of God’s unwearied love which Isaiah saw in his day.’
16. Lord, etc.] From Isaiah 53:1.
17. Hearing] The same Gk. word as that translated ’report’ in Romans 10:16.
18. Their sound, etc.] from Psalms 19:4, i.e. the gospel message was diffused as widely as the declaration by the heavens of the glory of God. Not literally so, but probably every considerable Jewish colony had heard the gospel: cp. Colossians 1:6, Colossians 1:23.
19. I will provoke, etc.] From Deuteronomy 32:21.
20. From Isaiah 65:1.
21. From Isaiah 65:2. Gainsaying] i.e. contradicting.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Romans 10". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany