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Romans 10:1 . My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. Chrysostom’s comment is, my “vehement desire” for their salvation. St. Paul having declared his mind, in the full and flowing language of all the prophets, concerning the equal rights of the gentiles to all the blessings of Abraham’s covenant, here declares his heart in all goodwill for the salvation of his countrymen. This was as balm to the wounds his words had inflicted. Judge then with what indignation he would have read our antinomian notions of reprobation.
Romans 10:2 . They have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. Josephus notices their zeal to pull down the Roman eagle which Herod had placed on the walls of the temple, when about three thousand jews perished in the contest. Against christians, their zeal was predicted by the Saviour: Whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. But their zeal was not according to knowledge. Learning was in the hands of few men; the glory and the miracles of Christ they disdained to study; and in crucifying him, they knew not what they did. What candour in Paul to speak thus of men who had once stoned him at Lystra, Acts 14:19, and often scourged him in the synagogues.
Romans 10:3 . They being ignorant of God’s righteousness. Not that righteousness by which he himself is just, but that by which he makes us just, through the merit or righteousness of our Lord and Saviour. There is here an antithesis between the righteousness of God, and that of men. Sinners must abandon all human righteousness, to obtain that which is divine. The mystery of the gospel is a new theory of grace, opened on the mind with realizing powers.
Romans 10:4 . Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. The allusion is to Matthew 11:12-13, where the presence of the Saviour, opening the glorious gospel with the seal of miracles, had closed the legal dispensation. Since that time, the kingdom of God has been preached and righteousness opened in the heart.
Romans 10:5 . The man that doeth those things shall live by them. So Moses describes the righteousness of the law, which was opposed or introductory to the promise. And as conscience said, that even he had not done them, but that defects had attended all his best performances, he was saved by looking for the promised Messiah, by whom alone grace and truth have come to man.
Romans 10:6 . But the righteousness which is of faith says, that there is no need to ascend into heaven, or to descend into the grave, for Christ and all his promises are at hand. If thou shalt believe that he lived and died for thee, and with full consent of heart, and glorify his grace by an open confession of his name, thou shalt be saved. As the heart once consented to sin, so the heart must now consent to Christ, and become heir of the riches of his grace.
Romans 10:8-9 . The word is nigh thee. Salvation is assuredly promised to him who with an honest mind believes on the Saviour, and confesses him in all the obedience of faith and hope. There is no need of pilgrimages to holy places. Christ is knocking at the door, and asking admission into the heart. He is a present Saviour in the time of need.
Romans 10:10 . With the heart man believeth unto righteousness. From Abel down to Abraham, and thence to Christ, all the holy fathers obtained righteousness by faith. How should it be otherwise? We are all gone out of the way; we are all guilty before God. We are wholly without strength. The mercy is therefore adapted to the misery of man. Look, and be healed believe, and be saved come unto me, and I will give you rest.
Romans 10:17 . Faith cometh by hearing, as in Lydia’s conversion. Truth illuminates the understanding, and grace persuades the heart.
Romans 10:18 . Their sound went out into all the earth. See Psalms 19:4. Acts 8:4.
Romans 10:19 . Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy, by the conversion of gentiles whom you despise; and as Isaiah says, “I am found of them that sought me not.” These are bold sayings. Moses and Isaiah, two princes of the prophets, foretelling the accession of the gentile nations to Christ, and leaving the jews in their sinful obduracy, were terrific arguments, and very humiliating to the carnal jews. Add to these, that the whole body of jewish prophets join their voices to usher in the fulness of the gentiles, gathered to Him whom their fathers had crucified. It would seem from the strong words of Moses, that he had very clear views of the final obduration of the jews, and of the calamities which should overtake them in the latter day. Deuteronomy 28:49-64; Deuteronomy 32:15-43. His prospects towards heaven were luminous, and full of immortality; but when he turned his regards to earth, they were like the cloud in the desert, bright on one side, and dark on the other.
This chapter, and that which follows, is properly a review of all the preseding arguments respecting the inability of man, the perfection of the law, and the glory of the gospel; a gospel worthy of the grace of God, and exactly adapted to the guilt and misery of man.
What a wonderful character was Paul; what a man of argument. How full of zeal for God, and love to his country. Where can we find his equal in natural, in acquired, in divine endowments? Above all, his piety blazes out on all the gentile world, in zeal, in prayers, in tears. He had seen “a multitude” of people turn to the Lord; but still his heart was set on Israel, that they might be saved. He deplored their errors, knocking at the wrong door for righteousness and life. He saw them grovelling in legal paths, and despising the way, the new and living way, the way of faith and holiness, so plain that the wayfaring man, though a fool, unacquainted with the road, could not err. Isaiah 35:8.
Oh christian minister, you who fill the place of Paul; can you be content with being called evangelical, and learned, and polite in manners, and see myriads about you clothed with shame on the sabbath, and perishing in their sins? If so, how will you see the face of this able minister of the new testament, who was “in labours more abundant?” Remember your whole time and talents belong to God.
And you, oh jews, for whom those tears were shed, and all those arguments were displayed; what more do you ask? The gentiles, now turning to Christ by countless islands, and whole nations, provoke you to jealousy. They are rising from the dust to be seated with the princes of his people. The christian nations, who once requited evil for evil, now more enlightened, take you by the hand, and make you fellow-citizens. Is all this by chance, or is it the finger of God fulfilling the prophecies, once the joy and hope of your fathers?
Can you, amidst all this mercy, persist in rejecting the Saviour, and bring the second curse upon yourselves? Isaiah 65:15. Is not the conversion of the heathen a full display of the counsel and arm of the Lord, as promised by the ancient prophets? Are not the present race of infidels in Europe, and other places, whom we have called Gog and Magog, Ezekiel 39 ., a proof of the existence of enemies, whom Christ shall destroy with the sword, and with pestilence? Their flesh, says the prophet, shall consume away, while they stand upon their feet. Zechariah 14:12. Do you mean, oh jews, to perish with them? Oh hear the voice of providence, and turn to the Lord, who rules the nations with a rod of iron, that the veil may be taken from your hearts.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Romans 10". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24