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Bible Commentaries
Romans 10

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Verses 1-21


In this chapter the view of the whole subject introduced at Romans 9:30 is continued and carried out, according to which the present rejection of the Jews as a nation is traced to no absolute and irreversible Divine decree, but to their own refusal to accept God's plan of mercy to all mankind; testimonies being, as usual, adduced from the Old Testament in support of the argument. But, before proceeding, the apostle renews expression of his regret (cf. Romans 9:1, seq.) at the present position of his countrymen, and his earnest desire that it should be otherwise.

Romans 10:1

Brethren, my heart's desire (εὐδοκία, expressing good will) and prayer to God for them (for Israel, as in the Textus Receptus, has no good support) is, that they may be saved (literally, is unto salvation). "Non orasset Paulus, si absolute reprobati essent" (Bengel).

Romans 10:2, Romans 10:3

For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God. For ζῆλον Θεοῦ, meaning zeal for God, cf. John 2:17; Acts 22:3; Galatians 1:14. The word ζῆλος was commonly used for the religious ardour of the Jews at that time (cf. Acts 21:20, Πάντες ζηλωταὶ τοῦ νόμου ὑπάρχουσι), and there was a faction among them called distinctively Ζηλωταὶ, to which Simon Zelotes (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13) is supposed to have belonged originally. St. Paul's mention of the religious zeal of the Jews of his day is apposite in this place. In Romans 9:1-5, where he was about to speak of their rejection from the inheritance of the promises, he appropriately dwelt on their ancient privileges; here, where he has in view their own failure to respond to God's purpose for them, he as appropriately refers to their undoubted zeal, which he regrets should be misdirected. But not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of (ἀγνοοῦντες, in explanation of οὐ κατ ἐπίγνωσιν preceding) God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own (righteousness, repeated here, is ill supported), they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. For the meaning of God's righteousness, opposed to man's own righteousness, see on Romans 3:19, Romans 3:20; also on Romans 1:17, and Introduction.

Romans 10:4

For Christ is the end of Law unto righteousness to every one that believeth. The word "end" (τέλος) might in itself mean

(1) termination,

(2) fulfilment,

(3) aim or purpose,

which is the evident meaning of the word in 1 Timothy 1:5 and 1 Peter 1:9. This last seems best to suit the line of thought in this place. The Jews evinced ignorance, i.e. of the real meaning and purpose of Law, in resting on it for justification. This is St. Paul's constant position in speaking of the office of Law—that it could not and was never meant to justify, but rather to convince of sin; to establish the need of, and excite a craving for, redemption; and so prepare men to appreciate and accept the righteousness of God in Christ which was its τέλος (see especially ch. 7.; and cf. Galatians 3:24, Ὥστε ὁ νόμος παιδαγωγὸς ἡμῶν γέγονεν εἰς Χριστὸν Ἵνα ἐκ πίστως δικαιωθῶμεν). Νόμος being here anarthrous, we translate it according to the rule observed in this Commentary. The apostle has, indeed, in view the Mosaic Law; but it is the principle of law, as such, that he is speaking of. He next proceeds, as elsewhere throughout the Epistle, to quote from the Old Testament in illustration of the contrast between the two principles of justification, and this with the intention of showing that even in the Pentateuch that of justification by faith was intimated, and thus that it was all along the real τέλος of the Law. "Nam si prophetas suae sententiae testes citasset, haerebat tamen hic scrupulus, cum Lex aliam justitiae formam praescriberet. Hunc ergo optime discutit, quum ex ipsa Legis doctrina stabitit fidei justitiam" (Calvin).

Romans 10:5

For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the Law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by (literally, in) them (Leviticus 18:5). This quotation is intended to express, in the words of Moses himself, the principle of Law, viz. the requirement of entire observance of it, such as the apostle elsewhere contends is impossible (cf. Galatians 3:10-12). It may be objected that Moses himself, in the original passage, does not seem to be setting forth any such impossible requirement. He says, in the name of the Lord, "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, which, if a man do, he shall live in them;" implying, it would seem, that a man might so keep them as to live in them; else were the injunction delusive. In the quotation also of the same text in Ezekiel 20:11, Ezekiel 20:13, Ezekiel 20:21 and Nehemiah 9:29, only such a requirement as might have been fulfilled appears to be understood. But St. Paul (as appears from the context, and from Galatians 3:12, where the text is similarly cited) refers to it as expressing the strict principle of law, as above defined. It, then, the text, in its original connection, seems to fall short of the sense put upon it, we may understand the apostle to quote it as a well-known one, sufficiently suggestive, if taken, as he intends it to be, in connection with others, such as Deuteronomy 27:26, cited with it in Galatians 3:10, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them." It is his way to refer to familiar texts, or such as most readily occur to him, as suggestive of Old Testament ideas which he expects his readers to be acquainted with. Calvin's remarks on this whole passage deserve attention: "Lex bifariam accipitur. Nunc enim significat universam doctrinam a Mose proditam, nunc pattern illam quae ministerii ejus propria erat; quae scilicet praeceptis, praemis, et poenis continetur Quod ergo hic de justitia Legis dicitur referre convenit non ad totam Mosis functionem, sed ad partem istam quae peculiariter quodammodo ei commissa fuit." His drift is, that the passage before us intimates the strict principle of law, which it was the peculiar function of Moses to promulgate, whereas the passage which follows from Deuteronomy is significant of its universa doctrina. This distinction may help us to understand St. Paul's drift, in referring, as he proceeds to do, to Deuteronomy 30:11-14. The determination of this drift is attended with some difficulty. First, we observe that, whereas the original passage certainly refers to the Law given to the Israelites through Moses—to the same "statutes and judgments" that were the subject of the previous quotation—St. Paul applies it to describe justification through faith in Christ; and, secondly, that, in order to apply it, he alters some parts of it, and interposes comments of his own. One view is that he is only making a free-use of the words of the passage to clothe his own thoughts. So Bengel: "Ad hunc locum quasi parodia suavissime alludit, sine expressa allegatione." But his obvious intention, here as elsewhere, to support his positions from the old Scriptures surely precludes this view. Nor can he be supposed to cite the passage as simply prophetical of the gospel which was to supersede the Law, since it evidently was not so. The proper view seems to be that he adduces it as illustrating, in the first place. what Calvin calls the universa doctrina of the Law itself, with regard to its actual application as a norma vivendi to the needs of man. Here, he would say, the very Mosaic dispensation is presented to us, not as exacting any impossible obedience to the strict behests of law, but only such as the "circumcised in heart" could render, and be accepted still; it is presented to us, not as a rigid external code, enjoining and threatening, but as a word very nigh unto us, even in our heart, that we may do it; it is, in fact, an anticipation and foreshadowing of gospel salvation. In confirmation of this view of the apostle's meaning, it is to be observed that the passage occurs, not in the earlier books of Moses, but in Deuteronomy, which appears as an appendix to them, containing for the most part long discourses in the style of the prophets, wherein the Law is, as it were, spiritualized, and its universa doctrina opened out. In it we feel ourselves as rising out of the region of strict legal exaction into a higher and more spiritual one. Observe also that the passage before us is based on the idea of a people circumcised in heart, and loving the Lord with all the heart and all the soul (verses 6, 20); on an ideal view of a state of favour and acceptance never realized in Jewish history, but such as we find often in the prophetic writings (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34, the famous passage referred to more than once in the New Testament as having its eventual fulfilment in Christ). Thus the passage before us is legitimately referred to by St. Paul, as an intimation in the Pentateuch itself of the "righteousness which is of faith."

Romans 10:6-10

But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart (in the original, It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say), Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down). The parenthesis is St. Paul's own; the original has, after "heaven," and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it? Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead). Again the parenthesis is St. Paul's; and he has substituted "into the deep" (εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον) for " beyond the sea." The original is, Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that (or, because) if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. The apostle's purpose in varying from the original is obvious from his interposed comments, and from the application that follows. It seems to be as though he had said, "See how, with a slight alteration, the passage in Deuteronomy becomes an exact description of our Christian doctrine." The most marked alteration is the substitution of "into the deep" for "beyond the sea." The "sea" in the original, to which the term "abyss" is applicable (cf. Job 28:14; Psalms 107:26), may have suggested the word; but St. Paul here evidently means by it the regions of the dead, imagined as subterranean, equivalent to the Hebrew Sheol, and the Greek Ἅδης. For use of the word in this sense, cf. Psalms 71:20, Ἐκ τῶν ἀβύσσων τῆς γῆς πάλιν ἀνήγαγές με cf. also Luke 8:31 and Revelation 9:1, Revelation 9:2, Revelation 9:11; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:1, Revelation 20:3; in which passages ἡ ἄβυσσος seems to denote the penal abode, corresponding to the Greek idea of Tartarus; but the word itself does not contain this idea, which is by no means intimated here. It may be taken to denote Hades, into which Christ "descended." Some commentators suppose the previous expression, "ascend into heaven to bring Christ down," to mean bringing him back to earth from heaven, whither he has ascended now. But the mere fact of its coming first, as well as the general sense of the passage, shows it to refer rather to the Incarnation, and what follows to the Resurrection. These were the two grand stages in the great work of redemption; both were required that "the righteousness which is of faith" might effectually be brought "nigh unto us." The impossible task of effecting either was not required of man; God has done both for us, and we have but to "believe in our hearts," that "the word" of his grace may be nigh us, in our mouth and in our heart, that we may do it. Thus all that was intimated or foreshadowed by that old passage in Deuteronomy is in its fullest sense to us fulfilled. In verse 9 the applicability of the words, "in thy mouth, and in thine heart," to the gospel dispensation is shown; the two expressions, properly understood, denoting all that is required of us. Confession of the Lord Jesus with the mouth must be taken to express generally, not only fearless avowal of the Christian faith, but also consistent life, according to the full meaning of our Lord's words in Matthew 10:32; Mark 8:38; Luke 10:26; Luke 12:8, etc. Confession of the Lord Jesus with the mouth, too, would have a peculiar significance then, when Christians were often so sorely tempted to deny him under persecution (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3). We may observe also how "the mouth" is elsewhere regarded as the index of the heart; as the main bodily organ whereby character is evinced and expressed (cf. Matthew 12:34, Matthew 12:37; Matthew 15:11, etc.). Further, the belief spoken of is belief in the heart—a living operative faith, not intellectual conviction only. Nor is belief that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead to be taken as meaning belief of this one article of the Creed alone; it carries with it belief in the gospel generally, the doctrine of the Resurrection being here, as elsewhere, regarded as the central doctrine on which all the rest depends (cf. I Corinthians Luke 15:17; 1 Peter 1:21). "Haec summa Evangelii est. Nam, cum credimus Christum excitatum esse e mortuis, credimus sum pro peccatis satisfecisse, et in coelis regnare, ut nos ad imaginem suam perficiat" (Bucer). In Luke 12:10, where the offices of the heart and of the mouth are denoted in general terms, the distinction between "unto righteousness" with respect to the one, and "unto salvation" with respect to the other, is significant. By faith alone we are justified; but by confession in actual life, which is the fruit of faith, our salvation is secured.

Romans 10:11-21

What follows to the end of the chapter is abruptly expressed, in such wise as to render difficult a clear exposition of the intended argument. It seems (as in other parts of the Epistle) as if St. Paul had dictated rapidly, and without pausing to consider whether readers would easily follow the thoughts of which his own mind was full. First, having done with his illustrations from the Pentateuch, he resumes the line of thought expressed at the end of Romans 10:4, by παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι. For, though Romans 10:11 is logically connected (in a way usual with St. Paul) with the preceding one—the quotation from Isaiah being adduced in proof of πιστεύεται εἰς δικαιοσύνην in verse 10—yet what follows is really a continuation of the thought of verse 4, viz. that the "righteousness of God," spoken of in verse 3, is of faith, and also for all. In evidence of this he returns to the text from Isaiah 28:16, already cited in Romans 9:33, and himself supplies πᾶς at the beginning of it, so as to bring out its universal application. It may be that, quoting from memory, he had forgotten that this word was not in the original, or he may have purposely added it in order to express more clearly what the original—in which there is no limitation of ὁ πισττεύων—really implied. The latter supposition is probable, inasmuch as (according to the best-supported readings) he had previously (Romans 9:33) quoted the text without this addition, and now follows out the idea of πᾶς by giving a reason for it, and then, in Romans 9:13, adds a text from Joel in which πᾶς does occur, so as to intimate that the "calling on the Name of the Lord," spoken of by Joel, implies the "believing" spoken of by Isaiah, and hence that the two texts must be equally universal in their application.

Romans 10:11, Romans 10:12

For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed (see above, on Romans 9:33). For there is no difference (rather, distinction) between the Jew and the Greek: for the same is Lord of all, being rich unto all that call upon him. Here, in Romans 10:12, the apostle comments on the text from Isaiah, so as to show the universality of its application (see previous note). It is (he would say) in itself applicable to Jew and Gentile alike, and it must needs be so, since the one God is the same to all that call upon him, even as the Prophet Joel also testified. The thought thus expressed was one deeply fixed in St. Paul's mind. He elsewhere speaks Of the very unity of God as implying of necessity that he is the same alike to Jews and Gentiles (see above, on Romans 3:29).

Romans 10:13

For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved (Joel 2:32). The text from Joel is in a passage which is distinctly Messianic; the same that is quoted by St. Peter (Acts 2:16) as fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. Hence, and from the fact of πᾶς ὃς ἂν being emphatic in the original, it is well quoted by the apostle as supplementing the previous one from Isaiah, and as conclusive for his argument.

Romans 10:14, Romans 10:15

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? This question may be taken, in the first place, as serving to connect the two passages from Joel and from Isaiah (see previous note). But it is further the beginning of a sorites, suggested by a new thought, which is carried out to the end of the chapter. The course of this new thought through the rest of the chapter may be expounded as follows: It might be pleaded, in behalf of the unbelieving Jews, that they had never really heard, through preachers duly sent to them, the gospel message; and hence that they were not to be blamed for rejecting it. With this idea before him, the apostle first (verses 14, 15) allows generally, in the form of a series of questions, that, as before calling on the Lord there must be faith, so before faith there must be hearing, before hearing there must be preaching, and for preaching there must be authorizing mission; and he quotes, in illustration, a passage from Isaiah, which describes beautifully the preaching of good tidings of peace by commissioned messengers to all the world. But he is careful to add (verses 16, 17) that, according to the same prophet, such universal preaching, and consequent hearing, does not involve universal hearkening; thus showing, in view of the main purpose of his argument, that the fact of the Jews not hearkening now is no evidence that they had not heard. Then he goes on to ask whether any could plead the excuse of not having heard, so as to justify want of the faith that cometh of hearing. Nay, he replies (verse 18), the sound of the good tidings has gone forth to all the earth, even like the language of nature spoken of in Psalms 19:1-14. Then (verse 19), pressing his argument home to the Jews, who have been all along in view, he asks, "But I say, Did not Israel know?" The word ἕγνω, being different from ἤκουσααν previously used, must express some different meaning. But what St. Paul exactly meant by it is not quite clear. The quotations from the Old Testament that follow in proof of knowledge (verses 19, 20) seem to support the view that what Israel knew, or ought to have known, was the Divine design of the promulgation of the "good tidings" to all the world, which has just been spoken of. Such promulgation should have been to them no stumbling-block; for it had been told to them from Moses downwards, and they had full opportunity of knowing it. Lastly (verse 21), the apostle intimates that the present state of things, in which Gentiles accept the gospel while Israel in the main rejects it, far from being an objection to it, is but a further fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecies, which represent God as making himself known to those who had not known him, while pleading with Israel in vain. This exposition of the supposed course of thought being borne in mind, the passage (with the further aid of some interposed comments) may become intelligible. It continues: And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard! and how shall they hear without a preacher! and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that [preach the gospel (or, good tidings) of peace, and] bring glad tidings of flood things! (Isaiah 3:7). The genuineness of the. words within brackets is at least doubtful. Even with them the text is not quoted in full, though sufficiently to remind of its purport.

Romans 10:16-18

But not all obeyed (or, hearkened to) the gospel (or, good tidings). This means, apparently, that in the prophet's representation of the proclamation of the good tidings all were said to hear, but not all to hearken, For Esaias saith, Lord, who Believed our report? (The Greek word here is ἀκοῇ, the same as in Romans 10:17, there rendered "hearing," and corresponding to the verb ἀκούειν in Romans 10:14,Romans 10:18.) So then faith cometh of hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (ῥήματος Θεοῦ, God's own Word, committed to, and spoken by, preachers duly sent). But I say, Did they not hear?. The previous aorist, ὑπήκουσαν, in Romans 10:16 having been understood as referring to the prophetic representations rather than to present known facts, the aorist ἤκουσαν here must, for consistency, be similarly understood, though with a view also to the actual universality of the gospel message. The unexpressed nominative to ἤκουσαν appears from the context to be men in general, not the Jews in particular. Israel is not specified till Romans 10:19. Yea, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world (Psalms 19:4). The "sound" and the "words" in the psalm are those of the heavens and the firmament. But in the second part of the psalm, beginning at Romans 10:7, the psalmist passes from God's revelation of himself in nature to his revelation of himself in his Word. Still the psalm itself cannot well be understood as intimating the universal proclamation of the gospel. Nor is it necessary to suppose that St. Paul so understood it. Enough for him that the words he quotes express admirably what he desires to say.

Romans 10:19

But I say, Did not Israel know? (see explanation given above). First, Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no nation; by a foolish nation I will anger you. It may be observed that in the Greek we have the same word, ἔθνει,, in both classes of the sentence, though, in order to bring out the supposed meaning in the first clause, it is there, in the Authorized Version, rendered "people," and in the second, "nation." The passage occurs in the song attributed to Moses in Deuteronomy 32:21, and expresses the idea of God, in consequence of the defaults of Israel, favouring those who were so far, as it were, no nation at all, so as to provoke Israel to jealousy. It is therefore aptly cited as an intimation in the Pentateuch itself of the calling of the Gentiles in place of unbelieving Israel. The idea involved in "provoke you to jealousy"—in the sense of moving to emulation, so that Israel itself as a nation might, through the calling of the Gentiles, in the end be saved—is pursued, as will be seen, in the chapter that follows.

Romans 10:20

But Esaias is very hold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. (Isaiah 65:1). The peculiar boldness of Isaiah's utterance consists in this—that, at a time when Israel was recognized as God's one chosen people, he is said to make himself known even to those who sought him not at all.

Romans 10:21

But to Israel he saith, All day long I stretched out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. (Isaiah 65:2). Tholuck remarks, "If from this passage we once more look back upon the tenth and ninth chapters, it is manifest how little Paul ever designed to revert to a decretun, absolutum, but meant to cast all blame upon the want of will in men, resisting the gracious will of God.


Romans 10:1

Solicitude and supplication for the salvation of sinners.

Paul was himself a Jew, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. His first ministry was to Israelites, and, when upon his missionary tours, he made it his first business to address the frequenters of the synagogues. By his training and by his associations, and also by his evangelistic intercourse with his countrymen, he understood the Jewish mind, and how to deal with it. From the Jews he met with obstacles, opposition, and persecution; and he could not be blind to their faults and errors. This, however, did not prompt him to anger or to neglect; he loved his nation, and felt the claim of kindred and nationality. He laboured, spoke, wrote, and prayed for his Jewish kin; he sought above all things their salvation. Looking away from the special reference, let us consider the words of the apostle as supplying an example of the benevolent spirit of Christianity.

I. WE MUST BE AWARE THAT THERE IS A WIDESPREAD NEED OF SALVATION. Many of our neighbours need saving from debasing vice and unjustifiable, inexcusable crime; many have fallen into dangerous errors, from which they need to be delivered; many need to be awakened from the densest ignorance and carelessness with regard to spiritual realities. Some are sensible of their need; multitudes are utterly indifferent to it. Go to a hospital, and you will see many and varied forms of disease, accident, privation, affecting men's bodily state—all want healing. So is it with sinful society: salvation, and nothing less than salvation, is the world's great want.

II. WE KNOW THAT THERE IS SALVATION FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT. As Christians, we are assured that our Redeemer is a mighty, all-sufficient Saviour; we believe that he came that the world should be saved through him; we have been authoritatively told that he is "the Propitiation for the sins of the whole world;" that God is "the Saviour of all men, specially of those who believe." Further, we have ourselves experienced the grace and power of Jesus to pardon, purify, and bless; and what he has done for us he can do for others. The offers and promises of his gospel are free and valid. He saves to the uttermost all that come unto God by him.

III. CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE ANXIOUS AND PRAYERFUL ON BEHALF OF SINNERS THAT THEY MAY BE SAVED. In this the apostle is an example to all who have themselves tasted and seen that the Lord is good.

1. It should be our heart's "good pleasure" (for such is the literal rendering). A benevolent mind, in sympathy with the Saviour, who pitied, wept over, expostulated with sinners, will find pleasure in witnessing the power of the gospel to rescue and to save the lost.

2. Supplication should be offered with a view to the same end. We know that such prayer is acceptable; for Christ has said, "It is not the pleasure of my Father that one of these should perish." Supplication should not be selfish; it should be intercessory and benevolent.

IV. CHRISTIANS SHOULD USE THE APPOINTED MEANS FOR THE SALVATION OF THEIR FELLOW-MEN. Sympathy and prayer, unaccompanied by effort, would be a mockery. Certainly, Paul was not the man to grieve over his erring countrymen, and at the same time to neglect endeavours for their recovery. Some of us may preach the gospel, others may "send" the preachers, others may invite their neighbours to hear the gospel; sympathy and prayer will lead to some form of practical effort.


1. Whilst others are concerned for your salvation, are you seeking this salvation for yourself?

2. Are you manifesting practically solicitude for the spiritual good of your neighbours and fellow-men?

Romans 10:2-4

False righteousness and true.

Paul's desire for the salvation of his countrymen and kinsmen arose from his clear perception of their spiritual destitution and need. They might hide their condition from themselves, but it was clear enough to him. The measure of true light which they enjoyed made it the sadder that many of them refused to accept and to walk in the full light of the Sun of Righteousness. And the apostle's sympathy was excited on their behalf all the more because he understood their case so well.

I. ZEALOUS RELIGIOUSNESS MAY BE MISDIRECTED BY IGNORANCE. The apostle does not charge the Jews with neglecting, far less with despising, religion. In their own way they were very religious, and many of them were found willing to put forth great efforts and endure many sacrifices for their religion. They had "a zeal for God." They hated idolatry; they revered their Scriptures, their temple, their priesthood, their sacrifices and festivals; they prided themselves upon their ceremonial purity and their scrupulous observances. Yet, with all this, they were not commended by the apostle. Their zeal was without knowledge. We meet with similar characters in our own time. Some persons consider that if there is religiousness with sincerity, that is sufficient. It is a great mistake. We need light as well as warmth, knowledge as well as zeal. If truth has been revealed, our first duty is to learn and receive it.

II. THERE IS A FALSE AND UNCHRISTIAN CONCEPTION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. The Jews are censured for seeking to establish "their own righteousness." The Law, indeed, was good in itself. For those who perfectly obeyed it, it was a means of salvation. But the Law is Condemnation to those who trust in it and yet do not conform to it. And, as a matter of fact, the Law was "weak through the flesh," was insufficient for the salvation of sinful men. It is no foundation for a sinner's hopes. Further, the Hebrews were too much accustomed to regard their religious acts as services rendered, for which Divine recompense and payment are due. This is a notion still prevalent, but it is radically unscriptural and unreasonable. We cannot be justified by the works of the Law, and we can earn nothing as a right from God.


1. The relation between Christ and the Law. The word "end" may be taken literally. The Law, as a dispensation, came to an end when Christ appeared. The Law was to the Israelites a Conductor to lead them to Jesus. But the word "end" may mean more than this; it may mean the purpose and design of the Law. The Law was given in order to reveal both the righteousness of God and the sinfulness of man. It thus prepared the way for the coming of him whose obedience fulfilled the Law, and whoso redemption secured pardon and liberty for those whom the Law was powerless to save.

2. Observe the way in which the higher righteousness is secured through Christ. This is described by three several expressions in this passage—knowledge, subjection, belief. The ignorant are without the means of obtaining justification; the unsubmissive rebel against the means; the unbelieving reject the means. It is the will of God that faith should be accounted for righteousness. This is a principle as old as Abraham; yet its most mighty working is apparent in the case of those who believe in Jesus. The doctrine of justification by faith is here plainly revealed, and its superiority to all rival doctrines plainly exhibited.

Romans 10:5-10

Gracious terms of salvation.

The blessings of the gospel were designed for, and were offered to, Jews and Gentiles alike, with the most perfect impartiality. The descendants of Abraham, the disciples of Moses, did indeed enjoy an advantage; but, instead of profiting by it, they turned it against themselves. The apostle here teaches that if any of his kinsmen and countrymen come short of Christian privilege, the fault is their own, and cannot be laid to the Divine Author. St. Paul so presents the gospel as to exhibit—

I. ITS CONTRAST TO THE LAW. The former dispensation promised life to those who obeyed the Law. By life is meant more than continuance of existence and national and territorial advantages; the expression conveys the promise of Divine favour and acceptance. Perfect obedience would secure life; but such obedience no Hebrew, and indeed no mortal man, has rendered. The old covenant did indeed assure to the upright and pious Jew the blessings of salvation, and enjoined obedience upon all its sons. But it was only human pride and self-righteousness which could deem the life of even the holiest such as to merit the favour and fellowship of God. Christianity, on the other hand, provides all spiritual blessings as a free gift—the gift of grace.

II. ITS SIMPLICITY AND ACCESSIBILITY. To exhibit this, the apostle borrows language from the Book of Deuteronomy. What the Lord, by Moses, said of the commandment published to Israel, that Paul says of the gospel. The Divine righteousness speaks; and what is its message to men?

1. It is a message which gently reproaches those who complain of the difficulty of understanding and realizing the will of God. How especially does this apply to Christianity! We have not to soar to heaven, or to plunge into the abyss; for Christ, the Son of God, has condescended to come down from the celestial heights that he might dwell among us; he has risen from the dead, conquering sin and death for us, and leading us in the way to God. Thus the Lord has deigned to make the truth of God intelligible, and the grace of God real and near.

2. But the Divine righteousness, speaking, assures us of the nearness of the Word of life to the hearers of the gospel, personally and individually. How could the word which quickeneth be nearer, more accessible? It is "in the mouth, and in the heart," of every Christian. Pause to think how true this is. Your English Bible is in your hands; the gospel is preached at your own doors; the creeds, the prayers, the thanksgivings, are framed and uttered in your own familiar speech; the name of Jesus is a household word; the simplest can understand the message of the gospel, the terms of life eternal; the child, the unlearned, the feeble, the aged, appreciate the truth as it is in Jesus; Christianity gains many a convert from among the poor, the vicious, the very heathen. All this is a testimony to the Divine adaptation of the gospel to human nature; it meets our deepest wants and supplies them, it creates its own witness by its own success.


1. Faith—as this whole Epistle tells, and tells again and yet again. The righteousness is of faith; "with the heart man believeth." A provision which attests the infinite wisdom of him who made it. The condition is one which can be fulfilled by men of every rank and age and culture; yet it is one profoundly affecting the moral and spiritual nature. It is profitable to man and honouring to God.

2. Confession—a condition, doubtless, very different in the apostles' days from our own, but, as the Lord teaches us, ever indispensable. Men have not the right to say in what way confession shall be made. But it must not be withheld.

IV. THE BLESSINGS IT SECURES. These also are two.

1. Righteousness—the new, Divine, Christian righteousness, that which is the gift of God; a righteousness which is by grace, but which is real, genuine, and eternal.

2. Salvation—by which we are to understand the final and complete enjoyment of what the gospel brings and promises. The end of your faith is the salvation of your souls. It is not only deliverance from sin and danger; it is the participation in the Divine nature, and in the eternal life.

APPLICATION. Let the hearer of the gospel think, not merely of the mysteries which belong to religion, but of the simplicity of what is most essential for him to believe. You have not to climb a lofty tree in order to pluck the fruit; the bough hangs low, and you have but to reach out your hand. You have not to climb the mountain crag, and cross the dangerous bog, in order to come at the water of life; the stream flows by your side, and you have but to stoop and drink.

Romans 10:11-13

Lordship and riches.

This passage exhibits the identity of the old covenant and the new. Paul quotes from the prophecies of Isaiah and Joel, in such a manner as to show, not only that he acknowledged the inspired authority of those writers, but also that he regarded words of promise uttered in the former dispensation as valid in the later. The language quoted harmonizes with the widest conceptions of the Divine benevolence, and must have been adduced with especial satisfaction by one so broad in his sympathies as was the large-hearted apostle of the Gentiles.

I. THE LORDSHIP AND WEALTH OF CHRIST. In speaking of the blessings of salvation, it was very natural that Paul should be led to refer to the glory of the Saviour, in order that it might be understood how vast was his power alike to deliver and to protect his people, and to confer upon them priceless favours.

1. As Lord of all, Christ is Possessor of all power in heaven and in earth. He is of right Ruler of all; and the application of this language, referring to Jehovah, to the Son of man, is proof that he was regarded by St. Paul as Son of God. To Christians, however, it is delightful to reflect upon Christ's authority, exercised over them, benignantly on his part, and gratefully and practically acknowledged and submitted to by themselves. A rebel and a loyal subject think very differently of their sovereign. To us Jesus is the King, because he is the Prophet and the Priest, who has come to us with the voice of God, and has bought us with his precious blood, tie is enthroned in our hearts; he gives laws to our life.

2. Jesus is rich unto all. We are assured of "the unspeakable riches of Christ," and are counselled to buy of him "gold tried in the fire, that we may be rich." If "all things are ours," it is because we are Christ's, and Christ is God's. He who redeems and rules, supplies the wants of his ransomed ones. He is not, like some of the wealthy of this world, rich for himself; he is rich for us, rich boundlessly and inexhaustibly, rich benevolently and for ever.


1. Believing on him is essential to participating in the blessings Christ offers to men. The apostle has previously been insisting upon faith as the means of obtaining the true and Divine righteousness, as God's way for man to come to himself and to enjoy his favour. They who have faith shall not be put to shame, shall surely and eternally be saved.

2. Calling upon him would seem to be a natural result of faith. They who believe in the heart will give their faith utterance by the lips. By this Hebrew expression we may understand both open confession and earnest prayer. By calling upon the Lord's Name, no vain and superstitious invocations or repetitions are to be understood, but the sincere entreaty of the soul for deliverance, guidance, or help.


1. The limitations of nationality are abolished. The religions of heathenism are local; the deities of heathenism are national and tutelary. Under the older dispensation, Jehovah was revealed as the one God, the God of all the earth; yet the Hebrews too often regarded the Lord as their God, and theirs only. The distinction between Jew and Gentile was, to the Hebrew mind, deep and ineffaceable. To St. Paul largely belongs the honour of giving currency to the true doctrine of Christianity, that religion is one and universal; that God is the Father of mankind; that Christ is Saviour and Lord of all men; that the middle wall of partition is broken down; that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile.

2. The offers of Christianity are made to all, and its terms and conditions are adapted to all. He is "rich unto all," and his riches are for "whomsoever believeth," for "whomsoever calleth upon his Name." What language could be used more fitted to encourage every hearer of the gospel to submit to the Lordship and to seek the true riches of Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

Romans 10:12

Spiritual enrichment.

The experience of the apostle was sufficiently large to enable him with confidence to make this sweeping assertion. And the experience of the Church of Christ, through the many centuries which have elapsed since St. Paul thus wrote, enables Christians to make the same assertion with undiminished confidence. In fact, the actual proofs at our disposal and command are overwhelming, both in number and in appropriateness; for, whilst the bestowal of Divine and spiritual wealth has been incessantly proceeding, the resources are unexhausted and inexhaustible.

I. THE RICHES OF THE LORD. In Christ is wealth adapted to the enrichment of dependent, needy men. He has in himself:

1. Riches of revelation.

2. Riches of redemption.

3. Riches of replenishment, owing to the nature and perpetuity of the spiritual dispensation of grace.

4. Riches of resurrection, inasmuch as the true riches endure unto life eternal.


1. It is because Christ is Lord over all, that he is rich unto all.

2. The riches of redeeming love are conferred upon men of every nationality. In the apostolic age, the great distinction which Christianity transcended was that between Jew and Gentile; but, in subsequent times, it has been proved by experience that there is no nation, no class, and no condition incapable of this Divine enrichment.

III. THE CONDITION UPON WHICH SPIRITUAL RICHES HAVE BEEN, AND STILL MAY BE, APPROPRIATED. As throughout this chapter, the apostle here insists upon that spiritual condition of receptivity and application by which all that is good may enter the nature of man. Calling upon him is an act

(1) of repentance,

(2) of faith,

(3) of prayer, and

(4) of aspiration.

As we exercise this means of communion, all things are ours.

Romans 10:14, Romans 10:15


Paul was himself brought to the Saviour by that Saviour's immediate interposition. Doubtless he had heard much of Jesus; yet he had never truly known him during his career of unbelief and persecution. It was when Jesus met him by the way that his hostility was overcome, that his heart was melted, that his nature was changed. But this was exceptional treatment. The Lord who, by a supernatural appearance and voice, called Saul to the knowledge of himself, commissioned him to preach the gospel to his fellow-men, and made him one of the first, and perhaps the most successful, of the innumerable baud of preachers of the cross. We have here—

I. A DIVINE PROVISION. All good is from God. No apostle more constantly insists upon this great truth than does Paul; and in no treatise is it more prominently set before the mind of the reader than in this Epistle to the Romans.

1. We are told what the ultimate blessing is which Christianity proffers. It is salvation. Righteousness has reference rather to what is positively given; salvation, rather to the state from which men are rescued by the Redeemer. A worthy end!—worthy even of the interposition of Heaven, of the benevolence of God the Father, of the sacrifice of Christ, of the grace of the Spirit. A deliverance of the spiritual nature from condemnation and from all evil, and the provision for the saved of new associations, a new lot, a new hope—a salvation which is final and eternal.

2. We have brought before us the extent to which salvation may be enjoyed, the persons for whose benefit it is proposed. All mankind are qualified to be recipients of this boon upon compliance with the terms proscribed. There is no difference in the view of God. The comprehensive term "whosoever" is conclusive upon this point. Jews are not excluded; Gentiles are welcomed; the provision is for humanity.

3. The text sets before us the conditions upon which this blessing may be enjoyed. It is required

(1) that men should call upon the Name of the Lord, i.e. Christ Jesus; and

(2) that they should do this in intelligent and cordial faith: for "how shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?" The expression, "call upon the Name of the Lord," is full of meaning and beauty. It reminds us whence the blessing of salvation proceeds; and as the voice, the call, the cry, come from a heart conscious of need and longing for deliverance, it speaks of the spiritual state which prepares for receiving salvation. Thus Christians are spoken of as "all who in every place call upon the Lord." They who act thus glorify God and his promises of faithfulness. They seek what he has promised to bestow, and they seek with earnestness and confidence. "He is near to all that call upon him in truth." In order to intelligent calling upon the Lord, the apostle reasons, there must be faith. "He that cometh unto him must believe that he is, and that he is a Rewarder of them that seek after him." Faith is the first requirement of the gospel; faith in the glad tidings proclaimed; faith in that Divine Saviour to whom those tidings relate, and who, indeed, is himself the Gospel. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." An arrangement this in harmony with the wisdom of God, and with the moral nature of man. Dead in unbelief and unspirituality, the sinner rises in faith into newness of life, for he lays hold of the grace of God revealed in the Saviour Christ. Consider how unspeakably rich is the provision here made, and how unspeakably gracious the conditions here proposed. Hearers of the gospel, how can you remain without such a blessing as this when it is put within your reach, and when you are invited to take it, and when the terms upon which you may enjoy it are such that you cannot cavil at them? How can you think of such a Saviour and such a gospel, and remain faithless and unmoved? How can you do other than, from your sin and danger and helplessness, call upon One who is "mighty to save"—to "save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him"? This is the day of visitation. "Today," says Christ, "if ye will hear my voice, harden not your hearts."

II. A HUMAN AGENCY. The apostle brings before us two classes of agents—those who, by the publication of the gospel, are the means of leading their fellow-men to faith; and those who send forth such preachers upon such a mission.

1. God employs preachers in bringing men to salvation. They have glad tidings of peace, of good things, to communicate. As the first bands of returning exiles, bringing good news of a larger company following in their train, were welcome to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who hailed their approach by the mountains of Judaea; so the preachers of Christianity may well have been welcomed by the spiritually captive tribes and nations whom they visited on their errands of grace and evangelization. This method of promulgating truth, though not peculiar to our religion, is very distinctive of it. Christ chose twelve apostles; he sent out other seventy also. Before he left the world he directed and sanctioned personal agency in the ministry of the gospel. Paul instructed Timothy to commit the things he had received to faithful men, who should be able to teach others also; thus arranging for a succession, not of a priesthood, but of a teaching ministry. Christ calls out, sanctifies, and blesses the ministry of man to man. Would that there were a more general disposition to listen to his voice and to respond to his summons, "Whom shall I send?" in the ancient language, "Here am I; send me." The success which attended the ministry of the apostles and first evangelists was such as to confirm faith in the Divine appointment. God was pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believed. And every succeeding age has witnessed, in greater or less measure, to the efficacy of this wise provision. In our own day literature is so vigorous, and education so general, that the press has become a mighty auxiliary and ally to the ministry. Every preacher who has confidence in the Divine origin of his message, and in his own sincerity, will welcome the aids to general intelligence which are afforded by the able and varied literature of these enlightened days. Amongst a Christian community, preaching becomes naturally something more than the publication of the great fundamental facts of the gospel. But whilst there is abundant room for instruction, by which the Word of God may be expounded, and the application of religion be shown to all spheres and relationships of life, there is still a pressing need for evangelization. The young have to learn afresh "the first principles of the oracles of God;" the inattentive and careless have to be aroused by the Word which is as "a fire, and as a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces;" the regions around have to be enlightened by the gospel, which is the true light; the world has yet to be gladdened by the good news of salvation and eternal life.

2. God employs his Church to send forth preachers of the gospel. All are not called upon to preach, but, in a sense, all are called upon to send. True, the one great Sender is the Divine Head of the Church; and they who are not commissioned by him are without authority, whatever human sanction, credentials, and approval they may enjoy. "The Lord gave the Word, and great was the company of those that published it." We have an instructive instance of the way in which the Lord inspires his people to send forth his servants upon a benevolent mission, in the narrative of the proceedings of the Church at Antioch, when that Church became the second great centre of missionary enterprise. "How shall they preach, except they be sent?"—a query little regarded by very many of the congregations named after Christ. It is thought enough to leave the matter to individual impulse, wise or unwise, or to consider it the vocation of the pastorate to call out living agencies. Yet, look at the vast demands of our own day. Clergy of all variety of gift; pastors for congregations; evangelists for our rural districts; city missionaries for our great towns; popular itinerant preachers; colonial missionaries; labourers, by voice and pen and press, among the heathen; defenders and promulgators of Christian truth in all the departments of literature;—we need all these, of the best and most varied quality, and in increased numbers. In order that Christian society may send out into the world those who shall diffuse the faith of Christ, it is first of all necessary that that society should be in such a condition that from among its members such agencies shall naturally emerge. Mechanical means are of little avail in this matter. Where there is little life there will be little movement. If love to Christ be chilled by worldliness, no place will be found for love of souls. Out of the fulness of the heart the mouth will speak; when the feeling of the Christian community is strong, its voice will not be silent. The use of any and every means will depend for efficacy upon the sound and living condition of the society in which such means may be employed. It should be habitual with Christian congregations to call out and encourage the exercise of gifts divinely imparted. There are many other gifts beside that of religious instruction and persuasion, and gifts equally precious to God and useful to man. But there are reasons why speech for Christ needs special culture, Natural timidity has to be overcome, and formidable difficulties have to be encountered. It is here that wise counsel and affectionate encouragement come in with especial appropriateness. Almost every youthful speaker has been tempted to renounce this means of usefulness; and often it has happened that a word, providentially spoken, has cheered the diffident and discouraged. It must not be forgotten that, if there are to be learners, there must be teachers. If the Christian Church is to send out preachers and instructors, it must do something more and better than fling them unfurnished on the world. Those who are to influence men must in the first place be influenced by men. That community is rich which contains a large amount of teaching, quickening power. One of our chief dangers is lest we should overestimate the power of money. There is much which cannot be purchased by material wealth. It is in the abundance of the highest type of Christian character that spiritual wealth consists. Where there are found the lofty, noble-minded, the holy and the learned, the spiritual and benevolent, among the leading spirits of a Church, there the young and ardent and devoted wilt gather by a subtle magnetism, and thence they will derive in turn, by God's grace, the power of Divine attraction. Hence the importance of seeking a high standard of biblical knowledge and Christian intelligence among all classes in our congregations. And hence, too, the importance of seeking out, and wisely employing, all the ability and culture which are devoted to Christ and sanctified to his glory. Can they be said to be truly sent who are thrust forth and then forgotten? Or, rather, does not that Church truly send which follows its agents, whether near or far, with kindly interest, with watchful sympathy, with fervent prayer? Sympathy is invaluable to those who labour, as all Christian servants must do, amid many difficulties and much opposition. Prayer of intercession is due from every member of the universal Church, and is especially required on behalf of Christian labourers. "Brethren, pray for us, that the Word of God may have free course, and be glorified." In order that the Churches may more adequately fulfil their office as illuminators of a dark world, it is necessary that there should be a sincerer pity for the multitudes who are in darkness, and a firmer faith in the light which is from heaven. A Church which hesitates as to whether or not it possesses the truth, and has a gospel for mankind; a Church which can look with unconcern upon the prevalence of sin and misery in the world, is not likely to send forth heralds of Christ and tidings of salvation. Faith in the Redeemer, pity for those whom he died to redeem, forgetfulness and denial of self,—these are the conditions of true evangelization. It is for us, then, to look up for a renewed baptism of the Holy Spirit, as a Spirit of life and of power. How otherwise can we rise to fulfil responsibilities so sacred, to discharge duties so momentous? Hearers of the gospel, seek the Spirit of faith and prayer, that you may be not hearers of the Word only, but doers also! Preachers of the gospel, seek the Spirit of wisdom and fervour, that your words may be with demonstration of the Spirit and of power! Churches of Christ, seek the Spirit of your Master, that you may, feeling your own debt to the Divine, immortal Saviour, act in the spirit of his lesson, "Freely ye have received, freely give"!

Romans 10:16-21

Israel's unbelief.

The more highly the apostle prized the gospel, the more sincerely and compassionately did he lament the folly and the guilt of those who deliberately or carelessly rejected it. Especially was his heart stirred to sorrow, when he observed how generally the glad tidings of life in Christ were rejected by his "kinsmen according to the flesh." Both upon the personal ground of relationship and association, and upon the general ground that Israel's greater privileges involved greater responsibilities, Paul grieved over the want of faith in Christ manifested by so many of his countrymen.


1. It had been predicted. In that remarkable anticipation of the sufferings and the glory of the Messiah which has won for Isaiah the designation "the evangelical prophet," there occurs an intimation that the Messiah should himself be despised and rejected of men, and that the news of his salvation should be disregarded by many for whose benefit it was intended.

2. Fact agreed with prophecy. Many sons of Abraham manifested Abraham's faith. Of the early professors and preachers of Christianity, a large proportion were Hebrews. Yet, although individuals welcomed the gospel, the nation as a whole, who by their leaders and representatives had crucified and slain the Lord Jesus, certainly turned away from the message of salvation, which, after his ascension, his apostles urgently and faithfully proclaimed. They did not all hearken to the report and obey its summons.

II. THE INEXCUSABLE GUILT OF ISRAEL'S UNBELIEF. This is made apparent by several considerations. It appears:

1. From the terms of salvation. "Belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." No terms could be more righteous, more reasonable, more in accordance with the character of God or the necessities of men. Compliance with them involves no mental or social eminence, and is equally possible to those of all nations among men.

2. From the general diffusion of the tidings. Like the very light of the sun, like the voiceless witness of the heavens, the good news of salvation soon penetrated into the remotest and darkest places. Even the distant "sons of the dispersion" could not complain that they had been neglected. For the disciples of Christ, so far from keeping the good news to themselves, made it a point of conscience and religion to communicate to their neighbours the tidings of the advent and the mediation of the Son of God; whilst many, devoting themselves to the work of evangelization, deemed no journey too long to undertake and no perils too formidable to endure in the fulfilment of this sacred commission.

3. Even from the fact that many of the less-favoured Gentiles came to believe. It had been foretold by Moses and by the prophet Isaiah that the privileges which the Jews would despise and refuse should be offered to and accepted by the Gentiles. This came to pass, And it cut the apostle to the heart to remark that his kinsmen were rejecting blessings which the heathen to whom he preached were eagerly welcoming and receiving.

4. From the forbearance and gracious invitations of a heavenly Father. Again the apostle has recourse to the language of prophecy. How affecting is the representation here given of the patience, long-suffering, and kindness of God! He "willeth not that any should perish." Although the people oppose themselves, he does not soon weary of his invitations. He spreads forth his arms, as willing to welcome those who will return from their wanderings and be reconciled to him. So he stands, as it were, all the day long. Still, though he has long proffered grace in vain, the hands which might have been raised to smite are extended to rescue and to bless.


Romans 10:1-4

Israel's strength and weakness.

The apostle returns again to the tender solicitude for the spiritual welfare of Israel which he had already expressed in the beginning of the ninth chapter. He was no blind bigot. He could recognize the good qualities even of those from whom he differed. He knew how far Israel had departed from the truth of God, and yet he is quick to perceive that, even amid their errors and sins, there is much that is commendable in their character. What an example for every Christian, and especially in these days, when ecclesiastical divisions are so numerous and so sharply defined, to recognize what is good even in those from whom we differ most widely!


1. Israel's zeal was an element of strength. "I bear them record that they have a zeal of God" (Romans 10:2). The apostle does them the justice of recognizing their zeal for God. Here he could speak with sympathy, the sympathy of personal experience. He knew how, before his conversion to Christianity, he himself had been influenced by the same sincere, though mistaken, desire for God's glory. "I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the Law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day" (Acts 22:3). Here is the same sympathetic recognition of Jewish zeal. This quality, when rightly applied, was their strength. It well fitted them to be the bearers of God's message, and the channel of his blessings, to the world. A people without zeal will never accomplish anything permanent or great.

2. Zeal without knowledge was their weakness. They had a zeal of God, "but not according to knowledge." Zeal is not necessarily an unmixed blessing. Yet there are many who commend earnestness, utterly irrespective of the motives from which it proceeds, the methods it adopts, or the ends it has in view. On this principle the doctrines held or the character exhibited are of small importance, provided only there is earnestness and zeal. Mohammedanism and the Inquisition would therefore be both laudable, because they exhibited zeal. Zeal without knowledge may become the opened floodgate for a torrent of evil. Zeal in religion may lead to any excesses if it is not restrained and tempered by the wisdom which God's Word imparts.

II. WORKS WITHOUT FAITH. "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" (Romans 10:3). Thus it is plain that sincerity and morality will not save the human soul or procure acceptance with God. The essential condition of salvation is faith. Faith will lead us to accept God's plan of salvation, and to be guided by his Word in our efforts to obtain it. St. Paul's description of the Jews here might be appropriately applied to our Roman Catholic and ritualistic brethren. They too have a zeal for God. Their zeal and earnestness cannot be questioned. But their zeal is often not according to knowledge. They too are "going about to establish their own righteousness." They substitute works for faith, and by legal observances, by rites and ceremonies, by lastings and penances, they seek to work out s righteousness for themselves. Christ and his Word are too much set aside, and Church and priest and the commandments of men are set up in their place. Let us admit their strength, let us imitate their zeal, while affectionately "speaking the truth in love" we point out and avoid their weakness.—C.H.I.

Romans 10:5-13

The simplicity of the gospel.

The apostle here contrasts the simplicity of God's plan of salvation with the efforts which men have made to work out a righteousness for themselves. Salvation is gained—

I. NOT BY OUR OWN GOOD WORKS. "Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the Law, That the man who doeth those things shall live by them" (Romans 10:5). If this were the condition of salvation, how hopeless would our condition be! None of us could say that we had made ourselves free from sin, or that our works were perfect and faultless, or that we had fully and faithfully kept all the commandments of God.

"Not what these hands have done

Could save this guilty soul;

Not what this toiling flesh hath borne

Could make my spirit whole."

II. NOR BY MIRACULOUS INTERVENTION. "Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep?" (Romans 10:6, Romans 10:7). The desire which is here expressed still survives. Not content with the Word of God and the invisible, but real, spiritual presence of Jesus with his Church, and the power of the Holy Spirit, many zealous Christians think it is necessary to have a more visible manifestation of the supernatural. Hence we have the doctrine of the real presence; alleged appearances of the blessed Virgin at Lourdes and at Knock; and, on the other hand, an undue stress laid upon the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."


1. The Holy Scriptures are the means used to bring this salvation near to us. "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach" (Romans 10:8). In contrast with ceremonial or legal observances, in contrast with all miraculous appearances, the apostle here magnifies the reading and preaching of the gospel as the Divine method for the salvation of souls. "The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith unto salvation."

2. Faith, which is the condition of salvation, is an act of the human mind. Not by bodily labours or sufferings, not by appearances to our bodily senses, but by the Spirit of God and the Word of God working upon our spirits, and producing faith in us, do we receive salvation. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness" (Romans 10:10). It is to the spiritual and not to the bodily nature that the appeal of religion is to be made. It is the spiritual and not the bodily nature that we must cultivate if we would see the kingdom of God.

3. Yet this faith will have an outward manifestation,. "With the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10). If our faith in Christ is real, it will show itself. We shall not be ashamed to make public acknowledgment of him.

4. Thus salvation is brought within the reach of every one. "The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:12, Romans 10:13). This plan of salvation brings the gospel to the Gentile as well as to the Jew. "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek" (Romans 10:12). Wherever there is a heart seeking after God, that soul need not wait to work out a righteousness for itself. "Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved." What a contrast the simplicity of the gospel is to all human systems of religion and all man-made methods of salvation! The more we keep to the Word of God, and the less we mingle with it human tradition and ecclesiastical shibboleths, the more shall we be blessed in bringing souls to Christ.—C.H.I.

Romans 10:14, Romans 10:15

Four questions for every Christian.

When the great heart of the Apostle Paul burned within him as he wrote his Epistles to the Churches, he threw aside, as it were, the calm and stately prose of the quiet thinker and careful writer. He became an orator. He saw before him—even in his prison cell—immortal souls, whom he wanted to awaken and arouse. He asked questions, as if he expected an answer to them all. Such questions are frequent in this Epistle to the Romans, and on looking carefully over them we see that they are not only full of eager earnestness, but also of profitable instruction. In the four questions before us the apostle seeks to press home upon Christians the absolute necessity of mission work. In the previous chapter he is sorrowing for the unbelief of the Jews, and he begins this chapter by saying that his heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. Then, as he goes on, he is led to think of the salvation, not only of the Jews, but also of the whole world. He says, "There is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved." And then, as he thinks of the heathen world lying in darkness, he asks these four questions.

I. "HOW SHALL THEY CALL ON HIM IN WHOM THEY HAVE NOT BELIEVED?" In the ordinary dealings of daily life a certain amount of faith in another person is necessary before we can make any request of him. Unless we believe that he hears us, unless we believe that he is both able and willing to give us what we want, we are not likely to ask anything of him. So in spiritual matters, faith in God—the belief that he is, that he hears us, and that he is able and willing to help us—is necessary to successful prayer. It is necessary to salvation. But the heathen cannot call upon this gracious God of ours. As a matter of fact, they do not. No doubt, even amid heathen darkness, there are some earnest seekers after God. Certainly, if they call upon him, they shall be saved. But the vast majority of the heathen are without the knowledge of the true God. They are bowing down to pieces of silver and gold, of wood and stone, which cannot hear, or help, or save. Their very worship is a degradation in itself. Their religious rites are for the most part horrid cruelties, or foul and unspeakable lusts. And as for Buddhism, to quote only one authority, Sir Richard Temple, lately Governor of Bombay, tells us that however excellent and attractive the poetic accounts of it may be, as in the well-known poem, 'The Light of Asia,' the actual Buddhism of India is as degrading as can well be imagined. What they need to know is that there is a God who will hear them when they call upon him. They need to know that God is of purer eyes than to behold evil, that the abominations of their land may be put away. They need to know of the Lamb of God who beareth away the sin of the world, that they may turn from their useless ceremonies and cruel penances. They need to know of a Saviour who gives to all who call on him salvation, holiness, everlasting life. But "how shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?"

II. "HOW SHALL THEY BELIEVE IN HIM OF WHOM THEY HAVE NOT HEARD?" Even Christians need to have the importance of hearing about God more impressed upon them. Some professing Christians seem to imagine that the heart instinctively turns to God, and that in some mysterious way the heathen who have never heard of God will come to him. This mistake is fallen into because in Christian lands we have been so accustomed to hear about God from our childhood that we can hardly imagine it possible not to know about him. But the simple refutation of this idea is the actual state of heathen nations. St. Paul, in this very Epistle (Romans 1:21, Romans 1:25, Romans 1:28), assures us that though the heathen had at one time a knowledge of God from his works of nature, yet they glorified him not as God, but changed the truth of God into a lie, and therefore lost the knowledge of God. This is confirmed by the testimony of travellers in heathen lands. Missionaries often find it very difficult to convey to heathen minds an idea of what God is, so degraded have been their notions. It is a long time before a heathen can grasp the ideas of God's holiness and truth and purity, so accustomed is he to think of gods whose qualities are the very opposite of these. Even in our Christian land, unhappily, there are places in our large cities so neglected and degraded that children have grown up without hearing about God. And in such cases it has been found very difficult to convey at first an idea of God's being—his greatness, his holiness, his mercy, and his love. "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" Hence, when the heathen learn of the love of God and the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, they often ask the question, "Why did you not send and tell us sooner?" No wonder that with sorrowful hearts they ask the question, as they think of loved ones who have passed away without hearing the glad tidings. How sad is the condition of millions of the heathen without the knowledge of the crucified Saviour!

III. HOW SHALL THEY HEAR WITHOUT A PREACHER?" Yes, the preaching of the gospel is still the agency that is to regenerate the world. It was the preaching of the gospel that was the means of converting thousands upon the Day of Pentecost. It was the preaching of the gospel which overthrew the idols of ancient Rome. It was the preaching of the gospel which brought about the Protestant Reformation. "The Word," said Martin Luther over and over again, "it was the Word that did it all." It was the preaching of the gospel that overthrew the idols of Madagascar, and that has already brought civilization and peace and contentment into many of the islands of the sea. It is good to circulate the Word of God in every language. But it is necessary also to have the living preachers. "Go ye therefore into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." It needs the living preacher to be a living witness to the truth and power of the gospel—the full heart overflowing with love to Christ and love to souls; the ripe experience; the fulness of the Spirit. The Ethiopian treasurer had the Word of God in his hand as he returned in his chariot from Jerusalem. But he was not savingly converted until Philip began at the Scriptures which he was reading, and "preached unto him Jesus" (Acts 8:36). But the number of missionaries is still very small in comparison with the millions of heathen who have not yet heard the gospel message. "How shall they hear without a preacher?"

IV. "HOW SHALL THEY PREACH, EXCEPT THEY BE SENT?" This is the intensely practical question. If we realize the darkness and misery of heathen lands, if we are really thankful for the unspeakable blessings which the gospel has brought to us, what are we doing to send the message of salvation to those who sit in darkness?

1. We can help to send out missionaries by our prayers. "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."

2. We can help to send out missionaries by our gifts. We need to understand, not merely the duty of giving, but the privilege of giving. Surely it is a glorious privilege to be a labourer together with God. Upon the Christian Church is laid the responsibility of preaching the gospel to all nations. And there is this blessed encouragement:

3. If the last of these parts of mission work, of which the apostle speaks, is fulfilled, the rest are all sure to follow. If missionaries are sent, then there will be the preaching, the hearing, and, in God's own good time, the believing and the salvation of souls. His Word shall not return unto him void. Thus by our sending we may be the means of saving.—C.H.I.

Romans 10:15

The beauty of the gospel.

The words, "How beautiful are the feet!" are plainly a figurative expression. This expression signifies the delight with which the messenger of peace is hailed, or, in other words, how welcome is the message which he brings. In Isaiah (Isaiah 52:7) it reads, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, as if the reference was to the inhabitants of some beleaguered city looking out for the messengers of peace, and as they behold them appearing, fleet of foot, upon the mountain-top, they exclaim, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!" Such a description the apostle here applies to the messengers of the gospel

I. THE GOSPEL IS BEAUTIFUL IN THE TRUTHS IT TEACHES. The truths of the gospel are here called "glad tidings of good things." This, in fact, is the very meaning of the word "gospel"—glad tidings or good news.

1. Think what the gospel teaches us about the one true God. What a contrast to the helpless idols of heathenism! How beautiful to think that God is a Spirit who is everywhere present, who knows all our circumstances, and to whom we can always draw near in the assurance that he hears us, and is able and willing to help us! What a contrast to the unknown god of even the best forms of heathenism, to the unconscious and unsympathetic Brahm, the god of Hinduism! I heard a missionary to the Red Indians, speaking in Dr. Storrs' church in Brooklyn, mention how the chief of an old Indian tribe, seven thousand in number, had come seven times in fifteen months a distance of a hundred and fifty miles to a mission station, to ask that a missionary might be sent to tell them of "the white man's God." How beautiful to them that sit in darkness is the glad tidings of the true God, the loving and merciful Father in heaven!

2. Think what the gospel teaches us about the human soul. The gospel does not permit us to regard man as one of the beasts that perish, as he is under so many of the heathen religions. Some of these have no idea of the existence of a soul at all; but in the best of them the soul is either annihilated at death, or transferred to some other creature, or absorbed into the universal being as a drop into the ocean. The gospel, on the other hand, teaches that man was made in the image of God; that he has an immortal destiny; and that, when he had destroyed his own present happiness and future prospects by his own sin, so great value did God place upon him, so great love did his heavenly Father cherish for him, that he sent his own beloved Son to live and die for man's salvation. The gospel which proclaims the greatness, the majesty, the holiness, the glory of God, proclaims also the dignity and the immortality of man

II. THE GOSPEL IS BEAUTIFUL IN THE INFLUENCE IT EXERCISES. This we might expect from the beauty and grandeur of the truths it teaches. There is nothing very elevating about the worship of an idol of wood or stone. There is nothing very inspiring. in the thought that life must end at the grave, or that I shall be absorbed into the universe. It may be very poetic to sing, as Shelley did of his departed friend Keats—

"He is made one with Nature. There is heard

His voice in all her music, from the moan

Of thunder to the song of night's sweet bird.

He is a presence to be felt and known
In darkness and in light in herb and stone;

Spreading itself where'er that Power may move

Which has withdrawn his being to its own."

But such a thought would bring little comfort to the bereaved parent or sorrowing widow; and how very slight would be its influence upon character and life, compared with the thought that I am a responsible being, that I must appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, and that my life as an immortal being hereafter will be determined largely by my life as an individual now! As a matter of fact, the gospel of Jesus Christ has exercised an elevating, purifying, beautifying influence wherever its power has been felt. Take, for instance, the treatment of woman. Mohammedanism and heathenism have both kept woman in humiliation and degradation. By keeping her in seclusion, they have at once injured her own moral and spiritual being, and deprived the community of the healthful influence which good women can exercise. Christianity has raised woman to respect and honour; it has promoted her own personal happiness; and it has enabled her to exercise a mighty power for good in the family, and in society at large. Mohammedanism and heathenism are the props of slavery. It was Christian missions that first aroused the Christian conscience on this subject. Sir William Hunter, one of the most distinguished scholars and statesmen of our day, speaking at the great Missionary Conference in London, June, 1888, said, "I recognize in missionary work a great expiation for the wrong which the white man has done to the dark man in the past; and I recognize also a pledge of national fight-doing in future. During the past century missionaries have marched in the van of all our noblest national movements. When the time came for the great wrong of slavery to be redressed, it was the missionary voice which first stirred up the nation against the slave trade. That voice is now awakening the national conscience against the terrible evil which is being done by our liquor traffic among the darker and less civilized races." How long shall the Christian public of mighty England stand meekly by, while slavery's chain is still clanking, and slavery's lash still falls? How beautiful is that gospel which has lifted woman out of her degradation; which has emancipated already so many millions of slaves; which has abolished cannibalism in so many islands of the sea; which has put an end to the suttee and other cruel ceremonies in India; and which is drawing the nations of the earth together in a universal brotherhood of good will and peace!

III. IT IS A BEAUTIFUL THING TO BE A BEARER OF THIS MESSAGE. "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace!" What share are we taking in this glorious work? "Consecrated capital," says Dr. A. T. Pierson, "is not only potent; it is well-nigh omnipotent. To have and to use money well is to multiply personal power a thousandfold, nay, to multiply one's self a thousandfold.. The giver is potentially wherever his gift is. Sarah Hosmer's frugal savings educated six young men to preach the gospel in Oriental lands, and where they were, she had her representatives and preached through them. A man recently died in New York whose noble benefactions had spread so far, that in not less than two hundred and fifty different places he was represented by a mission Sunday school, a church, an asylum, a hospital, a college or seminary, or some other form of beneficence: his money made him virtually omnipresent as a benefactor." Oh that individual Christians would awake to their opportunities! Oh! that they would realize the moral grandeur and glory of being a bearer of the gospel message, and a helper in the gospel cause!—C.H.I.

Romans 10:16-21

The lesson of neglected opportunities.

I. IT IS GOD'S PART TO PROVIDE THE OPPORTUNITIES. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). The apostle recognizes that men cannot be condemned for unbelief, if they have not had the opportunity-of hearing the gospel, No person will be condemned in the day of judgment who has not had the opportunity of salvation. And lest any one, applying this rule to the case of Israel, should suggest that they had not such an opportunity, he asks the question, "But I say, Have they not heard?" Can the plea of ignorance be put in on their behalf? Nay. "Their sound" (that is, the voice of God's messengers, referred to in Romans 10:15) "went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." God has done his part for the enlightenment and salvation of men. He has revealed himself in his works of nature. He has revealed himself in his Word. He has revealed himself in his Son. Jesus is the Emmanuel, "God with us."

II. IT IS MAN'S PART TO AVAIL HIMSELF OF THEM. The mere possession of gospel privileges is no guarantee of salvation, "But they have not all obeyed the gospel (Romans 10:16). Israel had the Law, with its types and ceremonies, pointing to Christ; their prophets, who spoke of him. Yet, with all their privileges, they rejected Christ. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." It will not profit us that we have been brought up in a Christian home, in a Christian Church, or that we have had the Bible in our hands, unless we ourselves "obey the gospel," accept its invitations, respect its precepts, and submit ourselves to Jesus as our Saviour and our King. Yet there are many who are resting entirely upon their privileges, without exercising that living personal faith in Jesus Christ for which these privileges afford the opportunity and the help.

III. OPPORTUNITIES NEGLECTED WILL BE TAKEN AWAY. Israel had been from the beginning forewarned of this. So long ago as the time of Moses it had been said to them, "I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you" (Romans 10:19). Then Isaiah repeated a similar warning," I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me" (verse 20). The same lesson in the history of Israel is repeated by Christ more than once in his parables. In the parable of the wicked husbandmen, the lord of the vineyard is represented as letting out his vineyard "unto other husbandmen, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons" (Matthew 21:41). The same lesson is taught in the parable of the wedding-feast, where the invitation, rejected by the regularly invited guests, is sent out to the highways and hedges. We have the same truth in the parable of the talents. "Unto every one that hath shall be given … but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath" (Matthew 25:29). The history of the Jews is a solemn warning against the neglect of opportunities. It is a solemn warning to all those who, though brought up in Christian homes and in a Christian land, make light of the blessings of the gospel, resist its invitations, and set at naught its counsels.—C.H.I.


Romans 10:1-11

The freeness of salvation.

The apostle's heart yearns for his people. For he recognizes their sincerity in much of their grievous mistaking of the ways of God. They had zeal for God, though the zeal was unreasonable and irreligious. Unreasonable; for how can man make himself just before God, guilty and sinful as he is? and why should the Jew think that, if this were possible, only one small portion of the race should be suffered to work out its righteousness? Irreligious; for instead of the humility as regards one's self, and the charity as regards others, which are two essentials of the life in God, there was a proud self-assertiveness, and a narrow bigotry. They must learn that God's favour is by grace (Romans 10:5-11), and for all (Romans 10:12-21). We have here-the freeness of salvation.


1. Ignorance. "Of God's righteousness." That is, of the fact that the justification of a sinner can only come of God's free grace. Surely their Law might have taught them this: negatively, for it should have made them realize their own utter imperfectness and impotence; positively, for had they not read (Genesis 15:6) that Abraham was counted righteous through faith in God? and (Habakkuk 2:4) that all just ones shall live by faith?

2. Self-sufficiency. "Seeking to establish their own." That is (see Godet), as a monument, raised, not to God's glory, but to show forth their own achievements. Here was the pride of man, which must be brought down before any way can be made towards God (Matthew 5:3).

3. Disobedience. "Did not subject themselves." For the very faith whereby we receive God's free forgiveness is an act of submission, an abnegating of our false pride, a yielding to a way which is higher and better than our own (see Romans 1:5; Romans 6:17).

4. Frustration of the very purport of their own Law. "For Christ is the End of the Law." All was designed to lead to him; the holy commands were to make them know their guilt and weakness, and crave for pardon and grace; the sacrifices and ceremonies were at once to stamp the fact of sin more deeply into their consciousness, and to give them a glimmering hope of propitiation and purifying. To Christ all these things directly and indirectly tended; but the veil was on their eyes, that they "should not look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away" (2 Corinthians 3:13).


1. "The righteousness which is of the Law" was, that it should be done by man's efforts, conjoined with the grace of God. For, according to God's intent, grace was with the giving of the Law: pardon, for realized imperfection; help, for realized frailty; the coming of Christ, as the end of all its precepts and ceremonial. But if man would ignore this element of grace, there was nothing for him but a perfect fulfilling of an impossible righteousness! Doing it, he should live by it. They tried; the world has tried: the end thereof is death!

2. "The righteousness which is of faith" hath taught us better things.

(1) Not the severe effort of the soul, by ecstatic contemplation, to attain to communion with Heaven: the Buddhist, the Christian mystic. For Heaven has come down to earth; we have but to confess the Sonship of Jesus, and live a life in him who has hallowed all life. (Consider the Incarnation, and the gift of the Spirit, as illustrating "the Word is nigh thee.") So, "the trivial round," etc.

(2) Not the painful anguish of the soul, as by a crucifixion, to make atonement for its guilt: the devotee, the ascetic. For the atonement is made, and, to testify its completeness, he has risen from the dead. We have but to believe this in our heart, and then, "there is now no condemnation."

Yes, the faith which works by love: accepting with all our heart the free forgiveness which is through Christ's death, and acknowledging him with our whole life as our true Lord and King. So no shame, but perfect liberty and perfect love.—T.F.L.

Romans 10:12-21

The universality of the gospel.

The favour of God is free. But the apostle has already indicated another antagonism to the ignorant zeal of his people: the favour of God, being free, is free for all (Romans 10:4, Romans 10:11). As Godet says, "Paul has justified the matter of his preaching, salvation by grace; he now justifies its extension'' He here sets forth the universality of the gospel as evident from its very freeness, as anticipated by the Law, as consistent with the exclusion of Israel from its blessedness.

I. THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE GOSPEL IS EVIDENT FROM ITS VERY FREENESS. If the Law had been able of itself to justify, it might have seemed as though the Gentiles were without hope. But when it is perceived that the Law only leads to Christ, and that in Christ a free forgiveness is granted to sinful man, at once the conclusion is forced upon us—then to every sinful man. And the conclusion is just; even as Joel had foreseen, "Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved." There needs but that faith which is involved in true repentance, a willingness to be saved by grace alone, and the salvation is ours. Let, then, the true cry for help go up from any human heart, and it is answered. But it follows that if, according to God's grace, salvation is such that it is, in itself, possible to every man, he must design that it shall be brought within the reach of every man. Hence the succession of questions which Paul asks, arguing that God's design to save sinful man, when calling upon him in truth, implies a design that it should be possible for man to believe in him as God the Saviour, which again implies the hearing him proclaimed, which again implies a preacher of the glad tidings, which again implies the sending of the preachers. Yes, if such is the salvation for sinful man, God must have instituted a universal apostolate for the nations. This indeed was so (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8). But Paul argues it, that he may justify his own mission, partly; and partly also, we may suppose, to remind them that they, the Jews, should have been the nation of apostles, that this was indeed the very intent of their election, had they not made the counsel of God of none effect. O glorious calling! O grievous forfeiture of high blessing!

II. THIS UNIVERSALITY OF THE GOSPEL WAS ANTICIPATED BY THE LAW. What had Moses said to them? "I will provoke you to jealousy," etc. They had provoked God by following after other gods; God would provoke his people by seeking other peoples (see Deuteronomy 32:21). Isaiah stated boldly what in the earlier words was more obscurely hinted at, "I was found of them," etc. (see Isaiah 66:1-24.). Here also a repetition of Romans 9:30-33. These, however, are but samples; there was enough in their Law, had not the veil been on their eyes, to show that they were but trustees for the world, and that one of their peculiar glories was that the Gentiles should come in the fulness of time to do homage to their God (see Isaiah 60:1-22). Israel "did know," or at least might have known.

III. THIS UNIVERSALITY OF THE GOSPEL WAS NOT INCONSISTENT WITH THE EXCLUSION OF ISRAEL FROM ITS BLESSEDNESS. The terms were, for them as for all, "Whosoever shall call," etc. And, it being impossible to call on One whom they had not heard, the hearing was certainly not withheld from them. It was true even of gospel preaching, as of the voices of the heavens (Psalms 19:1-14.), that the sound had gone into all the earth. For everywhere the gospel had been preached "to the Jew first." Yes, God had not cut them off from the blessing, but they had cut themselves off. It was true, as Isaiah had said, "All the day long," etc. So the parables of Jesus (Matthew 21:1-46., Matthew 21:22.). They might have been the chosen people for the glorious work of the world's salvation; but the election was broken by their unbelief.

So, then, though God might surely choose or lay aside instruments as he would, in the carrying on of his work, he did not act without reason. It was because the Jews, being exalted to heaven, cast themselves down to hell, that they might not be the heralds of his grace. They would not receive it; therefore they could not show it forth.—T.F.L.


Romans 10:1

Anxiety for the salvation of our fellows.

It is the lot of reformers to be twitted as renegades, and to be exposed to the taunt of indifference to the welfare of their old companions. So the apostle was charged with noxiously subverting ancient customs, and he found it necessary to justify himself even to Jewish Christians against the reproach of wanton molestation of the hopes of Israel. It is difficult for prejudice in its blind conservatism to see that the change proposed is intended for the furtherance, not the injury, of what is held most dear—the emancipation of the spirit by the transformation of the body. The apostle lays bare his heart to attest his intense yearning for the spiritual good of his traducers.

I. WHY DID THE APOSTLE LONG SO ARDENTLY FOR THEIR SALVATION? He could not forget that the Saviour died to draw all men unto himself. A sinner unsaved lessens the reward of the "travail of his soul" and detracts from the possible glory of the atonement. But further, these men were his fellow-countrymen. Surely the condition of our "kinsmen according to the flesh" must be uppermost in our thoughts, and each man's efforts naturally commence at his own house, his own neighbourhood, his own nation. Then, they were the descendants of men signally honoured in the past. Their lineage was so distinguished, that Paul could not calmly witness the exclusion from the kingdom of God of these sons of patriarchs and prophets. They were in a special sense the "brethren" for whom Christ died. What more affecting today than to witness religious apathy in the families of the godly, to see the place of the fathers unoccupied by the children in the house of faith? And the apostle had visions of the splendid results that would ensue if the veil were removed from their hearts, and they should recognize in the Nazarene their wished-for Messiah. What should the receiving of them into the Church be but "life from the dead"? The same reason impels us to seek the conversion of many around, whose talents and earnestness might be of such signal service in our ranks. As Saul the persecutor became Paul the missionary, so we may look upon a bigoted opponent as a potential future enthusiast in the cause of Christ.

II. HOW DID THE APOSTLE'S CONCERN EXPRESS ITSELF? We answer—In his preaching. He ever visited first the Jews and the synagogue in his tours. It was God's design that the gospel should be first preached to his ancient people, that by rejecting or receiving the message they might either fill up the measure of their iniquity and crucify the Saviour afresh, or free themselves from the guilt of their nation and welcome the breaking down of the partition wall between Jew and Gentile. And the writings of the apostle evince his unabated regard and anxiety for the Jews. He declared that he could wish himself "anathema" from Christ, if that self-sacrifice could procure their redemption. We are reminded of the supreme act of self-abnegation by Moses on the mount, when rejecting Jehovah's offer to create from him a new people in the stead of that corrupt and obstinate generation. The apostle's language breathes the spirit of the cross of Christ it is an emanation to the disciple from the Master's self-immolation for the good of men. The prayers of the apostle showed the genuineness of his affectionate solicitude. Prayer is a thermometer that gauges the warmth of our desire to save men from misery and ruin. Does not the teacher bring the members of the class before God in earnest petitions, and the parent his children? We care little for those who are never mentioned in our supplications. Let us remember them where it most avails.

III. WHAT CONTRIBUTED TO MAKE THIS DEEP CONCERN SO NOTEWORTHY? It was prayer for men who hated and maltreated him. With rancorous unceasing enmity did the Jews pursue the apostle. They were the chief cause of his imprisonments and tortures, they did their utmost to mar his success and embitter his labours, and at last secured his death. Thinking of their attempts to overthrow the faith of Christian converts, the apostle could use strong language for their discomfiture; but on his knees, in the solemn presence of the God and Father of all, larger and more generous thoughts possessed his soul, and he forgot all his personal annoyances in the o'ermaster-ing impulse to seek their salvation. If wronged by any, take the matter to the throne of grace, and you shall begin to pity and then pray for him that did the wrong. It was prayer for those who had proved obstinate, and whose salvation seemed little likely. No acquaintance with the decrees of God, nor the fact of God's forethought and foreordination, could hinder the apostle's entreaties. What a lesson for us not to despair, not to faint! Our mistrust too often paralyzes our intercessions, our human reasonings "limit the Holy One of Israel." This was a benefit conferred which they had no power to refuse. Prayer is a kind office which we may render to men who would accept nothing else at our hands. This they cannot hinder.—S.R.A.

Romans 10:4

The end of the Law.

The desire for righteousness has embodied itself in diverse and some of them grotesque forms. Gather together the Pharisee with his phylacteries and ablutions; the Chinaman burning his bits of paper for ancestral worship; the Hindoo bathing in the sacred river, or prostrating himself under the idol-car; the Roman Catholic telling his beads and performing his penance; and the moral youth, who never omits his daily portion of Scripture, or his morning and evening prayers, and would scorn to tell an untruth; and one would scarce imagine that the same motive actuates all these. Yet they all bear witness to man's anxiety to be righteous in the sight of the Supreme Being, and those are abnormally Constituted who are never conscious of this yearning. It was not this strong desire for righteousness which the apostle tried to alter in the Jews, but the antiquated imperfect method to which they still clung after the one sure way of justification through faith in Christ had been proclaimed.

I. CHRIST THE TERMINATION OF THE LEGAL ECONOMY. The rending of the veil at the Crucifixion indicated the passing away of the old dispensation, with all its gorgeous rites and external splendour. There arose another order of priesthood, from which the exclusiveness of the former caste was absent. Jesus the High Priest came not of the tribe of Levi. It is no longer necessary to become a Jew in order to reap the privileges of access to God. Christ has released men from the yoke of the Law, with its fasts and feasts, its observance of days and seasons. He has changed our state from pupilage to manhood; from slavery to a "reasonable service." Wherever a Christian is found, there is a spiritual priest and a living temple; wherever Christians meet, there is a holy convocation. The tabernacle disappeared when the temple was erected, and the earthly temple is no longer needed when the glorious building rises, reared without hands. The Jews who would not receive this teaching had to be convinced, by the capture of Jerusalem and the burning of their "beautiful house," that "the old order changed, giving place to new." The forerunner of Christ was the last of the Old Testament prophets.

II. CHRIST THE DESIGN AND SCOPE OF THE LEVITICAL DISPENSATION. We cannot understand the Law unless we regard it as pointing unmistakably to the coming Messiah, preparing his way; a preliminary education of mankind and of one nation in particular; like a stock on which a new rose is to be grafted. The sacrifices, the moral and ceremonial precepts, were predictive, were prophecy acted in symbol and type. The chrysalis displays tokens of the winged perfect insect. "The Law hath been our tutor to bring us unto Christ." So that when men inquire, "To what purpose was all this cost of legislation and ritual?" the reply is that it paved the way for something better; it was the "shadow of good things to come."

III. CHRIST THE REALIZATION OF THE MOSAIC IDEAL. The holiness which the Law ever kept in view, endeavouring to raise men to its standard of righteousness, has been exemplified in Jesus Christ. Wherein the Law was weak, Christ was strong. His condemnation of sin was thorough and effective, and the perfection of his sacrifice renders any subsequent atonement needless. To enter into the spirit of his offering is to "purge the conscience from dead works" and to give rest and peace to the troubled—the region in which the Law was inoperative. The message of Divine love sounding from the cross has a constraining influence over the affections and life of the Christian, which the Law aimed at and failed to achieve. New Testament saints have frequently attained to an enlightenment of mind and conformity to the Divine will which was sighed after in vain by patriarch, psalmist, and prophet. Christ bring his followers into communion with God, and by faith in him are they sanctified. Love is proved a stronger principle than terror, knowledge than ignorance, example than precept. In abrogating, Christ fulfils the Law.

CONCLUSION. See, then, what faith does. It looks at Christ instead of a Law of ordinances. It is no longer tied by enactments and fearful of non-compliance, for it beholds the face of Jesus, "the Lamb as it had been slain." We may trust Christ as our Redeemer and Guide, without understanding or acknowledging all these points of superiority over the former covenant; as a woman knows she will be benefited by a certain medicine, though she could not name its ingredients, nor state the method of its working; or as a man may journey on the railway who comprehends little of the application of steam to locomotives, etc. And faith is content to submit to God's righteousness, instead of seeking to establish its own. It relies not upon personal desert, but upon the provisions of mercy furnished in Christ. It is humble, and tries not to patch together a human garment to hide deformities and deficiencies. Accepting the gracious offer of God, faith discovers new elements of strength and joy in the very position assumed.—S.R.A.

Romans 10:8-10

The word of faith.

Men are quick to excuse their non-acceptance of Christianity. In order to obviate the pretence of the gospel being a system complicated to examine and conform to, the apostle quotes from Deuteronomy (using the passage in a justifiable, though altered signification) to exhibit the simplicity and brevity of the gospel requirements. Nothing impracticable is demanded of would-be converts. The "word of faith" is close at hand and intelligible, ready to be uttered and trusted.


1. Belief naturally precedes confession, if the latter is not hypocrisy. Speech on religious questions that is not the utterance of a deep-seated conviction is like Ahimaaz running without tidings to deliver. An untimely avowal should be deprecated; the confession should stream forth from the fountain of belief; otherwise the want of correspondence between the outward declaration and the inward assurance will work deadly mischief. Let not the child's Catechism be heavily laden. To sensitive minds the gap will seem to widen with growing intelligence, and they will deem the alienation from the early standard greater than it is, leading perhaps to a position of ultimate antagonism.

2. The essentials are few in number. Unlike the minute details of the Mosaic ritual, the law of Christ is short and easily comprehended. This apostolic declaration judges our own preaching and creed, showing that we are in danger of making the gate narrower and the road longer to the kingdom than Christ ordained them. The tendency of hoary Christianity is to multiply the requisite articles of doctrine and observance, making the initiation burdensome, the novitiate cumbrous.

3. On the other hand, less than the apostle insists on cannot prove a bond of Christian fellowship. Occasional communion there may be between those who differ respecting the fact of Christ's resurrection, each recognizing the other's sincerity and desire to press forward to the light; but experience attests the impossibility of enduring religious co-operation on a slighter basis than that laid down in the text. Fundamental divergence of opinion curbs free utterance, checks the fervour of prayer, makes all parties uncomfortable in their association.

II. THE PRODUCT OF FAITH. "Righteousness." Distinguish between the assent of the understanding and the trust of the heart. "Believing with" or "in the heart" not only accepts the resurrection of Christ as an historical fact, but sees in this a spiritual truth, that Christ is the Mediator, the Redeemer, able and willing to work an ethical resurrection in all who commit themselves to his care and tuition. Such a faith rejoices in the great verity; the will gladly submits to Jesus Christ as God's approved Agent of reconciliation. And thus faith imparts righteousness, connecting the sinner with the Saviour, the weak with the Strong One, the ignorant with the All-wise.

III. THE RESULT OF CONFESSION. "Salvation" As human nature is constituted, the expression of a sentiment in word or deed lends it distinctness and potency. What the orator does for the multitude, when he translates into growing language their vague aspirations and inarticulate feelings, clothing, fixing, clarifying, and intensifying them, is what an open avowal of his religious faith often effects for the individual. It discloses what was wrapped up in the inner being, and the embodiment gives place and form to the idea. Sentiment unexpressed is liable to fade away like vapour uncondensed. Confession is a real act; it makes the man commit himself definitely to a certain course of behaviour, and assists him to realize his ideal. Most are deficient in moral courage, and all that strengthens determination makes for salvation, it is easier for an avowed than for a secret disciple of Christ to refuse to yield to the solicitations of the worldly, to join them in unprofitable amusements and practices. Then, too, confession redounds to the glory of God, who honours them that honour him. In heaven it will be no signal tribute to own him, for all there sing his praise. On earth is a sphere of distinction possible by standing up for the true, the right, the good. And so Christ promises to confess those who have confessed him. A manly declaration may confirm the faith of wavering brethren, and thus save ourselves and others. Timidity which seals the lips is a sower retaining the seed in his bag, and allowing the waiting soil to go unblessed with golden crops.—S.R.A.

Romans 10:12

The nature and beneficence of God.

Many surface-distinctions between the Jew and Greek may be drawn by men, but none are recognized by God in such wise as to incapacitate some members of the race for seeking salvation at his hands. The text furnishes the basis for such a statement of universal salvability, in its clear enunciation of the nature of God. By implication it negatives many theories when it asserts that "the same Lord is Lord of all," and the following clause contains measureless comfort for every anxious praying heart. He is "rich unto all that call upon him."


1. Polytheism. We might infer the truth of monotheism from the unity of structure visible in the world—its inhabitants, animals, and plants; from the analogy observable in different kingdoms of nature; and from the existence of the same laws operating to the remotest star. And the Mosaic Law distinctly enforced the truth, "The Lord our God is one Lord." Nor is the doctrine of the Trinity in unity contradictory. There is the historical fact that wherever Christianity has prevailed, idolatry has been doomed. The preaching of the fishermen effected what the most potent arguments of Greek philosophy and the keenest shafts of ridicule failed to accomplish.

2. Atheism. This is the other extreme; instead of many gods, no God. To attribute to blind force and fortuitous collocation of atoms the order and beauty of design evident in nature and history, is to posit an inefficient cause for the effects noted. So clearly is this seen, that the favourite attitude of many is to avoid definite assertions, and content themselves with saying, "We cannot be sure; we cannot attain to sufficient knowledge of the Unknowable to prompt our worship." This is practical atheism, imitated by multitudes who do not deny the authority of the Scriptures, or reject religion on speculative grounds, yet live "without God in the world." Remember that the non-recognition of the Deity does not absolve from religious responsibility. If there be a "Lord of all," he has claims upon your service which will not vanish because of your pleasant dreams and guilty unconcern.

3. Pantheism. He is Lord "of," i.e. "over" all—a living, personal God, above as well as in nature. He is not to be identified with the universe, nor with his operations. He is different from his acts, as we are not our limbs, our deeds, but are conscious of a living will behind these manifestations. The instinct of prayer would be checked at once by the thought of "calling upon" an abstraction of humanity or unintelligent matter.

4. Socinianism, or the denial of the Deity of Christ. Few stronger passages could be adduced than those in the context to assure us of the apostle's conviction of the dignity of the Saviour. In the ninth verse we are taught to "confess Jesus as Lord," and following the emphatic language of the text comes the thirteenth verse, where the prophecy of Joel and the title Jehovah are applied to Christ, the express subject of this chapter. All doubt as to the reference is removed by the question, "How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?" since the object of our faith is ever represented as Christ, the manifested God. The only refuge is to deny the competency and inspiration of the apostle, and then we do not get rid of the other Scripture texts which speak of him as the Creator "by whom all things were made," and the Judge "to whom all authority is committed." No declaration of the relationship of the Son to the Father, more available for explanation of the mystery, can we have than "he is the Image of the invisible God."

5. Sectarianism, or Judaism as a system of rites, the embodiment of the narrow bigoted spirit which will admit only certain classes within its pale. Most scornful epithets did the Jews employ with respect to the unprivileged state of the rest of mankind; they were "the drops of the bucket, the offscouring of all things." But if the whole world may claim the same Lord, one family dares not arrogate to itself all the Divine love and blessing. What is the miserable superiority of the giant to the dwarf in the view of him who gazes from the mountain-top? The regard of God is to quality, not quantity; he wants the pure gold of repentance and obedience, no matter with what ingredients or amid what surroundings it may be found.. Jesus Christ taught us to abolish caste by the petition, "Our Father." In the present condition of religious knowledge and feeling, sects may be convenient, almost necessary, but we need not unchristianize those without our borders, nor confine our view of salvation to those who utter the same party shibboleth.


1. His wealth permits him to do good to all. The slowly passing centuries have not enabled men to find out the extent of the Divine riches. The catalogue is exhaustless that is being compiled of the adaptations, combinations, resources, with which the Creator has furnished man's home. Then, whilst the microscope reveals innumerable infinitesimal wonders, the telescope discovers countless worlds. And the apostle delighted in the use of the word "riches" to describe the mercies of God in redemption. He felt he had to publish a purpose of God rich in wisdom, love, and power, dwarfing all human systems of reform. The Lord of Christianity is so supremely glorious, that it was a relief to turn away from human poverty in thought and means, to contemplate "the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ."

2. He is rich in all that his creatures need. Circumlocution offices abound on earth. The king cannot heal the leper, nor the doctor give legal information to the suitor, nor the lawyer be expected to head the subscription list. But none can seek Christ in vain for spiritual wants. He is rich in mercy to the penitent sinner, and to the believer forgetful of his early vows he is rich in the assurance of forgiveness and succour. The disappointed may find him an unfailing Hope, the bereaved a "God of all consolation;" to the tempted he is the "Way of escape," and to the heated with the struggle of life, "the Shadow of a great rock."

3. A benevolent Lord. "Rich unto all." Many a wealthy man is not "rich unto" anybody else—not even unto himself, poor niggardly soul. God sits not as a miser gloating over his goods, or as a king ensconced in the palace, where no cry of the poor or of the anguished can reach him. He delights to give; the glory of God is revealed in blessing his creatures. Love created, sustains, enriches, the universe. We need not fear coming too often or asking too largely. We shall not weary his generosity, or appeal too late to his exchequer because a more fortunate applicant anticipated our request. Invited to his banquet, he will not thank you for partaking scantily of the rich fare, lest you should trespass on his bounty.

4. The one restriction. Only one condition is to be fulfilled—that we "call upon him." This is but reasonable. We receive daily benefits unasked, but in the concerns of the soul we are treated as intelligent beings, as children whose voice the Father loves to hear. The prayer of mingled contrition and trust purifies and exalts the suppliants, honours and gratifies the Donor of good. The character of the petition manifests the spiritual state of the petitioner. Set the desires not so much upon the promises of physical relief as of spiritual blessing, not so much the removal of the trial as strength to bear it, not so much the extraction of the thorn as grace to submit patiently and to see wise purposes subserved by the infliction. What simpler counsel could be given to the heavy-laden sinner than this, "call upon him"? Like Peter amid the waves, cry out, "Lord, save me!" and Divine help shall respond, and you "shall be saved." And when the hour of death draws nigh, though we may not be surrounded by taunting foes, and no cruel blows may hasten our departure, yet, like the dying martyr, we may pass "calling upon the Lord, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."—S.R.A.


Romans 10:1-11

Confession of a risen Saviour.

In the previous chapter we saw a Christian patriot lamenting that so many of his fellow-countrymen, through rejecting God's mercy manifested in Christ Jesus, were becoming mere vessels of wrath fitted for destruction. At the same time, he sees in Divine sovereignty, its incidence and its justice, the real clue to the philosophy of history and the progress of the world. In the present chapter he discusses the rejection of Israel and its reasons, and the nature of that acceptance and salvation which the Gentiles received after the Jews had despised them. In the verses now claiming attention we have the apostle leading his readers up to faith in and confession of a risen Saviour.

I. THE MISDIRECTED ZEAL OF THE APOSTLE'S COUNTRYMEN. (Romans 10:1-3.) The apostle's desire and "supplication" (so Revised Version) for the Jews was that they might be saved. But, alas! their misdirected zeal was preventing their salvation. For instead of submitting to the righteousness which is of God, instead of making their way to Christ, who is the End to whom the Law when properly understood leads, they were going about with the one object of establishing their own righteousness. This zeal Paul knew himself experimentally. For years he also had aimed at Law-keeping, and in his self-ignorance he thought that "touching the righteousness which is in the Law" he was "blameless" (Philippians 3:6). But the Law-keeping may be in the letter and not in the spirit. The spirit of the Law is love; yet Paul and the Pharisees tithed mint and anise and cummin, while they lived lives of hate, and hesitated not to persecute Christ-like people even to the death. To keep self-righteousness before the soul as the end of life is simply misdirected zeal. It keeps us away from Christ and all the bliss which his fellowship implies. And so a day came when Paul saw that his roundabout way, going about to establish his own righteousness, was a delusion, a snare, a loss, and not a gain, for it kept him long years from Christ. Let us be clear that we are not under a similar delusion. Let us give up self-righteousness and take God's better way.

II. A RISEN SAVIOUR IS THE END OF THE LAW AND OBJECT OF FAITH. (Romans 10:4.) Now, the moment we are led to take a spiritual view of God's Law, to see that it demands perfect motive as well as decent outward morality, we see that we cannot keep it in its length and breadth; and therefore, instead of living by Law-keeping, we are condemned by the Law as its transgressors. Self-righteousness is seen to be self-deception. Condemnation is seen to be our natural state. Then is it that Christ and his perfect righteousness dawn upon our condemned and polluted souls. We see that he has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves, and so the Law serves its purpose when it lays us down at the feet of Christ, to be justified by faith. Instead of trusting our own righteousness, we see in our risen Saviour the true Object of faith and Source of righteousness. We pass out of shame into confidence in his finished work. £

III. THIS RISEN SAVIOUR IS EASILY FOUND. (Romans 10:6-9.) The idea of the human heart is that by some prodigious effort salvation must be secured. Abana and Pharpar are further off, as well as likelier rivers, than this brawling Jordan hard by, and so Naaman cries out, "May I not wash in them, and be clean?" Only ask us to do some great thing in order to salvation, and our self-righteousness will be secured, and we shall be satisfied (cf. 2 Kings 5:12, 2 Kings 5:13). A far-off salvation suits man's taste the best. Set it in heaven, and he will rack his brains for some ingenious device by which he will fly away and be at rest. Set it beyond the sea, and boats will be built and the voyage undertaken with alacrity (cf. Deuteronomy 30:11-13). Make salvation to consist in a bringing of Christ down from above, and men like Titans will try to scale Olympus. Make salvation to consist in a descent to the lower world to bring Christ up from the dead, and many will try a journey like Orpheus after the lost Eurydice, to bring the Saviour from the shadows. But we have got to see that the risen Saviour is not so far away or so hard to find as this. As Charles Kingsley once wrote to a lady, "My object has been and is, and I trust in God ever will be, to make people see that they need not, as St. Paul says, go up into heaven, or go down to the deep, to find Christ; because he, the Word whom we preach, is very near them, in their hearts and on their lips, if they would but believe it; and ready, not to set them afloat on new and untried oceans of schemes and projects, but ready to inspire them to do their duty humbly and simply where he has put them—and, believe me, the only way to regenerate the world is to do the duty which lies nearest us, and not to hunt after grand, far-fetched ones for ourselves." £ In the Word of the gospel the risen Saviour comes near to every one of us. We do not require any prodigious effort to reach him. We have simply to open the eye of faith, and there he is.

IV. THE RISEN SAVIOUR MUST BE CONFESSED WHEN FOUND. (Romans 10:10, Romans 10:11.) Faith in a risen Saviour who is waiting to be found of us must prove its genuineness by the confession of his Name. It is when we take the Lord's side deliberately that we have tested the reality of our faith. There is a cowardly tendency to believe, but not confess; to get the benefits of salvation without running a single risk for our Saviour. But such a selfish, easy-going faith is mere delusion. Whoever really believes in Jesus will not be ashamed to confess him. And consequently we are encouraged first to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and then to confess him as our risen Saviour before men. There is undoubtedly a disposition to separate salvation from confession of Christ. It is thought to be wise and prudent to accept of the benefits Christ can offer, and at the same time to be silent about them. "Secret discipleship" is thought to be a masterpiece of wisdom. Everything is thus gained, and nothing risked or lost. But is everything gained? Is nothing risked or lost? Is the secret disciple ever likely to become a man of nobility and courage? Does he secure even self-respect? Must he not feel very much as a debtor who is always trying to shirk his obligations and ignore the debt? Or take the matter in the concrete. Was Nicodemus noble as he visited Jesus by night, and kept his discipleship a secret from the Sanhedrin? Was Joseph of Arimathaea noble as he gave his heart to the despised Saviour, but continued afraid to confess him? Neither man became noble until the Crucifixion brought decision, and they vied with each other what respect they could show to the remains of their great Master. Or would Saul of Tarsus have ever become the noble apostle of the Gentiles if he had sneaked into Damascus after his conversion, and resolved to risk nothing for his new-found Saviour? The manly character which Saul cultivated by confessing Christ was an infinite gain. It thus appears that confession of Christ is the wise test of the reality of our faith in him. May we all stand the test, and not be ashamed of him!—R.M.E.

Romans 10:12-21

The natural history of faith.

From an account of the plan of salvation as faith in and confession of a risen Saviour, the apostle, in the verses now before us, proceeds to consider the natural history of the faith which Jew and Gentile are led to place in the one Lord. For it is most important to know how faith is induced. And here we notice—

I. THE RISEN LORD IS WITHIN EVERY ONE'S CALL. (Romans 10:12, Romans 10:13.) There is no difference in his accessibility to both Jew and Gentile. "He is rich unto all that call upon him." With the sovereigns of this world court-favourites are the rule, and I suppose there is no exception. Only certain individuals get near the king, and are favoured with an audience. But this risen Lord over all can be rich unto every one that cares to call upon him. Let Jew or Greek only cry to him, and the needful help will come. This suggests the following comforting thoughts.

1. The throne on which our Lord now sits is a throne of grace. He is to sit, indeed, one day on a throne of judgment; meanwhile let us rejoice that he sits on a "throne of grace." It is to help the needy and the lost that he now sits enthroned. We are now under a "reign of grace." We hear a good deal in the present day of a "reign of law:" what consolation it is to think that, so far as Christ is concerned, we are all under a "reign of grace"!

2. He can hear directly every one that calls upon him. Of course, such a fact implies that our risen Saviour is indeed Divine. By virtue of his Divinity, he can hear everybody, whether Jew or Gentile, who cares to call upon him, and can deal directly with them. The many-voiced cry of lost and tempted souls reaches his ear and is all interpreted. It is easy to state the case of Christ hearing prayer, but it is overwhelming to imagine what such an arrangement demands from the blessed Being upon the throne. Yet it is sober fact—the whole cry of the race, the bitter cry of lost and tried souls, enters the sympathizing mind of our Divine Saviour and King.

3. He is rich to all the petitioners. Just as when on earth he allowed no one to go empty away, so from his throne of grace on high there is no real petitioner dismissed without relief. He encourages Jew and Gentile alike to call upon him, and then treats us in a way that becomes a King. He does far more "exceeding abundantly for us above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." If we ask him to save us, he does so with an everlasting salvation. If we ask him to pardon us, he does so with overflowing love. If we ask him to sanctify us, he enables us to die daily unto sin and to live unto righteousness. If we ask him to make us useful, he opens doors of usefulness for us of the most surprising character. In short, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But he hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (1 Corinthians 2:9, 1 Corinthians 2:10).

II. BUT AN OMNIPRESENT SAVIOUR NEEDS THE BEAUTIFUL FEET OF HIS HERALDS TO BE UPON ALL THE MOUNTAINS IF MEN ARE TO KNOW HIS NEARNESS. (Romans 10:14, Romans 10:15.) We have seen that the risen Saviour is within every one's call. But he is not palpable to sense. He is unseen. His presence is spiritual. Only by heralds going forth to proclaim the glad tidings of his presence are men led to call upon him. And the heralds address the ears of men. By this particular avenue of hearing does the message come. If men never hear of Jesus, they cannot be expected to realize his presence or to trust him. And so a propaganda is necessary, and the missionary enterprise is just such a propaganda to bring before Jew and Gentile the splendid fact that a risen Saviour is within each man's call. The natural history of faith is, then, this: "'Faith'—the faith which, overcoming the world, justifies and purifies and saves—'cometh by hearing,' cometh in the way of communication from man to man, as distinguished from any natural reflective enlightenment; while that 'hearing cometh by the Word of God,' ariseth out of an express revelation uttered from heaven, in contrast to every system, device, or imagination of unassisted human reason," £ This being so, we can understand how the apostle quotes the rapturous words of the prophet about the beautiful feet of the heralds of glad tidings. The institution of the preaching of the gospel is the most beautiful now existing among men.

III. THE GLAD TIDINGS HAVE NOT HAD A UNIVERSAL RECEPTION. (Romans 10:16-18.) In some cases the heralds have had small success. As Esaias cries, "Lord, who hath believed our report?" so has many a minister lamented his scant success. For, amid the multitude of competing things and persons palpable to sense, an unseen Saviour gets ignored by many. The problem was not, in the missionary age of Paul, as to many not hearing of a Saviour at all—rather was it that so many heard of him, yet gave no heed. For the apostle in this passage quotes what in the nineteenth psalm is applied to nature, as if the gospel message, at least in his day, had been as widely proclaimed as the limits of the world allowed. And when we consider the population of the world in Paul's time, and how it was practically within the grasp of the Roman empire, and that information filtered clown to the distant colonies more surely perhaps than, though not so speedily as, news does nowadays; and when we add to this the magnificent missionary spirit which animated Paul and his associates, he had reason to take up the universal terms and apply them to the propagation of the gospel. So that the gospel was more widely proclaimed in the first century in proportion to the population of the globe than it is as yet in the nineteenth. The contrast which now obtains between the revelation of God in nature and the revelation of God in the gospel in their respective relations to mankind—the one being universal, the other partial in its application—has been largely, if not entirely, due to the lack of enterprise and missionary spirit on the part of the Church. And yet too much may be made of this contrast, and men may fail to see that the proclamation of a revealed religion is the one way in which God is likely to receive attention from his creatures. The following quotation from Archer Butler upon the point will be welcome. "If God were to interfere at all, they [the deists] maintain, it would be by some universal agency, simple, general, and obvious, as the laws of his visible creation. They smile at the notion of God's greatest exhibition of his will to man being acted upon the reduced theatre of a petty province, and made dependent on the chances of human testimony. 'In the moral as in the physical world,' exclaims the leader of the sentimental school of deism, 'it is ever on a great scale, and by simple means, that Deity operates.' But what if we retort that it is those very laws of nature 'on a great scale'—those very 'simple means'—that have caused God to be forgotten? Not justly, we admit; for they ought eminently to have convinced men of his presence and power: but what of that? We are not now speaking of argumentative propriety, but of actual fact; not of man as he ought to be, but of man as he is. And it is an undeniable fact that it is the permanence and uniformity of the natural laws of the creation that have beguiled men into speculative, and, still more, into practical atheism; that it is the very perfection of the laws which has hidden the Legislator. The hand that God has constructed so wondrously can write, 'There is no God;' let it be smit with sudden paralysis, and the notion of an intervening Avenger will arise; nay, let us at any time behold some strange unique in any of the departments of experience, and it startles our habitual slumber. That is to say, as long as the work is perfect, we recognize no worker; but the moment it becomes deficient (the very thing which ought logically to produce the doubt), we begin to conceive and admit his reality. The more apparently capricious the works of nature, the more they resemble man's; and the more they remind us of direct agency analogous to the human. Now, if this be so, could it be expected that, to produce an acknowledgment of his being and attributes, the Deity would continue to employ the same medium of regular and ordinary laws, the same vast and uniform processes in the physical and moral world, which in all ages have tended (such the miserable subjection of man to an unreasoning imagination) to render his agency suspected by some, and practically forgotten by the many? To make himself felt he must disturb his laws; in other words, he must perform or permit 'miracles.' But then he must likewise exhibit them sparingly, as, if they continued to appear on assignable principles of stated recurrence, and in definite cycles, nay, if they appeared frequently, though unfixedly,—they would enter, or seem to enter, into the procession of the laws of nature, and thus lose their proper use and character. What follows? It follows that miracles cannot be presented to every successive age, far less to each individual person; they must, then, be presented only to some particular age or ages, and to some particular personal witnesses. But we have seen that they ought to be publicly and continually known; therefore (there being but one way of transmitting past events to present times) revealed religion and the knowledge of God, which we have seen is only thus to be practically and influentially attained, must he dependent upon human testimony. There is no step of this deduction which might not be made by a man who had never heard of any actual revelation having been given to man; it is purposely built upon the simplest principles of our common nature This seems to me to amount to something not unlike demonstration, that a traditional revelation, built on testimony transmitted from man to man—that is, of a Bible and sermon religion—far from being improbable (as the impugners of an 'historical creed' so eloquently insist), is actually the form of religion imperatively demanded by the very structure of human nature." £

IV. THE RECEPTION OF THE GOSPEL BY THE GENTILES HAS BEEN PROVIDENTIALLY ORDERED AS A STIMULUS TO THE JEWS. (Romans 10:19-21.) The faith which has come by hearing the gospel to the Gentile nations was intended to rouse to holy jealousy the unbelieving Jews. The one section of mankind has been and is being played off against the other in the all-wise providence of God. And nothing is more certain than that the Jews shall yet surrender to the claims of our risen Saviour, and enter the Christian Church as obedient followers of the once crucified but now exalted Messiah. Let us, then, have confidence in our Lord, not only regarding our personal salvation, but also regarding the ingathering of the nations.—R.M.E.

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Romans 10". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tpc/romans-10.html. 1897.
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