Romans Chapter ten

VERSES 1-4 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

“You stumble day and night, and the prophets stumble with you. So I will destroy your mother– 6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children” (Hosea 4:5-6).

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself (Leviticus 19:18).

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28-31).

There are some teachers who suggest that Jesus Christ was the goal, i.e. the main focus and objective of the law, but not necessarily the end, i.e. the termination of the old covenant law.

They perceive the giving of the Holy Spirit to be the means of equipping, or enabling, the people to obey the Law, but that is actually misleading.

…the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law (Galatians 3:22-25).

Jesus was indeed spoken of and prophesied in the Law – and the people were told in the Law that a prophet like Moses would eventually come whom they would be required to obey.

However, Jesus is also the end of the Law, it purpose ends with his coming, the old covenant sacrifices are terminated – and the old covenant Law became obsolete after the making of the new covenant – through which the new covenant law of God is now written upon our hearts.

By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear (Hebrews 8:13) – [and it did indeed disappear with the destruction of the Temple).

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14).

VERSES 5-13 Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:13-18).

I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord [i.e. “Lord” as in “Lord and God”],” except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4).

It was before the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost, that the apostle Peter had been given the revelation that Jesus is the Messiah – the Son of God.

Jesus said, “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life” (John 6:45-47).

Jesus said: But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:45-47).

If people claim to have and believe in the Law, but reject Jesus Christ, then they are liars, for the purpose of the Law was to lead condemned sinners to Christ and it is self-deception to think that one may be justified by the Law and have no need of the Saviour.

If people are humble and contrite – and willing to repent and believe, then the truth will indeed be revealed to them, but if, on the other hand, they are self-righteous, proud, conceited – and sinful and unbelieving, then the truth will remain hidden from them.

Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD (Leviticus 18:5).

All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit (Galatians 3:10-14).

As I already said, there are many Christians who, although they believe that the sacrifices and various other ceremonial laws are ended – they yet believe that there is still a part of the Law, including the Ten Commandments, which they refer to as the “moral law” and which they believe is still binding upon Christians.

However, if we are led by the Spirit, we are no longer under the Law – and nothing may be added or taken away from the Law, so if a part of the Law was still binding, then the whole Law would still be binding.

Remember, as we noted in chapter 7, we have died to the old covenant Law –

But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code (Romans 7:6).

However, it is through dying to the law and being born again of the Spirit – and through having the new covenant Law written upon our hearts, that we fulfil the purpose of the Law.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law (Romans 13:8-10).

Fulfilling its purpose of condemning the sinful nature and leading us to faith in Christ, is not the same as obeying and living according to everything written in the Law.

VERSES 14-18 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

When Peter preached the gospel he declared: Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people’” (Acts 3:17-23).

We are obligated to preach the gospel – and it is through the preaching of the gospel that people are being called to the obedience [to Christ] which comes from faith, and those who refuse to believe will be judged and held accountable before the Lord for the sin of rebellion and unbelief.

Jesus said, When he (the Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin…9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;…” (John 16:8).

Paul affirmed that Israel has heard the gospel – if any person calls themselves a “Jew”, then they admit that they know the history of God’s dealing with Israel.

Whether they are living in the Land or still scattered among the nations, they know of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD – which is forty years after Jesus made the new covenant- and they are accountable before the Lord to repent and believe the gospel – as Paul wrote: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

VERSE 19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”

God has engrafted many Gentiles, even those who were quite ignorant of the Law, – into the redeemed Israel of God according to the new covenant and their faith in Jesus Christ – and this has provoked many Jews to intense jealousy for they always took great pride in being God’s holy, chosen nation. However, their position is not assured through God’s election alone, but through faithfulness to his word revealed in Jesus Christ according to the new covenant and the forgiveness of sins.

VERSES 20-21 And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me” [Isaiah 65:1]21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people” [Isaiah 65:2].

Often when people hear the gospel, they try to appeal to all kinds of reasons to justify why they can’t believe – but the truth is that they refuse to believe because they have a sinful unbelieving heart – and if they refuse to believe, then God also hardens the hearts so that eventually they cannot believe.

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” 16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19).

Even when the LORD called Ezekiel to proclaim the word of God to his own people, he was warned of the stubbornness and their refusal to repent and believe.

He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen–for they are a rebellious house–they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you” (Ezekiel 2:3-8).