| Back to Home Page | Back to Book Index |


Romans Chapter Ten


Romans 10

Having touched on this subject, the apostle, who deeply loved his nation as the people of God, pours out his heart with respect of the doctrine which was a stumbling-stone to them. His desire, the aim of his heart's affection, was their salvation. The object of his affections, they were clothed in his eyes with their zeal for God, ignorant as it was; ignorant, alas! on the side of that which God taught. Being ignorant of God's righteousness, they sought in their zeal to establish their own righteousness, and did not submit themselves to that of God. For Christ is the end of law for righteousness to every believer. There was found the righteousness of God, there the stumblingstone to Israel.

Nevertheless the apostle establishes his argument clearly and firmly. He establishes it on his own part; but Deuteronomy supplies him with an unexpected proof of the great principle. He quotes a passage from that book which speaks on the subject of Israel's condition, when they should have broken the law and be suffering its consequences. "Secret things," the lawgiver had said, "belong to our God; but those that are revealed" are for the people. That is to say, the law was given as a condition to the enjoyment of the blessing, plainly and positively; what God might do in grace, when Israel should be under the consequences of the broken law, remained in the secrecy of His supreme will. Upon this, however, another principle is distinctly revealed, namely, that when the fulfilment of the law was impossible, and when Israel had been driven out of their land for having broken it, if then their heart turned to God in that far country, He would accept them. It was all over with the law as a condition of relationship with God. Israel was driven out according to the chapter we are looking at (Deut. 30)-was Lo-ammi, no longer the people of God. The testimony of God was nevertheless addressed to them: they might turn to Him in spirit, and by faith. It was no longer the law, it was faith. But, says the apostle, if so, it is Christ who is its object. No Jew would have denied that the testimony of God was the hope of every true Israelite when all was ruined.

This passage then in Deuteronomy-when Moses has done with the law, and has supposed other counsels of God, and on them founds the principle of turning in heart to God when all is over with regard to the law, and Israel is in a place where it would be impossible to keep it, being in captivity among the Gentiles-this passage has remarkable significance in the argument of the apostle; and its being quoted is an extraordinary proof, that in his reasonings it is the Holy Ghost who acts. It is the apostle who introduces Christ; but the combination of the truths of the different positions of Israel, of the law, and of the return in heart when they were lost under the law-a combination of which Christ was the key-stone and alone could be-exhibits a comprehensive view of the oneness of all God's ways, morally and in His dispensations, of which the Spirit of God alone is capable, and which evidently expresses His thoughts. See Deuteronomy 29 (at the end) and 30.

The word of faith then set forth as being the hope of Israel, was that which the apostle announced-that if any one confessed with his mouth the Lord Jesus, and believed in his heart that God had raised Him from the dead, he should be saved. Precious, simple, and positive assertion! and borne out, if that were needed, by the testimony of the Old Testament: "Whosoever believeth in him shall not be ashamed." The words heart and mouth are in contrast with the law. In the case Deuteronomy supposes, Israel could not fulfil the law; the word of their God, Moses told them, could be in their heart and in their mouth. Thus now for the Jew (as for every one) it was the belief of the heart.

Observe, it does not say, If you love in your heart, or, If your heart is what it ought to be towards God; but, If you believe in your heart. A man believes with his heart, when he really believes with a heart interested in the thing. His affections being engaged in the truth, he desires, when grace is spoken of, that that which is told him should be the truth. He desires the thing, and at the same time he does not doubt it. It is not in his having part in it that he believes, but in the truth of the thing itself, being concerned in it as important to himself. It is not the state of his affections (a very serious consideration, however, in its place) that is the subject here, but the importance and the truth of that which is presented by the word-its importance to himself, as needing it for his salvation, a salvation that he is conscious of needing, that he cannot do without-a truth of which he is assured, as a testimony from God Himself. God affirms to such a one that salvation belongs to him, but it is not that which he has to believe in as the object of faith; it is that of which God assures every one who does believe.

Moreover thus faith is manifested by the proof it gives of its sincerity-by confession of the name of Christ. If some one were convinced that Jesus is the Christ, and refused to confess Him, his conviction would evidently be his greater condemnation. The faith of the heart produces the confession of the mouth; the confession of the mouth is the counterproof of the sincerity of the faith, and of honesty, in the sense of the claim which the Lord has upon us in grace. It is the testimony which God requires at the outset. It is to sound the trumpet on earth in face of the enemy. It is to say that Christ has conquered, and that everything belongs in right to Him. It is a confession which brings in God in answer to the name of Jesus. It is not that which brings in righteousness, but it is the public acknowledgment of Christ, and thus gives expression to the faith by which there is participation in the righteousness of God, so that it may be said, 'He believes in Christ unto salvation; he has the faith that justifies.'

I have entered here a little more into detail, because this is a point on which the human heart perplexes itself; and perplexes itself so much the more because it is sincere, as long as there is any unbelief and self-righteousness remaining. It is impossible that an awakened soul should not feel the necessity of having the heart set right and turned to God; and hence, not submitting to the righteousness of God, he thinks to make the favour of God depend on the state of his own affections, whereas God loves us while we are yet sinners. The state of our affections is of all importance; but it supposes a relationship already existing, according to which we love. We love too because we are loved of God. Now His love has done something-has done something according to our necessities, and according to the divine glory. It has given Jesus; and Jesus has accomplished what was required, in order that we may participate in divine righteousness; and thus He has placed every one who (acknowledging that he is a lost sinner) believes in Him, in the secure relationship of a child and of a justified soul before God, according to the perfection of the work of Christ. Salvation belongs to this soul according to the declaration of God Himself. Loved with such love, saved by such grace, enjoying such favour, let it cultivate affections suitable to the gift of Jesus, and to the knowledge it has of Him and of His goodness.

It is evident that, if it is "whosoever" believes in Jesus, the Gentile comes in as well as the Jew. There is no difference; the sameLord is rich unto all that call upon Him. It is beautiful to see this form of expression, "There is no difference," repeated here. The apostle had used it before with the addition "for all have sinned." Sin puts all men on a level in ruin before God. But there is also no difference, "for the same Lord over all is rich unto all," for every one who calls upon His name shall be saved.

On this declaration, the apostle founds another argument; and by it he justifies the ways of God that were accomplished in his ministry. The Jewish scriptures declared that every one who called upon the name of the Lord should be saved. Now, the Jews acknowledged that the Gentiles did not know the name of the true and living God. It was needful therefore to proclaim Him, in order that they might call upon Him, and the whole ministry of the apostle was justified. Accordingly it was written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace." For, in dealing with these questions among the Jews, he naturally rests on the authority of their own scriptures.

But he applies this principle for evangelisation to the Jews as well as to the Gentiles (for the law was not the announcement of good news). He quotes Isaiah to the same purpose. It was in a proclamation-a truth thus publicly preached-that Israel had not believed; so that there ought to be faith in a truth thus preached, in the word proclaimed. Verse 18 presents some difficulty. It is certain that the apostle intends to explain that a proclamation of the truth on God's part had taken place. Israel was without excuse, for the report had even gone out everywhere, the words which announced God unto the ends of the earth. The testimony then was not confined to the Jews The Gentiles had heard it everywhere. This is plain. But does the apostle merely borrow the words (which in the passage quoted apply to the testimony of creation), or does he mean to speak of the testimony of nature itself? I believe that he uses the passage to shew that God had the Gentiles in view in His testimonies; that he wishes quietly to suggest this to the Jews by a quotation from their own scriptures, that not only have they, the Jews, heard, but that the testimony has gone everywhere, and that this was in the mind of God. Paul does not quote the passage as a prophecy of that which was taking place; he borrows the words, without that form of speech, to shew that this universal testimony was in the mind of God, whatever might be the means employed. And then, stating the thing with more precision for the Jew, he adds, Did not Israel know? Was not the nation apprised of this extension to the Gentiles, of the testimony of this proclamation of grace to them, of the reception of the testimony by the Gentiles, so as to bring them into relationship with God? Yes; Moses had already said, that God would provoke Israel to jealousy by a people without knowledge. And Isaiah had spoken boldly, formally declaring that God should be found by a nation that sought Him not; and to Israel, that all day long He had stretched forth His hands to a rebellious and gainsaying people; in a word, that the Gentiles should find Him, and Israel be perverse and disobedient. Thus, the testimony borne to their relative positions-although the apostle approaches it gradually and quietly-is distinct and formal: the Gentiles received; Israel at enmity.

── John DarbySynopsis of Romans


Romans 10

Chapter Contents

The apostle's earnest desire for the salvation of the Jews. (1-4) The difference between the righteousness of the law, and the righteousness of faith. (5-11) The Gentiles stand on a level with the Jews, in justification and salvation. (12-17) The Jews might know this from Old Testament prophecies. (18-21)

Commentary on Romans 10:1-4

(Read Romans 10:1-4)

The Jews built on a false foundation, and refused to come to Christ for free salvation by faith, and numbers in every age do the same in various ways. The strictness of the law showed men their need of salvation by grace, through faith. And the ceremonies shadowed forth Christ as fulfilling the righteousness, and bearing the curse of the law. So that even under the law, all who were justified before God, obtained that blessing by faith, whereby they were made partakers of the perfect righteousness of the promised Redeemer. The law is not destroyed, nor the intention of the Lawgiver disappointed; but full satisfaction being made by the death of Christ for our breach of the law, the end is gained. That is, Christ has fulfilled the whole law, therefore whoever believeth in him, is counted just before God, as much as though he had fulfilled the whole law himself. Sinners never could go on in vain fancies of their own righteousness, if they knew the justice of God as a Governor, or his righteousness as a Saviour.

Commentary on Romans 10:5-11

(Read Romans 10:5-11)

The self-condemned sinner need not perplex himself how this righteousness may be found. When we speak of looking upon Christ, and receiving, and feeding upon him, it is not Christ in heaven, nor Christ in the deep, that we mean; but Christ in the promise, Christ offered in the word. Justification by faith in Christ is a plain doctrine. It is brought before the mind and heart of every one, thus leaving him without excuse for unbelief. If a man confessed faith in Jesus, as the Lord and Saviour of lost sinners, and really believed in his heart that God had raised him from the dead, thus showing that he had accepted the atonement, he should be saved by the righteousness of Christ, imputed to him through faith. But no faith is justifying which is not powerful in sanctifying the heart, and regulating all its affections by the love of Christ. We must devote and give up to God our souls and our bodies: our souls in believing with the heart, and our bodies in confessing with the mouth. The believer shall never have cause to repent his confident trust in the Lord Jesus. Of such faith no sinner shall be ashamed before God; and he ought to glory in it before men.

Commentary on Romans 10:12-17

(Read Romans 10:12-17)

There is not one God to the Jews, more kind, and another to the Gentiles, who is less kind; the Lord is a Father to all men. The promise is the same to all, who call on the name of the Lord Jesus as the Son of God, as God manifest in the flesh. All believers thus call upon the Lord Jesus, and none else will do so humbly or sincerely. But how should any call on the Lord Jesus, the Divine Saviour, who had not heard of him? And what is the life of a Christian but a life of prayer? It shows that we feel our dependence on him, and are ready to give up ourselves to him, and have a believing expectation of our all from him. It was necessary that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles. Somebody must show them what they are to believe. How welcome the gospel ought to be to those to whom it was preached! The gospel is given, not only to be known and believed, but to be obeyed. It is not a system of notions, but a rule of practice. The beginning, progress, and strength of faith is by hearing. But it is only hearing the word, as the word of God that will strengthen faith.

Commentary on Romans 10:18-21

(Read Romans 10:18-21)

Did not the Jews know that the Gentiles were to be called in? They might have known it from Moses and Isaiah. Isaiah speaks plainly of the grace and favour of God, as going before in the receiving of the Gentiles. Was not this our own case? Did not God begin in love, and make himself known to us when we did not ask after him? The patience of God towards provoking sinners is wonderful. The time of God's patience is called a day, light as day, and fit for work and business; but limited as a day, and there is a night at the end of it. God's patience makes man's disobedience worse, and renders that the more sinful. We may wonder at the mercy of God, that his goodness is not overcome by man's badness; we may wonder at the wickedness of man, that his badness is not overcome by God's goodness. And it is a matter of joy to think that God has sent the message of grace to so many millions, by the wide spread of his gospel.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Romans


Romans 10

Verse 1

[1] Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

My prayer to God is, that they may be saved — He would not have prayed for this, had they been absolutely reprobated.

Verse 2

[2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

They have a zeal, but not according to knowledge — They had zeal without knowledge; we have knowledge without zeal.

Verse 3

[3] 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.

For they being ignorant of the righteousness of God — Of the method God has established for the justification of a sinner.

And seeking to establish their own righteousness — Their own method of acceptance with God.

Have not submitted to the righteousness of God — The way of justification which he hath fixed.

Verse 4

[4] For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

For Christ is the end of the law — The scope and aim of it. It is the very design of the law, to bring men to believe in Christ for justification and salvation. And he alone gives that pardon and life which the law shows the want of, but cannot give.

To every one — Whether Jew or gentile, treated of, Romans 10:11, etc.

That believeth — Treated of, Romans 10:5.

Verse 5

[5] For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

For Moses describeth the only righteousness which is attainable by the law, when he saith, The man who doeth these things shall live by them - that is, he that perfectly keeps all these precepts in every point, he alone may claim life and salvation by them. But this way of justification is impossible to any who have ever transgressed any one law in any point. Leviticus 18:5

Verse 6

[6] But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

But the righteousness which is by faith — The method of becoming righteous by believing. Speaketh a very different language, and may be considered as expressing itself thus: (to accommodate to our present subject the words which Moses spake, touching the plainness of his law:) Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven, as if it were to bring Christ down: or, Who shall descend into the grave, as if it were to bring him again from the dead - Do not imagine that these things are to be done now, in order to procure thy pardon and salvation. Deuteronomy 30:14.

Verse 8

[8] But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

But what saith he — Moses. Even these words, so remarkably applicable to the subject before us. All is done ready to thy hand.

The word is nigh thee — Within thy reach; easy to be understood, remembered, practised. This is eminently true of the word of faith - The gospel.

Which we preach — The sum of which is, If thy heart believe in Christ, and thy life confess him, thou shalt be saved.

Verse 9

[9] That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

If thou confess with thy mouth — Even in time of persecution, when such a confession may send thee to the lions.

Verse 10

[10] For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For with the heart — Not the understanding only.

Man believeth to righteousness — So as to obtain justification.

And with the mouth confession is made — So as to obtain final salvation. Confession here implies the whole of outward, as believing does the root of all inward, religion.

Verse 11

[11] For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Isaiah 28:16.

Verse 12

[12] For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

The same Lord of all is rich — So that his blessings are never to be exhausted, nor is he ever constrained to hold his hand. The great truth proposed in Romans 10:11 is so repeated here, and in Romans 10:13, and farther confirmed, Romans 10:14,15, as not only to imply, that "whosoever calleth upon him shall be saved;" but also that the will of God is, that all should savingly call upon him.

Verse 13

[13] For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Joel 2:32.

Verse 15

[15] And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

But how shall they preach, unless they be sent — Thus by a chain of reasoning, from God's will that the gentiles also should "call upon him," St. Paul infers that the apostles were sent by God to preach to the gentiles also.

The feet — Their very footsteps; their coming. Isaiah 52:7.

Verse 16

[16] But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report

Isaiah 53:1.

Verse 17

[17] So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Faith, indeed, ordinarily cometh by hearing; even by hearing the word of God.

Verse 18

[18] But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

But their unbelief was not owing to the want of hearing For they have heard. Yes verily - So many nations have already heard the preachers of the gospel, that I may in some sense say of them as David did of the lights of heaven. Psalms 29:4

Verse 19

[19] But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

But hath not Israel known — They might have known, even from Moses and Isaiah, that many of the gentiles would be received, and many of the Jews rejected.

I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are not a nation — As they followed gods that were not gods, so he accepted in their stead a nation that was not a nation; that is, a nation that was not in covenant with God.

A foolish nation — Such are all which know not God. Deuteronomy 32:21

Verse 20

[20] But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

But Isaiah is very bold — And speaks plainly what Moses but intimated. Isaiah 65:1,2.

Verse 21

[21] But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

An unbelieving and gainsaying people — Just opposite to those who believed with their hearts, and made confession with their mouths.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Romans


Chapter 10. Confess and call On Him

In Your Mouth
In Your Heart

I. Wish the Israelites be Saved

  1. Their Own Righteousness
  2. Lack the Right Knowledge
  3. Righteousness by Faith

II. The Way to be Saved

  1. Confess with Your Mouth
  2. Believe in Your Heart
  3. Call on the Name of the Lord

III. Bring Good News

  1. Sent, Hear and Believe
  2. How Beautiful are the Feet
  3. To the Ends of the World
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Ten General Review
1) To see the importance of combining zeal with knowledge
2) To understand that Israel had plenty of opportunity to heed the
   gospel of Christ, but for the most part they had rejected it
As Paul continues to explain God's dealings with the nation of Israel, 
he repeats his expression of love towards them (1).  Though as a nation
they had plenty of zeal, unfortunately their zeal was not according to
knowledge (2).  Thus they rejected the righteousness of God while 
trying to establish their own righteousness through the Law of Moses.  
But Paul explains that Christ is the fulfillment of the Law and has 
brought it to an end (3-4).
The righteousness God now offers is based upon faith in Christ, not 
keeping the Law.  It involves not the accomplishment of some great feat 
(like ascending to heaven or descending to hell), but such things as 
confessing Jesus as Lord and believing that God raised Him from the 
dead (5-10).  As foretold by Scripture, it is offered to all, both Jew 
and Gentile (11-13).  And it is offered through the medium of preaching 
the Word (14-15).
The problem with the nation of Israel, then, is that not all of them 
received the gospel message, even when they had ample opportunity 
(16-18).  But as Moses predicted, the day would come when God would 
provoke Israel to jealousy by another people, who Isaiah said did not 
seek God yet found Him, while Israel was constantly rebelling against 
Him (19-21).
      1. That Israel be saved, for they have zeal but not knowledge
      2. Through ignorance, they seek to save themselves by the Law,
         and do not submit to God's righteousness in Christ which 
         brings an end to the Law (3-4)
      1. Righteousness of the Law as defined by Moses (5)
      2. Righteousness by faith as defined by Paul (6-15)
         a. Involves the mouth and the heart (6-8)
         b. Involves confessing Jesus and believing in His resurrection
         c. Offered to all who believe and call on Him (11-13)
         d. Accomplished through the medium of preaching (14-15)
      1. As Isaiah predicted (16)
      2. Even though they had ample opportunity (17-18)
      SCRIPTURES (19-21)
      1. As spoken by Moses (19)
      2. As spoken by Isaiah (20-21)
confess - lit., to speak the same thing, to assent, accord, agree
          with...; to declare openly by way of speaking out freely,
          such confession being the effect of deep conviction of facts
          (Mt 10:32; Ro 10:9,10) - VINE
1) List the main points of this chapter
   - Israel's Refusal Of God's Righteousness (1-15)
   - Israel's Neglect Of The Gospel (16-21)
2) What was Paul's prayer in behalf of the nation of Israel? (1)
   - That they may be saved
3) What was good about them?  What was wrong with them (2)
   - They have a zeal for God
   - But not according to knowledge
4) Why was Israel not submitting to the righteousness of God? (3)
   - In ignorance they were seeking to establish their own 
5) What should one confess?  What should one believe? (9-10)
   - The Lord Jesus (or, that Jesus is Lord)
   - That God raised Jesus from the dead
6) For whom is righteousness by faith intended? (11-13)
   - Whoever believes and calls upon the name of the Lord
7) What begins the process which finally enables one to call upon the
   Lord? (14-15)
   - The sending out of preachers
8) How does one come to have faith? (17)
   - By hearing the word of God
9) Did the Jews have opportunity to call upon the Lord? (18)
   - Yes, for the gospel had been spread to the ends of the world
10) How did God say He was going to make His people jealous? (19-20)
    - By making Himself manifest to those who had not been seeking Him
      (the Gentiles)


--《Executable Outlines


Confess and Call On Him

In Your Mouth

In Your Heart


I.  Wish the Israelites be Saved

1.    Their Own Righteousness

2.    Lack the Right Knowledge

3.    Righteousness by Faith

II.The Way to be Saved

1.    Confess with Your Mouth

2.    Believe in Your Heart

3.    Call on the Name of the Lord

III.       Bring Good News

1.    Sent, Hear and Believe

2.    How Beautiful are the Feet

3.    To the Ends of the World

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament