Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.CHAPTER 10
For His beloved people Israel the great apostle of the Gentiles prayed to God, that they might be saved. What an example he has given to us believers of the Gentiles. We owe a great debt to Israel; but how little prayer there is among Gentile Christians for the salvation of the Jews! Paul bears witness that they had zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. Their ignorance consisted in not knowing God’s righteousness, that which is found in the first part of the Epistle, seeking therefore to establish their own righteousness; in doing this, they did not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God. They were religious, kept the law outwardly, and Christ, who is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, they rejected. Alas! The same is still the condition of the Jews.
Righteousness by works and by faith is contrasted. Moses, in whom they trusted as their great teacher, describes the righteousness which is of the law in these words, “the man who doeth those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness by faith is likewise mentioned by Moses; but for the Holy Spirit calling attention to it in this passage, it would never have been known. Deuteronomy 30:1-20, where these words are found, speaks of the time, when Israel in a world-wide dispersion, will return with the heart to God and when He will have compassion upon them. Then their heart will be circumcised and grace will be manifested towards them. Driven out of the land for having broken the law, they will hearken to the Word and obey in faith.
“The Apostle therefore quotes such terms as exclude ‘doing’ on the part of man. Righteousness springs out of the finished work of Christ (Romans 10:3-4), and there can be no ‘finished’ work while man is endeavoring to be saved by law, for this would be virtually to undo what Christ has done. That which would be impossible to man, God has already done in Christ. All the ‘doing’ required by the law, has been accomplished by Jesus Christ, and everything that is required now from men is to believe what Christ has done. Christ has neither to be brought down from heaven, nor to be raised again from the dead; everything has been accomplished, and all that is left is to accept in trustful thankfulness. Faith has not to acquire or Win a Saviour, but to accept One Who has already accomplished the work of redemption. God’s righteousness is not distant and difficult, but near and easy” (Professor W.A. Griffith Thomas).
And this word, which is nigh, the Apostle saith “is the word of faith which we preach.” And this it is “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shall believe in thy heart that God hath 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.” How blessedly simple all this is. Jesus must be owned as Lord; He, who died for our sins, and whom God raised from the dead. Blessed assurance, “thou shalt be saved!” Saved by grace, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
“Moreover, this 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.’“
Then twice the word “Whosoever” is mentioned, that Precious Gospel word, which includes all, Jews and Gentiles, for there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile, for the same Lord over all is such unto all that call upon Him. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21). All proves that righteousness is by faith and is offered to all. The statement in Joel also refers to a future day in connection with the coming deliverance of the remnant and the coming of the Lord.
And this good news for Jews and Gentiles must be proclaimed, for how can they call on Him, in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe on Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they have been sent? Of such a gracious world-wide mission the law had nothing to say. Its message and the promises were confined to the nation Israel. The Lord Jesus as the minister of the circumcision sent His messengers only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:1-42); but after His death and resurrection He gave the commission “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached unto all nations, beginning in Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). And the Lord sends forth His messengers; even so it was written before in Isaiah 52:7. (A careful study of this passage and the context shows its future meaning likewise, at the time, when the Lord reigneth, “when the Lord shall bring again Zion,”) All is of Him, the righteousness, the salvation as well as the proclamation. But not all obeyed the gospel, nor do all obey the gospel call now. This also was foretold by Isaiah, in the great chapter (53) in which Israel’s rejection of the Messiah is foretold, as well as the future confession of that rejection. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
Romans 10:18-21.-- Israel is unbelieving. They heard and believed not. The law and the prophets had borne witness to the fact that the Gentiles would believe (Deuteronomy 32:21; Isaiah 65:1). And in infinite patience and longsuffering the Lord had stretched forth His hands unto Israel as a disobedient and gainsaying people. They were unbelieving and set aside. Their future restoration is the theme of the next chapter.