Romans 10:1–4, 8b–18a; 11:28–32comment (0)
October 20, 2011
By Robert Olsen
Related Scripture: Romans 10:1–4, 8b–18a; 11:28–32
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
It’s All About God’s Plan
Romans 10:1–4, 8b–18a; 11:28–32
In Chapter 9, Paul dealt with the salvation of Israel and expressed that birth did not merit salvation. By the time of Paul’s writing, many Jews believed that salvation came through obedience to the law. In Romans 9:30–32, Paul stated that the Gentiles had received salvation through faith but the Jews had not received salvation because they tried to earn it. This is not to say Jews could not be saved; after all, Paul was a Jew. But it shows the Jews’ mindset at this time — they believed that the purpose of God’s law was to bring salvation. The law was never meant to be for salvation. If it was, then the Old Testament prophets would have focused on it instead of the Messiah who would bring salvation.
Pray for Others (10:1–4)
These verses continue the theme of the salvation of the Jews. The Jews had persecuted Paul several times in various cities. Reading the Book of Acts, one can see how often the Jews incited people and governments against Paul. Paul had been a persecutor of Christians when he was so brilliantly converted on the road to Damascus. However, this did not turn Paul against his people. He longed for his kinsmen to experience the same freedom of the gospel that he had experienced. Paul could certainly relate to them, since he was once just as they were. But the love he experienced from Christ overflowed into those who hated him. Of course, this is how it should be for all of us who have experienced the gospel. If God sent His Son to die for sinners such as us, then surely we should demonstrate this same love to others, even to those who hate us. This is what motivates Christians to go to nations where the people kill Christians. As Jim Elliot, the missionary killed by natives in Ecuador, said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Tell Others (10:8b–14)
In this section, Paul laid out clearly the message of faith that he preached to both Jew and Gentile alike. First one must confess Jesus as Lord. This demonstrates that he or she knows his or her place in relation to his or her master. Jesus is Lord means He received the supreme rank over us. However, just verbal confession is not enough to be saved. It requires a belief in the heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection is of vital importance for Christians. If He did not rise from the dead, then our faith is useless; Paul said so in 1 Corinthians 15:14. Believing in the heart indicates that this transforms our lifestyle and choices; it is not some sort of intellectual head knowledge. Belief and confession involve an entire commitment of our lives. Paul was not saying that salvation is saying a magic confession and believing a proposition about Jesus. When Paul said everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, he was reiterating that salvation is for all peoples, not just Jews or Gentiles.
Send and Go to Others (10:15–18a)
But if salvation only comes through faith in Christ, then how can those who have never heard of Him experience salvation? Verses 14–15 address this and are two of the main verses to support Christian missions. Only by hearing the gospel can people be saved, which means that Christians need to be proclaiming this saving message to all the nations as well as the neighbor across the street. Even if we do not go ourselves, we can assist those who do go. Giving money for the spread of the gospel is something that we should participate in.
Include All Others (11:28–32)
Speaking to the Gentiles, Paul stated that even though the Jews had rejected the gospel, this was to their advantage, because this meant that he could bring the gospel message to them. However, just because the Jews had rejected the gospel did not mean that God no longer loved them. After all, these were the people through whom the Messiah came. God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and He made promises to them that will carry over to their descendents. Regardless of race or ancestry, the gospel is for all who believe by faith in Jesus Christ, both Jew and Gentile.