Summary: The apostle Paul began chapter 9 by saying that he could wish himself accursed from Christ if his countrymen according to the flesh could be saved but that could never happen, because Jesus had already been the once and for all sacrifice for sins. He b
Chapter 9 concludes by saying that the gentiles have attained to something that Israel had not: the righteousness of faith, v30. They missed the righteousness of God, because they did not pursue it by faith, v32, and it became a stumbling block to them.
The apostle Paul began chapter 9 by saying that he could wish himself accursed from Christ if his countrymen according to the flesh could be saved but that could never happen, because Jesus had already been the once and for all sacrifice for sins. He begins chapter 10 by saying his prayer and heart’s desire for Israel is that they might be saved. Then, in verses 2 and following, he begins to tell why they have missed salvation.
They didn’t realize, as verse 4 says, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” They had another idea for righteousness, and it was to earn it through the works of the law. They believed in being good and doing good, but they did not believe in finding righteousness in a person, the person of Jesus Christ. Verse 5 says that the only way a person could attain righteousness by the law would be to keep it perfectly, and no one has done that, except Jesus.
They did not understand how to receive the righteousness that comes by faith. Verses 6-8 tell us that we do not need to bring Christ down from heaven or up from the dead, though He has already been brought from both of those places. But, what people need to know is that the word of faith is very near us, it is in our mouth and in our heart. What is in our heart is revealed by the words of our mouth, and the words we put in our mouth get down into our hearts. If I constantly confess unbelief and fear, that’s what will be in my heart. On the other hand, if I constantly confess confidence in God, that’s what will be in my heart. Verse 10 indicates the belief of the heart doesn’t become a personal reality in your life until you express it, or confess it. Even the person who isn’t able to physically speak can express this confession. I led a man to the Lord, who had cancer of the throat, and he couldn’t speak a word. I wrote, on a piece of paper for him, “I have trusted Christ as my Savior, and now I am saved.” I told him if he really meant it, to show that paper to people who came to see him. For the next several days, I received many phone calls from people who had seen his note. The reason some people don’t want to speak words of faith, and even confess their newly found faith in Christ, is because they are afraid they will not be able to continue in faithfulness. Verse 11 answers that objection.
They did not acknowledge that there is no difference between Jews and Greeks, when it came to receiving salvation. Verses 12 and 13 tell us that this is true, there is no difference! Jesus had said, in John 12:32, “And if I be lifted up, I will draw all peoples to Myself.”
They didn’t realize the importance of those who preached the message of salvation. We see in verses 14-15 that the messenger is absolutely necessary. People have to hear, and they can’t hear without a preacher, and the preacher can’t preach unless he is sent. The word “sent,” here, refers to the support he receives from other believers, as they make it possible for him to take the message.
The chapter ends on the note that not everybody who hears believes. Verse 17 says that hearing builds faith. But, we need to understand that this is not simply listening to words, but it is receiving the words with understanding and commitment to do them. This is consistent with Jesus saying that we are to be doers of the word, as one who builds on the rock. When I was a boy, if I failed to carry out something my dad told me to do, he would sometimes say, “You’d better hear me.” I understood what he meant! This is the same kind of hearing spoken of in verse 17.
Verse 18 says that Israel has heard, but the problem is that they chose not to believe. Chapter 11 is going to tell us that God is not through with His people Israel, but today, we live in the day of grace for the whosoever wills of this world. Today, you are either a “whosoever will,” or you are a “whosoever will not.” There’s only one word difference between those two, but that word is the difference between heaven and hell.