Romans 10

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This chapter opens with Paul’s earnest desire for the salvation of Israel (Romans 10:1). Paul expands on his argument that Israel pursued righteousness by works rather than faith (Romans 9:32).

Romans 10 Outline

Zeal without knowledge
Basis of righteousness
Law vs. Faith
Belief, confession, and justification
Preaching produces belief
Faith comes through hearing
Salvation of the Gentiles

Two Responses

In Romans 9:30 to 10:21, Paul showed that Israelites and Gentiles responded differently to God’s call for righteousness.

Despite God’s repeated appeals (10:21), Israel disobeyed God and sought to establish a righteousness of their own (Romans 10:3). Pursuing righteousness by works, they rejected Christ in whom they did not believe (9:32-33, 1st Peter 2:6-8).

Presented with the same gospel (10:12-13), Gentiles accepted Christ, and pursued righteousness by faith rather than by works (Romans 9:30-31). In this manner they attained righteousness.

A Hard Saying

Paul wrote about ascending into Heaven and descending into the abyss (Romans 10:5-9) to show that the gospel we have been given is sufficient to save everyone (Romans 10:12).

The imagery for this hard saying comes from Deuteronomy 30:11-14, where Moses gave final instructions to Israel. Moses told Israel to keep God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 30:10). Then he used a word picture to show that they already possessed what they needed to obey God’s commands.

God’s rules were not far away (Deuteronomy 30:11). No person needed to go up to Heaven to get them from God (Deuteronomy 30:12). No person needed to cross the sea to find God’s commands (Deuteronomy 30:13). In fact, God’s rules were in their mouths and hearts, so they could obey them (Deuteronomy 30:14).

Paul applied this figure to the gospel. There was no need to ascend into heaven or descend to the abyss to retrieve Christ, because Jesus already revealed his will to us.

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