Saturday, December 12, 2009

Romans 10:1-13 by Dr. Mal Couch

Mal Couch, Ph.D., Th.D.

Romans 10:1-13

Dispensation (PERIOD) OF Grace—Salvation available to all

In this section the apostle Paul shows that the Jews sought God’s righteousness by law-keeping and not by faith. But for now, the Lord is mainly reaching and calling the Gentiles to salvation. They are coming to Christ by faith and not by works. In Isaiah 11:28 it was prophesied that all can come to God by faith alone. The Law was never given as a way of salvation but as a goad to drive sinners to seek God’s mercy and grace. The object of that belief now is Israel’s Messiah!

Brothers, the blessing of my heart, and the prayer toward the God, concerning them (the Jews), [is] towards salvation. (10:1) (Couch, Greek Translation)
10:1 The word "blessing" is a compound (eudokia) from eu=good, and dokia=thinking. Thus: to think good toward. It usually is translated "blessing" but why the NAS translated it "desire" I am not sure! Heart (kardia) has to do with the affections, the emotions. Paul wants his emotions "moved," "blessed" by the salvation of his Jewish brothers. Alford translates "blessing of the heart" as "the inclination of the heart," signifying "the motion of desire." Paul continues his "prayer" (deasis) or "petition" to God that He would open their eyes to accept their own Messiah and King as their Savior!

God is not presently working with the Jews under the dispensation (PERIOD) of a theocracy, or of the Law, as in the Old Testament, but now the gospel of personal encompasses by Jew and Gentile. Someday, the Lord will again work in the future Kingdom PERIOD with the Jews as the central people of history. For now, we are in the PERIOD of Grace!
For I am testifying to them that they a zeal for God they are having, but [in contrast], not according to knowledge. (10:2) (Couch, Greek Translation)
10:2 "For" (gar) leads us to an explanation in Paul’s thinking. He now shows the reason and the "whys" he has sympathy for the efforts of the Jews, for salvation, thought that effort is misdirected! "Having" is a Present Indicative of the verb echo. One cannot disclaim the enthusiasm Israel has for the Lord. They posses a zeal (enthusiasm) for Him but they fail to come to Him by His prescribed method—by faith.

"Knowledge" is the word epignosin. Thayer translates the word as "precise, correct knowledge." Alford adds: "accurate apprehension of the way of righteousness as revealed to them." They are aiming in the right direction but they keep missing the target!
For being unaware of the righteousness of God, and being zealous to establish their own, they have not submitted [under attached] [themselves] to the righteousness of God. (10:3) (Couch, Greek Translation)
10:3 The word "unaware" (agnoeo) is a compound word with the a=negative, and gnoeo=related to knowledge. We must be careful because the apostle is not saying they really want the truth but just seem to keep missing it be accident! The Jews are un-excusable because they have traveled down a path of salvation that is clearly marked as wrong! Paul would probably add that they had the truth before but now are choosing to ignore and overlook it!

"Submitted" (upotasso) is a compound word: upo=under, tasso=to attach. It is an Aorist Passive in form and can be translated: "They have not been attached-under God’s righteousness." "To establish" is the Greek word histami with the idea of "to set, place in order." The Jews had reached a stage of arrogance in which they thought they did not need God’s provision for redemption. They could make it on their own!
For the end of the law—Christ—into righteousness to all the ones believing (10:4) (Couch, Greek Translation)
10:4 The "end" (telos) means: Christ is the object at which the law is aimed. Christ is the termination of the law. Some say: Christ, who had succeeded in keeping the law, was also the object and aim of the law. But this may not be the meaning of Paul here.

By writing "to all the ones believing" the apostle Paul now opens wide the door for the Gentiles. Works and law keeping could not bring about righteousness. If the Jews had only used the law rather than abuse it, they would have embraced the advent of Christ as their Savior! Alford points out that the law was never intended as a way of salvation, it was powerless to justify. The law rather was meant to impart to the sinner a knowledge of his sinfulness, and to awaken in his heart earnest longings for some powerful deliverer! If they Jews would have looked more closely at their sinfulness, as amplified by the law, they would have quickly embraced the saving grace of Christ!

"All the ones believing" is a Present Participle and vividly pictures a sea of those who are coming to Christ by believing. It is an ongoing surge of a great host of people who today, tomorrow, and the next day, keep on coming to the Lord for salvation!

The into (eis) is a Preposition of Reference (D&M, p. 103). "With reference to righteousness."

For Moses writing—that the man who does the righteousness out of the Law shall himself live in them. (10:5) (Couch, Greek Translation)
10:5 Again, the apostle uses the Present Tense with the word "writing." What Moses wrote is still applicable to the argument presently. Paul is quoting Leviticus 18:5 where Moses puts the Jews on notice. If they desire to keep the law they must live out the laws in their life. But this is not what the Jews were doing by the time of Christ and Paul. The law was kept only in a sloppy way, yet the Jews were pretending that what they did was enough to secure their salvation.

Paul is creating or presupposing a hypothetical argument. If one is going to claim law-keeping for salvation then they had better get with it and follow through! The apostle uses a Future Middle Indicative of the verb "to live," zao. "He himself had better start performing and living perfectly the law if he hopes to be saved by it!" Or, as Alford puts it, "He must live in the strength of it, by means of, as his status, accruing from it righteousness." However because of the weakness of the flesh this is impossible!
For the righteousness out of faith likewise is saying, Do not say in your heart, who will himself go up into the heaven? (This is to be bringing Christ down), or, who himself will go down into the abyss? (This is to bring Christ up from the dead ones) (10:6-7) (Couch, Greek Translation)
10:6-7 This at first seems to be a complicated argument of the apostle taken from Deuteronomy 30:11-14. But after looking after it carefully, it is not! The point of the passage, beginning in verse 11, is to ask the question: "Is God’s commandment from His law "too difficult for you, or is it out of reach?" The argument continues in verses 12-13: "Must we go up to heaven in order to get God’s laws and to be able to hear them?" Or, "Is God’s laws beyond the sea where we have to go in order to hear them and serve Him?" No. His word "is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it."

Paul applies these principles found here in Deuteronomy 30:11-14 to the issue of trusting in Christ. To trust Him is not a complicated issue. It is not a secretive process. He is near and all one has to do is simply trust Him!

Thus, as Alford notes, "Justification by faith in Christ is a plain and intelligible doctrine. It is not shut up in mysterious language. It is like what Moses says of the statutes which he gave to Israel, plain, intelligible, accessible. It is brought before the mind and heart of every man." (pp. 418-19)

What is so interesting about these verses (10:6-7), and Paul’s quoting of Moses in Deuteronomy 30:11-14, is that the apostle is really trying to show the Jews how simple and basic it is to trust Christ as their Savior. The Deuteronomy 30 passage is trying to tell Israel how fundamental and fulfilling it is to hear the law and understand its message. Paul then quotes Deuteronomy 30 and applies its principle to the simplicity of just trusting in Christ as Savior, as over against trying to keep the law!

But in contrast, what is [it] saying? Near is the utterance in the mouth of you and in the heart of you. This is the utterance of faith which we are proclaiming, … (10:8) (Couch, Greek Translation)
10:8 This verse, and verse 9, has often been misunderstood. To understand Paul’s point one has to go back to the Deuteronomy 30:10-14 passage. Moses is saying that there is a close connection, not separateness, with what is in the heart and soul, and what comes out of the mouth. The mouth reflects what is in the heart. The law written in a scroll (v. 10) is available and one must turn to the Lord God "with all your heart and soul." Then what one hears and observes (v. 14) is tied together "in your mouth and in your heart."

Some falsely have thought Moses, and now Paul, is arguing for a "two-step" in salvation. You must (1) believe and then (2) verbalize your faith or you are not saved. But this is not Moses’ point about law-keeping nor is it Paul’s point about being saved.

that if you should be confessing in the mouth of you [the] Lord Jesus, and if you should be believing in the heart of you, that the God raised Him out from the dead ones, you shall be saved! For with the heart it is being believed into righteousness and with the mouth being confessed into salvation. (10:9-10) (Couch, Greek Translation)
10:9-10 The grammar of these two verses makes my point. Both the confessing and the believing are Aorist Subjunctives but they are controlled by only one "if" which is the Particle ean. This means the "confessing" and the "believing" are not separated, they are tied together grammatically. The "you shall be saved" works off of the two verbs (confessing, believing) together. One could almost translate the passage, "If one is confessing, that is, believing, he shall be saved!"

The same can be said of verse 10. One Particle (for, gar) controls "with the heart/with the mouth." T. Robertson, the great Greek scholar, gets the point that I saw many years ago in my study of Romans. This passage is really a passage that is tremendously applicable to the Jews. And the key issue is the word Lord (Kurios). When one says "Lord Jesus Christ," the "Lord" issue comes from Psalm 110:1. This is an expression of deity and one of the designations of God Himself. For a Jew to believe in Christ’s resurrection, in a sense, is not enough. He then cannot deny the issue of the deity of Jesus. He must accept the fact that Christ is the Son of God (Psa. 2). His confessing this fact is something that was extremely important for the Jews. The Gentiles coming to the Lord for salvation did not argue this point, but the Jews might. Amillennialist A. T. Robertson sees the light about the Jews and states in his Word Studies:

Concerning confession of Jesus as Lord, no Jew would do this who had not really trusted Christ, for Kurios in the LXX is used of God. No Gentile would do it who had not ceased worshipping the emperior as Kurios. The word Kurios is the touchstone of faith. (p. 389)
Amillennialist Charles Hodge also comes close to agreeing with us dispensationalists and premillennialists—he sees the light when he writes:

This confession, therefore, includes in it an acknowledgement of Christ’s universal sovereignty, and a sincere recognition of his authority over us [as Israel’s Lord, Psa. 110:1]. To confess Christ as Lord, is to acknowledge him as [Israel’s] Messiah, recognized as such of God, and invested with all the power and prerogatives of that office. (Romans, p. 341)
For the Scripture is saying, each the one believing upon Him will not be disgraced! (10:11) (Couch, Greek Translation)
10:11 Again, from Isaiah 28:16, Paul is using the Present Tense for "the Scripture is right now, presently saying." Its message is applied to us today. The word "disgraced" is the better translation of "disappointed." See Romans 9:13.

This verse makes it clear that the "confession" of him with the mouth is paramount to the believing. It is the believing specifically that saves!

Notice again the context of Isaiah 28:16: It is about the Jews accepting the Messiah, the rock of stumbling. They must believe in Him in order to not be disappointed. All of these verses have as the primary reference point the nation of Israel. It is always implied in Scripture that belief in Him is always to the Gentiles equally so!
For there is no distinction of Jew and Hellenist, for the same Lord [is] of all, rich into all the ones calling upon Him. (10:12) (Couch, Greek Translation)
10:12 In this verse Paul says just what I said in the last sentence above. We are now in the Age (PERIOD, DISPENSATION) of Grace and God is not now working with Israel as a kingdom and theocracy, with the key city Jerusalem, from which the Messiah will reign worldwide. We are now in the PERIOD of the church, but this will end with the rapture of all believers just before the coming of the terrible Day of the Lord, the time of the Wrath! The earthly kingdom has been postponed but it is soon coming back on line when the Messiah comes dramatically from heaven following that gruesome and horrible seven year time of tribulation.

For whoever is calling upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (10:13) (Couch, Greek Translation)
10:13 This is another "Jewish verse" though appropriate for the salvation of the Gentiles. Kroll writes:

Paul restates his belief that the gospel is offered to all by quoting the prophet Joel (Joel 2:32). The expression "call upon the name of the Lord" is a common Old Testament expression of worship to God (cf. Gen. 4:26; 12:8; 1 Kings 18:24; Psa. 79:6; Isa. 64:7). (Romans, Kroll, p. 169)

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