By Andrew E. Courtis
Paul begins with a passionate and heartfelt statement, “Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved” (10:1). This is a theme spread through this section (9:1; 10:1 and 11:1). This reveals Paul’s evangelistic zeal which is something we should all reflect. In this chapter, Paul demonstrates the reason for Israel’s present rejection (10:2-3) and the resolution to their present rejection (10:4-13). He concludes with the means in which one comes to salvation and a gracious offer of salvation (10:14-21).
1. THE REASON (10:2-3)
Israel was such a privileged people (9:1-5) yet they are have rejected the Messiah. What is the reason for this? Israel sought salvation from self-righteousness. Paul wrote, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness” (10:2-3). They had a wrong kind of zeal (10:2) and a wrong kind of righteousness (10:3). Here we learn that passion, religiosity and sincerity do not equal salvation. Tragically, Israel did not put their trust in Christ alone for salvation. Instead they attempted to earn their own salvation. The same is true today, if you are trusting in anything other than Jesus Christ alone, you are not saved.
2. THE RESOLUTION (10:4-13)
What is the solution to such a problem? They (like all sinners) need salvation from faith alone in Christ. Paul declared, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (10:9). To confess with the mouth that Jesus is Lord means to truly affirm Him as your Lord and Master. This is evidenced by believing in what Scripture says concerning Him, including His resurrection from the dead. This great salvation is not limited to rebellious Israel, but is available to all who call upon the name of the Lord (10:13).
If the salvation of sinners is to take place, God has appointed a series of means that are necessary to occur. If someone is to be saved, (1) they are to call upon the Lord to save them by believing in Him. (2) They believe in Him because they heard about Him. (3) They heard about Him because someone told them this message of salvation. (4) Someone shared this message because they were sent (10:14-15).
Sadly, even though God provided such means, Israel heard it but did not embrace this good news (10:16-17). God in His plan extended the offer of salvation to Gentiles (10:18-20), but in His kindness and mercy, He still extends an invitation for them to come and believe (10:21). This then opens up the question, what is the future for Israel? This will be answered in the next chapter.
- Why is wrong for a person to think that religious zeal means they are saved?
- List a number of reasons why Israel rejected the Messiah? See 10:1-3.
- What is the only remedy for Israel’s rejection? See 10:4-13
- What are the four stages necessary before a person calls on the Lord to be saved? See 10:14-15 (they are in reverse order)?
- Though Israel rejected salvation, what does God offer them? See 10:18-21