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Romans 10

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10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Paul has just finished talking about the relationship between God and Israel and His (God’s) fulfillment of His promise by through Israel by the method of His choosing.
But that brought up this questions of God’s justice because it can sound like He is just arbitrary and unjust and this is certainly not an appropriate view of God.
But as Paul finishes up his defence he continues on to the overall question by bringing up another point of view.
That the gentiles who have not pursued righteousness are given it while those in Israel have pursued it are not given it.
And this again goes to the greater question of faith and justice.
and Paul ends 9 by combining two passages from Isaiah to describe the reality of Jesus.
He is both the corner stone and the stumbling block.
For those who believe He is the cornerstone of the new temple that God is building from His people, but because participation in that new temple is dependent upon faith in Christ He is also a stumbling block to those trying to attain righteousness through any other means. Specifically the Jews.
Which for Paul is devastating as he mentions here.
He longs for his people to come to faith in Christ .
They are zealous but as he says their zeal is misplaced they are concentrating on the wrong thing or at least not placing the correct thing in the center of their focus.
Paul then says their zeal is not on God’s righteousness but rather a righteousness that is determined by their own judgement and that is still eating off of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Tree of the knowledge of good and evil (meaning)
But Christ is the culmination of the law - it is fulfilled in Him and so being righteous can only be accomplished by faith in Him - trusting that He was who He said He was and did what He said He would do and because of that we receive what He said we could receive.
And not just for the jew but for anyone who places their trust in Christ.

5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” a 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” c (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” d (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” f that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” l 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” p

So for Paul the distinction is that their are two thoughts one is that righteousness (upright before God) can be earned by doing something that either brings us up to the level of God (which is impossible) or by not doing it earns us a trip to hell
But the law although it points us in the correct direction it doesn’t give us the power to achieve what it demands of us.
It wasn’t meant to do that - we even see instances in the Old Testament where they may have been following the letter of the law but their hearts were still far from God.
They didn’t understand that the law was meant to reflect God in order to draw his people to him so He can redeem them, rather they thought that the law is what earned them God’s love.
But righteousness by faith does accomplish that task. Because it recognizes the gift of God’s righteousness and shows you that you can’t earn it, but rather just trust it and that draws you close to God because you see how completely dependent upon Him you are.

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” q

This is a very famous verse and is used to encourage the preaching of the Gospel which it should,
But there is also another deep understanding of this passage and that is that it is furthering the idea that their position with God is established in believing what is preached to them about Christ not by living out the law.
And because of that everyone who is a part of communicating that Gospel that message of hope is blessed and favored by God.
And since it is believing the message and not doing the law (and this is Paul’s point) there are some implications to who is and who isn’t apart of Israel and why.

16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” s 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world.” v

19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,

“I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;

I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” x

20 And Isaiah boldly says,

“I was found by those who did not seek me;

I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” y

21 But concerning Israel he says,

“All day long I have held out my hands

to a disobedient and obstinate people.” z

If righteousness is accomplished through hearing the Gospel what haven’t all the Israelites accepted that message because they did hear it.
God did reveal it to them.

11 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” g 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

So if they haven’t accepted it then is God not fulfilling His promise (this goes back to an argument a couple of chapters ago..
Paul says no God has not forgotten his people that he chose.
And Paul is showing us that even though it may look like that it isn’t true, He is reaching and redeeming His people but we don’t have His perspective.
And
But it cannot be based upon what they do who where they come from

7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,

eyes that could not see

and ears that could not hear,

to this very day.” n

9 And David says:

“May their table become a snare and a trap,

a stumbling block and a retribution for them.

10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,

and their backs be bent forever.” p

So essentially Paul is saying okay so then God is choosing only certain ones from Israel to be saved. Because Paul that is what this sounds like that God is choosing people from Israel and not extending grace to all in Israel.
that is not at all what he is saying. Because for Paul “Israel” is God’s chosen, God’s called (those who have responded to the gospel)

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!

Paul now begins what I believe is one of the greatest explanation of what it means to be God’s chosen people.
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