How did Gentiles get saved? By faith in Christ Jesus even though they weren’t previously trying to follow God by performing the works of the Old Covenant Law. But remember that doing the works of the law never saved anybody. Salvation has always been an issue of faith and not works.
Look here at how Paul sums all of this up.Salvation is not of works but by faith in Jesus Christ.So even if you have trouble understanding election or God’s choosing, you can still simply understand that at the end of the matter is still a person’s responsibility to come to God by faith in Jesus Christ and no other way. Have you done that?
Paul has a deeper understanding about his fellow Jews than most of us. Paul was once a man who had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge...
4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
He was so zealous for God he persecuted the church to death. listen as shares his testimony with the Jews in Jerusalem just after being arrested for stirring up the crowds… (no time to read this)
3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. 12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’
You see Paul knew what it meant to be zealous for God without knowing who God was and his heart is broken for those who are now what he once was.
There are many sincerely zealous people out in the world who do horrible things in the name of their god, who believe they are doing the right things that please their god, but the problem is they don’t actually know God because they don’t personally know Jesus Christ.
Many think they are doing God’s work, but they don’t realize the first step is knowing Jesus Christ…
28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
The only way any person can truly know God is to come to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on our behalf.
The Jews that Paul is referring to here are those who have not yet come to Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, an that is why he says they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge.
What is the knowledge they lack? - God’s righteousness imputed to us through our relationship with Christ Jesus. These Jews thought they could earn their righteousness, but the first 8 chapters tells us over and over that nobody can work their way to God and earn their place in heaven.
20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
This is why Paul says that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. You see when a person (Jew in this case) comes to Christ who perfectly fulfilled the law for us (Matthew 5:17) they now come to God in the name of Jesus and covered in His perfect righteousness and not in their best efforts to earn righteousness by their works. What this does is make the basis for our relationship with God one of faith in Christ the perfect One and instead of the basis being our best efforts at keeping the law that we fail to keep perfectly on our own.
The person who does the commandments shall live by them
This is a quote from the law...
5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.
- If you want to adopt the works of the law as your way to salvation then understand that you have to live out the law in perfection...
10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”
However if you come by faith to God through Jesus Christ the perfect and holy One who has provided salvation to us by His perfect work of redemption then a simple saving faith is what is required. Paul wrote about this at length regarding Abraham back in chapter 4.
There is no (work) chasing Jesus up to heaven or down to the abyss trying to get saved. Just believing upon His work for us is necessary for salvation.
The word is near your you is also a quote from the Law, you see Paul is making a very clear case regarding the Jew that even in the Law salvation was an issue of faith and not works, in that a Jew had to believe what God said about right, wrong, life, death, salvation and jusgement...
11 “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. 15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
Alford a Greek scholar said about this verse...
“Personifying the great Christian doctrine of free justification through faith, he (Paul) represents it as addressing every man who is anxious to obtain salvation, in the encouraging words of Moses: ‘Say not in thine heart, (it says to such an one) etc.’ In other words, ‘Let not the man who sighs for deliverance from his own sinfulness suppose that the accomplishment of some impossible task is required of him in order to enjoy the blessings of the gospel. Let him not think that the personal presence of the Messiah is necessary to ensure his salvation. Christ needs not to be brought down from heaven, or up from the abyss, to impart to him forgiveness and holiness. No. Our Christian message contains no impossibilities. We do not mock the sinner by offering him happiness on conditions which we know that he is powerless to fulfill. We tell him that Christ’s word is near to him: so near, that he may speak of it with his mouth, and meditate on it with his heart.… Is there any thing above human power in such a confession, and in such a belief? Surely not. It is graciously adapted to the necessity of the very weakest and most sinful of God’s creatures.” (Alford)
Now notices that all of this hinges not on the works that a person can do in regards to the law, but on the word of faith that we proclaim.
There are 2 primary words in the Greek we translate as “word” in English.
Logos - which essentially speaks of the totality of expression of an idea or person such as
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The expression of Jesus Christ as the Word.
But here the Greek word rhema is used.
Rhema - to say or to speak - the message spoken - rhema describes the word spoken or the power of the word spoken to penetrate the heart. In the context here it is that the word is in regards to faith, and that faith is in Christ, and because it is a word of faith and not a work of the law it is the means for salvation and peace with God.
The word “faith” describes the contents of Paul’s message. It is a message of salvation in which faith is the appropriating method of obtaining salvation.
“because” is a continuation of thought and description of what Paul said in verse 8 regarding the word of faith being near you, in your mouth and in your heart. The idea is that verses 9-10 build upon and elaborate by way of explaining what verse 8 means.
Confess homologeo- is an interesting word that is made up of 2 words in the Greek homos (same) and lego (to speak). so confess means to speak the same thing or to agree with God regarding the way of salvation being in and through faith in Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Now just by way of reminder the context of chapters 9-11 is the Jew. These are monuments and even scandalous thoughts for a Jew!
Now pause for a moment and think about this for a minute in your own life.
Do you confess and believe everything the Bible says about the Lord Jesus Christ?
Now again for a Jew especially to confess Jesus as Lord was a major step away from their previously held position and beliefs. In Judaism to proclaim that Jesus or anyone else for that matter is Lord is to commit idolatry and is punishable by excommunication and even death. But that again is because of their zeal for the law of God that is lacking in their knowledge of the God who gave the law and saves sinners.
Lord is the Greek word kurios - it was a title given to Caesar as an act of worship to him, but more importantly was the Greek word used in the Greek Septuagint translation of the OT for Jehovah.
So realize that for a Gentile to confess Jesus as Lord meant that they were at risk of punishment including death for calling someone other than Caesar Lord, and the Jew was likewise at risk of punishment including death for proclaiming Jesus as Lord.
The weightiness of confessing Jesus as Lord is diminished in our day and age here in the U.S. because of our freedoms which we enjoy as citizens and also because of the Christianization of the western world. For instance in N.C. where our older kids and grandkids live, almost everyone you meet would say they are a Christian. It’s part of southern culture. But in the days this was written it meant everything changed in a person’s life.
To really drive the point home to his fellow Jews, Paul quotes from Isaiah
16 therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
Jesus Christ is the cornerstone rejected by men (Jews)
Peter said it like this...
6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
Peter also quoted this in Acts 4 when he said...
11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Isn’t it interesting that if a person only read chapter 9 they might come to the conclusion that the Calvinist is right regarding salvation that it is all about God’s election alone, and yet if a person read through this section they might come to the conclusion that the Arminian is right regarding a persons responsibility to confess and believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation?
How then will they call - is in reference to the “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” from the previous verse.
Only the KJV and NJKV include the later phrase
Romans 10:15 (NKJV)
15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Thats is simply because of the variants in original manuscripts and doesn’t change the meaning at all.
Now as to beautiful feet - The idea in using feet as the thing of beauty seems to be the haste that is made in running with the message of good news for the nations to hear and thus have something to believe.
Paul again quotes from Isaiah when he says who has believed what he has heard from us. This quote is from Isaiah 53:1, and if you know the book of Isaiah you know that from the end of Isaiah 52 through all of 53 the context is about the coming Messiah, Jesus.
Hearing through the word (about) Christ
Here Paul quotes from Palm 19:4. Psalm 19 is a psalm that shows how God has declared His truth throughout the whole world in the way that He created and ordered the world.
In the context Romans 10, Paul uses the quote to prove that the word of the gospel had been preached to the Jews by their prophets, by Jesus Christ Himself, by the Apostles, and through the lives being changed all around, and yet the Jews continued to reject it. And they as we saw in the previous verses will be held accountable for their rejection.
Did Israel not understand?
How? They are the ones God chose to reveal Himself to, gave His law , sent the prophets to, and even sent their Savior. How of all people could they not understand? It is not that they misunderstood, it is that they rejected.
When Moses said in
21 They have made me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
The idea was that God would offer salvation (which the Jews thought was exclusive to them only) to other nations as a way to make the Jews jealous for a relationship with God and the salvation that comes with that relationship.
1 I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name.
This was a bold thing for Isaiah to proclaim knowing full well the response he would receive from the Jews.
And it was equally a bold statement for Paul to make and get the attention of the Jews in the hope that they would be saved.
2 I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices;