posted on Nov, 8 2019 @ 05:03 PM
In the first chapter of this letter, Paul told the Romans about his eagerness to visit Rome and preach the gospel there and “reap some harvest among
In the meantime, this letter serves the same purpose.
Paul has been presenting the gospel, explicitly addressing the Jews, which presumably means the unconverted Jews of Rome.
But once Paul has finished his explanation of the gospel, he turns back to the first recipients of this letter, the Christians of Rome, and begins
expressing his grief about the response of the Jews in general.
He might have been expected to resent their hostility.
So he protests vehemently that his sorrow is genuine. He is not lying (ch9 v1)
(“I am speaking the truth in Christ” is an oath, technically, which shows that we ought not to get too pedantic about the condemnation of
He goes into hyperbole; he could almost wish to be accursed in their place, if that were enough to save them from judgement.
That would not be necessary, of course, because Christ has already done that (Galatians ch3 v13), but even the offering of Christ could not serve them
Yet it would be desirable to save them. They have been the recipients, and the guardians for the rest of the world, of everything that God has given
in the Old Testament period, including the sense of his presence, his personal relationship, and the first revelations of his will.
They have been what I call “the first point of contact”.
The sorrow comes because most of the Jews are not receiving the gospel, and their. distrust of God’s message seems to separate them from their
We were told previously that God “works together with” those who love him and those who are called according to his purpose.
So this failure can be explained in two different ways- they have not loved God, or he has not called them.
Over the next couple of chapters, Paul will be offering both explanations.
On the one hand, the Jews have not been pursuing righteousness through faith.
That would be the natural conclusion from the previous chapters.
Paul gives this explanation as a paradox (vv30-32).
The Gentiles did not pursue righteousness, yet they have attained it through faith.
The Jews did pursue righteousness, in their own way, but did not attain it.
They did not attain it because they were pursuing it through the works of the law, instead of resting on faith.
The necessity of faith has proved to be a “stumbling-block”, and they have tripped over it.
So the desire to see them saved amounts to a desire that they should be enlightened on this point (ch10 vv1-4). They must see the need to look to
Christ for the righteousness which comes from God.
“For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified”.
Then Paul finds another way of supporting faith-righteousness from scripture, based on what Moses says about the nearness of the word (ch10
“For the commandment which I command you this day is not… far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say ‘Who will go up for us to heaven and
bring it to us?’… Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us?”… But the word is
very near you; it is in your mouth and it is in your heart, so that you can do it.” (Deuteronomy ch30 vv11-14).
In Deuteronomy, this is a call for obedience to the law.
But Paul reinterprets the questions.
Why must we not look for someone to go up to heaven? Because Christ has gone up to heaven already. If we look for someone else, we implicitly deny
that Christ has ascended, which has the effect of bringing him down again.
Why must we not look for someone to go to the other extreme, to the abyss or the world of the dead? Because Christ has already been down to the world
of the dead. If we look for someone else, we implicitly deny that he has been down there, which has the effect of bringing up him again.
In other words, looking for anything other than Christ (such as righteousness through the works of the law) is a way of denying the achievement of
The word which is close to you, on your lips and in your heart, is the word of the gospel through faith in Christ.
That is, you believe in your heart that God raised Christ from the dead, and you confess openly that “Christ is Lord”, and that is how you are
justified and saved.
Scripture says, again, that “no one who believes in him shall be put to shame”, and “every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be
saved”, and Paul applies these promises to faith in Christ.
In this respect, he repeats that there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; which means that the Jews had just the same chance as everybody else