Romans Chapter 10

Paul’s Prayer for Israel, who had Zeal, without Knowledge of, or
Subjection to, God’s Righteousness: Fundamental Contrast between the
Righteousness of Doing and That of Believing. Verses 1-10.

Believing Method was According to Israel’s Own Scriptures,—unto which
They did not Hearken: as God had Foretold. Verses 11-21.

Brethren, the dear wish of this heart of mine, and my prayer to God for
them, [Israel] is for [their] salvation. 2 For I bear witness to them
that they have a zeal for God, but not at all according to knowledge. 3
For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish
their own, they did not subject themselves to God’s righteousness. 4
For Christ is the end of the Law unto righteousness, to every one that

addresses all saints concerning his yearning for national Israel’s
salvation. The words my heart’s desire are literally, “the dear
pleasure of my heart.” Israel’s salvation was to Paul a thing of
delight to contemplate and hope for. Moreover, as always, Paul puts his
wish for them into prayer to God: in which all spiritual longings
should end!

Verse 2: He bears them this witness, and gladly,
that they had a zeal for God, but he most strongly denies that there
was any real knowledge of God and His ways in that zeal. Mohammedans
have zeal. When I passed through the Azhar Mosque, in Cairo, a Moslem
merchant was kneeling, forehead on the carpet, in prayer. Four hours
later I saw him still kneeling! And outside were over 10,000 students,
diligently learning the Koran! Zeal must not be Mistaken for knowledge
in Divine things. See Josephus quoted below.207 It is perhaps unkind in
this place, (so tender with Paul), to cite the religious zeal of pagan
or Mohammedan. But Paul himself classes the “beggarly elements” of Jew
and pagan together! (Gal. 4:8-10), since the cross.

Verse 3:
But it is certainly a terrible thing we see. Here is the Jew with God’s
own Book, the Old Testament Scriptures, in his hand, and blind to that
Scripture’s revelation of his guilty, lost state before God. The Jews
were in a fearful condition in two ways:

First, they were
wholly ignorant of the one great, vital fact sinners must know: that
righteousness, life, and all things are a free gift of the grace of
God; and that the Law was meant only to make them discover their sin
and their own helpless need of the outright gift of righteousness from
God. The expression ignorant of God’s righteousness, does not mean that
the Jewish people were ignorant of holiness and righteousness as
attributes of God,—in fact, they prided themselves on the knowledge of
such a God as over against the hideous pagan gods. But the
righteousness of which they were wholly ignorant was that while “God
Himself was just,” He was also “the Justifier of the ungodly” of all
who “believed on Jesus.” As we said in Chapter Nine, the Jews had
seized upon their possession of the Law as in itself giving them a
standing with God. Our Lord could have spoken to almost any Jew as He
did to the woman at Sychar’s well: “If thou knewest the gift of God,
and Who it is that saith to thee!” For of a gift of righteousness they
had no conception.

The Law dispensation was necessarily
unfruitful, “making nothing perfect,” because it neither imparted life,
nor gave strength to fulfil its demands. As Paul writes to the Hebrews,
there was a “disannulling” of it, and a “vanishing away” of the legal
covenant (Heb. 7:18; 8:13).

When Christ came, although born
under the Law in order to redeem Israel (Gal. 4:4, 5), yet He Himself,
from the very beginning, took the place of the Law! In the Sermon on
the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, and 7) He declared: “It was said . . . but I
say.” He came, indeed, not to destroy but to fulfil, and inasmuch as
Israel was under the curse of the Law, He redeemed them that were under
the Law ‘by becoming Himself a curse for them (Gal. 3:13).

Christ in His ministry, (“lest we cause to stumble,”—Matthew 17:27)
paid due heed to Moses’ directions (as in the case of the leper—“Go
show thyself to the priest”), yet He never, for example, enforced the
Sabbath: indeed He freely wrought healings on that day, in the face of
the murderous hatred of the legalists.

The Law was designed
not to bring about self-righteousness or self-hope, but contrariwise,
self-despair. The law witnessed to a man his need of a mediator—as at
Sinai (Deut. 5:23-27). Christ Himself is the righteousness of God. When
He died, bearing the sin of the world, the Law’s demand for human
righteousness was over, ended, closed up, set aside. Christ has now
been “made of God unto us righteousness”: we want no other. But it is
not easy to subject ourselves unto God’s righteousness: for God
justifies the ungodly. Justification is a gift for very beggars, the
only hope for the guilty, lost and undone208 The Jews, ignorant of
God’s gift of righteousness utterly refused thus to subject themselves.
They said “We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man
[Jesus], we know not whence He is!”

John the Baptist’s
ministry is full of meaning here. It is both a precious and an awful
thing—the results of John’s testimony. Luke tells us: “All the people,
when they heard [John], and the publicans, justified God [when John
preached repentance and confession of their sins], being baptized with
the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for
themselves the counsel of God, being not baptized of him” (Luke 7:29,
30). It is touching to the spiritual heart to find, for Instance, that
all five of those converted in the first chapter of John were John’s

Second, to this day they seek to “establish their
own righteousness.” But in this path that “seemeth right unto a man” is
the way of death, yea, of direct rebellion against God.209

(the Jews) were desperately set on establishing, building up that which
God had cast down, that is, human righteousness. They heard with deaf
ears their own prophets’ voices: “There is none righteous, no not one.”
“All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Therefore, the Jews were,
and are today, worse off than the heathen. Their Law—“whensoever Moses
is read, a veil lieth upon their heart” (II Cor. 3:15). According to
Isaiah 25:7, there is “a covering that covereth all peoples, a veil
that is spread over all nations” (to be removed in Millennial days,
thank God!). But over the face of the Israelite there is now not only
the common blindness of man to his own condition as a sinner, but,
added to that, the false confidence the Jew has in his own
righteousness because the Law was given by Jehovah to his nation.210

4: Christ is the end of the Law unto righteousness to every one that
believeth. There has been much discussion of the meaning of the word
“end” here. Let us see if Scripture does not clear up this matter for
us. When Christ died, He bore for Israel the curse of the Law, for
they, and they alone, were under the Law. Divine Law, being broken,
does not ask for future good conduct on the part of the infractor; but
for his death,—and that only. Now Christ having died, all the claims of
the Law against that nation which had been placed under law were
completely met and ended. So that even Jews could now believe, and say,
“I am dead to the Law!”

To him that believeth, therefore, Jew
or Gentile, Christ, dead, buried, and risen, is the end of law for
righteousness,—in the sense of law’s disappearance from the scene! Law
does not know, or take cognizance of believers! We read in Chapter
Seven (verse 6) that those who had been under the Law were discharged
from the Law, brought to nought, put out of business (katargeo), with
respect to the Law! The Law has nothing to do with them, as regards

The Scripture must be obeyed with the obedience
of belief: “Ye are not under law [not under that principle] but under
grace” (the contrary principle). “Ye are brought to nothing from Christ
[literally, “put out of business from Christ”], ye who would be
justified by the Law; ye are fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4). Paul
writes in Heb. 7:18, 19: “There is a disannulling of a foregoing
commandment, because of its weakness and unprofitableness (for the Law
made nothing perfect), and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope,
through which we draw nigh unto God.” Again, “Christ abolished in His
flesh the enmity [between Jew and Gentile], even the Law of
commandments contained in ordinances” (Eph. 2:15); again, speaking as a
Hebrew believer, Paul says, “Christ blotted out the bond written in
ordinances that was against us which was contrary to us: and He hath
taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:14).

these Scriptures do not set forth a complete closing up of any
believer’s account toward the Law, or to the whole legal principle, I
know nothing of the meaning of words.

The words Christ is the
end of the Law, cannot mean Christ is the “fulfilment of what the law
required.” The Law required obedience to precepts—or death for
disobedience. Now Christ died! If it be answered, that before He died
He fulfilled the claims of the Law, kept it perfectly, and that this
law-keeping of Christ was reckoned as over against the Israelite’s
breaking of the Law, then I ask, Why should Christ die? If the claims
of the Law were met in Christ’s earthly obedience, and if that earthly
life of obedience is “reckoned to those who believe” the curse of the
Law has been removed by “vicarious law-keeping.” Why should Christ die?

this idea of Christ’s keeping the Law for “us” (for they will include
us among the Israelites! although the Law was not given us Gentiles),
is a deadly heresy, no matter who teaches it. Paul tells us plainly how
the curse of the Law was removed: “Christ redeemed us,” (meaning Jewish
believers), “from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us”
(Gal. 3:13). And how He became a curse, is seen in Deuteronomy 21:23:
“He that is hanged is accursed of God.” It was on the cross, not by an
“earthly life of obedience,” that Christ bore the Law’s curse!

was no law given “which could make alive,” Paul says; “otherwise
righteousness would have been by it.” Therefore those who speak of
Christ as taking the place of fulfilling the Law for us,—as “the object
at which the Law aimed” (Alford); or, “the fulfilment or accomplishment
of the Law” (Calvin); give the Law an office that God did not give it.
There is not in all Scripture a hint of the doctrine that Christ’s
earthly life—His obedience as a man under the Law, is “put to the
account” of any sinner whatsoever! That obedience, which was perfect,
was in order that He might “present Himself through the eternal Spirit
without spot unto God,” as a sin-offering. It also was in order to His
sacrificial death, as “a curse,” for Israel.

The gospel does
not begin for any sinner, Jew or Gentile, until the cross: “I delivered
unto you first of all, that Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3).

for those under the Law, that was the end (telos) of the law. The Law
had not been given to Israel at the beginning as a nation. They came
out of Egypt, delivered from Divine wrath by the shed blood of the
passover; and from Egypt itself by the passage of the Red Sea; Jehovah
being with them. Go now to Elim with its “twelve wells of water and
three score and ten palm trees”: there the nation is encamped with
their God. They have yet not been put under law at all. The Rock is
smitten, giving them drink, and Manna, the bread of heaven, is given,
all before Sinai!

Therefore we must believe God when He says
in Romans 5:20: “The Law came in [not as an essential, but] as a
circumstantial thing.” (The Greek word, pareisēlthe, “came in
along-side,” can mean nothing else.)

In Paul’s explanation of
God’s dealing with Israel in 9:31-33; 10:5-10; 11:5,6, the meaning of
this word telos “end,” appears: that, when an Israelite believed on
Christ he was as completely through with the Law for righteousness as
if it had never been given. He had righteousness by another way!

vast discussion among commentators concerning the expression “the end
of the Law,” would never have been, had it been recognized: (1) that
God gave the Law only to Israel—as He said; (2) that it was a temporary
thing, a “ministration of death,” to reveal sin, and therefore the
necessity of Christ’s death; (3) that Christ having come, the day of
the Law was over—it was “annulled” see Heb. 7:18.

It is
because Reformed theology has kept us Gentiles under the Law,—if not as
a means of righteousness, then as “a rule of life,” that all the
trouble has arisen. The Law is no more a rule of life than it is a
means of righteousness. Walking in the Spirit has now taken the place
of walking by ordinances. God has another principle under which He has
put his saints: “Ye are not under law, but, under grace!”

For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of
the Law shall live thereby. 6 But the righteousness which’ of faith
saith thus. Say not in thy heart. Who shall ascend into heaven? (that
is, to bring Christ down:) or, 7 Who shall descend into the abyss?
(that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The
word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of
faith, which we preach: 9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth
Jesus to be [thy] Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised
Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: 10 for with the heart man
believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made
unto salvation.

The apostle now takes us into a great contrast
between the way of the Law and the way of faith. He first quotes
Leviticus 18:5, where God said to Israel: “Ye shall therefore keep My
statutes, and Mine ordinances; which if a man do, he shall live in [or
by] them: I am Jehovah.” You ask, Why did God make such a statement if
no one was to obtain life by the Law? The answer is two-fold. First, in
the plain utterance of Galatians 3:21: “If there had been a law given
which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the
Law”: God never placed in the Law the power to give life! Second, the
Law is called a ministration of death and condemnation: “But if the
ministration of death, written, and engraven on stones, came with glory
. . . if the ministration of condemnation hath glory” (II Cor. 3:7-9).
It was never intended that people should’ gain hope by it, but rather
that they should despair and be driven to cast themselves upon God’s
mercy, as did David (Psalm 51:1-19). Thus the Law becomes a
“youth-leader” leading unto Christ (Gal. 3:24). Now, we humbly beg you,
permit these Scriptures to “shut you up,”—according to Gal. 3:22! God
had a right to put Israel under the Law for 1500 years from Moses to
Christ; and He did so, knowing they could obtain neither righteousness
nor life by that Law, since both were through faith in Christ only:
and, “the Law is not of faith” (Gal. 3:12).

Now follows a most
remarkable use by Paul of a Scripture out of Moses’ own mouth which he
spake to Israel concerning the Law, and which Paul here applies to
Christ. It will be best to quote the passage from Deut. 30:11-14 in

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is
not too hard for thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that
thou shouldest say. Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto
us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? Neither is it beyond the
sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and
bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? But the
word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, .and in thy heart, that thou
mayest do it.”

Moses, who had been with Israel forty years, and had been their
mediator in bringing the Law down from Mount Sinai unto them, is about
to die. He is leaving with them not only the ten commandments, but also
all the statutes, ordinances, precepts and judgments connected with
them. Now what will be the natural reaction in the hearts of Israel,
when Moses goes up to the top of Pisgah and dies, and Jehovah buries
him? It will be this: “Moses, who brought us this Law, is gone! Moses
received this Law from Jehovah, who came down from heaven to the top of
Sinai in great majesty and display of glory. Now Moses is dead; and all
we have left is, these written words! Our circumstances are altogether
different from those of our fathers, who saw the awful presence of
Jehovah on Sinai and heard His voice. Who will go up to heaven for us
now, and come down, and make us hear this Law, in the same way our
fathers heard, that we may do it? Or, if there be someone away beyond
the sea, some wonderful teacher (like Moses) whom we can send for, to
come across the sea and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we
may do it—.”

Now Moses’ answer to all this is, “The word is
nigh unto thee— in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do
it.” That is, the written words of the Law the people knew: they could
repeat them; they were told to teach them diligently unto their
children, and, as David did, “hide them in their hearts “ that they
might not sin. It was all simple, indeed. And, of course, there were
those, like Joshua, who said, “As for me and my house, we will serve
Jehovah”; or who, like Zecharias and Elisabeth in Luke 1:6, were
“righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances
of the Lord blameless.”

But the great point Moses makes with
Israel is that there was the Law, in simple, plain words. They needed
no sign, no manifestation; that had all been done at Sinai. But the
great difficulty in the human heart (with Israel just as with us), is
simple subjection to God’s words. See how the Jews in our Lord’s day
kept asking of Him, “Show us a sign from heaven.”211

Verse 6:
Now Paul knows the human heart to be the same today as in the days of
Moses, so he lifts out of Deuteronomy Moses’s words about the Law and
applies them to faith in Christ: The righteousness which is of faith
[instead of asking a sign] saith thus, Say not in thy heart, Who shall
ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down:). This would be the
natural working of the heart of a Jew. The Messiah, Christ, was to be
sent to him from God; in fact, the nation had kept looking for Him. But
the perpetual rising of unbelief, apart from “a sign from heaven,” was

It is very striking, as has been observed by others,
that the Spirit of God should select the verses quoted above from
Deuteronomy. For this chapter plainly prophesies that the Jews will be
scattered among the nations because of their despising of God’s Law. So
that all hope from the Law will have perished, and they will be cast
wholly upon the mercy of God:

“among all the nations, whither
Jehovah thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto Jehovah thy
God, and shalt obey his voice . . . with all thy heart, and with all
thy soul; that then Jehovah thy God will turn thy captivity, . . . and
will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, . . . and He
will do thee good.”

Into this dead, hollow shell, then, of legal hope, Paul here in
Romans Ten, takes verses 11 to 14 of Deuteronomy Thirty, and puts faith
in Christ in place of the Law! Israel will at last, at the end of the
age, be cast upon the mercy of God! And then they will understand these
great chapters, Romans Nine, Ten and Eleven, were written concerning

Verse 7: So that the Jew said in his heart. Who can
ascend to heaven to bring Him down unto me? Then further, Christ being
proclaimed that He had been sent already, and had borne their
iniquities according to prophecy,—that He had died,—there would come
the question in the Jewish heart: Who shall go down into the abyss and
bring Him up from the regions of the dead212 that I may see Him and
thus believe on Him?

Verse 8: Now, answering all these
inquiries, these sign-askings, came the simple word of faith preached
by Paul. This expression, “the word of faith,” involves the whole story
of the gospel: that Jesus was the Christ, that He had come, died for
sin, been buried, been raised, and been seen by many witnesses after
His resurrection (I Cor. 15:3-8).

Verses 9 and 10: Paul
speaks, then, in these verses—as if addressing a Jewish hearer: If thou
shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord [literally, Jesus, Lord; or,
Jesus to be (thy) Lord], and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised
Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. It is assumed the whole gospel
has been preached to this hearer. And now is he persuaded that this
Risen Jesus, was really the Messiah? And, though rejected by Israel,
that He is Lord over all,—the Deity? And is his Lord? And is he willing
so to confess Him as his own Lord before men?

With thy
mouth—We remember that in our Lord’s ministry among the Jews, “Even of
the rulers many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did
not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they
loved the glory of men more than the glory of God” (John 12:42, 43).

does this Jewish hearer, in short, being persuaded of Jesus’ Lordship
and confessing it, believe in his very heart that God raised Him from
the dead? For Christianity, as we have said, “begins with the
resurrection.” No matter how thoroughly persuaded a Jew might be that
Jesus fulfilled the prophecies in His birth, life, ministry, and death;
there remained this stupendous task of faith, to believe in the heart
that God had raised Him from the power and domain of death, of that
which was the wages of sin,—the “King of Terrors” (Job 18:14) of the
whole world!

Those thus confessing Christ’s Lordship, and
believing in the heart that God had raised Him, would be saved! The
explanation of the apostle of what has happened in such a case is, that
with the heart the man, believed unto righteousness; while with the
mouth the faith of the heart is boldly followed in confession,
resulting in salvation.

You may ask, would not a Jew (for
these chapters particularly concern Jews) who had “believed unto
righteousness” have, thus, salvation?213 It is better to let the
Scripture language stand. God here connects the word salvation with the
word confession, not with the word faith. Peter, in his second epistle,
speaks of those who “had known the way of righteousness,” which is
always faith,—and then afterward “turned back from the holy commandment
delivered unto them” (II Peter 2:20, 21); while our Lord in Luke 8 says
of the rocky-ground hearer that he “believed for a while, and in time
of temptation fell away.” Therefore, while in both parts of Romans
10:10, Paul refers to the man of verse 9 as one who is to be “saved,”
it is well to let the verse remain as it is. The Lord when on earth
among the Jews asked that they confess Him publicly; the Spirit still
asks this. Not only Jews but Gentiles must confess Him; although the
form of presentation of the truth in Chapter Ten is as it would apply
to a Jew, to whom had been offered a Messiah, concerning whose claims
he had to decide, according to several Old Testament Scriptures. The
Gentiles did not have the Scriptures, and the matter of the
presentation of the gospel to them was much more simple. But
“confession with the mouth” will follow “the faith of God’s elect,” Jew
or Gentile.

Now, as ever when dealing with the Jews, Paul
turns to their Scriptures, and quotes eight times from the Old
Testament, before this Tenth Chapter is out—thirty times altogether in
these three chapters (9,10, and 11)!

11 For the Scripture
saith. Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be put to shame. 12 For
there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is
Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon Him: 13 for, Whosoever
shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall
they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they
believe in Him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear
without a preacher? 15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent?
even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring
glad tidings of good things!

Verses 11 and 12: The Scripture
saith: the believer learns to love this word, “the Scripture” (our old
word graphē!). The manner in which its Author, the Holy Spirit, makes
the Scriptures of the Old Testament speak, in the New, is comfort
without limit! And here is Isaiah 28:16 again, which was quoted (from
the Septuagint) in the last verse of Chapter Nine. The Jews should have
seen from that word whosoever believeth that simple faith in their
Messiah was God’s way, and that the message meant “whosoever.”

should have been warned also that inasmuch as believing was God’s
way—the path in which those who walked would not be put to shame; those
who chose the way of works, of self-righteousness, would surely be put
to shame. This word “ashamed” or “put to shame” is in the Hebrew, to
flee—from fear. Those who have exercised simple faith in Christ, and
abide thus in Him, shall “have boldness: and not be ashamed before Him
[Christ] at His coming”—“;boldness in the day of judgment; because as
He is, even so are we in this world” (I John 2:28; 4:17).

“whosoever” message is further developed in verse 12, where we see the
familiar words no distinction between Jew and Greek. We remember this
as the exact expression used as to universal sinnerhood in Chapter
3:22; which is now used as to salvation. For, first, He is Lord of all,
and second, He is rich unto all that call upon Him.

great words must be laid to heart. They bring great comfort, directly
to any Jews who desire the Savior, and also to the hearts of all of us,
Jew and Gentile, because the universal availability of salvation is so
gloriously opened out here, based as it is upon the universal lordship
of Christ. As Peter said at Cornelius’ house to Gentiles, “The word
which He sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of
peace by Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all).” It is a great day when a
human heart turns to this Savior who is Lord of all, for he immediately
finds Him “rich unto all.”

Verse 13: And then the great word
by the prophet Joel is brought forward: Whosoever shall call upon the
name of the Lord shall be saved (Joel 2:32). Now who could miss the
meaning of this simplest of all messages? Now, (if we should preach on
this verse!) First, salvation is promised. Second, it is a be-saved,
not save-yourself, salvation. Third, it is the Lord who is to do it.
Fourth, He does it for those who call upon His Name. Fifth, He does it
for the whosoevers, for anybody. What a preacher, Joel! But note that
Paul is writing to Jews, and is giving Old Testament texts. For Paul’s
great gospel message is to hear and believe “the word of the cross,
which is the power of God.” This message goes away beyond that of the
Old Testament. Paul preached the good news of a work finished. It was
for the “whosoevers”: and Joel’s use of that word should have convinced
any Jew of God’s purpose of salvation to any one, to all. But Paul does
not mean that his gospel was “Call on the Lord.” His gospel was, Christ
died for our sins: He was buried, and was raised, for you: hear and

These “whosoevers” should have taught the Jews that
the way of salvation was not by their Law or any special way for them,
but for any and all. Alas, the word “whosoever” was too wide for the
narrow Jewish mind in Joel’s day and Paul’s day and is so today.214

14 and 15: But now Paul takes these two “whosoever” verses, and from
them answers the Jew, who not only relied on his law-keeping instead of
on simple faith to save him, but also denied that either Paul or any of
the apostles had any right to proclaim salvation by a simple message,—a
message that left out the Law and Judaism. If salvation were to come
unto them that “call on the name of the Lord” argues Paul, calling is
impossible to one who has not believed on the Lord; and believing is
impossible to one who has not heard the message about the Lord; and
hearing is impossible unless some one comes preaching the message; and
preaching is impossible except the messenger be Divinely sent! And
again Paul clinches it with the Scripture (Isa. 52:7): How beautiful
are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! Moses’ Law
was not glad tidings, but a ministration of death and condemnation.
“The Law worketh wrath.” But the gospel—“Glad tidings! Good things!”
And God who knows, calls “beautiful” the feet that carry such news. Are
our feet “beautiful”—in God’s eyes?

Paul now, with a saddened heart, goes back to the record of Israel’s refusing the glad tidings:

But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith,
Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So faith is from a report, but
the report through the word of Christ. 18 But I say, Did they not hear?
Yea, verily,

Their sound went out into all the earth,

And their words unto the ends of the world.

19 But I say. Did Israel not know? First Moses saith,

I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation,

With a nation void of understanding will I anger you.

20 And Isaiah is very bold, and saith,

I was found of them that sought Me not;

I became manifest unto them that asked not of Me.

21 But as to Israel he saith, All the day long did I spread out My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

16, 17: Astonishing thing,—refusing good news! Men will hearken to good
news along all other lines,—business, pleasure, social preferment,
ambition, physical health. Go to any stock exchange and see them watch
the ticker tape; or behold the political candidates sitting up all
night for election news favorable to them. But the apostle mourns along
with Isa. 53:1: Lord, who hath believed our report? Probably men’s
unbelief is the greatest final burden before God of every man who
speaks for God, “Lord, they do not believe.” They said to Moses, “You
take too much upon yourself!” (Num. 16:3); to Ezekiel, “Is he not a
speaker of parables?” (Ezek. 20:49) ; to Amos, “The land is not able to
bear all your words: Flee away to Judah and eat bread”—you are just
looking for money! (Amos 7:10-13); to Jeremiah, “As for the word that
thou hast spoken unto us in the name of Jehovah, we will not hearken
unto thee” (Jer. 44:16-19). And hear that weeping prophet tell of his

“Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud; for Jehovah hath
spoken. Give glory to Jehovah your God before He cause darkness, and
before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and while ye look for
light, He turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.
But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret for your
pride; and mine eyes shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because
Jehovah’s flock is taken captive” (Jer. 13:15-17).

Our Lord said to those of the multitudes that gathered to hear Him,

“This people’s heart is waxed gross,

And their ears are dull of hearing,

And their eyes they have closed;

Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes,

And hear with their ears,

And understand with their heart,

And should turn again,

And I should heal them” (Matt. 13:15).

He prophesied that His preachers would find “wayside hearers,” “rocky
ground hearers,” “thorny ground hearers”; and then, in one out of four
cases, a “good ground hearer.”

Verse 17: So faith is from a
report; but the report through the word of Christ—The Greek term here
for “word” is hrēma, not logos. It literally is, “saying,” “speech,” as
in John 3:34; 14:10; Acts 11:14. Faith, indeed, however, does come from
a report; and there must be a message and a messenger, sent of God; as
we have seen. But Christ accompanies this preached word by His Almighty
“voice,” as we know from John 5:25: “The hour cometh, that the dead
shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.”
It is a “quickened” word, that creates living faith.

It is
here that the missionary urge comes! Christ must, indeed, utter His
creating word from Heaven to the dead soul, saying, Live! But in II Corinthians
5:18, 19, 20, we see that while “God was, indeed, in Christ reconciling
the world unto Himself,” He has “committed to us [Greek, “placed in
us”] the word of reconciliation.” So that God is entreating by us: we
beseech (people) on behalf of Christ, “Be ye reconciled to God!”

indeed, comes of hearing. Do not imagine men will be saved in any other
way. Earnest, prayerful Cornelius is commanded (and that by an angel)
to send for “Simon whose surname is Peter, who shall speak to thee
words by which thou shalt be saved” (Acts 11:14). “It pleased God by
the foolishness of preaching [lit., the preached thing—Christ
crucified] to save them that believe” (I Cor. 1:21 marg.). Note also
that “faith cometh.” If you hear, with a willing heart, the good news,
that Christ died for you; that He was buried; that He was raised from
the dead:—by truly “hearing,” faith will “come” to you. You do not have
to do a thing but hear! So there is God’s part—He gave, by the Spirit,
the written Word. And Christ’s part,—He speaks, quickening the Word.
And your part: “He that hath ears, hear.”

Verse 18: But Paul
goes on to mourn: But I say, Did they [Israel] not hear? Yea, verily.
And then he makes a quotation from a wholly unexpected Scripture, even
Psalm 19:4:

Their sound went out into all the earth,

And their words unto the ends of the world.215

19: Paul proceeds: Did Israel not know?—concerning this whosoever-plan,
this believing-plan, this calling upon the Lord’s name and being saved?
Yea, even about this constant warning by their own Scriptures that if
they were unfaithful God would extend His mercy to the Gentiles? First,
he calls Moses to witness (Deut. 32:21):

I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation,

With a nation void of understanding will I anger you.

which is no nation—compared with the marvelous place and privileges of
the race of Israel, it could be said of every other people, “It is no
nation, a nation void of understanding” (of the things of God). I will
anger them—for Israel can be reached in no other way—either then or
now! God seeks to provoke them to jealousy: beware how you palaver over

Verse 20: Now finally Paul calls Isaiah again to the
witness stand; and Isaiah gives a double testimony: he is indeed very
bold in his prophecy of Gentile salvation:

I was found of them that sought me not;

I became manifest unto them that asked not of me.

Then Isaiah becomes exceedingly mournful as to wretched Israel’s disobedient and gainsaying attitude (see verse 21).

Jews could read this passage and remain unmoved, in their traditions,
formalities, and unbelief, only faithful preachers can imagine,—who
have had to deal with the titanic possibilities of evil and unbelief in
the human heart.

As showing how far Christendom has lost the
whole spirit of the gospel, we remind you that everywhere people have
the idea they ought to “seek” salvation; they are everywhere told they
ought to “go to church.”216

How many now reading these words
believe that Romans 10:20 is God’s program for this Gentile day? You
say, Should we not seek God? No! You should sit down and hear what is
written in Romans: first, about your guilt, then about your
helplessness, and then about the inability of the Law to do anything
but condemn you; and then believe on Christ whom God hath sent; and
then praise God for righteousness apart from works, apart from
ordinances! hear how God laid sin, your sin, on a Substitute, His own
Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and that now, sin being put away, God has
raised Him from the dead. Seek God? No! God is the Seeker, and He has
sought and is now seeking those that asked not of Him, and has been
found of those who sought Him not!—but simply heard the good news and
believed! Praise His Holy Name!

Verse 21: But, alas, poor
Israel! Jehovah, through Isaiah, speaks thus of them: All the day long
did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people
(Isa. 65:2). What yearning, what love, what pleading, what patience!
And it is The Creator, God Himself, here, spreading out His hands!
Towards whom? Towards a disobedient people; a people that, being
rebuked, did deny and gainsay their prophets, and even their own
Messiah,—as they do unto this day!217

It should astonish and
warn us—every unbelieving Jew we see! Astonish us, that the human heart
should treat God so! And warn us: for, as we shall see in the next
chapter, we Gentiles are now being “visited” by God,—this same God of
Love: and He is stretching out His hands to usward! May we early yield
to Him!

And here, lest we miss the lesson for us, in
considering wretched Israel’s rejection of their Messiah, let us read a
message to our own hearts:


WHY dost Thou pass unheeded,

Treading with piercèd feet

The halls of the kingly palace,

The busy street?

Oh marvellous in Thy beauty,

Crowned with the light of God,

Why fall they not down to worship

Where Thou hast trod?

Why are Thy hands extended

Beseeching whilst men pass by

With their empty words and their laughter,

Yet passing on to die?

Unseen, unknown, unregarded,

Calling and waiting yet—

They hear Thy knock and they tremble—

They hear, and they forget.

And Thou in the midst art standing

Of old and forever the same—

Thou hearest their songs and their jesting,

But not Thy name.

The thirty-three years forgotten

Of the weary way Thou hast trod—

Thou art but a name unwelcome,

O Savior God!

Yet amongst the highways and hedges,

Amongst the lame and the blind,

The poor and the maimed and the outcast,

Still dost Thou seek and find—

There by the wayside lying

The eyes of Thy love can see

The wounded, the naked, the dying,

Too helpless to come to Thee.

So Thou art watching and waiting

Till the wedding is furnished with guests—

And the last of the sorrowful singeth,

And the last of the weary rests.—

C. P. C. (in Hymns of Ter Steegen).


Jew knows the Law better than his own name . . . The great feasts were
frequented by countless thousands, . . . Over and above the
requirements of the Law, ascetic religious exercises advocated by the
teachers of the Law came into vogue . . . Even the Hellenised and
Alexandrian Jews under Caligula died on the cross and by fire, and the
Palestinian prisoners in the last war died by the claws of African
lions in the amphitheatre, rather than sin against the Law. What Greek
would do the like? . . . The Jews also exhibited an ardent zeal for the
conversion of the Gentiles to the Law of Moses. The proselytes filled
Asia Minor and Syria, and—to the indignation of Tacitus—Italy and Rome.”

Surely the Jews of Josephus’ day had a “zeal for God.”


is what God calls ‘subjecting ourselves to God’s righteousness’:
finding a righteousness which is neither of nor in ourselves, but
finding Christ before God and the proud will, through grace, submitting
to be saved by that which is not of or in ourselves. It is Christ
instead of self—instead of our place in the flesh.”

Hill, at the close of a great meeting, saw a lady riding in an elegant
carriage, who commanded her coachman to halt, and beckoned Mr. Hill to
approach her.

“Sir,” she said, “my coachman came to your
meetings and says you told him how to be saved; so that he is now very
happy. Please tell me how a lady of the nobility is to be saved, for I
also desire to be happy.” “Madame,” said the preacher, “Christ died for
the whole world. God says there is no difference. All are to be saved
through simple faith in Him.”

“Do you mean,” she said haughtily, “that I must be saved in the same way as my coachman?”

“Precisely. There is no other way.”

“Then,” she said, “I will have none of it!” and she made her coachman drive away.


As Stifler so well says: “The Jews claimed that in following the Law
they were submitting to God, for He gave the Law. No, says Paul; in so
doing you are not submitting to the righteousness of God. ‘For Christ
[whom God gave and you reject] is the end of the Law for [with a view
of] righteousness to every one that believeth.’ The Jew’s system was
one of doing; but God’s was one of believing, one of grace. Law and
grace are mutually exclusive and antagonistic systems. Because the Jew
held to Law he was not in subjection to God. The proof that he was not
is the great principle of grace here recorded.”


It is with unutterable sadness that we contemplate the even worse
condition of the Laodicean Church of today! “Wretched, poor, miserable,
blind, naked”—and knowing it not! Christ on the outside of the door!
Yet outwardly rich, and increased with goods!


It is so to this day, and sad to say, the tendency to demand “signs” is
increasing rather than lessening. If a man come announcing “healing
meetings” (although no such “meetings for healing” are known in
Scripture), the place will be crowded. History is full of spiritual
wreckage caused by “Lo, here,” and “Lo, there!”


Our Lord plainly said he would be three days and three nights in the
heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40). This was not Joseph’s tomb (which
was on the surface of the earth), but the Hebrew Sheol (Greek, Hades),
which is always in Scripture located below the earth’s surface—even
“the lower parts of the earth” (Eph. 4:9). To another compartment of
these “lower parts” the wicked also went; as see Ps. 63:9. That this
was in the general region called Hades, the rich man of Luke 16:22, 23
proves. (Always read the Revised Version about the words Sheol—Hades:
for it transliterates them. The King James simply obscures them by
various renderings.) While Christ’s body lay in Joseph’s tomb “not
seeing corruption,” His soul (or quickened spirit, I Peter 3:18)—as
Peter and Paul, quoting Ps. 16:10, plainly show (Acts 2:31; 13:34, 37)
was duly brought up again “from the depths of the earth” (Ps. 71:20).


is directly connected with the word “righteousness” or “justification,”
about twenty times in the New Testament, but faith is directly
connected with the word “salvation” only four times; and these four
instances (Rom. 1:16, I Pet. 1:5, 9, 10) themselves show that whereas
righteousness expresses the present standing of a believing one;
salvation is a larger and more inclusive word—in the sense of Rom.
13:11: “Awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer to us than
when we believed.” (In this verse our bodily redemption at Christ’s
coming, is included). And, I Peter 1:5: “Guarded through faith unto a
salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” This shows that
although we do “receive the end of our faith, the salvation of our
souls” (I Pet. 1:9), the word salvation in general includes not only
the salvation of our souls, but also the consummation of our final
deliverance at Christ’s coming.

I do not find “salvation,”
then, connected in Scripture with any but those who shall thus be found
in Christ at His coming. The words of Paul in Corinthians (I Cor.
15:1-4) outlining His gospel, are, “Ye are saved, if ye hold fast the
word which I preached unto you.” In the preceding verse, he declares
that they had “received” the gospel which he had preached unto them.
But this gospel was not to be let go. As our Lord says concerning the
good ground hearers in Luke 8:15: “These are such as in an honest and
good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bring forth fruit
with patience.” In I Thess. 5:21 the same word is translated “hold fast
that which is good.” It is solemnly used also in Heb. 3:6, 14 and
10:23. This is no argument against Divine election, or the eternal
security of the saints. But it is a truth that must be, and really is,
faced by every godly soul.

Over and over, of course, in the
Gospels, the word for saved (sodzo) is used. The word of our Lord is,
“Thy faith hath saved thee,” (or, A.V. “made thee whole”—same Greek
word). It is also used concerning salvation: Matthew 19:25, Acts 2:21,
16:30, 31. Paul also uses this word in Rom. 5:9, 10; 10:13, etc.

we are urging is that we connect in our own thinking, and confession of
our Lord,—the word “faith” with righteousness, as Scripture in the
Epistles so constantly does. In times of darkness and weak faith such
as this, the rescue from doom is uppermost in the believer’s mind;
whereas God would have his standing in Christ uppermost! How constantly
we hear in a testimony meeting, “I have been, or I was, saved ten
years,” etc.; and how very seldom, if ever, the testimony is: I have
been declared righteous by faith, and have peace with God. I am
righteous before God, through my Savior’s death. I thank God I have
been made the righteousness of God in Christ. The old Methodists used
to testify to their justification,—“justified state,” they called it.
But then old-fashioned Methodist preachers, preached of coming
judgment, of eternal punishment, of the sinner’s terrible danger; and
they boldly spoke of pardon as what the sinner needed. We believe God
has given still more light upon Scripture since those days, but would
God we had the moral earnestness and the wonderfully bright experiences
of the old-fashioned Methodists!

Again we say, God generally connects faith with righteousness. Let us do likewise.


alas, also, there are those who insist that the Jew has a special place
right through this dispensation; that he must always be “first,” that
there is a difference, although God says plainly in Chapter Three that
there is no difference between Jew and Greek as to sinnership, guilt;
and no difference as to the lordship of Christ and the availability of
salvation to the “whosoevers,” Jew or Gentile. If Paul were among us
today, he would abhor and decry the special, esoteric methods of
approach to the Jew in vogue in some pretentious quarters today. Become
all things to the Jew, to win him, certainly. Paul did. But tell him
the truth, that he is just a whosoever, and nobody else!

terrible prophecy of Ezekiel 20:33-38 (read R. V. only, here) is about
to be fulfilled concerning the scattered millions of Israel:

I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, surely with a mighty hand, and with an
outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, will I be king over you.
And I will bring you out from the peoples, and will gather you out of
the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with an
outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out; and I will bring you into
the wilderness of the peoples, and there will I enter into judgment
with you face to face.”

What the poor, wretched Jewish exiles
need this hour is a Paul to go right in amongst them with a “whosoever”
message for sinners, not a “literary-approach” Paul, but the exact
opposite, with perhaps “bodily presence weak and speech of no account,”
but “provoking them to jealousy” by boasting in a Messiah whom their
nation has lost,—a nation to whom God is not now offering a Messiah,
but instead salvation, as common whosoevers, no-distinction people,
ordinary guilty sinners, I protest that in Acts 28 God through Paul
officially closed the door to the national offer of the gospel to the
Jews, and that thereafter to treat the Jew as having a special place
with God, is to deny Scripture.


The use of the plural “their”—“their sound,” “their words,” here, is immediately evident in the familiar Psalm itself:

“The heavens declare the glory of God;

And the firmament showeth his handiwork.

Day unto day uttereth speech,

And night unto night showeth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language;

Their voice is not heard.

Their line is gone out through all the earth,

And their words to the end of the world,”

voice is the vast chorus of the created universe, and of course plural.
But Paul has just been speaking here of hearing coming by Christ’s
word. But, Christ is Himself the Creator of all this universe! For “all
things were created by Him and for Him.” We must keep this fact in mind
and allow the words of the Psalm to witness to the universality of the
testimony concerning Christ. The emphasis on into all the earth; unto
the ends of the earth must have included Israel, The “invisible things
of God were clearly perceived from the creation of the world, even His
everlasting power and divinity,”—as we saw concerning all men in
Chapter One,—but the Jews had immeasurably more! God had come down and
spoken to them on Mount Sinai; then their prophets, and then the Son,
the Heir, had come; yea, and through the apostles and Stephen they had
had the testimony of the Holy Spirit directly from Christ on high! So
Israel had indeed “heard”! Therefore, in quoting Psalm Nineteen, Paul
holds Israel to the “voice” of creation as if no other people existed.
It was their Psalm!


It is an excellent thing to go where God’s saints gather; and to
“meetings for unsaved people. But attending meetings saves no one.
There is a Savior! And good news about Him to be believed for yourself!


he (Manasseh) set the graven image of the idol, which he had made, in
the house of God, of which God said to David and to Solomon his son.
‘In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the
tribes of Israel, will I Put My name forever’: . . . And Manasseh
seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that they did evil
more than did the nations whom Jehovah destroyed before the children of

“All the chiefs of the priests, and the people,
trespassed very greatly after all the abominations of the nations; and
they polluted the house of Jehovah which He had hallowed in Jerusalem.
And Jehovah, the God of their fathers, sent to them by his messengers,
rising up early and sending, because He had compassion on His people,
and on His dwelling-place.” But alas, we read: “They mocked the
messengers of God, and despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets,
until the wrath of Jehovah arose against His people, till there was no
remedy” (II Chron. 33:7, 9; 36:14-16).