An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
(Romans 10:9-10)

This year’s fall prophecy conference will take us through Romans chapters 9-11. Since we have already done that last winter as part of our Monday Night Bible Class, I am very interested to see how the other teachers handle this material. I have been asked to preach through Romans 10 at the conference, which I am very happy to do (I already have prepared notes!). As I see it, this chapter may be distilled into 3 main points concerning Israel and the Glorious Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 Timothy 1:11). First, Israel desperately needs to know and believe it. “For I bear them record,” wrote Paul, “that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2). Religious zeal alone is not enough. In fact, zeal without knowledge can be deadly (Acts 22:3-5). Though we needn’t be religious scholars, God requires that we get to know Him (Jeremiah 9:23-14; John 17:3). This means understanding something of His righteousness and how we might have it imputed to our account through faith. The Jews refused this knowledge, unwilling to submit themselves to the plans, purposes, and known will of God (10:3). Paul makes it clear, however, that Israel could have known it. This is the second great theme of Romans 10; God has made His Gospel plain to them. New Covenant priests have been witnessing to them since Pentecost, and the message they preached isn’t hard to understand either. Paul wrote, “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (10:6-8). In other words, in Paul’s modified citation of Deuteronomy 30-11-14 we get the message that understanding the Gospel does not take monumental effort, tantamount to scaling heaven itself or descending into the depths of the earth. The Gospel is quite plain in its meaning. Furthermore, Paul reminds Israel that they had the tremendous advantage of being custodians of the Old Testament Scriptures, which predicted not only the Gospel and the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Romans 10:18), but of their rejection of it (10:16). Lastly, we may be very sure that Israel will know and believe the Gospel one day. Just as they provoked God to anger and jealousy through their faithlessness and disobedience, God will provoke them through the witness of saved Gentiles (10:19-20). At long last, Israel will respond affirmatively to God’s prolonged saving posture towards them (10:21). Truly, our God is good and wise beyond human comprehension (Romans 11:33-36)!

God bless,

pastor john