ROMANS 9:30-10:2Notice how verse 1 is similar to Romans 9:1-4a. Paul is continuing his same line of thought. Romans 10 focuses on the salvation of Jewish individuals. Rom 11 will focus on the salvation of Israel as a whole. In verse 2, Paul affirms that zeal is good (Galatians 4:17-18; 1 Peter 3:13), but it can be abused as Paul did (Acts 7:58-8:3; 9:1-6; 22:3-4). Israel has gone astray, Paul says, because they have not understood Torah properly. Paul aims to stir up Jewish curiosity by saying they do not have proper knowledge since many Jews spend their lives studying Torah, the Word of God. In verses 3-10 he explains what he means.
ROMANS 10:3-13Verse 3 explains v. 2. Verse 4 explains v. 3. Verses 5-10 explain v. 4. Verse 3 restates Romans 9:32. The Jews have missed their Messiah because they have somehow missed the central point of the Torah and not acted on it – faith – the same kind of faith as Abraham had.
Israel regrettably did not understand that the Torah teaches trust and not self-effort, not legalism, not mechanical obedience to rules. Torah teaches that the route to righteousness is trust in God. Torah not only requires righteousness based on trust but offers that righteousness based on trust. What kind of trust?
Trust in the Messiah who is the one and only pathway to the very righteousness they seek. Even better, Messiah offers this righteousness to everyone who trusts, to Jews and to Gentiles as well (Romans 10:11-13; 3:29-4:25; 9:24-30).
Only by believing in Jesus can a person obey the Torah. Unbelief in Jesus as Messiah is disobedience to Torah, because Jesus the Messiah fulfills the Torah in every way, Torah points to Him as Messiah, and the goal of Torah is this Messiah who offers the righteousness of Torah, God’s righteousness to everyone who trusts.
Romans 10:4: The word telos is important here. Our English translations translate it as “end.” Does telos mean “end” as in “termination” or “end” as in “purpose”? Telos is used 42 times in the New Testament. In five places it means “finish, or termination” (Mark 3:26; Luke 1:33; 2 Corinthians 3:13; Hebrews 7:3; 1 Peter 4:7). Most of the time it means “aim, purpose, goal” (1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 1:9) or “outcome, result, consummation (Romans 6:21-22; Matthew 26:58; Hebrews 6:8).
Christ has not brought the Torah, or God’s teaching, to an end. Remember, the Word of God is eternal. Jesus upholds the Torah (1 Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 6:2). In fact, the Good News that righteousness comes from trust in God is proclaimed in the Torah (Old Testament). That is the point of Romans 9:30-10:21. Paul already stated it in the theme verse of Romans at Romans 1:16-17 (see also Galatians 3:6ff).
Romans 10:5-10: Paul quotes from the Pentateuch, the Torah, to prove that the righteousness of God is a righteousness made of trust. In verse 5, Paul quotes Leviticus 18:5. What are the two most important teachings? Jesus said in Mark 12:28-31 what they are: Loving the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) and loving our neighbor as oneself (Leviticus 19:18). You cannot love God if you don’t trust in Him and His character. You cannot love your neighbor in God’s image without believing in the God who made both of you. Therefore Paul shows that the Torah requires trust, not works.
Verses 6-8 do not show a righteousness of Torah is different from the righteousness of belief in Jesus. Paul shows that they are the same righteousness based on the same trust, written in the same Bible, leading to the same eternal life. Verses 6-8 sharpen the meaning of verse 5 by quoting Deuteronomy 30:11-14.
The Greek word de (“but”) should be taken as “also or moreover.” What Israel is to “do” is the “word which is near you.” We “confess” or acknowledge publicly our faith in Jesus Christ (Luke 12:8). Faith in Jesus must be accompanied by a conviction in the hear that Jesus has been resurrected.
Romans 10:14-18: Calling requires trusting. Trusting requires hearing. Hearing requires a proclamation. Proclamation requires someone be sent. In this case the sender would have to be God. Blaming God for sin started in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:12). Verses 16-17 say that God has sent someone to proclaim and that Israel heard (see Psalm 19:1-4), but Israel has not trusted.
Romans 10:19-21: Paul quotes Deuteronomy 32:21 (regarding eye-for-eye justice) to show that Israel would be provoked to jealousy and anger by a non-nation, and it will mean Israel’s deliverance (Romans 11:11, 14). The context of Deuteronomy 32 ends with 32:43 that in the end God will forgive his people and his land. Paul concludes the second portion on Israel (Romans 9:30-10:21) the same way as the first (Romans 9:6-29), by recalling his opening verses. Isaiah 65:1-2 (vv. 20-21) sound like Romans 9:30-31.