To understand all of Romans 10 it’s important to contextualize where it falls in the letter. Just like with any letter you read, you read it all, usually in one sitting. Each paragraph or page connects with the corresponding one and there’s usually a cohesive message. When we break up the letter into chapters and paragraphs it is usually done thematically, but still the message or context can get lost. So, remember that Romans 10 is sandwiched in between Romans 9 and 11. Romans 9 ends with Israel’s unbelief and Romans 11 discusses heavily on Israel’s salvation.
So, let’s put Romans 10 back into context.
In Romans 10, Paul discusses two types of righteousness: one based on the law and the other based on faith. Yet, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” This is so important to understand – the Law was given to reveal God’s righteousness, but it doesn’t save you as only Christ can save.
And how are we saved?
…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9 ESV)
It’s a two-part process:
- The heart believes and is justified
- The mouth confesses and is saved
This salvation is open to everyone: Jew, Greek, Gentile, etc. And as believers it’s our responsibility to spread the Gospel because if no one has heard of Jesus how can they believe? How can they confess and be saved if they don’t know that Jesus is Lord? If they have not heard the word of Christ how can they have faith?
So what about Israel?
Does Israel know about the Gospel? Paul says there has been revelation of God’s salvation through Moses and into the writings of the prophet Isaiah, and yet, they have been “disobedient and contrary people” (Romans 10:21). They had opportunity for salvation, but most were refusing it.
Does that mean God has given up on them? No. How do I know this? Well, you’ll just have to read Romans 11 or come visit us this Sunday to learn more.