The Message of Salvation for All (Romans 10:5-21)
Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, Ohio on Sunday, August 15, 2021
In one of the popular ads that accompanied the 2010 Super Bowl, Cars.com tells the fictional story of a wonder child named Timothy Richman. From his earliest years, Timothy displayed an amazing level of confidence, and his confidence came from knowledge.
As a toddler eating in his high chair, he saw a pan of food cooking on the stove catch fire. Knowing somehow that baking soda puts out fires, Timothy calmly threw his rattle at a box of baking soda located on a shelf above the flaming pan, knocking over the box, which poured the soda into the pan and extinguished the flames.
As a boy about to learn to ride a bike, Timothy stands straddling the bike as his dad prepares to put on the training wheels. Timothy says, “Balance, momentum, and a low center of gravity,” and with that knowledge fully absorbed, before Timothy’s dad can get the training wheels on, Timothy pedals the bike away and down the driveway.
In junior high, Timothy confidently walks up to a teen on an Italian beach who has been stung on the leg by a jellyfish and acting on his knowledge of first aid, he pours vinegar on the inflamed skin. He explains in perfect Italian that vinegar can neutralize jellyfish stings.
As a high school student on safari in Africa, he uses his knowledge of veterinary obstetrics to deliver a baby Bengal tiger that was breeched.
As an adult, Timothy gets out of his car on a highway as a tornado approaches a bus full of cheerleaders. Using his knowledge of storm cells and tornadoes, he explains to the cheerleaders that they will be safe if they exit the bus and lie in a low-lying depression beside the road. Just as the cheerleaders and Timothy jump safely into the ditch, the bus rises in the air and is carried away by the tornado.
The narrator explains, however, as Timothy stands with a scared look on his face in a new car lot, “When it came time to buy a new car, he was just as nervous as the rest of us.”
Then Timothy sees a Cars.com sign and pulls out his cell phone. The narrator concludes, “So Timothy Richman got his knowledge at Cars.com, regained his confidence, and got the perfect car at the perfect price.”
This little commercial entertainingly illustrates the fact that no matter how much knowledge and confidence you have in many areas of life, you can still be clueless in another important area of living.
The fact is, no matter how smart you are, apart from God’s help you are clueless about important spiritual truths.
In the passage we are going to look at today we will see the apostle Paul continue to impress that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. We cannot earn our way to Heaven. Paul continues to answer the question about the Jewish people.
My theme today: Salvation is for everyone.
Make sure Jesus is your Lord and also share the Gospel with others.
- We continue our trek through Romans, and we come to the rest of Romans chapter 10.
- In the beginning of chapter 10 Paul wrote about the Jewish people.
- Romans 10 began like Romans 9. Paul shares his passion for the Jewish people. Paul shares his heart that they would know the Lord.
- In Verse 1 (Romans 10:1) Paul shares that he is praying for their salvation.
- In verse 4 (Romans 10:4) Paul shares that Jesus is the end of the Law. It seems that that means, as MacArthur shares, Paul means that belief in Christ as Lord and Savior ends the sinner’s futile quest for righteousness through his imperfect attempts to save himself by efforts to obey the law (cf. 3:20–22; Is 64:6; Col 2:13, 14).
- This leads us to the rest of Romans 10.
- Saved by faith, not by works (Romans 10:5-13).
- In these next several verses Paul writes about how we are saved by faith and not by works.
- Remember Paul has been contrasting this all throughout the book of Romans. More specifically, in Romans 9:30-33 and 10:1-4 Paul talked about the Jewish people stumbling over Jesus (verses 32-33). The Jewish people thought they could achieve righteousness by keeping the Law, but they did not pursue it by faith (Romans 9:32). Paul had said they had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. They conformed to the Law, but missed Jesus. They thought they could achieve righteousness on their own (Romans 10:2-3).
- Look at verse 5 (Romans 10:5): For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
- Now, Paul is getting more specific in his contrast. What is the Law of Moses? What did Moses write about?
- Now, this is about the Ten Commandments. This is about the Torah, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Moses wrote those books, inspired by God.
- Moses wrote about righteousness based on the Law.
- The person who does the commandments, the commandments taught by Moses, shall live by them.
- Leviticus 18:5 says just that: You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.
- The thing is that no one could keep the Law. Romans 7:10 reads: The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.
- Let’s keep going. Look at verse 6, Romans 10:6: But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down)
- Now, Paul is getting into righteousness that is based on faith and not based on the Law. This is from Deuteronomy 30:12. This continues. Look at verse 7 (Romans 10:7): “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
- Remember these are statements that we are NOT to say. Verse 7 is a quotation from Deuteronomy 30:13. Paul takes these statements and applies them to Christ.
- We cannot bring Christ down or bring Christ up.
- Look at verses 8-9 (Romans 10:8-9): 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, 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.
- The word is near you… That comes from Deuteronomy 30:14.
- What word is near you? Paul answers it right here. The word of faith, which they are proclaiming, the Gospel.
- In verse 9 Paul continues to share what the word is:
- 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. We have a simple Gospel message right there. Notice there could be more right here, but Paul lists some main things. Jesus is Lord, God raised Him from the dead.
- Public confession: In the first century when one was baptized they had to say Jesus is Lord.
- His Name is Jesus, but Lord is His title.
- Paul adds more explanation in the next verse:
- Verse 10 reads (Romans 10:10): For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
- The belief is in the heart and that belief brings justification, that is God declares us righteous.
- Then one confesses that and is saved. To me it seems this happens simultaneously and the confession testifies to the salvation.
- Verse 11 (Romans 10:11) is another Scripture quotation: For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed [or put to shame].”
- This is from Isaiah 28:16 and had been quoted in Romans 9:33.
- Verses 12-13 close up this section: Romans 10:12–13 (ESV)
- 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
- Verse 12 begins with “for” which means this is an explanation. There is no distinction between Greek and Jewish persons. Paul has been contrasting the Greeks with the Jewish people all through the book and here he is saying the same Lord is Lord of all. Romans 3:32 and 3:29 had shared that.
- God is giving riches on all who call on Him.
- Everyone, regardless of ethnicity, who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.
- Verse 13 is a quote from Joel 2:32.
- The importance of preaching the Gospel (verses 14-15).
- Look now how Paul continues this Gospel theme. Paul had just shared that everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved and now he is going to talk about preachers.
- Verse 14 (Romans 10:14): How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
- There are three questions here, one after another, with implied negative answers. No one can believe if they have never heard. They cannot hear without a preacher.
- Paul is not talking here about OT believers who looked forward to Christ, such as Abraham and David in ch. 4, nor is he talking about infants who die in infancy.
- Then verse 15 (Romans 10:15): And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
- The context of Isaiah’s words was the announcement of God’s favor in restoring Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity.
Joni Eareckson Tada
Once while Ken was cleaning out our garage, he came through the kitchen door holding up a pair of Canadian crutches. “Do you want to dump these?” he asked. I stared at the dusty crutches and my throat tightened. “They’re Daddy’s,” I said with wet eyes. The aluminum was scraped and the rubber tips were scuffed, but the crutches brought into focus a flood of memories.
When I was in the hospital, I could always tell when my father was coming for a visit. “Click-click” his crutches would echo on the hallway tile. Oh boy, Daddy’s here! I would think, grinning to myself. I felt that he, more than anyone else in the family, understood my situation. This is why for me that clicking sound was so welcome. Today’s verse talks about the beauty of feet that bring good news—that includes crutches!
Think today about all the friends and family members you know who bring you good tidings and the words of peace. The sandaled feet of your daughter, home from college. The tennis-shoed feet of your neighbor with whom you walk every morning. What do people think of when they hear your feet coming? Do they say, “Oh boy, here comes…!”
Make my feet beautiful, Lord. May I be mindful to carry the good news of your glad tidings to others today.
- Another question with an implied negative answer. They can’t preach unless they are sent. “As it is written” means he is going to use another Old Testament quotation, this time from Isaiah 52:7.
- Rom 1:15; 15:20 are good cross references.
- They did not all believe (Romans 10:16-21).
- Now, the “they” would be the Israelites. The people of Israel, the Jewish people, did not all believe.
- Look at verse 16 (Romans 10:16): But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”
- This comes from Isaiah 53:1.
- Verse 17 (Romans 10:17) comes back to the previous theme of salvation. Look at verse 17 (Romans 10:17): So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
- We must hear the Word of Christ, or of course read the Word of Christ, that would be implicit too.
- Faith does not come from charisma or gimmicks, etc. Luther said something like he and Melanchon sat and drank beer while the Word did the work…
- In verses 18-21 Paul strings together Old Testament quotations. Let’s look at those (Romans 10:18-21):
- 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for
“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”
19 But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
20 Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”
21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
- In verse 18 God is asking, “have ‘they’ not heard?” the “they” is Israel. This is Israel’s culpability.
- Verse 18 then quotes Psalm 19:4. That particular Psalm is about God’s general revelation. God has revealed Himself in nature.
- Then verse 19 quotes Deuteronomy 32:21. In that passage God prophesies His frustration and even anger with their idols, so He will make them jealous with other nations. God will use other nations, nations that do not understand the covenant.
- Then, verse 20, Isaiah 65:1 is quoted.
- Notice Paul says that Isaiah was bold to say this.
- God was found by those who did not seek Him, who would that be? The gentiles.
- God has shown Himself to those who did not ask for Him, again the gentiles.
- Verse 21 quotes Isaiah 65:2. What is happening? God is saying that He made Himself available, all day long, to a people that were contrary and disobedient.
- Let’s sum this up.
- Paul has been answering the question of the Israelite rejection of Jesus.
- Paul uses many Scriptures to show that God has been consistent with His Word and promises.
- God said that He would reveal Himself to the nations, to the gentiles.
- God also said the Jewish people would be stubborn and rebellious. God prophesied that through Moses in Deuteronomy 32 before they even entered the land.
- Witherington shares: God is making non-Christian Jews envious by bringing into the people of God Gentiles, who are characterized as “not a nation” and as lacking understanding.
- Paul will continue this in Romans 11.
What does it mean to “believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead”? Satan believes that God raised Jesus from the dead. He saw it happen. To answer this question, we need to ponder what the resurrection means for God’s people.
The meaning of the resurrection is that God is for us. He aims to close ranks with us. He aims to overcome all our sense of abandonment and alienation.
The resurrection of Jesus is God’s declaration to Israel and to the world that we cannot work our way to glory, but that he intends to do the impossible to get us there.
The resurrection is the promise of God that all who trust Jesus will be the beneficiaries of God’s power to lead us in paths of righteousness and through the valley of death.
Therefore, believing in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead is much more than accepting a fact. It means being confident that God is for you, that he has closed ranks with you, that he is transforming your life, and that he will save you for eternal joy.
Believing in the resurrection means trusting in all the promises of life and hope and righteousness for which it stands.
It means being so confident of God’s power and love that no fear of worldly loss or greed for worldly gain will lure us to disobey his will.
That’s the difference between Satan and the saints. Oh, might God circumcise our hearts to love him (Deuteronomy 30:6) and to rest in the resurrection of his Son.
Devotional excerpted from “Believe in Your Heart that God Raised Jesus from the Dead”
 2010 USA Today Ad Meter and Cars.com
 John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ro 10:4.
 Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2175.
 Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ro 10:14.
 Taken from More Precious than Silver
By Joni Eareckson Tada
Copyright © 1998
 White Horse Inn; 9.10.2006
 Ben Witherington III and Darlene Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 264.