Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Romans 10:1 - 10:21

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Spurgeon Verse Expositions - Romans 10:1 - 10:21


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Rom_10:1. Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

No curse falls from his lips, though they had persecuted him without mercy, hunted him from city to city, and gnashed their teeth at the very mention of his name. Yet he has no desire for them but their salvation; he utters no malediction against them, but the prayer goes up from his very heart, “that they might be saved.” Let that be your worst wish for any living man. Whatever he may do to you, let this be your heart’s desire and prayer for him, that he may be saved.

Rom_10:2-3. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

There are many, in these days also, who are exactly in this condition. They are very zealous; they are full of piety of a certain kind, but it is with the view of setting up a righteousness of their own. Oh! that God would save them from this false way! For there is no acceptable righteousness but the righteousness which is of God in Christ Jesus; and the more intensely they labour after the false righteousness, the more bitter will be their disappointment at the last. Man can only be truly righteous in God’s way; he will never be so in his own.

Rom_10:4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

He has put the law away so far as his own people are concerned; and, by that act, he has removed the possibility of self-righteousness, since we are no longer under the law. Though there can come no condemnation to us by it, there certainly can come no righteousness by it. Even Christ’s own people can never have any righteousness which cometh by the law; they must look to Christ, and find in him alone all that can be demanded by the law, “for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

Rom_10:5. For Moses—

The Holy Spirit wisely directed the apostle to quote from Moses, for he was the lawgiver, and was looked upon by the Jews as the great representative of the law.

Rom_10:5-8. Describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend late 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,—

Not up yonder, nor down there; neither in the heights nor in the abyss: “The word is nigh thee,”—

Rom_10:8-10. Even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That 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.

To trust the risen Saviour, to put your soul into his hands, and then to confess your faith by publicly declaring that you are on his side,—these are the things which he demands of us in order to our salvation, and these he enables us to render. Are there any believers here who have never confessed Christ? Let them question themselves how far they can be said to be true disciples of him who demands that, where there is faith, confession of it should be made. If thou believest in Jesus, look at this Scripture, and feel ashamed of thyself if thou hast been ashamed to own him as thy Saviour; for is not the promise this—that, “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”?

Rom_10:11. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Shall not be ashamed of having done so, and shall not be ashamed of having missed the blessing which was promised, for he shall surely receive what God says shall follow his faith and confession.

Rom_10:12. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek:

In this matter of salvation there is no difference between them.

Rom_10:12. For the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Jews or Gentiles, they must come to Christ, and come to him by the same simple way of trusting him; and if they do so, they shall be saved.

Rom_10:13-15. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

See, then, what an honour God has put upon the testimony of his Word; and be not slow, my dear friends, to tell abroad his glorious gospel. The apostle does not merely mean preaching from the pulpit, but preaching anyhow, making known the gospel by any means. It is in that way that hearing comes; from hearing comes faith; and from faith comes salvation. Who then, would not tell out the glad news which God uses to the salvation of immortal souls?

Rom_10:16-18. But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard?

Is that the reason why many do not believe,—because they have not heard the gospel? Well, it is not the reason in the case of anybody here present, for I suppose all of you have heard the gospel,—probably have often heard it.

Rom_10:18-19. Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the end of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know?

Ah! that they did; the gospel was sounded in their ears in a hundred ways, yet they rejected it.

Rom_10:19; Rom_10:21. First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

God grant that we may not be like them! Amen.



In commenting once more upon this familiar chapter, I cannot help repeating a remark which I have made to you before — that it is very significant that this tenth chapter should immediately follow the subject dealt with in the ninth chapter. In the ninth chapter, we have the doctrine of absolute predestination proclaimed in the sternest and boldest manner, —the doctrine that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and will have compassion on whom he will have compassion. Now, it is commonly thought, by those who do not rightly understand Calvinism, that that doctrine has a tendency to burden the heart and dry up the springs of compassion. That it was not so in Paul’s case, is very clear, for this chapter is a most affectionate one, and in it the apostle manifests a most loving spirit towards his fellow-countrymen, the Jews, and the chapter also contains the widest conceivable declaration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the fact being that the grand doctrine of divine predestination is by no means inconsistent with the fullest and freest preaching of the gospel of Christ.

Rom_10:1. Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

Paul is writing concerning: the Jews — the very people who had driven him from city to city, and who had again and again sought to take his life. Yet he could not forget that these men were his own countrymen; and, consequently, with a consecrated patriotism, he desired beyond everything else that they might be saved.

Rom_10:2. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

The Jews of Paul’s day were zealous, but they were zealous in ignorance. And that is just what we may say, at the present time, concerning a large number of our fellow-countrymen, — those who are ordinarily called Ritualists. “They have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” None can be more zealous than they are, but a grave error is at the root of their whole system, a fatal ignorance concerning the truth of the gospel.

Rom_10:3. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Man must have a righteousness of one kind or another; and if he has not a God-given righteousness, he seeks to have one of his own making. As the spider spinneth her web out of her own bowels, so do sinful men try to manufacture a righteousness out of that which is within them; but this they can never do. The only righteousness which will stand the test of the day of judgment is that which God bestows upon believers in his Son Jesus Christ. Oh, that all men were willing to submit themselves to the righteousness of God!

Rom_10:4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

“The end of the law” is to make a man righteous, and Christ does make righteous everyone who believes in him. The act of faith in Christ accomplishes what all the good works in the world never can accomplish.

Rom_10:5. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth these things shall live by them.

That is the message of the law: “Do, and live.” But the message of the gospel is, “Live, and do;” — a very different thing. The law says, “Work to obtain life.” The gospel says, “You have life freely given to you in Christ Jesus; now work for him because you live by him.”

Rom_10:6-9. 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; That 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 shall be saved.

How simple is the divine plan of salvation, — confess Jesus Christ believing in him; — or, in the other order, believe in Jesus Christ, and then acknowledge your faith for so it is written, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” — baptism being the way of confessing the faith which you already possess.

Rom_10:10-13. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

What precious promises these are, and how wide they are! “Whosoever —whosoever.” That must include you, dear friend, if you believe in Jesus, and call upon the name of the Lord.

Rom_10:14-15. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Here you have the whole plan of salvation. Christ is preached, sinners hear the message of the gospel, they believe it, and so they are saved. What a mass of rubbish men have interjected into this blessed simple plan! What counterfeits of so-called sacraments, and what a mass of human doings and external paraphernalia of all sorts they have interjected! God requires none of their fripperies, and fineries, and ornate performances, but simply say, “Believe, and live.” How different is this from the cumbrous, complicated plan by which men would destroy our souls! Cling to the old-fashioned gospel, beloved, and never turn away from it. There is nothing that can take the place of the simplicity of divine truth. God grant that throughout England, and from one end of the world to the other, salvation by believing, the result of hearing the gospel, may be proclaimed.

Rom_10:16. But they have not all obeyed the gospel.

That is the pity of it, — that so many have heard the gospel, but have not obeyed it. This shows that the gospel comes to us as a command, because we cannot disobey where there is no order or rule. O sinner, listen to this! When you hear the gospel, it is not left to your own choice to have it or leave it, so that you are as free to do the one as the other; so if you reject it, you are disobedient to it.

Rom_10:16-18. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard?

Ah, that is the important question! If they had not heard it, they could not be condemned for disobeying it, for the sin lies in hearing and yet not believing. “Have they not heard?”

Rom_10:18-19. Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and the words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know?

Did not the Jews hear the gospel? Certainly they did, and they rejected it. Moses foretold it would be so: —

Rom_10:19. First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

So the poor outcast Gentiles have received Christ although Israel rejected him.

Rom_10:20-21. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

God grant that we may not be disobedient and gainsaying as Israel was but that we may all accept Christ at once as our only and all-sufficient Saviour!



This chapter is a gospel in itself; it very clearly points out the plan of salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom_10:1. Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

Paul had a tender heart towards all unconverted men and women, and he longed and pleaded with God that they might be saved. Have all of us this unselfish compassionate feeling? I am afraid that there are some Christians who are very deficient in it; yet, in the dread of an immortality to be spent in woe unutterable by all unbelievers, our hearts’ desire and perpetual prayer should be, as Paul’s prayer for Israel was, “that they might be saved.” And if there is one class among the ungodly which should touch our hearts more than all the rest, it is those who are earnestly seeking salvation, but who are seeking it where they will never find it, namely, by the works of the law.

Rom_10:2. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

It is not sufficient for a man to be sincere in his zeal for God; sincerity must be according to knowledge if it is to be of any value. If a man travels to the North, his sincere belief that he is on the right road will not bring him to his destination in the South. If a man, in all sincerity, drinks poison under the belief that it is a cheering cordial, it will kill him, notwithstanding his sincerity; and if a man sincerely believes a lie, it will turn out to be a lie notwithstanding his sincerity. So that it is not enough to be sincerely zealous for God, or sincerely anxious to be saved; but you must seek salvation in God’s revealed way if your search is to be a successful one.

Rom_10:3. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

This is not an error on the part of the Jews alone; it is to be found also among many Gentiles. Such people must have a righteousness of their own; and Paul says they are continually “going about” to establish it. To do this, they will undertake any labour, endure any suffering, or perform any self-denial; but, all the while, they despise God’s righteousness, — despise it by the very act of preferring their own, or seeking another way of salvation instead of walking in the one which God has provided. How sad it is that so many, in all sincerity of blind zeal, should be dishonouring God, and virtually dethroning him by the attempt to set up a righteousness of their own, when he has already provided a perfect one which they will not accept.

Rom_10:4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.

Even the law itself has this for its main drift and purpose, — that it may introduce Christ. Its end, its intent, is to show to us our need of Christ, to point us to Christ, and to make us willing to have Christ as our Saviour; and as even the law aims at this object, much more clearly does the gospel. Oh, that none of us might miss the aim and object of this blessed design of God, — that we might find righteousness through believing in Christ.

Rom_10:5. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, —

And he does it in very brief, concise, and satisfactory terms: —

Rom_10:5. That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

That is the beginning and end of the law, “Do and live.”

Rom_10:6-8. 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,--

The saving, life-giving word is not to be sought above, nor below, nor afar off; it is “nigh thee.”

Rom_10:8. Even in thy mouth, and in thy heart:

It is not a matter of doing with the hand, but of believing with the heart, and of confession with the mouth.

Rom_10:8-9. That is, the word of faith which we preach; That 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.

The gospel’s command, “Believe and live,” is quite as clear and plain and positive as the law’s command, “Do and live.”

Rom_10:10-11. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

He shall never be ashamed of having believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. If he really believes on him, he shall never be ashamed of the result of so believing, for that result will be eternal salvation to him, there is no doubt about that.

Rom_10:12. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

If there be great numbers to be saved at one time, Christ will not have to do as we do when we have too many guests at a feast, namely, cut the portion of each one smaller. Oh, no! for “the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him,” whether they are Jews or Gentiles.

Rom_10:13. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Let us read that blessed verse again.

Rom_10:13-14. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?

When I hear anyone say, “I cannot believe in Christ, but I will pray to him for faith; I say, surely the prayer is more difficult than the believing: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?”

Rom_10:14-15. And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

We, dear friends, have had this whole process carried out in our midst. The gospel has been preached, — preached, I trust, by one who can prove, by the many seals to his ministry, that he has been “sent” by God, who has given him these confirmations of his commission in the constant conversion of those to whom he has preached. Then, many of you have heard the preaching, and have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; and, therefore, you are “saved” to all eternity. But, alas! there are some of you who have not believed in Jesus; yet you must be saved by this process, or you can never be saved at all, for God will never try any other plan. His way of saving men is to send the preacher whom he has called and qualified to preach. The preacher preaches; the people hear; by hearing, they believe; and by believing they are saved. This is God’s way of saving sinners, and he will not depart from it; so let us walk in it. May his gracious Spirit take away from us all our proud, foolish and wicked objections to his simple plan, and may we all believe and live!

Rom_10:16. But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

So you see that even the prophet Isaiah had the idea that salvation comes to sinners by believing. He mourned and cried to his God because men did not believe the “report” which he had been sent to deliver to them concerning that Man who was “despised and rejected of men,” that Man of whom the prophet truly said, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: . . . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Rom_10:17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

With what solemnity this invests our hearing! I often hear people say, “We go to such-and-such a place of worship, to hear so-and-so preach.” That is well if the preacher is, like John the Baptist, “a man sent from God;” for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God;” only let us all so hear the Word of God that, hearing it, we believe on Jesus Christ whom God hath sent; believing on him, we confess our faith in the divinely-appointed way, devoutly worship and adore the ever-blessed God, — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, — and do all we can to make the Saviour known to others.

Rom_10:18-19. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know?

These Jews for whom Paul prayed, — these people who were so zealous in seeking to establish their own righteousness, — did not they know God’s way of salvation? Did not they know Jesus of Nazareth, the divinely-appointed Saviour? Yes, they did; but they refused to believe on him, they would not walk in God’s way of salvation.

Rom_10:19-21. First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

Oh, that God would soon bring these “disobedient and gainsaying people” — whether Jews or Gentiles, — to submit themselves unto his righteousness, and so to be saved! May he graciously grant it, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.



Rom_10:1. Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

They had hunted Paul from city to city, but the only feeling for them that he had was a wish that they might be saved. Such a wish as that should be in the heart of every Christian; his desire for his bitterest enemy should be that he may be saved.

Rom_10:2. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

We should always give people credit for every good thing that there is in them: it will often enable us all the better to point out other matters in which they are deficient. So Paul put it on record, concerning the Jews of his time, that they had a zeal for God, though it was not a zeal “according to knowledge.”

Rom_10:3. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

They were so busy trying to work out a righteousness of their own that they had never accepted the righteousness as which God is prepared freely to give to all those who will receive it at his hands.

Rom_10:4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

This is the very essence of the gospel, that believing in Christ brings to sinners a righteousness which they can never obtain in any other way.

Rom_10:5-6. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith-

Is of quite another sort, for it —

Rom_10:6-9. 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; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Oh, what a blessedly simple plan of salvation is here revealed! “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.” The apostle says this plan of salvation is so near to men that it is in their mouth. When anything is in your mouth, how can you make it your own? Why, by swallowing it; and so near is the gospel to every man that he has, as it were, but to drink it down, to make it his very own. It is not up there on the lofty heights, nor down there in the deeps of the abyss, but it is here and wherever else Christ is preached, and wherever his Word is read. Oh, sinner, the Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart, then, put it not away from thee, but hold it fast for ever!

Rom_10:10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

After believing in Christ, the man must confess that he does believe in him. It would be a shame for any believer to try to sneak into heaven without owning that Christ has saved him. If any man is ashamed of his religion, you may depend upon it that it is one of which has cause to be ashamed, but he who has true saving faith in his heart should never blush to own it. What is there to blush about in being a Christian? Let those blush who are not believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom_10:11-12. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Whoever they may be, Jews or Gentiles, rich or poor, learned or illiterate, black or white, if they will but call upon God in prayer, he will not be miserly towards them, but he will be generous towards them in the abundance of the blessings which he will give them in answer to their cry.

Rom_10:13-14. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?

They cannot rightly pray without faith, “for he that cometh to God must believe “that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Rom_10:14. And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?

Those who do not hear the gospel are not likely to believe it, and there are many unbelievers who never seek to hear it, and it is always wrong for a man to refuse to believe any truth before he knows what it really is. There should at least be a sincere searching of the Holy Scriptures, and a candid listening to the preaching of the Word, before it is rejected.

Rom_10:14-15. And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tiding of good things!

The gospel brings gladness wherever it comes. The Word which we preach tells of joys that will last for ever. The gospel shall make the whole world sing with new music when it is received by all; and it shall roll away the mists that now swathe this poor dusky planet, and make it shine out like its sister stars in all the glory of God when once Christ is fully acknowledged here as Lord and Saviour.

Rom_10:16. But they have not all obeyed the gospel.

All who have heard the gospel have not obeyed it.

Rom_10:16. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

And what Isaiah said is what we also have to say today, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”

Rom_10:17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Salvation comes by faith, and faith comes by hearing, but that hearing must be the hearing of the Word of God. Surely there is no great difficulty in understanding the gospel. This is no maze in which a man may lose himself. Here are no puzzling directions which only the learned can comprehend; oh, no! but here stand the plain, simple, soul-quickening words, “Believe and live.”

Rom_10:18; Rom_10:20 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But, I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

Is not that a wonderful text? There are some who have heard the gospel year after year, and who have refused it, and perished; and there are, on the other hand, scattered up and down this world, thousands of people who have never yet heard it, but the very first time they do hear it, they will accept it, and be eternally saved.

Rom_10:21. But to Israel —

To God’s ancient people, to whom the gospel had been preached when Paul wrote this Epistle: “to Israel” —

Rom_10:21. He saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

It is strange that many, who first hear the Word, and oftenest hear it, turn away from it, while others, to whom it comes as a complete novelty, are blessed the first time they hear it. I sometimes say that there are some hearers, who regularly occupy these seats, who are just like pieces of india rubber. They are easily impressed, they yield ascent to every truth that is uttered, but they soon get back into their old shape again, and they are exactly the same, after twenty years of hearing the gospel, as they were before, only that they are still more hardened. On the other hand, there will sometimes drop into this house of prayer a thoroughly irreligious man, with a heart as hard as a flint, but the very first tap of the hammer of the gospel breaks the flint so effectually that it is never a flint again, and God’s grace renews his heart there and then. It is our earnest desire, on all occasions whatever hearers are gathered here, that God’s saving power may be manifested to all present. So, may it be now, for Christ’s sake, and to God’s glory! Amen.



Rom_10:1. Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

The same thing over again — his deep concern for his countrymen.

Rom_10:2. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

Zeal is a good thing, but, like the horse without a bit, it becomes useless and even dangerous. Knowledge is the bridle in the mouth of zeal. Zeal is like fire, which may burn the house which it was intended to warm unless it be carefully governed. There must be knowledge in zeal.

Rom_10:3. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

This is a great evil in the present day. There are many persons who are evidently zealous for God, but they make a mistake in supposing that they are to be saved by their own doings, their prayers their church-goings, their chapel-goings, or something of the sort, instead of accepting the finished righteousness of Christ, which is the righteousness of God. They are insulting Christ. They are insulting God by thinking that he would have given his Son to be our righteousness if we could have made a righteousness of our own, or given him up to die, if we could save ourselves.

Rom_10:4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

There is the point — to believe: to have faith. It is that which gives us the righteousness of which Christ is the sum total.

Rom_10:5. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

And if any man did, or could keep the law, he would live by it, but no man has ever done so, or ever will. There is no hope of life by the law.

Rom_10:6-9. 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; That 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.

What a wondrous way of salvation — so near — so close — to us! What an expression that is — “in thy mouth.” We must absolutely put it out of our mouths. God has put the bread of life so near us that it is in our mouth. We must reject it as a man would reject food, if we perish. But, oh! for grace to receive it, to live upon it, to believe Christ, to trust him and so to be saved!

Rom_10:10-11. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

If, then, I base my eternal salvation upon Christ, and am trusting in him, not in my works, or prayers, or tears, or alms, or feelings, or even in my own repentance or faith, but wholly in him, I shall never be ashamed.

Rom_10:12-13. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

What a comforting text for some of you. You want salvation, but you are afraid you cannot find it. “Whosoever” — what a grand word — “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord” — that is to say in prayer, but that prayer the prayer of faith — he “shall be saved.”

Rom_10:14. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?

That is the point: the believing is the vital matter.

Rom_10:14-15. And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

You see all the machinery of salvation here. God provides a gospel sends a preacher to proclaim it, men hear it; by the Holy Spirit they believe it, and they are saved. It is all in a nutshell, but oh! how blessedly suited to poor unworthy sinners like ourselves.

Rom_10:16-17. But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

It does not ever come by seeing. Faith does not come by looking upon ceremonies — by gazing upon processions and pompous rituals. It come by the simple hearing of the Word. It is a matter of the understanding, and the work of the Holy Ghost upon that understanding. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

Rom_10:18-19. But I say, have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know?

Were they not taught that God would reject them if they were disbelievers, and that he would call in heathen? Yes, they knew it, for: —

Rom_10:19. First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

And the heathen thus, like ourselves, were accounted dogs by the Jews, but the Lord has brought us in and made us to believe in Christ, because they rejected him. What a wonderful passage that is about the great supper which the king made, when we read, because the invited guests did not come, the king, being angry, said unto his servants, “Go ye out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in.” Even the anger of God, you see, works good to some. He was angry with the guests that did not come, but then he called us in. His anger against the Jewish people has turned to the salvation of the Gentiles, for which may God be praised. But may Israel be gathered, too.

Rom_10:20-21 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

This exposition consisted of readings from Rom_9:1-5; and Romans 10.



Rom_10:1. Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

Desire is the mother and the soul of prayer “my heart’s desire and prayer.” These Israelites had hunted Paul about, and sought to kill him. They were his deadly enemies; but the only return he made them was to pray that they might be saved. I hope you will never have a worse wish for your worst foe.

Rom_10:2. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

Always see all the good that is to be seen; and, when you have to reprove and rebuke begin by admitting what is good: “They have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.”

Rom_10:3. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

They were very zealous; but it was blind zeal. They were very energetic; but they used their energy in going the wrong way. God has a righteousness, and our wisest course is to submit to it. Our righteousness, if we set it up in opposition to God’s way of salvation, will only increase our sin. You can be ruined by your righteousness, as surely as by your unrighteousness, if you set it in the place of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. “They being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

Rom_10:4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

If we get Christ by believing, we have the righteousness of the law. All that ever could come to us by the highest and most perfect obedience to the law, we get by faith in Christ Jesus.

Rom_10:5. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law,

And being the one through whom the law was given, he knew how to describe it; and we may be sure that he made no mistake. This is his description of legal righteousness: —

Rom_10:5. That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

That is it: “Do and live.” That is the law, and a very just law, too. Leave anything undone, or break the command in any respect and you die; that is the law.

Rom_10:6. But the righteousness which is of faith —

This is quite another thing; it —

Rom_10:6. Speaketh, on this wise,

And it is Moses who speaks here, as in the previous verse. This is what the righteousness of faith says: —

Rom_10:6-9. 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; that 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.

God’s way of salvation, then, is “Believe and live.” Believe in Christ; Christ dying, Christ raised from the dead. If thou so believest, thou art saved. Thou needest not mount to heaven in rapture, nor dive to hell in remorse. As thou art, believe and live. This is the way of the righteousness of God.

Rom_10:10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

True faith must be accompanied by an open confession. Come forward, and outwardly own what you inwardly believe. Remember those words of the Lord Jesus, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Here, as there, the confession is put after the faith, as indeed it must be. First, the reality, the thing signified, faith; afterwards, the outward and visible sign in the confession of that faith.

Rom_10:11. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

He need never be ashamed of his faith. It will bear him up; it will bear him through; it will bear him up to heaven.

Rom_10:12-13. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

That is it wonderful sentence; catch at it. Doubting, troubled spirits, catch at it, believe it, practice it; and you shall find it true.

Rom_10:14-15. How then shall they call on him in whom. they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

See here the whole machinery of salvation. God provides salvation in Christ Jesus, he sends the preacher to tell of it, men hear, they believe, and salvation is theirs. You have not to make it righteousness, you have to accept the one that is made for you. It is not what you shall do that shall save you; it is what Christ has done. You are to get out of self-confidence into confidence in him; and as soon as you do so, you are saved.

Rom_10:16. But they have not all obeyed the gospel.

Oh, no; all who have beard it, have not obeyed it! There are many here who have beard it from their childhood, and yet they have not obeyed it. Notice the word “obeyed”, for the gospel comes to you with the force of a command. If you reject it, you sin against it, for it is your duty to accept it: “but they have not all obeyed the gospel.”

Rom_10:16. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

So few were the obedient, that he asked where they were.

Rom_10:17-18. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard?

Oh, may they hear, indeed!

Rom_10:18-19. Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

Has he not done it? Israel is rejected, and remains without Christ, while many out of “a foolish nation” of Anglo-Saxons, who were idolaters, have accepted Christ. People who were regarded as dogs by God’s chosen nation Israel have come into the house of the Lord, and still Israel refuses to come.

Rom_10:20. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not;

Hear, then, you who have never had any religion; you who seldom go to the house of God. Even you may be saved, for it is written, “I was found of them that sought me not.”

Rom_10:20. I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

Here is the manifestation of sovereign grace, God choosing and saving whom he wills, irrespective of their condition; exercising the sovereignty of his mercy in saving the most undeserving.

Rom_10:21. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands —

In the attitude of invitation and entreaty, and readiness to receive, —

Rom_10:21. Unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

And that is what he has done to thee, O then careless child of pious parents, then unregenerate hearer of the Word! All day long has he stood and stretched forth his hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. The Lord forgive all such, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.