Romans 10:16-21

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 7, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our message?’ Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:
‘Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.’
Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,
‘I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.’
And Isaiah boldly says,
‘I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.’
But concerning Israel he says,
‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.’” (Romans 10:16-21)

Have you ever really, really wanted someone to do something that you know is good for them, and they just won’t do it? Maybe it’s trying to get a child to eat their vegetables, or a teenager to stop texting while driving. You know it’s good for them, but they just don’t see the good so they refuse to do it.

That’s what Paul is experiencing here with the people of Israel, the Jews. Since the beginning of chapter 9, he’s been emphasizing how salvation is for everyone (both Jews and non-Jews) and how the Jews in particular need to change their way of thinking and recognize Jesus as the Messiah. They’re no longer obligated to completely follow the rules of the law that they had known for generations in order to be saved; they can now experience salvation through faith, because of the grace that God will show them.

In verse 17, Paul gives the condensed version of the steps for salvation from verse 14, that they have to hear the message of Jesus Christ in order to believe it for salvation. Have the Israelites heard this message? Of course they have (verse 18)! Even if they haven’t been specifically preached to, they know the character of God.

In verse 18, Paul quotes Psalm 19:4, which says, “Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.” While this may seem to say that the message of the gospel has gone into ALL the earth, we know that isn’t the case; the message hadn’t even reached all of the inhabited world at that time. This is likely just exaggeration, and Paul is simply using the exact wording of that verse to refer to the rest of the psalm. The main theme of Psalm 19 is how God’s character is revealed through His natural creation. God has also revealed His character to the Jews for generations, and they have the Old Testament Scriptures that very clearly point to Jesus as the Messiah, so they truly have no excuse!

In verses 19-21, Paul then turns to the Old Testament Scriptures again to confirm that salvation is for both Jews and Gentiles. He quotes Deuteronomy 32:21 from Moses’s teaching, and Isaiah 65:1 and 2. While the first two verses quoted show that salvation is for all, Isaiah 65:2 shows that God is really trying to reach out to His people of Israel: “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people.” Israel continues to rebel and be obstinate toward God, yet He still continues to reach out to them.

God does that today with us too. We continuously rebel against God and disobey His Word, yet He’s always reaching out to us. Salvation is for us, too! The Bible is so accessible today, both in print and various electronic versions, that we have no excuse not to believe. If you’re reading this blog, you have full access to many versions of the Bible online, and in your native language. Bible translators are working hard every day to get the Word into the hands of more and more people, and missionaries are continuously working to share the Gospel message with everyone.

Just like the Israelites, we have no excuse for not believing the Gospel message. The desire of Paul’s heart is that the Israelites believe; the desire of our hearts at Worldview Warriors is that YOU believe. Confess Jesus as Lord with your mouth and believe in Him in your heart today!

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