Romans 10:5-13


The appointed reading calls for verses 8b to 13.  We have begun the study at verse 5 where a subparagraph begins.  Paul had just stated in the beginning verses of this chapter that his desire was that the Jews might be saved.  The reason for their not being in the right relation with God is that they have the wrong righteousness.  They did not submit to the righteousness of God.  Then verse 4:  "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."  Christ has brought an end to the delusion that the righteousness of the Law can save man.  This is where our text for this Sunday begins.

Romans 10:5 Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law:  "The man who does these things will live by them."

This verse is devoted to the  "righteousness of the Law."  Verses 6-13 are devoted to  "the righteousness which is by faith."  Paul is quoting Leviticus 18:5 which reads:  "Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them.  I am the LORD."  The commentators are unanimous in their agreement that the Scriptures promise eternal life if man can keep the Law perfectly.  That is what Paul calls  "the righteousness of the Law."  It denotes the righteousness which comes by human endeavor.  This is the righteousness of which Jesus spoke in Luke 10:28:  "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live."

However, man cannot perfectly do the will of God.  God demands perfection.  That is why Paul says in Galatians 2:16:  "By the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified."

Stoeckhardt: There never was, nor in the future will there ever be, a man who was or will be saved in this way, namely, by the works of the law.  The righteousness of the law does not exist in reality.
Arndt: Man does not keep the law, a fact which Paul has brought out convincingly in Romans 3.

Paul used Leviticus 18:5 in Galatians 3:12.  "However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, 'He who practices them shall live by them.'"

Romans 10:6 But the righteousness that is by faith says:  "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'"  (that is, to bring Christ down)

Here is a contrast.  The very opposite of verse 5.  These phrases are called  "exclusive terms" because  "works"  excludes God's gift by faith and  "faith" excludes human endeavor as a means for being considered righteous. Deuteronomy 30:11-14  "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask,  "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"  13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask,  "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"  14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it."

Stoeckhardt calls these questions  "Questions despairing of the possibility of what is desired."

Lenski: Paul is using these questions in the sense of the original, as voicing an earnest desire coupled with despair of fulfillment.

God was saying to the Old Testament people:  "Do not despair.  You have the Word.  It is right here.  In fact it is in your mouth and in your heart."  That was Law.  Here in Romans it refers to the righteousness of faith.  Paul is not quoting Deuteronomy 30.

Stoeckhardt: He is only clothing his own thoughts in Mosaic words.
Arndt: This is not a real quotation.  It is merely a case where the same words are employed, but in a meaning different from that of the original.
Lenski: Quotation is neither indicated nor intended.  In part the language is literal, in part it is only an equivalent.

God's Word, both Law and Gospel, is very near to us.  Very often we fail to see the forest because of the trees.  Verse 6 is addressed to the weary believer who is of the mistaken opinion that Christ is very far away.

Franzmann: The voice of righteousness bids man cease his willing and his running after righteousness.  Man need not scale the heavens to bring Christ down; Christ has come down and that, too, in the likeness of our sinful flesh and as a sacrifice for sin.

Romans 10:7  "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'"  (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

Here we see clearly that Paul is not quoting.  Deuteronomy 30 speaks about crossing the sea.  Paul uses words which are similar, not identical, to Deuteronomy 30.

Stoeckhardt: The one, as the other, is impossible, and also very unnecessary.  One first does not need to produce or bring Christ from afar. Christ is not so distant and inaccessible.  Yes, Christ, the Mediator, is already here.  And where the Savior is, one surely cannot act as if He were not there, as if He were inaccessibly distant, where yet in heaven or in the deep.
Arndt: Justification by faith does not point to great works that still have to be done for us.
Franzmann: The phrases 'ascend into heaven' and 'descend into the abyss' seem to have become proverbial for attempting the impossible; in Paul they get their color from the incarnation and the resurrection of the Lord.
Lenski: This righteousness had to come from heaven, because it is God's righteousness; it also had to come up out of the abyss of death and the grave, because there our sins were buried.  God brought it by sending this Son from heaven, by raising him from the dead.

Romans 10:8 But what does it say?  "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,"  that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:

The words here are identical to those in Deuteronomy 30 except that the last words ("that you may observe it") are omitted.  It is obvious why these words are omitted.  Paul is explaining.  He is speaking here of the utterance of faith, the utterance which we preach.  Paul is saying:  "The utterance is already in your mouth.  Just confess it.  It is already in your heart.  Just believe it."

Arndt: Here we have a corroboration of the Lutheran teaching of the means of grace: Christ is in the word offering himself and his righteousness.
Franzmann: The voice of righteousness by faith says not 'Do' but 'It is done.'  God's justifying deed is there, available to man, in the Word which come to him; man need not discover it or devise it.  This Word is near him, creating faith in his heart and evoking a confession from his lips.
Lenski: All is done, no efforts of ours are needed.

Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth,  "Jesus is Lord,"  and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Now we have the reason why the divine righteousness says what it does about the  "utterance."  Note that Paul follows the order of Deuteronomy 30 with reference to  "mouth" and  "heart."

Stoeckhardt: Jesus is called Lord as the perfect Mediator of salvation, therefore, the Author of righteousness.
Lenski: 'Lord' concentrates into the one term all that he is as the exalted Savior, the divine Mediator, whom we trust, worship, and obey.
Arndt: Paul is here speaking of the two great apostolic themes:  a) Jesus is the Lord, the Messiah, the Helper.  b) God raised him from the dead and thereby his claims were proved true.

Romans 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Here Paul gives the actual order in which they occur.  Faith precedes confession.  Justification precedes sanctification.  Here are some English translations:  "For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. (RSV)"  "For we believe in our hearts and are put right with God; we declare with our lips and are saved. (TEV)"

In verse 9 Paul assured the believer that he would be saved.  Here he assures the believer of the imputed righteousness of Christ and final salvation.

Stoeckhardt: The confession of the mouth is a fruit and work of faith. Confession follows of necessity from faith.  The confession of the mouth is proof that faith lives in the heart.  Only the faith of the heart justifies and saves man.  Justifying and saving faith proves its power in sanctification.
Arndt: After one has become justified by faith, that faith will show itself as a live, active faith, it will prove that it is sincere, and one of the main proofs is the confession of the mouth.  The life of the Christian is one long series of actions which prove that his faith is not a sham.
Franzmann: He believes, and so he is cleared of guilt.  He confesses and is saved.  Faith and confession are two aspects of one reality. When those who preach the Word of faith to him say 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved' he replies with the confession 'I believe in Him.'  No man who has the Lord Jesus for his Lord remains a silent servant of his Lord but confesses Him before men.

Apology  (Tappert 166.384): Here we think that our opponents will grant that the mere act of confession does not save, but that it saves only because of faith in the heart.  Paul says that confession saves in order to show what kind of faith obtains eternal life, a faith that is firm and active.  No faith is firm that does not show itself in confession.

Romans 10:11 As the Scripture says,  "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

Paul is quoting Isaiah 28:16.  There the antecedent of  "him" is Yahweh.  Here it is Christ.  There the word  "anyone"  is not found.

Franzmann: Paul cites Isaiah 28:16, as in 9:33.  However, there are two slight but significant differences here.  One is this: in the Old Testament the object of faith is the Lord, the covenant God of Israel; here in Paul 'Lord' must mean the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is one of the many instances in the New Testament where Old Testament passages that refer to the Lord, the God of Israel, are unhesitatingly applied to Jesus, see 10:13.  The other difference is this: Paul emphasizes the universality of the promise made in Isaiah; 'he who' becomes 'every one who.'  This universality is suggested in the original, though it is not stated explicitly.
Stoeckhardt: Only faith, trust, is mentioned, not confession, for faith is the deciding thing.

This verse is not saying that the believer will never suffer shame in this life.  He is speaking of the believer's relationship to his Lord, his Judge.

Lenski: Shame, confusion, fleeing in terror from the face of the great Judge shall not be the lot of him who comes resting his trust on Christ.  When Paul adds 'every one' to Isaiah's words, he only brings out their full sense, to the effect that no exception exists.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile -- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,

Paul added 'every one' in the previous verse.  At the beginning and end of verse 12 we find an enlargement on this word.

Calling upon the Lord and believing in Him are synonymous.  Note how often salvation is mentioned in this text; verses 9, 10 and 13.

Arndt: the same person is Lord of all things.  Jesus is rich in grace, and His willingness to give His grace goes out to all that call upon Him, that is, to all those that acknowledge Him as their Savior and in true faith call on Him for aid.

Romans 10:13 for,  "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Forms of  "every one"  are found in verses 11, 12 and 13.  "To call upon the name of the Lord," as mentioned above, means the same as  "to believe in the Lord."  Peter quoted this verse to fellow Jews on Pentecost.  Paul here quotes it to Jews and Gentiles.  "The name"  denotes what the Word says about the Lord, the Lord Jesus.  By the way, both Peter and Paul were confirming that the word  "Lord"  in Joel 3:5 referred to the Lord Jesus.  Pentecost turns our entire attention to the Lord Jesus.  The Gospel always does that.

Stoeckhardt: Calling upon Jehovah is calling upon Christ, for He is the Lord Jehovah.
Lenski: Here a second prophet (first Isaiah, now Joel) has 'all' even with 'every one' making it as general as possible; he also has 'shall call upon' and 'shall be saved.'  Paul identifies Christ and Yahweh, because they are indeed one in essence and being, Christ the son of God, Yahweh's greatest self-revelation.  The Name always signifies the revelation of God, of the Trinity, of Christ.  It is the means by which he comes to us.  The Word is his Name, -- and this whole chapter treats of the Word.


Adapted from Exegetical Notes, Series C Epistle Texts, Festival Season Sundays, by Harold H. Buls, Concordia Theological Seminary Press: Ft Wayne IN, 1985, pp. 64-68. Used with permission.

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