Romans 10


The apostle expresses his earnest desire for the salvation of

the Jews, 1.

Having a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge, they

sought salvation by works, and not by faith in Christ, 2-4.

The righteousness which is of the law described, 5.

That which is by faith described also, 6-10.

He that believes and calls on the name of the Lord shall be

saved, 11-13.

What is necessary to salvation, believing, hearing, preaching,

a Divine mission, the Gospel, and obedience to its precepts,


Faith comes by hearing, 17.

The universal spread of the Gospel predicted by the prophets,


The ingratitude and disobedience of the Israelites, 21.


Verse 1. My heart's desire, &c.] Though the apostle knew that

the Jews were now in a state of rejection, yet he knew also that

they were in this state through their own obstinacy, and that God

was still waiting to be gracious, and consequently, that they

might still repent and turn to him. Of his concern for their

salvation he had already given ample proof, when he was willing to

become a sacrifice for their welfare, see Ro 9:3.

Verse 2. They have a zeal of God] They believe their law to

have come immediately from God himself, and are jealous of its

glory and excellence; they conscientiously observe its rites and

ceremonies, but they do not consider the object and end of those

rites; they sin more through ignorance than malice; and this

pleads in their excuse. By this fine apology for them, the

apostle prepares them for the harsher truths which he was about to


Verse 3. For-being ignorant of God's righteousness] Not

knowing God's method of saving sinners, which is the only proper

and efficient method: and going about to establish their own

righteousness-seeking to procure their salvation by means of

their own contriving; they have not submitted-they have not bowed

to the determinations of the Most High, relative to his mode of

saving mankind, viz. through faith in Jesus Christ, as the only

available sacrifice for sin-the end to which the law pointed.

Verse 4. For Christ is the end of the law] Where the law

ends, Christ begins. The law ends with representative sacrifices;

Christ begins with the real offering. The law is our schoolmaster

to lead us to Christ; it cannot save, but it leaves us at his

door, where alone salvation is to be found. Christ as an atoning

sacrifice for sin, was the grand object of the whole sacrificial

code of Moses; his passion and death were the fulfilment of its

great object and design. Separate this sacrificial death of

Christ from the law, and the law has no meaning, for it is

impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away

sins: wherefore the Messiah is represented as saying, Sacrifice

and observing thou didst not desire; burnt-offering and

sin-offering thou hast not required; then said I, Lo, I come to do

thy will; a body hast thou prepared me, Ps 40:6,7; Heb 10:4-10;

which proves that God never designed that the sacrifices of the

law should be considered the atonement for sin, but a type or

representative of that atonement; and that THE atonement was the

sacrifice offered by Christ. Thus he was the END of the law, in

respect to its sacrifices. And, as sacrifices were offered merely

to procure pardon of sin, righteousness, or justification, Christ

is the end of the law for this justification to every one that

believeth on him, as dying for their offences, and rising again

for their justification, having made peace through the blood of

his cross. Therefore every Jew who rejected Christ rejected

salvation, and that very salvation which the law witnessed and

required, and which could not be had but through Christ alone.

Verse 5. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of

the law] The place to which the apostle refers, seems to be

Le 18:5:

Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments; which if a

man do, he shall live in them. These words seem to be spoken in

answer to an objection which might be made by a Jew: "Did not

Moses give us a law, the observance of which should secure our

salvation?" Such a law Moses undoubtedly gave, and that law

promises life to those who perform its precepts: but who can plead

for life on this ground, who rejects that Christ who is the end of

the law? No man ever did, nor ever can, fulfil that law, so as to

merit salvation by the performance of it: for, as all have

sinned and come short of the glory of God, they are all under the

curse of the law, which says: Cursed is every one who continueth

not in all the things that are written in the book of the law to

do them, De 27:26; Ga 3:10; therefore by the deeds of this law

none can be justified, because all are in a state of condemnation

for transgressions already committed against it. If, therefore,

there were not such a provision as is made by the death of Christ,

no soul could be saved.

Verse 6. But the righteousness which is of faith] As it is

most evident that there can be no justification by works, as all

are sinful and all in a guilty state; if God will grant salvation

at all, it must be by faith: but faith must have an object and a

reason for its exercise; the object is Jesus Christ-the reason is

the infinite merit of his passion and death.

Who shall ascend unto heaven? &c.] As Christ is the end of the

law for justification to every one that believes, no observance of

the law can procure him. Who, by the practice of the law, can

bring Christ down from heaven? or, when brought down, and

crucified and buried, as a sacrifice for sin, who can bring him up

again from the dead? And both his death and resurrection are

essentially necessary for the salvation of a lost world. Or the

sense of the apostle may be this: They who will not believe in

Christ crucified must in effect be seeking another Messiah to come

down from heaven with a different revelation; or they who will not

credit the doctrine that we preach concerning his resurrection

seem in effect to say, Christ yet remains to be raised from the

dead, and reign over the Jews as a mighty secular sovereign,

subjecting the Gentile world to the sway of his righteous sceptre.

Verse 8. But what saith it? The word is nigh thee] There is

no occasion to seek high or low for the saving power; the word of

reconciliation is nigh. The way of salvation is now both plain

and easy. The law is magnified and made honourable by the death

of Christ; and the doctrine of faith in his death and resurrection

is fully proclaimed, and amply proved to be effectual to the

purpose for which it was revealed. By the preaching of the Gospel

the doctrine of salvation is nigh thee, and the saving influence

is at hand: it is in thy mouth, easy to be understood, easy to be

professed: and in thy heart, if thou art upright before God,

sincerely desiring to be saved on his own terms, not striving to

establish thy own method of justification by the law, which must

for ever be ineffectual, but submitting to the method of

justification which God has devised.

Verse 9. That if thou shalt confess, &c.] Acknowledge the

Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour. Believe in thy heart that

he who died for thy offences has been raised for thy

justification; and depend solely on him for that justification,

and thou shalt be saved.

Verse 10. For with the heart man believeth, &c.] And be

sincere in this: for with the heart, duly affected with a sense of

guilt, and of the sufficiency of the sacrifice which Christ has

offered, man believeth unto righteousness, believeth to receive

justification; for this is the proper meaning of the term here,

and in many other parts of this epistle; and with the mouth

confession is made unto salvation. He who believes aright in

Christ Jesus will receive such a full conviction of the truth, and

such an evidence of his redemption, that his mouth will boldly

confess his obligation to his Redeemer, and the blessed persuasion

he has of the remission of all his sins through the blood of the

cross. One grand object of the apostle is to show the simplicity

of the Gospel scheme of salvation; and at the same time, its great

efficacy, it is simple, and very unlike the law, which was full of

rites, ordinances, ceremonies, &c., each of which required to be

perfectly fulfilled: and yet, after all, even those who had the

utmost zeal for God, and, as conscientiously as possible, observed

all the precepts of the law, had not attained to justification nor

peace of conscience. Whereas both Jews and Gentiles, who had

believed on the Lord Jesus according to the simple declarations of

the Gospel, were freely justified from all things from which they

could not be justified by the law of Moses: and they had the

witness in themselves that they were passed from death to life.

Verse 11. For the Scripture saith] And howsoever the Jews may

despise this Gospel, because it comes not unto them with pomp and

ceremony, it puts those who receive it into possession of every

heavenly blessing: and this is according to the positive

declarations of the prophets; for it is written, Isa 28:16; 49:23:

Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. He shall neither

be disappointed of his hope, nor ashamed of his confidence; because

he has that faith which is the evidence of things not seen, the

subsistence of things hoped for, Heb 11:1.

See Clarke on Ro 1:16.

Verse 12. For there is no difference between the Jew and the

Greek] All are equally welcome to this salvation. Here the Jew

has no exclusive privilege; and from this the Greek is not

rejected. One simple way of being saved is proposed to all, viz.

faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; because he is the same Lord who

has made all and governs all, and is rich in mercy to all that

call upon him.

Verse 13. For whosoever shall call, &c.] Nor shall any one

who hears this doctrine of salvation, and credits it as he is

commanded, be permitted to pray or supplicate the throne of grace

in vain: for the Prophet Joel hath declared, Joe 2:32:

Whosoever shall call upon, invoke, the name of the Lord Jesus

Christ, the Saviour of sinners, shall be saved-shall have his

guilt pardoned, his heart purified; and if he abide in the faith,

rooted and grounded in him, showing forth the virtues of him who

was called him out of darkness into his marvellous light, he shall

be saved with all the power of an eternal life.

"Believing in Christ, or God, Ro 10:11,

and calling upon God, Ro 10:12-14, are in effect the same thing;

as calling upon God necessarily connects and supposes faith in

him: and he who duly believes in Christ has such a sense of his

dependence upon Divine grace, that he looks unto God and trusts

in his power and goodness alone for happiness: which is the true

religion of the Gospel." Dr. Taylor.

It is evident that St. Paul understood the text of Joel as

relating to our blessed Lord; and therefore his word κυριος must

answer to the prophet's word Yehovah, which is no mean proof

of the Godhead of Jesus Christ. If the text be translated,

Whosoever shall invoke in the name of the Lord, which translation

yikra beshem Yehovah will certainly bear, yet

still the term Yehovah, the incommunicable name, is given to

Christ; because invoking in the name signifies soliciting one in

the name or on the account of another. He who is invoked is GOD;

he, in whose name he is invoked, is JESUS CHRIST, who is here

called Yehovah. He who asks mercy from GOD, in the name and for

the sake of JESUS CHRIST, shall get his soul saved.

Verse 14. How then shall they call on him] As the apostle had

laid so much stress on believing in order to salvation, and as

this doctrine, without farther explanation, might be

misunderstood, it was necessary to show how this faith was

produced; and therefore he lays the whole doctrine down in a

beautifully graduated order.

1. There can be no salvation without the Gospel: a dispensation

of mercy and grace from God alone, here called, Ro 10:15, the

Gospel of peace; glad tidings of good things.

2. This must be preached, proclaimed in the world for the

obedience of faith.

3. None can effectually preach this unless he have a Divine

mission; for how shall they preach except they be SENT, Ro 10:15.

The matter must come from God; and the person mho proclaims it

must have both authority and unction from on high.

4. This Divinely-commissioned person must be heard: it is the

duty of all, to whom this message of salvation is sent, to hear it

with the deepest reverence and attention.

5. What is heard must be credited; for they who do not believe

the Gospel as the record which God has given of his Son cannot be

saved, Ro 10:14.

6. Those who believe must invoke God by Christ, which they

cannot do unless they believe in him; and in this way alone they

are to expect salvation. Professing to believe in Christ, without

earnest, importunate prayer for salvation, can save no man. All

these things the apostle lays down as essentially necessary; and

they all follow from his grand proposition, Whosoever shall call

upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. But, says the apostle,

How shall they CALL upon 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? And with what message which can bring

salvation can they be sent, but with the GOSPEL OF PEACE, the GLAD

TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS. When, therefore, there is: 1st, a proper

MESSAGE; 2dly, a proper MESSENGER; 3dly, the message PREACHED,

proclaimed, or properly delivered by him; 4thly, the proclamation

properly HEARD and attentively considered by the people; 5thly,

the message which they have heard, conscientiously BELIEVED;

6thly, the name of the Lord Jesus, by whom alone this salvation is

provided, most fervently INVOKED; then, 7thly, salvation, or

redemption from sin and misery, and the enjoyment of peace and

happiness, will be the result of such calling, believing, hearing,

preaching, sending, and message sent:-and thus the doctrine of

salvation by grace through faith is guarded from abuse.

Verse 15. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach] Dr.

Taylor remarks on this quotation, which is taken from Isa 52:7,

that "feet are variously used in Scripture, and sometimes have

respect to things internal and spiritual. For as the life of man

and the practice of piety are compared to walking, Ps 1:1, so his

feet may signify the principles on which he acts, and the

dispositions of his mind. Ec 5:1:

Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God. Agreeably to

this, the feet of the messengers in Isaiah and of the apostles in

this verse, may signify the validity of their mission-the

authority upon which they acted, and any character or

qualifications with which they were invested."

Verse 16. But they have not all obeyed the Gospel.] This

seems to be the objection of a Jew; as if he had said: A Divine

mission would be attended with success; whereas there are numbers

who pay no attention to the glad tidings you preach. To this the

apostle answers, that the Spirit of God, by Isaiah, Isa 53:1,

foretold it would be so, even in the case of the Jews themselves,

where he said, Lord, who hath believed our report? For although

God brings the message of salvation to men, he does not oblige

them to embrace it.

It is proposed to their understanding and conscience; but it

does not become the means of salvation unless it be affectionately


Verse 17. So then faith cometh by hearing] Preaching the

Gospel is the ordinary means of salvation; faith in Christ is the

result of hearing the word, the doctrine of God preached.

Preaching, God sends; if heard attentively, faith will be

produced; and if they believe the report, the arm of the Lord will

be revealed in their salvation.

Verse 18. But I say, have they not heard?] But to return to

the objection: You say they have not all BELIEVED; I ask: Have

they not all HEARD? Have not the means of salvation been placed

within the reach of every Jew in Palestine, and within the reach

of all those who sojourn in the different Gentile countries where

we have preached the Gospel, as well to the Jews as to the

Gentiles themselves? Yes: for we may say of the preaching of the

Gospel what the psalmist has said (Ps 19:4)

of the heavenly bodies: Their sound went into all the earth, and

their words unto the ends of the world. As the celestial

luminaries have given testimony of the eternal power and Godhead

of the Deity to the habitable world, the Gospel of Christ has

borne testimony to his eternal goodness and mercy to all the land

of Palestine, and to the whole Roman empire. There is not a part

of the promised land in which these glad tidings have not been

preached; and there is scarcely a place in the Roman empire in

which the doctrine of Christ crucified has not been heard: if,

therefore, the Jews have not believed, the fault is entirely their

own; as God has amply furnished them with the means of faith and

of salvation.

In Ps 19:4,

the psalmist has kauuam, their line, which the

Septuagint, and the apostle who quotes from them, render φθογγος,

sound; and hence some have thought that the word in the Psalm was

originally kolam, voice. But that kau is used for

word or speech is sufficiently evident from Isa 28:10,

line upon line, precept upon precept, &c., where is analogous

to word or direction. It is very remarkable that these words of

David, quoted by St. Paul, are mentioned in Sohar. Genes. fol. 9,

where it is said: Abdey mashicha innun

millin. "These words are the servants of the Messiah, and measure

out both the things above and the things beneath." To this notion

of them the apostle may refer in his use of them in this place,

and to a Jew the application would be legitimate.

Verse 19. But I say, Did not Israel know?] You object to this

preaching among the Gentiles; but is not this according to the

positive declaration of God? He, foreseeing your unbelief and

rebellion, said by Moses, De 32:21,

I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by

a foolish nation I will anger you. As you have provoked me to

jealousy with worshipping those that are no gods, I will provoke

you to jealousy by those which are no people. This most evidently

refers to the calling or inviting of the Gentiles to partake of

the benefits of the Gospel; and plainly predicts the envy and rage

which would be excited in the Jews, in consequence of those offers

of mercy made to the Gentiles.

Verse 20. But Esaias (the Greek orthography for Isaiah) is

very bold] Speaks out in the fullest manner and plainest

language, Isa 65:1, notwithstanding the danger to which such a

declaration exposed him, among a crooked, perverse, and dangerous

people: I was found of them that sought me not; I put my salvation

in the way of those (the Gentiles) who were not seeking for it,

and knew nothing of it: thus, the Gentiles which followed not

after righteousness have attained to the law of righteousness,

Ro 9:30, and they have found that redemption which the Jews

have rejected.

Verse 21. But to Israel he saith] In the very next verse,

(Isa 65:2,)

All day long have I stretched forth my hands, manifesting the

utmost readiness and willingness to gather them all together under

my protecting care; but I stretched forth my hands in vain, for

they are a disobedient and gainsaying people. They not only

disobey my command, but they gainsay and contradict my prophets.

Thus the apostle proves, in answer to the objection made Ro 10:16,

that the infidelity of the Jews was the effect of their own

obstinacy; that the opposition which they are now making to the

Gospel was foretold and deplored 700 years before; and that their

opposition, far from being a proof of the insufficiency of the

Gospel, proved that this was the grand means which God had

provided for their salvation; and having rejected this, they could

expect no other. And this gives the apostle opportunity to speak

largely concerning their rejection in the following chapter.

I. IN the preceding chapter are several quotations from the

law, the prophets, and the Psalms; and as the apostle seems to

take them with considerable latitude of meaning, it has been

thought that he only uses their words as being well calculated to

express his sense, without paying any attention to their original

import. This principle is too lax to be introduced in such solemn

circumstances. Dr. Taylor has made some judicious and useful

distinctions here. After observing that, if we allow this

principle, no argument can be built on any of the apostle's

quotations; and that it must have been an indifferent thing with

him whether he did or did not understand the Scripture-as, on this

supposition, they would serve him as well without as with the true

meaning-he adds: the apostle was a strict and close quoter of the

Scripture; but he did not always quote them in the same manner, or

for the same purpose.

1. Sometimes his intention goes no farther than using the same

strong expressions, as being equally applicable to the point in

hand. So, Ro 10:6-8,

he uses the words of Moses, not to prove any thing, nor as if he

thought Moses spoke of the same subject, but only as intimating

that the strong and lively expressions which Moses used concerning

the doctrine he taught, were equally applicable to the faith of

the Gospel. So, in the same manner, Ro 10:18, he quotes Ps 19:4,

though it is likely (see the note in that place) that those

expressions were used by the ancient Jews in application to the

Messiah as the apostle applies them.

2. Sometimes the design of the quotation is only to show that

the cases are parallel: or, that what happened in his times

corresponded with what happened in former days.

So Ro 2:24; 8:36; 9:27-29; 11:2-5, 8-10; 15:21.

3. Sometimes the quotation is only intended to explain a

doctrinal point, as Ro 1:17; 4:6-8, 18-21; 9:20, 21; 10:15; 15:3.

4. Sometimes the quotation is designed to prove a doctrinal

point. Ro 3:4, 10-19; 4:3-17; 5:12-14; 9:7, 9, 12, 13, 15, 17;

Ro 10:5, 11, 13; 12:19, 20; 13:9; 14:11.

5. Sometimes it is the intention of the quotation to prove that

something was predicted, or properly foretold in the prophetic

writings, as Ro 9:25, 26, 33; 10:16, 19-21; 11:26, 27; 15:9-13.

These things duly considered, it will appear that the apostle

has every where shown a just regard to the true sense of the

Scripture he quotes, in the view in which he quotes it.

These rules may help to vindicate the quotations in all the

apostolic writings. And it is evident that we cannot form a true

judgment upon any quotation, unless we take in the intention of

the writer, or the view in which he quotes.

II. The apostle here makes a just and proper distinction

between the righteousness or justification that is of the law, and

that which is by faith in Christ. And, in his view of the former,

shows it to be absolutely impossible; for if no man is to live

thereby-to have spiritual and eternal life, but he who does

these things; then salvation on that ground must be impossible;

for, 1. The law makes no provision for the pardon of sin. 2. It

affords no helps for the performance of duty. 3. It makes no

allowances for imperfections in duty, or for imperfections is our

nature. 4. Its commandments, necessarily, suppose a righteous

soul, and a vigorous body; and it does not lower its claims to the

fallen state of man. 5. It requires perfect obedience, not only

in all things, but in all places and circumstances. The man who

comes up to this standard, has ever been in it, and has never

swerved from it, shall, by the law, live for ever. But no man,

since the fall, ever did so or ever can do so: therefore,

salvation by the works of the law is absolutely impossible. But,

1. The righteousness or justification, which is by faith, receives

Christ as an atoning sacrifice, by which all past sin is pardoned.

2. Receives continual supplies of grace from Christ by the eternal

Spirit, through which the man is enabled to love God with all his

heart, soul, mind, and strength, and his neighbour as himself. 3.

This grace is afforded in sufficient degrees suited to all places,

times, and circumstances, so that no trial can happen too great to

be borne, as the grace of Christ is ever at hand to support and to

save to the uttermost. The law is the letter that killeth; the

Gospel is the spirit that giveth life. Reader, let thy whole soul

say with the apostle, Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!

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