Sunday, June 19, 2011

Commentary on Scripture: Romans 10

Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.

Romans 10:1-2 ~~ Paul desires salvation for his fellow Jews. This desire seems oriented around something not yet attained, though perhaps in light of their (albeit misguided) zeal for God, something in the process of being attained. This all relates back to the relationship between knowledge and salvation that is discussed at length in Romans 2.

Romans 10:3 ~~ The failure to be subject to God -- is born both out of ignorance of God's righteousness, and by the desire to established themselves as arbiters of righteousness.

Romans 10:4 ~~ Christ is the end (telos: goal, purpose) of the Law for the faithful.

Romans 10:5 ~~ According to Moses (Lev. 18:5), if you practice the righteousness based on the law, you will live by that righteousness.

Romans 10:6-7 ~~ But the righteousness of faith does not speak of anything in our own power, that we might bring Christ into the world or draw Him out of death (the Incarnation and Resurrection are informally referenced as bi-modal peaks of Christ's life and ministry).

Romans 10:8 ~~ Righteousness based on faith proclaims the nearness of the Word in our mouth and heart, that being "the word of faith which we are preaching" (the gospel transmitted by the Apostles).

Romans 10: 9-10 ~~ Verse 9 is the more famous of the two: "If you confess with you mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that Christ raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." But verse 10 is the essential filter and gloss of that previous verse: namely, that the belief in our hearts results in righteousness, while the confession of our lips results in salvation. That's something to ponder.

Romans 10: 11-13 ~~ Paul speaks in these verses of the universal and perpetual accessibility of God's grace, and thus the universal possibility of our salvation.

Romans 10:14-15 ~~ "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom that have no heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" Paul speaks of the necessity of the evangelical Church, and the necessary connection between an evangelical mission and the Apostolic commission. We are sent because we have heard, and we heard it from the Apostles, from those who bore witness to Christ.

Romans 10:16-22 ~~ Faith is enabled by hearing... but Israel has heard without belief. Why then has it no faith?

Romans 10 is an odd chapter, full of brief tangents that fill the void between Romans 9 and Romans 11, both of which cover the theme "Jew and Gentile" in a great deal of depth. Romans 10 seems more oriented on the "how" than the "why": how did we come to belief, and how did Israel come to lack it? This leads Paul to discuss the role of the Law and the law of righteousness, the centrality of a Credo for salvation and of public evangelism for the Church.

No comments:

Post a Comment