bible blog 2011

ROMANS 10: 5 -end

Now Moses writes that the person who does the just actions prescribed by the Jewish Law will get life by it. But the justice that comes from trust says,”Don’t say in your heart,’Who’ll go up to heaven?” – meaning to bring Messiah down- or ‘Who’ll do down to the depths?’ – meaning to fetch Messiah up from the dead.But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart- meaning the word of trust that we are announcing. So if you openly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be rescued. For a person trusts in her heart and is made just; she declares with her mouth and is rescued.For the Scripture says,”All  who trust in him will not be let down.” There’s no separation of Jew and Greek for the same Lord of all enriches all who recognise him, for “all who recognise the Lord will be rescued.”

But how can they recognsie one in whom they have no trust? And how can they trust in one of whom they have never heard? And how can they hear without someone announcing the message? And how can they announce the message unless they are commissioned to do so? As the Scripture says, ” How lovely are the feet of those who announce the joyful news of good things!” But not all have listened to the joyful news. As Isaiah says, “Lord, who has trusted our report?” Trust comes from hearing and hearing comes through the message of Messiah. But I ask you, have they not heard it? Of course they have, for “To all the earth their sound has gone out; their words to the limits of the inhabited world.”

But I ask you, did Israel truly not understand? For firstly Moses says, “By means of those who are no nation I will make you jealous; by means of a an ungodly nation I will make you angry.” Then Isaiah dares to say, “I have been discovered by those who did not look for me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”

But of Israel he says,”All day I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Translated M Mair 2016

I think Paul’s argumant is that the Mosaic Law rewards the human achievement of just actions with eternal life. Or rather it would do so, if anyone achieved perfectly just action. But because of the power of sin, as Paul has explained, nobody in fact succeeds in doing so.

The new justice, which comes from trist in God is different in that it doed not rest on human achievement, as if the believer had to bring Messiah Jesus down from heaven, or raise him from the dead. No, the sending down and the raising upmof Jesus are God’s gift to be received in trust through the joyful news. The rescuing word is not something that requires effort to bring near; indeed since it asks for a trusting response from human beings it is in the human mouth and heart. The public declaration that Jesus is one’s Lord is an essential mark of the trusting response to God’s goodness, as is the trust itself.

Recognition of God is crucial. Paul names it in the ancient language of faith, as  “calling on the name of the Lord” which is used in the book of Genesis. Itbrefers to actions and attitudes that show a trust in God. Paul notes that the work of commissioned emissaries of the joyful news has been crucial in allowing Gentiles to recognise God.

Paul is clear that Jewish people have heard the joyful news of Jesus Messiah and rejected it. Not even the entry of the Gentiles into possession of God’s promised blessing has roused the Jewish people to trust Messiah Jesus. The image of God stretching out his hands to a disobedient people, is meant to remind the reader of the crucifixion of Messiah Jesus.

Paul makes estensive use of Scripture in this section to reassure his gentile believers that they are not God’s Plan B after his attempt with the Jews has failed, but tha their inclusion in God’s family has been planned from eternity.



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