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Faith, Healing, Calling
October 17, 2013
Open your Bibles to Romans, chapter 10. We’re really going to start at verse 10 with some new content but I want to give you some review because this isn’t the easiest material to think through. After you hear me teach you go back and try to work your way through. You’re wondering why I said certain things so I want to review this again because I think it’s really important. It’s not the normal way people approach this passage. The way most people approach it, especially verses 9 and 10, is that this is talking in some sense about justification and in some other sense about sanctification.
There are a lot of Christians who look at Romans 10:9 and 10 as being part of the formula for salvation. You believe in your heart but then if you truly believe, if you genuinely believe, if you are truly elect, then your works will show it and you will talk about it. You will tell someone that you believe in Jesus. That’s pretty much how probably 98% of Christendom has interpreted this passage. As I pointed out and again and again, part of the problem is that we have this preset mindset that when you see the word “saved” it’s talking about getting eternal life and going to heaven. That’s not how the word is used either in the Hebrew in the Old Testament or in Greek in the New Testament. It has a range of meanings and I’ve gone through that.
The core meaning of the word SOZO as well as its Hebrew term, yasha, means to deliver from a predicament. That might mean deliverance from illness, in which case we would translate it healing. It might be deliverance from one’s enemies in a battle and we would translate it as deliverance. What we do in Romans is look at this word SOZO and realize Paul does not use it as a synonym for justification. It’s used primarily to talk about phase 2 salvation which is the spiritual life and deliverance which in a sense is the whole complete package of phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3 together. You can’t get to phase 2 or phase 3 if you’re not justified but it’s not used as a synonym where you can just do a word substitution. It’s really talking about the results or consequences of justification.
The other thing we need to be reminded about in terms of the context is that Paul is now talking about Israel and the relation of God’s plan to Israel and to His righteousness. The point is that God is righteous in His dealings with Israel and that He eventually will fulfill all His promises to Israel as stated in the first part of Romans 9. That says that all the promises and all the covenants still belong to Israel and God will eventually fulfill all His promises. Most of those promises in the Old Testament come back to the fact that Israel will be restored to the land as a unified people with a heart for God and living in obedience. That’s spelled out again and again from the Torah, especially in passages in Deuteronomy and Leviticus.
Leviticus 26 is after the 5th cycle of discipline, Israel will be restored to the land. That’s also found in Deuteronomy 30. That’s the context for these quotations that we have in chapter 10. So to just remind us again, even though we’ve seen this so many times, Romans 9 demonstrates the righteousness of God in His rejection of national Israel. Now this isn’t a total rejection. It’s a setting aside of Israel in His plan. It’s temporary so that some have said that we’re living in the period of the Great Parentheses. The Church Age was not announced in the Old Testament. It was not predicted or prophesied in the Old Testament. It was not foreseen. It’s a parenthesis. It’s the insertion of something new in God’s plan between the arrival of the Messiah the first time and His coming the second time.
Romans 10 will demonstrate that that rejection by God is based on Israel’s corporate neglect of the revelation God had given them. That’s the whole point of these passages quoted in verses 6, 7, and 8 that the “Word is near to them.” Romans 11 then answers the question of whether God had then permanently cast them away and the answer is no, God still has a plan for national ethnic Israel. So we looked last time at this same passage which I’m just reviewing which quotes from Deuteronomy 30:11-14.
Now in Romans 10:6-8 we read about the righteousness of faith. That’s a genitive of source which says a righteousness which is produced by faith. Now the question which we need to answer is whether this is faith salvation or justification faith when a person receives eternal life and receives the imputation of righteousness and is declared righteous or is this faith related to the ongoing walk of a believer after justification? A lot of people think it’s justification faith but Paul quit talking about justification back in chapter 5, verse 21. He’s talking about a different kind of righteousness. He’s not talking about justification righteousness. He’s talking about the experiential righteousness in the life of a believer.
Now he’s going to quote from these verses in Deuteronomy 30:11-14. For those of you who’ve been coming to the Sunday night Bible Study Methods class, we’ve been talking about the importance of observation in the text and answering basic questions about who wrote something, when did they write it, to whom did they write it, what were the circumstances surrounding the writing and what was the purpose. That means understanding the argument of a book. In Deuteronomy 30 we first ask the question of who is speaking. The answer is Moses. Deuteronomy is a message that Moses taught as a parting Bible class before he went to be with the Lord. He goes through the history of how God had dwelt graciously with Israel, how God had brought them through the wilderness, and now God has brought them to a significant point in His plan for them. What point is that? They are on the edge of going into the land. So we’re talking to the conquest generation.
The Exodus generation was made up of a lot of believers but they were spiritual failures. They were characterized by rebellion and disobedience and as a result God let them spend forty years in the wilderness and did not allow them to enter into the land of Israel. Now that picture of entering into the land of Israel is not a picture of entering into heaven. It’s a picture of entering into the fullness of the promise that God has for the believer. So the Exodus generation is a picture of the disobedient believer who doesn’t get his rewards and doesn’t experience the full blessing that God promised him. But they’re still believers.
Now we have the conquest generation, the children of the Exodus generation. They are a superior generation spiritually because they are obedient. That is why they’re going to be able to go into the land and conquer the inhabitants of the land. They’re going to be successful at it because they trust God. They trust God at Jericho. They have a little blip, a little speed bump outside of Ai but they eventually get their act together and they go into the northern and southern areas and defeat most of the Canaanites, at least in their major strongholds. They are successful because they’re spiritually obedient. They are a believing generation.
Moses is addressing them as they are about to cross the Jordan River and go into the land that God promised them. He’s not talking to them about how to get righteousness to go to heaven. He’s talking to them about how they as believers should live for God and have experiential righteousness so they could experience the blessings that God has for them in the land. They’re warned in Deuteronomy 28 and 29 that they’re going to be disobedient. There’s going to be a time when their descendants will be disobedient. If it continues and intensifies to the point of complete idolatry and rebellion against God then God is going to pull them out of the land and scatter them among all the nations. They’re believers. They’re obedient and so Moses is telling them that if they want to stay in the land then they must walk with the Lord.
This is seen in the next couple of verses beyond the ones that Paul is quoting. In Deuteronomy 30:15, Moses drives his sermon home when he says, “See I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.” He is saying you have two options. You have a volition. Your generation needs to decide as believers if you’re going to walk with God and experience life and good or are you going to be like your parents and walk in disobedience and experience death and evil. It’s up to you what you’re going to make of your generation and in your life.
He promised they could live and multiply. Now living and multiplying are seen as two related ideas. That’s not going to be going on in heaven. This is not talking about that you may live eternally and go to heaven. We’re not mormons. We don’t believe we’re going to die and go to heaven and make babies for the next ten millennia. This is talking about life in the land. If you’re obedient, you will live in the land. God will bless you and you will have a rich, glorious, abundant life. If you’re not, then you won’t have that. So the promise is that you will live on earth, in the land, and be blessed by God.
Then verse 17 is in contrast, “But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.” This is all in this life. Perish does not mean eternal perishing here. At least half the time we see the word perish used in the Scripture it doesn’t have to do with eternal condemnation. It has to do with temporal condemnation or defeat in battle.
Paul uses the comparable Greek word to talk about what might have happened to him in a shipwreck, that he might have perished or died. So we’re talking here about physical death and physical loss of property and possessions in the land as a result of divine judgment. So we’re talking about how to richly enjoy life today so this would come under the category of how to get eternal life which would be justification. It’s not in the passage. He’s talking here about how to live a life that brings blessing where you experience the blessing of God and the richness and fullness that God has for you. So in the preceding section it tells us that Moses is talking to believers about how to experience the richness of God’s blessing in this life.
In the verses 11-14 he’s focusing on the fact that this is dependent upon how you respond to the Word of God. In Deuteronomy 30:11, Moses says, “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it.? Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ But the word is very near you in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.” He is saying the commandment is right here. God has revealed them to you in the Torah, in the Law. It’s not in heaven so no one has to go there to find it. It’s not beyond the sea that you have to go over the sea to find it. “The Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart that you may do it.”
We see those two terms, mouth and heart emphasized in the Romans 10 passage. So the point here is that Moses is telling his hearers in the original context that the word is here before you. You don’t have to go searching for it. You don’t have to send someone for it. It’s not mystical. It’s not mysterious. It’s not hard to find. The issue is whether you want to respond to what God tells you or not.
The way he applies it in Romans 10 is that Paul takes those same principles that the Word of God, the revelation of God is available to you right now, right where you are and he applies that to Christ which is what Moses is talking about but in John chapter one we’re told that the second Person of the Trinity is Logos. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Jesus Christ is the Living Word. In John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh [the incarnation] and dwelt among us.” What we have is the Living Word in Jesus Christ who is the greatest expression of God.
John goes on to say that “No one has seen the Father at any time but the only begotten has revealed Him.” So Jesus is the highest and greatest expression of God’s disclosure of Himself to everyone. So when Paul takes these passages he paraphrases them and applies them to Christ and the revelation of God we have in Christ. He says in verse 6, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into Heaven? [that is to bring Christ down], and Who will descend into the abyss? [that is to bring Christ up from the dead].” Paul is viewing Christ here as that expression of revelation.
Verse 8, “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your heart, that is, the word of faith which we are preaching.” You don’t need to make up excuses. It’s right there. It’s present. So the point that I’m making is that as we study Scripture, we ask who is being addressed. Years ago I learned a basic principle in seminary, that every passage is either talking to the unrighteous, the unsaved, the unjustified telling them how to be justified or it’s talking to the saved telling them how to live the spiritual life. Every passage in Scripture is doing one or the other. It’s either talking to the unbeliever telling them how to get heaven or it’s talking to the believer and telling them how they should live as a believer. One or the other.
We’re going to see this a lot in Matthew and Matthew does the same thing that Paul is doing in this chapter. The whole Sermon on the Mount is not addressed to unbelievers. Jesus is talking to his disciples. Now everybody else comes in and sits down around him and they listen in but Jesus is not talking to the multitudes. He’s talking to His disciples. He’s giving a spiritual-life lesson to His disciples. Otherwise you end up with a works-based salvation which a lot of people have done because they don’t understand the context. Jesus isn’t talking about how to get eternal life in the Sermon on the Mount. He’s just doing the same thing Paul is doing here. He’s going to the Mosaic Law and interpreting it according to God’s standards to show that if you want to “live in the land” and enjoy the blessing of God, these are God’s standards. This is how you live them if you are going to experience the blessing of God “in the land.” It’s Jesus’ interpretation of the Mosaic Law.
Most of what is in the Sermon on the Mount is in the Old Testament and Jesus is just giving it the correct spin. He’s not giving it the legalistic spin of the Pharisees. This is what Paul is doing here. So Paul follows the same principle. Moses is speaking to believers. Paul in Romans 10 is talking about the importance of righteousness in the Christian life. He quit talking about justification back in chapter 5, verse 21. So he’s consistent. He’s taking a spiritual life context in Deuteronomy and he’s applying it in a spiritual life context in Romans 10. So just as the issue in Deuteronomy is not gaining legal righteousness for salvation but having experiential righteousness to enjoy the blessing of God, the same is true in the Romans 10 context.
Now going on to Romans 10:13. As I told you last time the fulfillment of this verse is at the end of the Tribulation when the regenerate Jews in Israel who have followed the Lord’s command in Matthew 24 that says “When you see these signs appearing…” The signs are the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple, the Antichrist, and the judgments coming there in the second half of the Tribulation. He told them not to go back home, just leave, head through the wilderness, and get out of Jerusalem. Jews who leave Jerusalem at that point in the Tribulation are already believers. They’re already individually justified. That’s why they’re listening to Jesus and getting “out of Dodge.” But there are others who are left behind and will still come to salvation during that time. They don’t leave.
But the group that leaves represents the nation of Israel at that time in the future. They will flee across the desolate wastelands of the Judean desert, over across into what is now Jordan, in the area of Petra and Bozrah. There they will be protected by the Lord and when the armies of the Antichrist come to destroy them and to wipe out all the Jews then they will turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and call upon Him to save them. This is a quote from Joel 2:32. The context of Joel 2 is at this time at the Day of the Lord at the end of the Tribulation period.
Joel 2:32 says, “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered.” Is that talking about justification? No, for two reasons. Reason number one is that the Jews that end up there in Bozrah or Petra got there because they already believed Jesus and they’re fleeing in response to and obedience to His command. Second, the word there that’s translated “to be saved [delivered]” isn’t even the normal or predominant word for salvation. It’s the word malat which means to save or deliver in a physical sense. Then Joel goes on to explain in Joel 2:32, “For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape [deliverance].” So you say, “You’re talking about Bozrah.” Yes but after Jesus returns at Bozrah, after they call on the name of the Lord, He’s going to destroy the armies of the Antichrist that are there and then lead them in a victorious battle march back to Jerusalem to rescue those who are still trapped in Jerusalem.
So in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, physical deliverance and escape, and it’s in parallelism to “shall be saved” So Joel is not talking about justification salvation, getting into heaven but about physical deliverance at the end of the Tribulation when the total destruction and annihilation of the Jewish people is a very real immediate threat.
Now this goes back to Matthew 23:37 which we looked at last week. Jesus is talking to the disciples and he predicts judgment for Jerusalem. Jesus say, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.” This is a quotation from Psalm 118:26 and this speaks of what the Israelites will do. They will call on the Name of the Lord [which always refers to a character quality] that He will come and rescue Israel.”
This occurs at the end of the tribulation period. Jesus is prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in AD 70 and they’re still out under divine discipline until God brings them back. The condition for coming back is spelled out in Leviticus 26:40, “If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers…” Now I believe that “iniquity of their fathers” is going to go back to the national sin of Israel which is the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. So they are going to acknowledge as a corporate entity their sin. This isn’t unusual.
Daniel says the same thing at the beginning of Daniel 9. He’s reading in Jeremiah and he reads that God said they would be out of the land for seventy years. When Daniel read that he got out his abacus or his TI calculator and started adding it up and realized they were at seventy years. So Daniel prayed as an intercessor for the nation Israel and confessed their sin of idolatry and rebellion against God and prayed that God would restore them to the land. At the end of that prayer God sent the angel Gabriel to tell him and give him the vision of the seventy weeks and the timetable for Israel. It was not long after that that the Babylonians were defeated by the Medes and the Persians and Cyrus then authorized the Jews to return to the land at the end of the seventy year captivity. So Daniel confessed their sin. God forgave them and restored them to the land.
That is a partial restoration that occurred there. It is a picture of the full restoration that will occur at the end of the period. So Leviticus tells us that God will remember His covenant. Just in conclusion. This is where we get some application. First point, what God promises, God fulfills. It doesn’t matter if you’re Israel out of the land or if you’re a believer facing adversity on a day-to-day basis, God fulfills His promises. He won’t go back on His promises to Israel and He won’t go back on His promises to you. Remember, that’s the context here. Paul has just said at the end of Romans 8 that we can’t get out of the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Some Jew might say, “Well, wait a minute. It seems like God is turning his back on Israel.” No, God is going to be faithful to His promises to Israel but it’s on His timetable, not your timetable.
Second point of application, God promised Israel a worldwide scattering in the 5th cycle of discipline in Leviticus 26:27-39 and in Deuteronomy 29. That is where they are today. The disapora where we get our English word “dispersion”. The diaspora is the name for the scattering of Israel among the nations. The disapora came in several stages. The first stage occurred in 722 BC when the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the ten tribes, were defeated by the Assyrians. They were taken as captives and scattered by the Assyrians throughout the Assyrian Empire. Then some 140 years later when the Babylonians defeated the southern Kingdom of Judah, then those inhabitants were taken as captives back to Babylon. There were some that when they saw Nebuchadnezzzar coming, they had fled to Egypt and other places to avoid the defeat.
That was the scattering of Israel. That lasted for 70 years and then they came back. But not all of them came back. Only 45 to 46,000 came back under Zerubbabel in the first return. There were two or three other returns but they weren’t large. They were mostly from Persia There were still large Jewish communities in Alexandria in Egypt, and throughout Egypt and in Babylon and as well as those who had scattered into what we call Turkey today which was called Cappadocia and Pontus and that area and further into Greece and into Rome.
The promise of God was that if Israel turned to Him then He would restore them to the land. This is Leviticus 26:40-42. But neither the return in 538 BC or its subsequent stages nor the return that we’re seeing today is the promised return of a regenerate Israel. There had to be a return in 538 BC because there had to be a national entity that the Messiah could come to the first time. If God hadn’t brought back a portion, maybe 30% of the Jews in the world at that time, to establish a national entity to be there to accept or reject the Messiah, then there would have been no nation for Him to come to so there had to be a restoration.
In the same way there will have to be a national regathering of a large percentage of Jews today because the event that begins the Tribulation is when the Antichrist signs a peace treaty with Israel. The Tribulation doesn’t begin with the Rapture as a lot of people think. It begins after the Rapture. The first event that kicks off the stopwatch on Daniel’s seventieth week is the signing of the peace treaty between the Antichrist and Israel. That’s what starts it. There’s going to be restoration but not in belief, it’s going to be a restoration in unbelief before the Tribulation begins.
Then at the end of the Tribulation that’s when we have the regathering and the full restoration of a regenerate nation. God will bring them back corporately before the Tribulation ends and through the Tribulation so there is an entity there by the end of the Tribulation to call upon the name of the Lord to come and deliver them.
If there’s no national entity in Israel in the Tribulation period, there won’t be a temple for the Antichrist to desecrate. There won’t be a national entity there to fulfill the prophecies of Revelation and there won’t be a national entity there to represent all the Jews at the end of the Tribulation to call upon the name of the Lord to return. As we saw last time this calling on the name of the Lord takes place when the remnant has fled at the end to Bozrah.
Then there are the verses I talked about last time where the Messiah comes and rescues them and comes out of Bozrah and the picture is “who is this coming whose robes are covered in blood because he has defeated the armies of the Antichrist.” He’s coming as a victor. It’s at that future time when they’ll call on the Messiah and He will remove the national guilt of their corporate sin. That’s the unforgiveable sin that took place in Matthew 12 when He was rejected.
So the kind of salvation we’re talking about here is a national, physical deliverance. That’s part of the picture. The other part of the picture is that it’s talking about the same salvation we have in Romans 1:16 where Paul says, “I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…” Now this isn’t the narrow gospel of Christ—which is how do we get to heaven?—but it incorporates all of the good news of Christianity that we’re not only saved from the penalty of sin but we’re saved from the power of sin and we’re saved from the presence of sin. It’s what I facetiously call the “real full gospel”. Not the Charistmatic-Pentecostal version but the real Biblical full gospel including the spiritual life and future glorification as we’ve seen. We’re not only saved from the penalty of sin, we’re saved from the power of sin, and we will be saved from the presence of sin.
So that takes us back to Romans 10:9-10, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved [physically delivered].” That’s the context. You will be saved from what? Romans 1:17 says that those who rejected God in the non-verbal revelation will have the wrath of God revealed to them. So this salvation here is deliverance in time from the wrath of God.
The word for confess here is the same word we usually use. HOMOLOGEO, but it not only means confess in the sense of confessing sin but it also means to declare and to praise. So it’s a declaration that they will declare with their mouth the Lord Jesus. This is not “lordship salvation” that you have to declare with your mouth the Lordship of Christ so you will be saved. It is a declaration that Jesus is God. This is what happens at the end of the Tribulation period.
We see that in the parallel passage in Romans 10:14 where Paul asks the rhetorical question, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?” The point is you have to believe before you’re going to call on the Lord to deliver you. Now we pointed out last time that there’s a literary structure to Romans 10:9-10 using parallelism. This form of parallelism is a chiasm. You have four statements: A and B and then they’re mirrored in B prime and A prime. So the first line, “If you confess with your mouth” is mirrored by the last line, “With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” So both the first line and the last line are talking about the same thing, which is confession unto deliverance.
The middle two lines are talking about the same thing. The first middle line, “And believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved.” Is that “you will be saved” talking about getting justified, getting eternal life, or is it talking about getting deliverance? In context, it’s deliverance so when we look at the second “B” line, “with the heart one believes unto righteousness” if that is synonymous to the first B line then the second B line cannot be talking about forensic justification. It can’t be talking about receiving the imputation of Christ. It’s talking about believing in reference to the spiritual life and spiritual growth so that “You will be saved” and “believing unto righteousness” are parallel and they’re talking not about getting justified but how the justified person believes in his walk with God.
My point is that the whole context here does not appear anywhere in the Old Testament passages that are quoted or the New Testament context. The issue isn’t how to get to heaven. The issue is God’s deliverance of Israel. Since “saved” in the first line is talking about phase two deliverance, then “righteousness” must also be talking about phase two or experiential righteousness.
Now we went on last time and looked at Romans 10:11 which is a quote from the Septuagint of Isaiah 28:16, the idea being that whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. God will fulfill His promise. He will deliver Israel. Then Romans 10:14 is explaining how they shall call on Him. Now there are four things that are said for rhetorical questions in this verse. What the writer is doing is that he is presenting a series of steps in reverse order in how you get to the point of calling on the name of the Lord. Before you call on the name of the Lord you have to first believe. Before you can believe you have to hear a message. Before you hear a message there has to be someone proclaiming the message. There has to be a preacher. Then before there’s a preacher someone has to send the preacher. So it’s a reverse statement of all the steps that have to take place before you ultimately call on the name of the Lord.
But notice, belief takes place before you call. They’re not the same thing. They’re separate steps and they’re not related to salvation. In the correct order, first of all a preacher is sent. Second, the proclamation occurs. Third, the people hear the proclamation. Fourth, some of the people believe the proclamation and then fifth, those who believe then call on the name of the Lord for deliverance from wrath. Remember I said in Romans 1:16 Paul said, “I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes.” Salvation from what? In two verses later we read in verse 18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.” What we’re saved from in Romans 1:16 is the wrath of God and as I’ve pointed out when we went through our study of Romans 1 the wrath of God isn’t future eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire because the description of God’s wrath is how it’s poured out on people in history in time who disobey God.
“So the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” And in Romans 1 it talks about the antinomian man. In the first part of chapter 2 Paul talks about the moral person and then in the latter part of Romans 2, the Jew who’s trying to get righteousness by the Law. God’s righteousness is revealed to all three of those so that now we can call on the name of the Lord and be delivered from the wrath of God which reaches its fullest expression in the Tribulation period. And that deliverance from the wrath of God is equally available to both Jew and Gentile. That is Paul’s point in verse 12, “For there’s no distinction between Jew and Greek for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.”
So that is a reference to the fact that this salvation isn’t just to the Jews but it’s equally available to the Gentiles. Where he’s going in Romans 9 is to point out that although the Jews rejected God’s offer, His offer is not just to be Jews but to the Gentiles. So God is expanding His offer to the Gentiles but eventually the Jews will also accept that offer. That fits into chapter 11. So this phrase “calling upon the name of the Lord” is a term to call upon the Lord for deliverance. It is used not only of unbelievers calling upon the Lord for deliverance from condemnation but it is also used of believers who are calling upon the Lord in prayer for deliverance from different kinds of temporal adversity.
For example, in Psalm 14:4 which is a passage talking about those who have rejected God and are the evil doers in contrast to those who have trusted God and are calling upon Him in their life. It starts off with a well-known verse, “The fool has said in his heart ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt. They’ve committed abominable deeds. There is no one who does good.” So it’s a picture of the one who has completely rejected God. “The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, Who seek God.” See, Paul ends up quoting this whole section in Romans 3.
Then in Psalm 14:3 we read, “They have all turned aside and together they have become corrupt. There is none that does good. No, not one.” In summary, the writer of the Psalm, which is David, says, “Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call on the Lord.” So here’s an example of the atheists who rejected God. They don’t call upon the name of the Lord. In contrast, if we look down to verse 7, we read, “You shame the council for the poor [a condemnation for the workers of iniquity] but the Lord is his refuge.” So the poor here are the righteous and they do look to God for their refuge and they call upon Him. In Psalm 14:7 we read, “Oh that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion when the Lord brings back the captivity of His people. Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.” When does that happen? That happens at the end of the Tribulation period. That’s when God is restoring them to the land.
Then another passage using the “call upon the Lord terminology” is in Psalm 18:3 where the Psalmist says, “I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised. So shall I be saved from my enemies.” The word there for “saved” is the Hebrew word yasha where we get yeshua which is the Hebrew for Joshua or Jesus. So it means to be saved. Here David is calling upon the Lord at a time when he is surrounded by his enemies and being persecuted by Saul so when he’s talking about being persecuted by his enemies is he talking about getting into heaven? Or is he talking about being delivered from his enemies? He’s calling upon God to rescue him in time of trouble. “I’ve called on You. Let the wicked be ashamed. Let them be silent in the grave.” So again, David is in a time of adversity and he wants God to rescue him and provide for him in this time of adversity.
Now there are many other passages in the Old Testament which use “call upon the Lord” terminology. Psalm 50:15, 53:4, 79:6, 138:3, 141:1, 145:18. They are all believers calling upon the name of the Lord to deliver them. Calling upon the name of the Lord is not something an unbeliever does to get into heaven. It’s what a believer does to be rescued by God. 1 Corinthians 1:2 and 2 Timothy 2:22 uses similar terminology in relation to believers. In 1 Corinthians 1:2 we read, “To the church of God which is at Corinth. To those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling with all who in every place call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” Whose calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? Believers or unbelievers? Believers. 1 Timothy 2:22, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” He’s talking about believers so believers call upon the name of the Lord, not unbelievers.
When we look at Romans 10 and we talk about confessing with the mouth parallel with calling on the name of the Lord, then this is what believers are doing in order to be rescued by God from some sort of present time adversity or wrath. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Then Romans 10:14 gives us the reverse process engineering of how you get to the point of calling upon the name of the Lord. It comes back to a quote from the Old Testament in verse 15. “How shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things.[Isaiah 52:7]” I want you to notice that Paul changes the Old Testament reference here. He says, “How beautiful the feet of those who preach the gospel.” Have you ever thought your feet were beautiful? If you’re proclaiming the gospel you have beautiful feet.
That passage is applied to who? Those. It’s a third person plural. The original in Isaiah says, “How beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of him who brings good news.” Who is that referring to? Him. Third person singular. One individual who brings good news. Guess who that one individual is who brings good news in the context of Isaiah 52:7. It’s the Servant. It’s the Messiah who is the One who brings good news. But now that He has brought the good news about who He is and salvation, then His followers must take that good news and proclaim it. That why Paul shifts it to a third person plural.
Notice in that initial message in Isaiah He is the One who brings deliverance [salvation] “Your God reigns.” Theologically what’s that a concept of? The Kingdom. I’m trying to tie this to what we’re studying in Matthew on Sunday morning. Matthew is the gospel of the King coming to present the message of the Kingdom. See that’s what Isaiah portrays, that the Messiah comes and He is going to present the Kingdom.
Now Romans 10:16 and following tells us that not all the Jews respond. “They have not all obeyed the gospel.” The gospel is a command to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean doing good works. It doesn’t mean going out and doing all of the Law. It means to obey the command to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. So they have not all obeyed the gospel for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” That’s a quote from Isaiah 53:1. “Who has believed our report and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” You see, not all of Israel is going to respond. Many will reject the message of the gospel.
So then Paul concludes, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” There comes that order again. You believe because you hear something. You hear the message. What’s the message you hear? It is the Word of God. So Romans 10:18 goes on the say, “But I say, surely have they never heard, have they? Indeed they have. Their voice has gone out to all the earth and their words to the ends of the world.” What sound is that? That’s the proclamation of the Word of God.
Then we get into Romans 10:19, “But I say,’ Surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, by a nation without understanding.” [Deuteronomy 32:21] See now what Paul is doing is he’s saying that what happened is the gospel was near but you were looking in the wrong place and you rejected the Word of God. So it’s not until you call upon the name of the Lord and accept the message that you’re going to be delivered. Now this shouldn’t surprise you because in Deuteronomy 32 Moses warned about this. He said that the Gentiles would come and respond and provoke the Jews to jealousy.
Now Paul’s going to get into that more in chapter 11. Deuteronomy 32:21 says, “For they have provoked me to jealousy by what is not God.” Moses says that God will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation. I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.” Then he quotes from Isaiah. In Romans 10:20 Paul says, “I was found by those who did not seek me. I became manifest to those who did not ask for me.” That’s again a reference to the Gentiles. That’s a quote from Isaiah 65:1 and then 10:21 is from Isaiah 65:2 which says, “All day long I’ve stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” See we saw that “all day long” and that offer of the Kingdom in the gospels, the second offer of the Kingdom all the way through Acts continually by extending the offer, stretching out His hand, but they are disobedient and contrary people who rejected the gospel.
So the natural conclusion then that comes is the question in Romans 11:1 where Paul raises this rhetorically and says, “I say this, ‘Has God cast away His people?’ ” When you end Romans 10:21 it sounds like God has just thrown up His hands and cast away His people. Paul says No. God has certainly not cast away His people. So we’ll come back and look at chapter 11 and start there next time.