Tuesday, 24 September 2013
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” Romans 10:16
Paul began chapter 10 with his comments concerning Israel and salvation (verses 1-4); they have a zeal for God, but without proper knowledge. They pursued the law as a means to and end, but Christ is the end-point, purpose, and fulfillment of the law. After that introduction, he supported this by citing Scripture, directly from the law, to demonstrate that the law showed this (verses 5-8). Then he cited the means of salvation (verses 9-13). In verses 14 and 15 he took the time to explain how this message is transmitted; by preaching and through the support of those who have believed.
“But” is Paul’s contrasting re-introduction of the reason for Israel’s missing the ship of salvation. If belief in Christ’s work is the end of the law, as he clearly details, then those who don’t believe have wrongly pursued salvation. And this is just the case because, “they have not all obeyed the gospel.” This is the tie back to verses 1-4. “Obeying the gospel” is belief in the work of Christ, as he sums up in verse 4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
And to show that this has been a problem of the past with Israel, and a prophecy of the future concerning both them and the gentiles, he now turns to the question asked in Isaiah 53:1, “Lord, who has believed our report?”
Isaiah’s question is particularly directed to the Jew who had received all of the advanced notifications of the coming of Messiah. Detailed descriptions of His life and work are found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. And yet, they were not believed. Those same details are now available in every library and bookstore in the world. They are found on the internet, heard on the radio, seen on TV and yet “who has believed” the report?
Isaiah’s question implies that what he is about to describe will be rejected. He is clear, but he will still be misunderstood. And, the answer to why is found right in those same ensuing verses of Isaiah 53. Albert Barnes sums it up nicely –
“It would be because he was a root out of a dry ground; because he was a man of sorrows. etc. And this actually took place. Because he did not come with splendor and pomp, as a temporal prince, he was rejected, and put to death.”
The world looks for might, flash, glamour, wealth, etc. in their leaders. But this isn’t how God entered the stream of humanity. Instead, the Creator united with human flesh, was born in a manger, led an obscure existence until the time of His ministry, offended the leaders of the nation, was crucified, and was buried. And all of this was done without any flash, pomp, display of earthly power, or show of wealth. This was, as far as they could see, a failure – now dead and buried.
The report was given, it was detailed and precise, and it should not have been missed, but it was. The gospel wasn’t obeyed in His life and it isn’t obeyed in His death and resurrection. Belief in God’s provision was and still is rejected for the sake of zeal without knowledge. The pursuit of pleasing God through self has taken precedence over pleasing God through Christ in both Jew and Gentile.
Life application: Obeying the gospel is synonymous with belief. The good news is that the work is accomplished and complete in Christ. Believe and share this good news!
Heavenly Father, Isaiah asked, “Who has believed our report?” The message of Messiah is detailed throughout the Hebrew Scriptures – who, what, where, when, and why are all given in advance of His coming. But so many have missed the message. O God, open eyes in both Jew and Gentile, that in the Lord there is complete pardon and full redemption. May Your Son be glorified in all the earth. Amen.