11. The Same for all

Meditations in Romans, Ch.9-11 : 11:  The Same for all

Rom 10:11-13    As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Remember what we so often say – check the context, note the continuity. When Paul says here, As the Scripture says,” he is confirming what he has just said in the previous two verses: “if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (v.9,10) Note twice the use of the word ‘saved’. This was the teaching of the early church and this was conformed by Scripture: “As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (v.11) But now Paul is going to place the emphasis on the word, ‘Anyone”. It is intriguing that in Isaiah’s original quote, in our version, it says, “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed,” (Isa 28:16) for the prophet was prophesying about the coming Messiah. Paul interprets ‘the one’ to mean anyone – which is a right interpretation. Indeed the Messiah has come – for anyone who will receive him and all who do, will be saved.

So Paul emphasizes this ‘Anyone’ as follows: “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile.” (v.12a) This salvation is for Gentile AND Jew for, he goes on, “the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.” (v.12b) Jesus is Lord of every person on earth, whether they realise it or not. One day they will all bow before him: “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:9-11) He is Lord of both Jew and Gentile.

To confirm this even further, Paul uses a quote from Joel which starts, “Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days….And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” (Joel 2:29,32) and now in our passage he simply declares, “for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (v.13). The emphasis again is on the word ‘Everyone’ and it is interesting to note that in Joel it is anyone in the era of the Spirit, the age of church history.

But then Paul takes the other side of the gospel equation – there needs to be those who bring the Good News, with the implication that you will only believe when you have first heard. It was necessary for the Gospel to be preached: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Rom 10:14) And of course they will only hear preaching if preachers have been sent: “And how can they preach unless they are sent? “ (v.15a) again just like Isaiah had declared, “As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (v.15b quoting Isa 52:7) Now we might ask, why is Paul saying this? What is the point of him saying this?

Well somewhat tantalizingly Paul holds back on the point but he does then say, “But not all the Israelites accepted the good news.” (v.16a) which implies they heard but now he’s making another point along the way which yet again he backs up with Scripture: “For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” (v.16b) before he eventually says, “But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did. “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (v.18) That again involved a quote from Psa 19:4 which is a bit cheeky because the context shows that the ‘Their’ refers to the heavens: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psa 19:1-4) But Paul uses that last part and applies it to the going out of the Gospel and says, yes they have heard the message!

He doesn’t say it here in this passage but his message is clear: the Gospel has been clearly preached and the Jews have heard it and so really there is no excuse for their refusal to believe, but refuse they did.  He’s got a lot more to say about it yet and we’ll see that in the following meditations.

A simple point before we close: Paul quoted from Psa 19 which says that the heavens declare the glory of the Lord. He has also said that the Gospel has been clearly preached, and we might now add – and has been clearly recorded in the New Testament. I believe God speaks to every single human being on this planet before they run out of life. I believe every single person will not be able to say, “I didn’t know” because, whether by conscience, or by the wonder of the world declaring God’s glory, or the evidence of the Scriptures, and the availability of churches all over the world, the truth is there to be seen and heard and no one goes to stand before God without having seen it. Whether they accept or reject it is another thing.

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