Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Romans
Book: Romans
Chapter: 10

The Apostle's Earnest desire for the Salvation of the Jews.
(1-4) The difference between the Righteousness of the Law, and
the Righteousness of Faith. (5-11) The Gentiles stand On a level
with the Jews, in Justification and Salvation. (12-17) The Jews
might know this from Old Testament prophecies. (18-21)

1-4 The Jews built On a false foundation, and refused to come
to Christ for free Salvation By Faith, and Numbers in every Age
do the same in various ways. The strictness of the Law showed
men their need of Salvation By Grace, through Faith. And the
ceremonies shadowed forth Christ as fulfilling the
Righteousness, and bearing the Curse of the Law. So that even
under the Law, all who were justified before God, obtained that
blessing By Faith, whereby they were made partakers of the
perfect Righteousness of the promised Redeemer. The Law is not
destroyed, nor the intention of the Lawgiver disappointed; but
full satisfaction being made By the Death of Christ for our
Breach of the Law, the End is gained. That is, Christ has
fulfilled the whole Law, therefore whoever believeth in him, is
counted just before God, as much as though he had fulfilled the
whole Law himself. Sinners never could go On in vain fancies of
their own Righteousness, if they knew the Justice of God as a
Governor, or his Righteousness as a Saviour.

5-11 The self-condemned sinner need not perplex himself how
this Righteousness may be found. When we speak of looking upon
Christ, and receiving, and feeding upon him, it is not Christ in
Heaven, nor Christ in the Deep, that we mean; but Christ in the
promise, Christ offered in the Word. Justification By Faith in
Christ is a Plain doctrine. It is brought before the mind and
Heart of every one, thus leaving him without excuse for
unbelief. If a Man confessed Faith in Jesus, as the Lord and
Saviour of lost sinners, and really believed in his Heart that
God had raised him from the dead, thus showing that he had
accepted the Atonement, he should be saved By the Righteousness
of Christ, imputed to him through Faith. But No Faith is
justifying which is not powerful in sanctifying the Heart, and
regulating all its affections By the Love of Christ. We must
devote and give up to God our souls and our bodies: our souls in
believing with the Heart, and our bodies in confessing with the
mouth. The believer shall never have cause to repent his
confident trust in the Lord Jesus. Of such Faith No sinner shall
be ashamed before God; and he ought to Glory in it before men.

12-17 There is not one God to the Jews, more kind, and another
to the Gentiles, who is less kind; the Lord is a Father to all
men. The promise is the same to all, who Call On the name of the
Lord Jesus as the Son of God, as God manifest in the Flesh. All
believers thus Call upon the Lord Jesus, and none else will do
So humbly or sincerely. But how should any Call On the Lord
Jesus, the Divine Saviour, who had not heard of him? And what is
the Life of a Christian but a Life of Prayer? It shows that we
feel our dependence On him, and are ready to give up ourselves
to him, and have a believing expectation of our all from him. It
was necessary that the Gospel should be preached to the
Gentiles. Somebody must show them what they are to believe. How
welcome the Gospel ought to be to those to whom it was preached!
The Gospel is given, not only to be known and believed, but to
be obeyed. It is not a system of notions, but a rule of
practice. The beginning, progress, and strength of Faith is By
hearing. But it is only hearing the Word, as the Word of God
that will strengthen Faith.

18-21 Did not the Jews know that the Gentiles were to be called
in? They might have known it from Moses and Isaiah. Isaiah
speaks plainly of the Grace and favour of God, as going before
in the receiving of the Gentiles. Was not this our own case? Did
not God begin in Love, and make himself known to us when we did
not ask after him? The patience of God towards provoking sinners
is wonderful. The time of God's patience is called a Day, Light
as Day, and fit for work and business; but limited as a Day, and
there is a night at the End of it. God's patience makes Man's
disobedience worse, and renders that the more sinful. We may
wonder at the Mercy of God, that his Goodness is not overcome By
Man's badness; we may wonder at the wickedness of Man, that his
badness is not overcome By God's Goodness. And it is a matter of
joy to think that God has sent the message of Grace to So many
millions, By the wide spread of his Gospel.