Romans 10:14-21

Israel Rejects the Gospel

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And 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; Nahum 1:15)

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” (Isaiah 53:1) 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:

” Their sound has gone out to all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:4)

19 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says:

” I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation,
I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.” (Deuteronomy 32:21)

20 But Isaiah is very bold and says:

” I was found by those who did not seek Me;
I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” (Isaiah 65:1)

21 But to Israel he says:

” All day long I have stretched out My hands
To a disobedient and contrary people.” (Isaiah 65:2)

We are saved from our sins by the gospel (good news) of Jesus the Christ. How then can we be saved from our sins if we’ve not heard about it? Paul is extolling the work of the men and women who go out and preach the way of salvation through Jesus by quoting from Isaiah and Nahum. He then turns from that approving tone to one of judgment and criticism as he shows that God has given many people in the past to them who have proclaimed the way of salvation to the Israelites. The Jews were given God’s prophets and priests as well as the written word of God in the Tanach and they responded by killing the prophets and ignoring what God has said to them through these faithful servants. Just as you would treat a child who is rebellious and untrustworthy, God has judged the nation of Israel and found them to be constantly disobedient and set in their hearts to act against the written and professed will of God. They have abandoned the God of their ancestors – the living God who rules over them daily, and they have turned to worship the rituals instead. They have replaced the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with the pomp and circumstance of temple worship and are merely fulfilling their own desires for some semblance of religion without the full-hearted commitment that God desires from them. While God always holds a group of people set aside to worship Him rightly, He has rejected those in the nation of Israel who are merely worshiping with their bodies and not with their minds or hearts, and instead opens His grace and mercy to the gentiles. To the Jews, this was the worst thing anyone could say – that the God of their ancestors had rejected them. Regardless of the reason that God had rejected them or their sacrifices, this was a statement that would quickly get people stoned to death. Given the history and what God had promised would come through His prophets, this was, for the Jews, unfortunately true. For us gentiles, this was the greatest thing that could happen. Now the grace and mercy of God has been revealed to those who had previously been unable to obtain salvation from their sins.