Rebuttal of the nomist critique, 6:1-11:36

4. The vindication of grace, 9:1-11:36

ii] Israel's condemnation is its own doing, 9:30-10:21

b) It is only those who trust in the Lord who will not be put to shame


Paul continues the second part of his fifth rebuttal argument against the nomist critique that his gospel is flawed, given the limited response of godly Jews, 9:30-10:21. In the second part of his argument Paul sets out to establish that God's promised blessings to Abraham always rested on faith and it was Israel's inclination to attain God's promised blessings by obedience to the law of Moses that has led to the bulk of Jews rejecting Christ and so finding themselves excised from the covenant. Now in the passage before us, having established that Christ is the "end of the law", 10:4, Paul contrasts two types of righteousness: the righteousness of law, v5, and the righteousness of faith, v6-13.


i] Context: See 9:1-6a.


ii] Background: See 1:8-15.


iii] Structure: This passage, serving to explain the two ways of accessing the righteousness / righteous reign of God, presents as follows:

By means of the Law, v5;

It must be done.

By means of faith, v6-13:

The process is easy, v6-8;

By grace through faith, v9-10;

For anyone, v11-13.


iv] Thesis: See 3:21-31.


v] Interpretation:

See 9:1-6a.


An understanding of the word dikaiosunh, "righteousness", is crucial to the proper interpretation of this passage. See "Interpretation" in 6:15-23, and 9:30-10:4.


vi] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text -10:5

The two types of righteousness: i] Accessing the righteous reign of God by means of the law, v5. For a person living within the domain of righteousness to fully appropriate God's promised blessings by law-obedience requires that they do the law, cf., Leviticus 18:5,

gar "for" - Probably transitional, but possibly introducing a causal clause explaining how Christ is the goal of the law in the attaining of righteousness.

thn dikaiosunhn (h) "about the righteousness" - [Moses writes] concerning the righteousness. The accusative here is adverbial, of respect / reference, as NIV. Note how "righteousness out of faith", 9:30, takes the same form. For "righteousness" see above.

ek + gen. "[that is] by [the law]" - from [law]. Possibly here expressing means, "by means of the law", or origin/source, "derived from the law", Fitzmyer, "comes from the law", Jewett, "based on", RSV. New perspective commentators view this as, if not a positive statement, at least neutral, since they argue that law properly expressed covenant status prior to the coming of Christ. Yet, a negative sense seems best. Life in the domain of righteousness rests on grace through faith, a faith like Abraham's. So, Paul is contrasting the righteousness that rests on the law with the righteousness that rests on faith. One doesn't exist, the other does. Law has never served to attain, maintain, nor progress covenant standing, rather it serves to both lead to faith and actualize faith, always pointing beyond itself to the realization of God's mercy in Christ.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing a direct quote from Leviticus 18:5.

oJ poihsaV (poiew) aor. part. "[the man] who does" - [the man] having done [these things]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "man". Referring to the person who ties their standing before God to law-obedience - doing what the law requires; "those who keep the law", JB. As noted above, we often see the law-obedience heresy in terms of obeying the law as the means of gaining right-standing before God. This was not a Jewish concept. A person was a Jew by grace, it was through the gracious act of a sovereign God that they were born into a divinely blessed family, into the covenant. Law-obedience was adopted as the means of maintaining that privileged position by restraining sin, improving holiness (sanctification) for the appropriation of the promised covenant blessings. Of course, the law doesn't work that way, in fact, it works to make sin more sinful and thus drive the sinner to rest (with Abraham) on the faithfulness of God. Our standing before God rests totally on God's faithfulness in Christ. Paul's focus on this issue is driven by the fact that the same heresy (sanctification by obedience) was infecting the early church.

zhsetai (zaw) fut. "will live" - This is always a tricky word as it can mean: i] "to exist"; ii] "to conduct oneself" and iii] "to come alive and exist in a resurrected body in eternity." The natural drift is toward the third option, "shall have life by it", REB, but the second option is best here.

en "by" - in, by, with, to [them]. The preposition is probably taking an instrumental sense, expressing means, "by means of them", but also possibly expressing space/sphere, "shall live in them", ie. "in linkage with with them" = doing them completely. A person who obeys the law ("does") to advance holiness in the presence of God, will obviously be a person who conducts themselves ("will live") by means of those laws; "an impossible task", adds Barrett.


ii] Accessing the righteous reign of God by means of faith, v6-13: a) The process is easy, v6-8. The point of the allusion to Deuteronomy 30:13 is simple enough, although the correlation with Moses' words are less than clear. Paul is making the point that a person's participation in divine grace / the righteous domain / the righteous reign of God / his setting everything right on the basis of / out of faith is simple; it is not a quest requiring us to fly to heaven or descend into the deep. In fact, to desire what is already given is like calling Christ down again, or up again from the grave. Standing within God's grace doesn't require a superhuman effort.

de "but" - but, and. Here contrastive; contrasting the righteousness of law with the righteousness of faith.

ek + gen. "[the righteousness] that is by [faith]" - [the righteousness] of, out of, from. Again possibly an instrumental sense applies, "through faith", TEV; "by faith", NEB, although source/origin is probably intended, eg. "righteousness based on faith", RSV. "The righteousness ... which is grounded in faith", Cassirer.

pistewV (iV ewV) gen. "faith" - As already noted in previous studies, "faith" for Paul is not just our "belief", but primarily the "faith of Christ", his faithfulness to the cross. So, the "righteousness" rests on the faithfulness of Christ and our faith/belief in his faithfulness.

ou{twV adv. "[says]" - thus, in this way [speaks]. Emphatic by position. "Has this to say", Berkeley.

mh eiphV (legw) aor. subj. "do not say" - Subjunctive of prohibition. Paul uses a typical literary device of his time by having a virtue speak, here "righteousness". The important observation to make is that it speaks in the words of the Old Testament. Paul alludes to Deuteronomy 30:11-14 where Moses makes the point that the keeping of the law is not beyond the people, ie. that keeping it would be as difficult as ascending to heaven, or descending into the deep. Of course, sin made the law impossible to keep; gladly righteousness is ours apart from the law. Paul has justification (being set right / declared right before God) say the same thing, namely, what she demands is not difficult since her demand is faith.

en + dat. "in [your heart]" - in [the heart of you]. Expressing space/sphere, of thinking secretly, "within yourself"; "do not say to yourself", Barclay.

tiV "who" - Interrogative pronoun.

eiV + acc. "into [heaven]" - [who will ascend] into [heaven]. Spacial, "into"; "who could go up to heaven?", Phillips.

touto estin "that is" - this is = this means. As of giving an interpretation, cf. Cranfield.

katagagein (katagw) aor. inf. "to bring [Christ] down" - The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose. To say that the righteousness based on faith is beyond human capability is to demand that Christ descend to earth again and deal again with sin.


abusson (oV) "the deep" - [or who will descend into the] deep, abyss. Here, the abyss, Sheol, the place of the dead. Paul reworks the actual quote from Deuteronomy ("who will cross over the sea to get it?", Deut.30:13) and makes it fit with Jesus' descent into Sheol (the place of the dead, the tomb, but certainly not our concept of hell), possibly alluding to Psalm 107:26. The point is the same as above; the righteousness out of / based on faith is an easy ask, it is simply a matter of resting on what Christ has done for us. To strive for what is freely ours in Christ is to undermine Christ's completed work. It is like working to repeat what Christ has already done - descending into the abyss to raise him up again.

anagagein (anagw) aor. inf. "to bring [Christ] up from the dead" - [that is] to bring up, raise up [Christ]. The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose / end view.

ek + gen. "from [the dead]" - from [dead ones]. Expressing source / origin.


alla "but" - Adversative, as NIV. The righteousness of faith is not a distant and impossible quest but rather is a truth near and easily obtained.

ti "what" - Interrogative use of the pronoun.

legei (legw) pres. "does it say" - Referring to the teaching on the righteousness of faith.

en "in [your mouth]" - [the word is near you] in [the mouth of you and] in [the heart of you]. Local, expressing space; "the word is near to you, on your lips and in your heart", Barclay.

tout estin "that is" - this is = this means. "This message which is at your fingertips, is the message concerning faith, a message which is the core of our preaching."

pistewV (iV ewV) gen. "[the word] of faith / concerning faith" - Here the "word of faith" is obviously the gospel. Usually classified as a verbal genitive, objective, "a message about / concerning faith", "the word that calls for faith", Harvey, although adjectival, epexegetic, where the genitive limits "message" by definition is also acceptable, "a message which is all about faith." Of course, as already noted the word "faith" packages Christ's faithfulness in association with our faith response, so "a message which calls for faith", TH, is too limited. The phrase "the word of faith" serves as a short-hand definition for the gospel. The gospel proclaims God's saving mercy / grace expedited in the faithfulness of Christ and appropriated through faith. It's not too high or too deep as though it is beyond us.

o} khrussomen (khrussw) pres. "we are proclaiming / that we proclaim" - which we preach. Present tense indicates the continued action of evangelizing, proclaiming the gospel. The relative pronoun o} serves to introduce a relative clause limiting, by further specifying, the "word / message" Paul has in mind.


b) The means is through a heart-felt professed belief, v9-10. Paul now explains why the "word is near" us, ie. why it is not difficult to grasp hold of it. "Because" (better than the NIV "that") the content of "the message that calls for faith" is itself simple. The message summarizes the person and work of Christ; he is God with us, and because he lives, we can live also. All we have to do is put our trust in Jesus.

oJti "that" - that. The NIV has "that" in the sense that the verse supplies the content of the message/gospel, so Morris etc., but a causal "because" is a possibility, ie. the message is proclaimed because it has Christ as its content, so Cranfield, a content that is simple to grasp, so Moo; "because, if you confess ....", ESV. Possibly introducing a statement of fact in its own right, so Barclay, CEV. "Accessing the righteousness of faith is really very simple, all you have to do ... / if you declare ....... then you will be saved."

ean + subj. "if" - Introducing a conditional clause, 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, ..... then ...."

oJmologhshV (oJomologew) aor. subj. "you confess" - you confess, agree, proclaim. Here most likely it means "acknowledge", Goodspeed, although not necessarily public acknowledgement. This verse does seem to be a confessional formula for a new believer. Note, Paul follows the order of Deut.30:14 with "acknowledge" before "believe". He restates his point in v10 with the more natural order of "believe" followed by "acknowledge".

en + dat. "with [your mouth]" - in / with [the mouth of you]. The preposition takes an instrumental sense here, as NIV.

kurion (oV) "[Jesus is] Lord" - Both "Jesus" and "Lord" are accusative, forming a double accusative construction, presumably with "Jesus" as the object and "Lord" as the object complement, as NIV. The confessional formula affirms Jesus as sharing authority with Jehovah, given that "Lord" is constantly ascribed to Jehovah in the Greek Old Testament (LXX). The term "Lord", when applied to Jesus, initially meant "master", but came to convey the very incarnate nature of Christ - God with us. Paul is saying that "Jesus shares the name and nature, the holiness, the authority, power, majesty, and eternity of the one true God", Cranfield.

kai "and" - Here adding a second protasis to the conditional clause; "if ..... and ..... then ....."

en/ + dat. "[believe] in [your heart]" - [and you believe] in [the heart of you]. Local, expressing space; in the center of our reasoning, mind, given that "heart" in Greek thought is not the center of our emotions, but the center of reason.

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what is believed.

hgeiren (egeirw) aor. "raised" - [God] raised [him]. Here again the substance of the gospel, the decisive and distinctive belief of Christians. It is the primary article of our faith on which we either stand or fall. If Christ lives then we live also. Paul again identifies the resurrection as the distinctive focus of Christian belief, rather than the crucifixion; a point often forgotten in modern gospel presentations.

ek + gen. "from [the dead]" - from [dead ones]. Expressing separation; "away from."

swqhsh/ (swzw) fut. pas. "you will be saved" - Predictive future. Here referring to the eschatological end of all things, thus eternal life.


gar "for" - Here introducing a causal clause explaining the unity that exists between heart and mouth / faith and profession / justification and salvation.

kardia/ (a) dat. "it is with your heart" - with heart. As with stomati, "mouth", the dative is instrumental, as NIV.

pisteuetai (pisteuw) pas. "you believe" - one believes. Gnomic present tense. An impersonal passive, as with "confess" = one confesses. "For it is the heart's belief in Christ which brings a person into a right relationship with God, and it is the open assertion of that belief with the lips which brings a person to salvation", Barrett. It is not wise to differentiate between believing and acknowledging. Both are but outward and inward expressions of a single act.

eiV "[and are justified ..... and are saved]" - to [righteousness and with mouth he (one) confesses] to [salvation]. Possibly expressing purpose / aim, "for righteousness .... salvation", but result seems more likely, "resulting in righteousness ..... salvation."

de "and" - but, and. Here coordinative, as NIV.

oJmologeitai (oJmologew) pres. pas. "that you profess your faith" - he / one confesses, profess. Surely not "God will accept you and save you .... if you tell it to others", CEV. "Profession" is simply the expression of "belief"; Paul is not listing two steps to salvation / justification.


c) The access is for anyone, v11-13. Paul affirms the equality of all humanity before God, either Jew or Gentile. Full participation in God's promised blessings is a gift available to all humanity for the asking; it is simply a matter of faith.

gar "for / -" - for [says the scripture]. Possibly causal, as NIV, or explanatory, explaining the value of belief, indicating that a person's belief in Christ is the issue for Paul, not so much the outward "acknowledgement" of that belief. Yet. given the use of the text, Isa.28:16, gar is probably transitional. It seems likely that Paul now, in v11-13, identifies those persons who may access the righteousness of faith, namely, "anyone", Jew or Gentile.

oJ pisteuwn (pisteuw) pres. part. "[anyone] who believes" - [all] the ones believing]. The participle serves as a substantive.

ep (epi) + dat. "in [him]" - on him. Spacial. Rather than with an "into" sense, or even "in", the sense is of putting our weight "on" something, "faith" as a resting on, relying on Christ, on the promise of new life in him.

ou kataiscunqhsetai (kataiscunomai) fut. pas. "will never be put to shame" - will not be shamed. Here in the sense of abandoned by God.


gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why it is that "anyone" who believes in Christ will not be put to shame, "because ...."

ou diastolh (h) "[there is] no difference" - [there is] no distinction. The way of salvation that rests on faith (Christ's faithfulness and our belief/faith) is the way to salvation for both Jew and Gentile; "this includes everyone", TEV.

Ioudaiou (oV) gen. "between Jew [and Gentile]" - of Jew [and of Gentile]. The genitive is ablative, of separation.

gar "-" - for. Again causal; "because ...."

pantwn gen. adj. "[the same Lord is Lord] of all" - [the same Lord] of all. The genitive is adjectival, partitive / wholative, given that the "all" is "all those who believe." An example of an ellipsis where "is Lord" is assumed. Which "Lord" is intended, God or Christ? Given v9, most likely Jesus is intended.

ploutwn (ploutew) pres. part. "and richly blesses" - is blessing / being rich. The participle is without an article and so is probably adverbial with the present tense being gnomic. The NIV takes it as attendant on the assumed verb to-be; "is Lord .. and richly blesses." Yet, it may be adjectival, limiting / describing "same Lord"; "it is the same Lord who is Lord over and who lavishes his riches upon everyone who calls on him", Cassirer.

eiV "[all]" - to, toward. Spacial, direction, "toward", or advantage, "for".

touV epikaloumenouV (epikalew) pres. mid. part. "[all] who call on [him]" - [all] the ones calling on [him]. The participle serves as a substantive. In the middle voice the word means call upon, appeal, address. Our word "ask" will probably do and so here Paul identifies another element in the process of Christian belief: believe, acknowledge, ask...... Mind you, there is no mechanical expectation that we must use these elements in some particular order, or even that we must use each one of them independently. In reality, asking is another way of believing, as is acknowledging.


gar "for" - Although often translated here as causal it seems more likely that the conjunction is being used as a stitching device, here of a supportive text from scripture; "and so it (scripture) says in another place, 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'", Cassirer.

paV "everyone" - Quoting Joel 2:32, Paul again underlines the inclusive nature of salvation - it is for everyone who believes.

o}V a]n + subj. "who [calls on]" - whoever [calls on]. Introducing an indefinite relative conditional clause where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "whoever, as the case may be, calls on the name of the Lord, then they will be saved." This construction further generalizes the inclusive nature of salvation, and it is for this reason Paul has chosen the text. God's salvation is a universal salvation for all who believe.

to onoma (a atoV) "the name" - The name = the person. "Everyone who calls, 'Help God!' gets help", Peterson.

kuriou (oV) gen. "of the Lord" - of Lord [will be saved]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive.


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