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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 10 - Verse 1
ROMANS Chapter 10
Verse 1. Brethren. This expression seems intended particularly for the Jews, his ancient friends, fellow-worshippers, and kinsmen, but Who had embraced the Christian faith. It is an expression of tenderness and affection, denoting his deep interest in their welfare.
My heart's desire. The word "desire" (eudokia) means benevolence; and the expression, my heart's desire, means my earnest and sincere wish.
Prayer to God. He not only cherished this feeling, but he expressed it ill a desire to God. He had no desire that his kinsmen should be destroyed; no pleasure in the appalling doctrine which he had been defending. He still wished their welfare; and could still pray for them that they might return to God. Ministers have no pleasure in proclaiming the truth that men must be lost. Even when they declare the truths of the Bible that some will be lost; when they are constrained, by the unbelief and wickedness of men, to proclaim it of them, they still can sincerely say that they seek their salvation.
For Israel. For the Jewish nation.
That they might be saved. This clearly refers to salvation from the sin of unbelief, and the consequences of sin in hell. It does not refer to the temporal calamities which were coming upon them, but to preservation from the eternal anger of God. Comp. Ro 11:26; 1 Ti 2:4. The reasons why the apostle commences this chapter in this tender manner are the following:
(1.) Because he had stated and defended one of the most offensive doctrines that could be preached to a Jew; and he was desirous to show them that it was not from any want of affection for them, but that he was urged to it by the pressure of truth.
(2.) He was regarded by them as all apostate. He had abandoned them when bearing their commission, and while on his way to execute their favourite purposes, and had preached the doctrine which they had sent him to destroy. Comp. Ac 9. He had opposed them everywhere; had proclaimed their pride, self-righteousness, and crime, in crucifying their Messiah; had forsaken all that they valued—their pomp of worship, their city, and their temple; and had gone to other lands to bear the message of mercy to the nations that they despised. He was willing to show them that this proceeded from no want of affection for them, but that he still retained towards them the feelings of a Jew, and could give them credit for much that they valued themselves on, Ro 10:2.
(3.) He was aware of the deep and dreadful condemnation that was coming on them. In view of that he expressed his tender regard for their welfare, and his earnest prayer to God for their salvation. And we see here the proper feelings of a minister of the gospel when declaring the most terrible of the truths of the Bible. Paul was tender, affectionate, kind; convincing by cool argument, and not harshly denouncing; stating the appalling truth, and then pouring out his earnest desires to God that he would avert the impending doom. So should the awful doctrines of religion be preached by all the ambassadors of God.
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