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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 10 - Verse 2

Verse 2. For I bear them record. To bear record, means to be a witness; to give evidence. This, Paul was well qualified to do. He had been a Jew of the strictest order, (Ac 26:6; Php 3:5,) and he well knew the extraordinary exertions which they put forth to obey the commands of the law.

A zeal of God. A zeal for God, Thus, Joh 2:17, "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up;" An earnest desire for the honour of the sanctuary has wholly absorbed my attention. Comp. Ps 69:9 Ac 21:20, "Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe, and they are all zealous of the law;" Ac 22:3, "And was zealous toward God as ye all are this day." Zeal for God here means passionate ardour in the things pertaining to God, or in the things of religion. In this they were doubtless, many of them, sincere; but sincerity does not of itself constitute true piety. Joh 16:2, The time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he, doeth God service." This would be an instance of extraordinary zeal, and in this they would be sincere; but persecution to death of apostles cannot be true religion. See also Mt 23:15; Ac 26:9, "I thought that I ought to do," etc. So many persons suppose that, provided they are sincere and zealous, they must of course be accepted of God. But the zeal which is acceptable is that which aims at the glory of God, and which is founded on true benevolence to the universe; and which does not aim primarily to establish a system of self-righteousness, as did the Jew, or to build up our own sect, as many others do. We may remark here, that Paul was not insensible to what the Jews did, and was not unwilling to give them credit for it. A minister of the gospel should not be blind to the amiable qualities of men, or to their zeal; and should be willing to speak of it tenderly, even when he is proclaiming the doctrine of depravity, or denouncing the just judgments of God.

Not according to knowledge. Not an enlightened, discerning, and intelligent zeal. Not that which was founded on correct views of God and of religious truth. Such zeal is enthusiasm, and often becomes persecuting. Knowledge without zeal becomes cold, abstract, calculating, formal; and may be possessed by devils as well as men. It is the union of the two —the action of the man called forth to intense effort by just views of truth, and by rightfeeling—that constitutes true religion. This was the zeal of the Saviour and of the apostles.

{i} "zeal" Ac 21:20

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