Paul reestablishes his desire that his own people, the Jews, to accept Jesus as their Messiah. From his own experience Paul knew how much the Jewish people wanted to serve God. We must remember that Paul was a Pharisee, a very strict order of the Jewish religion. In those days Paul believed that the Christians were wrong about God and in his desire to serve God Paul persecuted the Christians. (Philippians 3:6) Paul was eager to please God but needed to learn the lesson that we must have proper knowledge before advancing our own personal beliefs. (Proverbs 19:2)
As the Jews were trying to please God, their efforts were in keeping the law which is not possible and, therefore, not pleasing to God. Because of failure to keep the law perfectly they could not have a right relationship with God. The purpose of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was to make it possible for God to see man as righteous through Jesus. In order to have a right relationship with God people must have faith in the work of Christ. Jesus taught us that He did not abolish the law but fulfilled it with His righteousness. (Matthew 5:19) The death of Christ was the perfect sacrifice for sin. Jesus was the Lamb of God for that sacrifice. (John 1:29) When we have faith in Jesus as our Savoir He gives us the Holy Spirit to enable us to live in a manner pleasing to God.
Paul reminds us of the words of Moses. One who is obedient to the law will live by the law. (Leviticus 18:5) Moses was saying that a man would have to obey the law completely. If one was able to do this that person would have a right relationship with God. Paul knew, and we know, that people don’t and cannot obey the law completely. Apart from Jesus Christ no one ever has obeyed the law completely. We please God by believing the message He has given us in our hearts and that we declare the message He has given us. We accomplish this by faith, because we trust in our Lord Jesus.
Man has no excuse as it is not difficult to find God. Paul uses the words of Moses in Deuteronomy in that what God is teaching is not difficult for man to find.(Romans 1:20) People do not have to search for God in the heavens or in the depths of the sea. (Deuteronomy 30:12-13) Paul is saying the same thing about the gospel as Moses said about the law. People need not search for Christ as He has already come down from heaven as a man and He has risen from the grave so there is no need to search for Him there.
Paul teaches that the follower of Jesus must trust in His death and resurrection. It is all about faith, acting on God’s Word. God will save people who have faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus will lead us to a right relationship with God. Through our faith in Jesus and His righteousness God will make us righteous.
The Christian’s relationship with God does not depend on the law but on Christ who made the law complete. By the death of Jesus, the Lamb of God, everything has been done that the law requires to make people righteous. By Jesus’ resurrection the Christian receives a new life. This is why Paul emphasises the death and resurrection of Christ in these verses.
We are to declare to all people that Jesus is Lord. The word Lord holds the meaning of a slave towards his master. In this relationship the Christian should always obey his Master Jesus Christ. (John 13:13-16) Lord also translates into the most sacred name of God. (I AM) Paul then is also confirming that Jesus is God. This is an essential belief that the Christian must declare.
Paul describes the moment that a person becomes a true Christian. It is more than a simple acknowledgement that He is God and the Lord of the universes, since even the demons believe that. (James 2-19) This is the deep personal conviction, without reservation, that Jesus is that person’s own master and sovereign. This phrase includes repenting form sin, trusting in Jesus for salvation, and submitting to Him as Lord. It must be a deep seated belief in the heart and must be committed by faith. With the sincerity of heart God will give faith to that person. (Matthew 7:7-8)
The earliest creed that people declared in public was “Jesus is Lord.” At their baptism people would declare “Jesus is Lord.” They would continue to tell others about their faith in Jesus. (1 Peter 3:15)
Jesus is Lord of all, both the Jew and the Gentile. Christ offers salvation to everyone and will save everyone who asks Him. (Joel 2:32) In emphasis Peter used these same words, “calls on the name of the LORD” at the end of his sermon on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:21)
No one can place their faith in Jesus Christ unless they have heard about Him. Unless someone is spreading the good news of the gospel no one will know. God uses all followers of Jesus to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” calls on the name of the LORD.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
A person must have faith in order to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Sadly, when people hear the gospel they do not believe. Unbelief is the opposite of Faith. Paul considers the reasons for the reaction of unbelief. There is no excuse for unbelief according to Paul.
- Verse 15 the thought that people would believe if they heard God’s message is not correct. People can only show unbelief after they have heard the good news of God. Paul uses Isaiah to show that the people have heard God’s message (Isaiah 52:7) in this message a person was bringing the good news of freedom from the Babylonians. They now could return from Babylon where they had been prisoners. Paul knows that the Jews have heard the news of freedom from sin. Because of Christ’s death God will free everyone who accepts Him, both the Jew and the Gentile.
- 2. Verse 16 Paul also shows that people would not believe in Isaiah’s time. Isiah spoke of the suffering servant. (Isaiah 53:2-12) This prophecy was about Jesus’ death. Jesus died on the cross to pay the sin debt that people could be forgiven their sins. But not everyone would obey God’s message because of unbelief.
- By the hearing of God’s message of salvation brings faith. The Jews could not say that they had no opportunity to hear the message from God. Paul uses the words of a Psalm in his reply. (Psalm 19:4) These words describe that the sun, moon, and stars are witnesses to the Creator. Paul’s meaning is that the Jews have heard it. It is true that the gospel message had yet to travel around the world. Paul himself had spent many years spreading the message of God around the Mediterranean Sea where many Jews lived.
- Verses 19-20 the argument may have been that they did not understand the message. Paul answers with the two main parts of the Scripture, the law and the prophets.
- Verse 21 all these excuses are answered in Isaiah 65:2. “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts.” It is the sinful attitudes of the Jewish people that caused their unbelief. Because of this attitude they neither would abbey the gospel message. All through the Jewish history God had appealed to them as a Father. God had held out His hand ready to receive them as a child. Still they did not want to obey Him. They wanted to achieve salvation by their own effort. But that is not the way. God’s offer of salvation is a free gift to everyone who trust Him, and it is available to both the Jew and the Gentile.