Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Romans 10:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law - The place to which the apostle refers, seems to be Leviticus 18:5; : Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments; which if a man do, he shall live in them. These words seem to be spoken in answer to an objection which might be made by a Jew: "Did not Moses give us a law, the observance of which should secure our salvation?" Such a law Moses undoubtedly gave, and that law promises life to those who perform its precepts: but who can plead for life on this ground, who rejects that Christ who is the end of the law? No man ever did, nor ever can, fulfill that law, so as to merit salvation by the performance of it: for, as all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, they are all under the curse of the law, which says: Cursed is every one who continueth not in all the things that are written in the book of the law to do them, Deuteronomy 27:26; Galatians 3:10; therefore by the deeds of this law none can be justified, because all are in a state of condemnation for transgressions already committed against it. If, therefore, there were not such a provision as is made by the death of Christ, no soul could be saved.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For Moses describeth … - This is found in Leviticus 18:5, “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, which if a man do he shall live in them.” This appeal is made to Moses, both in regard to the righteousness of the Law and that of faith, in accordance with the usual manner of Paul to sustain all his positions by the Old Testament, and to show that he was introducing no new doctrine. He was only affirming that which had been long before taught in the writings of the Jews themselves. The word “describeth” is literally writes γράφει grapheia word often used in this sense.

The righteousness … - The righteousness which a perfect obedience to the Law of God would produce. That consisted in perfectly doing all that the Law required.

The man which doeth these things - The man who shall perform or obey what was declared in the previous statutes. Moses here had reference to all the commandments which God had given, moral and ceremonial. And the doctrine of Moses is what pertains to all laws, that he who shall render perfect and continued compliance with all the statutes made known, shall receive the reward which the Law promises. This is a first principle of all law; for all law holds a man to be innocent, and, of course, entitled to whatever immunities and rewards it has to confer, until he is proved to be guilty. In this case, however, Moses did not affirm that in fact any one either had yielded or would yield perfect obedience to the Law of God. The Scriptures abundantly teach elsewhere that it never has been done.

Doeth - Obeys, or yields obedience. So also Matthew 5:19, “Shall do and teach them.” Matthew 7:24, Matthew 7:26, “whosoever heareth these sayings … and doeth them.” Matthew 23:3; Mark 3:35; Mark 6:20; Luke 6:46-47, Luke 6:49.

Shall live - Shall obtain felicity. Obedience shall render him happy, and entitled to the rewards of the obedient. Moses doubtless referred here to all the results which would follow obedience. The effect would be to produce happiness in this life and in the life to come. The principle on which happiness would be conferred, would be the same whether in this world or the next. The tendency and result of obedience would be to promote order, health, purity, benevolence; to advance the welfare of man, and the honor of God, and thus must confer happiness. The idea of happiness is often in the Scriptures represented by the word “life”; see the note at John 5:24. It is evident moreover that the Jews understood Moses here as referring to more than temporal blessings. The ancient Targum of Onkelos renders the passage in Leviticus thus: “The man who does these things shall live in them to eternal life.” So the Arabic version is, “The retribution of him who works these things is that he shall live an eternal life.”

By them - ἐν αὐτοῖς en autoisIn them. In their observance he shall find happiness. Not simply as a result, or reward, but the very act of obeying shall carry its own reward. This is the case with all true religion. This declaration of Moses is still true. If perfect obedience were rendered, it would, from the nature of the case, confer happiness and life as long as the obedience was rendered. God would not punish the innocent. But in this world it never has been rendered, except in the case of the Lord Jesus; and the consequence is, that the course of man has been attended with pain, sorrow, and death.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The self-condemned sinner need not perplex himself how this righteousness may be found. When we speak of looking upon Christ, and receiving, and feeding upon him, it is not Christ in heaven, nor Christ in the deep, that we mean; but Christ in the promise, Christ offered in the word. Justification by faith in Christ is a plain doctrine. It is brought before the mind and heart of every one, thus leaving him without excuse for unbelief. If a man confessed faith in Jesus, as the Lord and Saviour of lost sinners, and really believed in his heart that God had raised him from the dead, thus showing that he had accepted the atonement, he should be saved by the righteousness of Christ, imputed to him through faith. But no faith is justifying which is not powerful in sanctifying the heart, and regulating all its affections by the love of Christ. We must devote and give up to God our souls and our bodies: our souls in believing with the heart, and our bodies in confessing with the mouth. The believer shall never have cause to repent his confident trust in the Lord Jesus. Of such faith no sinner shall be ashamed before God; and he ought to glory in it before men.
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW), 1118

Had Israel obeyed the directions given them by Moses, not one of those who started on the journey from Egypt would in the wilderness have fallen a prey to disease or death. They were under a safe Guide. Christ had pledged Himself to lead them safely to the promised land if they would follow His guidance. This vast multitude, numbering more than a million people, was under His direct rule. They were His family. In every one of them He was interested (Manuscript 144, 1903). 1BC 1118.1

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