Although Paul’s primary mission was as an apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15), he is still burdened for his fellow countrymen. They misunderstood the words of Moses in Leviticus 18:5 that “the one who does these things will live by them.” It’s somewhat ironic that this command is in the book concerned with explaining the sacrifices. That in and of itself should have revealed that they couldn’t keep the law by their own effort! Christ is the “end” of the law (10:4), which could mean fulfilment, termination, goal, or purpose. All are probably true to one degree or another, but goal may be the best understanding here. The failure to keep the law should point people to their need for a Savior. And this salvation is easier than they realize. It’s been accomplished through Christ, who descended from heaven and was raised from the dead (10:6-7) and is being preached to them (10:8)! They just need to believe in their hearts (the place of intellect, emotions, and will), and confess (agree with God, probably both internally and externally). What do they believe and confess? The gospel (which is shown through belief in the resurrection), and the authority of Jesus Christ over their lives (His Lordship). And this salvation is available to all, not just to the Jews (10:12-13).
Paul again shows that the Jewish people (as a whole) are without excuse (10:21). God has sent them preachers to reveal His truth (10:14-17). Paul even uses a quote from Psalm 19:4 (that refers to the fact that creation speaks to the truth of God’s existence) to show that the message has even gone to the furthest ends of the earth (referring to the Gentile nations). Instead of being pleased, they are jealous and upset, still refusing to believe in the truth of Jesus (10:19-21).
This passage is illuminating as an example of how many people today, including people we love, can continue to reject the gospel message. In fact, the very mention of God or of Jesus may make them angry! Many believe that we think we’re better than they are because we preach that there is only one way to heaven (John 14:6). May that not be so! May we always understand that we are sinners saved by grace, and may our hearts break for those who don’t believe.