Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be a righteousness for everyone who believes.” – Romans 10:1-4
This section echoes Romans 9:1-5 as Paul longs for the salvation of his Jewish people. Paul, who knew firsthand of the Jews’ zeal (Galatians 1:13-14), was pained that they lacked knowledge of Jesus’ identity and mission. Instead of accepting that Jesus fulfilled the Law and opened a way for right standing before God through faith in Him (Romans 3:21; Galatians 3:19-4:7), they sought righteousness through their traditions and through Law keeping. They failed to recognize God’s plan of redemption through Christ.
How is Christ the fulfillment and end of the Law?
The NIV Life Application Study Bible observes: “Christ is the end of the Law in two ways. He fulfills the purpose and goal of the Law (Matthew 5:17) in that He perfectly exemplified God’s desires on earth. But He is also the termination of the Law because in comparison to Christ, the Law is powerless to save. In order to be saved by the Law, a person would have to live a perfect life, not sinning once. Why did God give the Law when He knew people couldn’t keep it? According to Paul, one reason the Law was given was to show people how guilty they are (Galatians 3:19). The Law was a shadow of Christ—that is, the sacrificial system educated the people so that when the true sacrifice came they would be able to understand His work (Hebrews 10:1-4). The Law points to Christ, the reason for all those animal sacrifices.”
Paul ends this section by emphasizing belief: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (vs. 17).
Shepherd’s Notes comments: “Nowhere in Scripture is the universal scope of salvation presented with greater clarity. Although God’s redemptive plan was worked out in history through one particular race, it was meant from the beginning for the benefit of all people. Romans 10:9-10 has long served as one of the most helpful portions of Scripture for pointing out the way of salvation: confession that Jesus is Lord and belief in one’s heart that God has raised Him from death. This belief is not merely verbal assent, but staking one’s entire being on this truth.”