Romans 10 – The Gentile Challenge & Roads and Places

Calleva Atrebatum (or Silchester Roman Town) was an Iron Age oppidum and subsequently a town in the Roman province of Britannia and the civitas capital of the Atrebates tribe.
Its ruins are beneath and to the west of the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, which is just within the town wall and about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the east of the modern village of Silchester, in the English county of Hampshire close to the boundary with Berkshire.

Reading is some 9 miles (14 km) north-east and Basingstoke is 5 miles (8.0 km) south.

Tomorrow we’ll look a bit closer at the personal things of the Romans; we’ll take a look at…

Romans 10
The Gentile challenge

1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.

2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.

“Christ is the end of the law” – although the Greek word for “end” (telos) can mean either (1) “termination,” “cessation,” or “(2) “goal,” culmination,” “fulfillment,” it seems best here to understand it in the latter sense.

Christ is the fulfillment of the law (see Matt 5:17) in the sense that He brought it to completion by obeying perfectly its demands and by fulfilling its types and prophecies.

The Christian is no longer “under the law” (6:15), since Christ has freed him from its condemnation, but the law still plays a role in his life.  He is liberated by the Holy Ghost to fulfill its moral demands.

5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

“The man which doeth those things shall live by them” – Lev 18:5 speaks of the righteousness to which Israel was called under the Sinai covenant. 

Some understand Paul’s purpose in quoting it here as describing the way of obtaining righteousness (“shall live”) by keeping the law.

Calleva Atrebatum Some of the extensive ruins of the Roman town walls of Calleva Atrebatum.

Others think that the reference is to Christ, who perfectly fulfilled the law’s demands and thus makes salvation available to all who believe in Him (see Heb 5:9).

6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

10:6-7 – the purpose of the Old Testament quotation is to explain the nature of the righteousness that is by faith.

It does not require heroic feats such as bringing Christ down from heaven or up from the grave.

Deut 30:12-13 in its original context refers to the law, and Paul here applies the basic principle to Christ.

7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

Public baths originated from a communal need for cleanliness.
The term public is not completely accurate, as some types of public baths are restricted depending on membership, gender, religious affiliation, or other reasons.

As societies have changed, public baths have been replaced as private bathing facilities became more commonly available.

Public baths have also become incorporated into the social system as meeting places.

As the title suggests public bathing does not refer only to bathing. In ancient times public bathing included saunas, massages and relaxation therapies.

Members of the society considered it as a place to meet and socialize.

Public bathing could be compared to the spa of modern times.

“The word is night thee” – in the Old Testament passage the “word” is God’s word as found in the law. 

Paul takes the passage and applies it to the gospel, “the word of faith” – the main point being the accessibility of the gospel. 

Righteousness is gained by faith, not by deeds, and is readily available to anyone who will receive it freely from God through Christ.

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

“Confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” – the earliest Christian confession of fait (cf. 1 Cor 12:3), probably used at baptisms. 

In view of the fact that “Lord” is used over 6,000 times in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) to clear that Paul, when using this word of Jesus, is ascribing deity to him.

And yes, if you are wondering, God wants you to confess  your sins to Him audibly, but in private.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

“No difference between the Jews and the Greek” – there is no difference between people, we are all the same in the eyes of God. 

Diocletian’s Palace is a building in Split, Croatia, that was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century A.D.
Diocletian built the massive palace in preparation for his retirement on 1 May 305 A.D.

It lies in a bay on the south side of a short peninsula running out from the Dalmatian coast, four miles from Salona, the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.

The terrain slopes gently seaward and is typical karst, consisting of low limestone ridges running east to west with marl in the clefts between them.

After the Romans abandoned the site, the Palace remained empty for several centuries.

In the 7th century, nearby residents fled to the walled palace in an effort to escape invading Slavs.
Since then the palace has been occupied, with residents making their homes and businesses within the palace basement and directly in its walls.

Today many restaurants and shops, and some homes, can still be found within the walls.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

Roads and Places

How did people travel in Roman Britain?

In Roman times people travelled on land on horseback, in carts pulled by oxen, or walking. Before the Romans, Britain had no proper roads.

The Romans were famous for their roads. Some Roman roads exist to this day, nearly 2000 years after they were made.
Roman roads were superbly made. Why did the Romans put so much effort into building roads?

At the peak of Rome’s development, no fewer than 29 great military highways radiated from the capital, and the Late Empire’s 113 provinces were interconnected by 372 great road links.

The whole comprised more than 400,000 km of roads, of which over 80,500 km were stone-paved.

In Gaul alone, no less than 21,000 km of road are said to have been improved, and in Britain at least 4,000 km.

The courses, and sometimes the surfaces of many Roman roads survived for millennia. Some are overlaid by modern roads.

The Roman soldiers built good roads. All the roads they built were remarkably straight.

The Romans knew that the shortest distance from one place to another is a straight line, but their roads did zigzag sometimes, to make going uphill easier.

The Romans built their roads on foundations of clay, chalk and gravel.

They laid bigger flat stones on top. The road sloped from the middle to ditches on either side, so rain water drained off.

What was it like in Roman Britain?

Most of Roman Britain was wild, with forests and hills where few people lived.

Away from the towns, people lived in villages of round wooden houses with thatched roofs, much as they had before the Romans arrived.

Some wealthy Romans lived in villas. Villas were large farms with a big house for the owners. Servants and farm workers lived in small wooden houses.

Villas had rooms with painted walls and mosaic floors, baths and central heating. Most of the Roman villas found by archaeologists are in the south of England.

What were Roman towns like?

The Romans built towns in Britain, with walls and gates to let people in and out.

Pompeian “beehive” oven

Before the Romans came, people lived in villages, though some big settlements were like towns but with only wooden buildings.

Roman builders used stone, brick and tiles. Some Roman towns were built at Celtic places.

For example, Calleva Atrebatum was a Roman town built on a settlement of the Atrebates tribe. Its modern name is Silchester.

Roman towns were neatly laid out. Streets crisscrossed. There were shops, workshops, houses and yards for animals.

People gathered in the market and meeting area, the forum. The basilica was both a law court and town hall.

Many Roman towns had public baths; open to everyone, and an amphitheater.  By 100 A.D., London was the biggest town in Roman Britain.

Is Manchester a Roman town?

Reconstruction of the garden of the House of the Vettii at Pompeii.
In Pompeii one of the most famous of the luxurious residences (domus) is the so-called House of the Vettii, preserved like the rest of the Roman city by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

The house is named for its owners, two successful freedmen: Aulus Vettius Conviva, an Augustalis, and Aulus Vettius Restitutus.

Its careful excavation has preserved almost all of the wall frescos, which were completed following the earthquake of 62 A.D, in the manner art historians term the “Pompeiian Fourth Style.”

If a place-name has ‘chester’ or ‘cester’ in it (from castrum, the Roman word for a fort), it’s almost certainly Roman.

Many towns grew up close to or on the site of a Roman fort. Examples are Chester, Gloucester, and Manchester. You can probably find more.

What were the finest Roman homes?

The biggest and grandest Roman homes were villas and rulers’ palaces. The governor of Britain had a palace in London.

Another palace was beside the sea, at Fishbourne (near Chichester in West Sussex).

Archaeologists have uncovered the ruins. The house had about 100 rooms, an underfloor heating system, and lots of mosaics. You can still see some today.

Fun Facts:

When they built a road across boggy ground, Roman engineers put down bundles of sticks and sheepskins as foundations, to stop the road sinking.

The heavy goods vehicle of Roman Britain was a four-wheeled cart pulled by up to eight oxen. 

The Romans buried their dead along roads out of town. The idea was that ghosts would not find their way back to their old homes.

A perfect masonry and tile cooking platform, complete with a tiny candle niche.

Roman towns had public lavatories (for men). There were large pottery jars at street corners for men and boys to ‘wee’ in. The jars were emptied at night.

Urine was a useful chemical. It was used to bleach cloth. Romans also used urine to make toothpaste!

The finest Roman homes had glass windows, but because the glass was thick and usually a greenish color, it can’t have been very light inside.

…family and children aspect.