Read This Week: Romans 10

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. – Romans 10:14-17 NIV

We all learn in different ways. We collect, process, and apply information in a manner that is unique to our personalities and cognitive abilities. But one thing is the same across the board, our access to an abundance of information through multiple avenues.

We live in an unprecedented age where we can receive messages in an instant that teach us and contribute to our intellectual, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. Not many people, even in the most remote places, lack the ability to send and receive messages that inform. Knowing this, Christians have an opportunity to use all available resources to share the good news of Jesus Christ like never before.

Although it was different in the ancient world, Paul makes a similar point in Romans 10 that the Israelites didn’t have an excuse for rejecting the message of Christ because they had heard it and had access to the messengers that delivered it including himself. He frames this with several questions about faith and belief coming through first hearing the gospel. He says in verse 14:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Paul’s intent in these questions is to counter the implication that Israel was not at fault in their failure to believe in God’s word because it lacked preachers and exposure to it. He quotes Isaiah 52:7 in verse 15 and Isaiah 53:1 in verse 16 to assert that God had been faithful in sending his messengers, but the message had not been received or embraced. Verse 16 says:

But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Paul was applying this truth from the Old Testament to the preaching of the gospel in the present day. He wanted to reiterate the sequence of events that leads to faith in Jesus. It starts with the good news being shared so that people can hear, receive, and believe. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the messenger to deliver the gospel and the responsibility of the person receiving the message to respond.

The focus of this passage is ultimately the message; the gospel of Jesus. It must be shared for people to have the opportunity to believe. Once it is shared, people then have the choice to reject or accept it. The good news is so important and so eternal that the messenger has no excuse not to tell it. And because of its power and vitality, when it is heard, there is no excuse not to do something with it.

Paul writes in verse 15 that beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! This essentially means that in the Christian life, nothing is of greater value, more fulfilling, more worthy, or more impactful than sharing the gospel with our loved ones, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the world. It is a beautiful message that changes everything.

4 Comments

  1. Kathy on August 14, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    In reading Romans 10 this week, this is what God was saying to me. You don’t have to go to great lengths to achieve righteousness by the law, you can immediately receive righteousness by faith, by trusting in My words in the gospel. You gain My righteousness by confessing and believing in the person and the works of My son Jesus Christ.

    Jesus’ work on the cross is the only way of salvation for you. Beyond believing everything which Jesus taught you, you must go further and trust Him. You must believe in your heart, and even that belief is not enough without the action of confessing with your mouth. Believe that Lord Jesus can save you; believe that He will save you. Depend on Him without fear, as to your present and eternal salvation. This faith will save your soul. Belief and confession result in righteousness and salvation.

    It is for all who call on Him. It requires you to show responsibility on your own part to call on Him. My “normal” way of bringing you and others to Jesus Christ is through the preaching of the gospel. Saving faith comes from hearing My word, and your faith will be strengthened. I am equipping you to share my words with others to bring them to Me.

    What this is saying to me is I need to be willing to step out and share the gospel with others. If they respond they will find peace in Jesus and if not, they won’t. Their response is not on me. I am giving them the knowledge to choose. I have to do my part by calling out to Jesus in all situations and being willing to share my stories with those He puts in my path.

    • Jason on August 18, 2020 at 9:49 am

      I always appreciate and value your commentary, Kathy. Your post illustrates the divine mystery of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. God, through the power of his Holy Spirit, does the saving but out of his will and good pleasure, he chooses to use human beings to be vehicles, mouthpieces, and ambassadors of his gospel so that others may hear and respond.

      You summed this up well with this paragraph: If they respond they will find peace in Jesus and if not, they won’t. Their response is not on me. I am giving them the knowledge to choose. I have to do my part by calling out to Jesus in all situations and being willing to share my stories with those He puts in my path.

      May we all do our part by sharing the beautiful message of Jesus with all of those in our path and circles of influence while leaving the results to God.

  2. Heidi on August 17, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    I’m so glad God put my friend, Frances in my life. She kept asking me to go to church week after week. She never gave up and it’s a beautiful long story.

    The point is Paul continued to (pray) talk to God about the people God put in his life. His desire was for people to be saved. Paul knew how much God loved him, he was so blessed after he gave his life to Jesus and did life with them. God desired the same thing for all people.

    Make a list of people in your life and pray for them that they too will respond to God’s love. Ask God if there is anything you can do to be a part of what God is doing. Have fun with it. Jesus loves you, so go out and spread the Good News! I am so thankful to Jesus for all He does.

    • Jason on August 18, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Thank you for your comment, Heidi, and for sharing about the person that God put in your life to lead you to Him. I am sure it is a long, beautiful story of Frances loving you, being patient with you, and ultimately caring enough about you to share the gospel. Hearing these stories of salvation is always a blessing and never gets old.

      Years ago, I had this thought, “We have a relationship with God because someone in our lives was on mission.” God does the saving through his Holy Spirit but he uses people to carry his message on mission for Him. I, like you, am thankful that someone was on mission and shared the beautiful message of Jesus with me.

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