How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?
Romans 10:14-11:12 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.”
19 But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, By a nation without understanding will I anger you.”
20 And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those who did not seek Me,
I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”
21 But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
11 I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4 But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; 8 just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes to see not and ears to hear not, Down to this very day.”
9 And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, And a stumbling block and a retribution to them. 10 “Let their eyes be darkened to see not, And bend their backs forever.”
11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. 12 Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
Today’s text is a continuation of what Paul said previously in Romans 10: …the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord, believing that after He died for our sins, God raised Him from the dead, and individually calling on the name Jesus Christ is what is necessary for each one, for salvation. Paul continues saying: How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Answering the last question first, they, we have been sent. Jesus commissioned His disciples, all who follow Him, saying: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:15-16) and in Acts 1:8: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
It is the commission of Jesus to His disciples that seeks to answer the second question: How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? Some will try to discredit the truth of salvation through Christ, through believing in Him, through confessing Him as Lord and calling upon His name. They will ask the question; what about those who have not heard of Jesus? How could God penalize those who have not heard? As I have said before, the first thing we can answer their question with is that it is a question which cannot be asked by one who has not heard, so for those who ask the question, for them it is simply an argument or an excuse. Paul answers the question in part saying: However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” So many have heard the gospel and still not believed. For those who have not heard, Paul says in Romans 1:18-21: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks. In John 3:17-19, Jesus Himself says: “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” Each person, even those who have not heard the gospel, has an awareness of both God and good and evil. That awareness comes from what is seen and heard as well as from within. Each person has a knowledge of right and wrong and a choice of darkness or light. The truth is, even for those who have heard, who have an awareness of God and of good, yet have chosen godlessness over godliness and evil over good, God still says: “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” 2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. God is patient, loving and kind, full of mercy, He continues to reach out even to those who reject Him.
The first and final question Paul asks is: How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? There is one final way that people are given to call on the name of the Lord. There is the personal revelation of Jesus Christ, given by the Holy Spirit, who convicts the world of sin and righteousness (John 16:8) who guides in all truth (John 16:13) The individual personal revelation of Christ, through the Holy Spirit comes at different times and in different ways for each person. For Paul it came on the road to Damascus, where he was going to persecute believers.(Acts 9) For one man, the thief on the cross, it came at that moment of crisis, at the end of his life. Luke 23:42-43 says: “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” For each one, there is a moment. I cannot say or even fully comprehend, how God through the Holy Spirit, will reveal Christ to each one, but I trust that He will. For each one, whether in a time of blessing or a time of crisis, there is a time to choose, there is a time for a crisis of belief. When given that choice, Paul answered Lord. The thief on the cross also called on the name of the Lord and was saved.
What will your response be to the revelation of Christ? “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Heavenly Father, Your ways are higher than our ways. I cannot fully comprehend how You reveal Yourself and Your Christ to each one, but I trust that You will and I am grateful for how You have done it for me. In patience and kindness, through love and grace You have revealed salvation through Jesus Christ my Lord. I believe. I am confident that You will reveal Your truth to everyone, as for me I will respond to my Lord’s commission and I will share the good news so that others may hear and believe. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. Amen.