How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?
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!
Yesterday’s text ended saying: 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.” Today’s text begins 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? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” However, they did not all heed the good news. Paul is speaking of the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, not responding to the good news of salvation through Christ, but the same could be said of the world today, God’s chosen people. The text says: 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.” Again, Paul is speaking about his time, but the same could be said of our time. Many people raise the argument that it is unfair to claim that Jesus is the only way to God and heaven because that excludes those who have not heard the gospel. But as it says: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” However, they did not all heed the good news. Those who make the argument are those who have heard the news, but did not heed the news.
The text says: As for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” This too could be said of the world today. John 3:16 says: God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Jesus stretched out His hands on the cross, to redeem whoever would believe from their sin. Yet in obstinence and disobedience many do not believe. What is it that they do not believe? It is foolish not to believe that Jesus lived and died. No single person has had a greater impact on the world than Jesus. So, what they do not believe is either that He died for their sins or that after He died and was buried, He was raised from the dead. There are 100- 450+ Messianic prophecies regarding His birth, His life and His death which are fulfilled by Christ. Peter Stoner was chairman of the mathematics and astronomy departments at Pasadena City College until 1953 when he moved to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. There he served as chairman of the science division. He calculated the odds of one person fulfilling just eight of these prophecies. The result was: That probability is 1in 1017 or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. That’s one in one hundred quadrillion! Why then do they still not believe? The text says: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes to see not and ears to hear not, Down to this very day.” It may seem unfair to some again, that God would do that to some. In Romans 1:18-32 it is explained more fully: For 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, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions… committing indecent acts and receiving in [t]their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. God doesn’t make anyone choose sin and depravity. He allows them to and He gives them over to the consequences of their own choice. James 1:13-15 says: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Jesus is the way out of both temptation and the consequences of sin. That is the good news. In Mark 16:15-16 Jesus says: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” It is today as it was in Paul’s day, they will not all heed the good news. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” Blessed are they who hear and believe.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit for Your love and compassion and the grace by which I was saved. Thank You for providing a way out of every temptation and the consequences of every sin. Thank You for giving me a choice. I choose to believe and to heed Your word and to tell the good news to others that they too might believe. Amen.