Faith Comes from Hearing
Romans 10 has always been a particularly impactful passage of Scripture for me personally--specifically, verses 13-17...
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Did you see that last verse? Faith comes from hearing. Hearing comes through the Word. This is a key verse that drives us to be a part of Bible translation around the globe. We want everyone to have a chance to hear the Word of God in a language that speaks to their heart. And we can start that by helping translate the Bible into languages that don't yet have it.
But don't miss the lead-up to this verse. The section starts off with this incredible statement.
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
It begins with very inclusive wording. Anybody in the whole world has the chance to call, at which point they will be saved. All, anybody, whoever would possibly call on the name of the Lord will be saved. This is incredible news. But did you catch the twist that suddenly makes it highly exclusive? It is only calling on the name of the Lord that brings salvation. So, salvation is open to all people but has a very specific object of worship at its center, that is, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then the Apostle Paul starts down this chain of rhetorical questions to explain how it is that a person comes to the point at which they can call on the name of the Lord. He works it from salvation back to the original sending out of people with the good news. Allow me to reword it slightly:
They can't call on someone who they don't believe in.
They can't believe in someone if they've never heard of him.
They can't hear about him unless someone tells them.
No one will tell them about him unless they've been sent out to do so.
So let's work backward through the process that brings someone to salvation:
1. Believer Sent
2. Believer Tells
3. Person Hears
4. Person Believes
5. Person Calls
So where's the breakdown? Or rather, what is our role in this? What can we be doing to further this process along?
Have we been sent? Yes! Matthew 28:19 says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations." This is otherwise known as the Great Commission. So, if you are a Christian, you have been commissioned (read "sent") into the world with a message of hope for the whole world.
So, if they hear, will they believe? If they believe, will they call? Honestly, that's not up to us. This part of the process is between the individual and God. Our job is to get this good news to them and give them the opportunity to have a relationship with Christ.
How will they hear without someone preaching? This is the key. A better word for this might simply be proclaiming or telling.
How will they hear without anyone telling them the good news?
We have been sent, and the personal relationship is between them and God. Our part in this is simply to tell them. Tell people about Jesus! Tell them the good news! Our role serves as the method God has chosen to bring His Word to the whole world. That's what we've been sent to do.
Are you doing your part? The solution is clear. Wherever you live right now. Wherever you work or go to school. You've been sent there. Tell people about Jesus! Then be a part of what God is doing to bring His Word to the ends of the earth.