FAITH COMES BY HEARING
“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!”
“But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our message?’ Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Romans 10:14-17.
What a gem of a chapter is Romans 10!
Paul, in this one chapter, sweeps away all the complicated arguments and explanations about religion, even the religion of the Jews, and reveals the simplicity of the message about Jesus. It’s all about believing – not just giving intellectual assent to, but entrusting oneself to the truth that Jesus is Lord, and He is the way to the Father.
You don’t have to search for Him. He is right here – wherever you are – as close as your breath and the words of your mouth. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Jew or a Gentile. There is no longer any distinction because the door is wide open for anyone who believes in Him to enter the kingdom of God and receive the gift of righteousness and eternal life.
To receive this gift and the assurance of eternal life takes nothing more that listening to the message about Jesus and believing the good news that He has done everything to clear the way for us to return to the Father and be reconciled and restored to Him as His sons and daughters.
But, in order to receive the message, people have to hear it; and in order to hear it, someone must preach it; and in order to preach it, someone must be sent; and that means all of us. To His disciples Jesus gave the commission: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21.
Who are His disciples? Surely not only those who physically followed Him during the three years of His public ministry? He commissioned them to go and make disciples – followers who would make more disciples, who would make more disciples…right down to today. If you are a follower, the instruction is for you and for me to tell the message so that others can believe and tell the message.
But hearing the message is not enough. How many times did the Israelites hear the message in the Old Testament era? How many times did the Jews hear the message from the lips of Jesus and from the lips of the apostles and the early Christians, yet they still rejected it? Paul prayed for them and grieved over their stubborn unbelief but nothing would persuade the majority of them of the truth that is in the message about Jesus. But while they refuse to believe, there are many millions that have believed and have experienced the truth of the message.
In verse 17 Paul gives us a little gem about faith. What is the origin of faith? It doesn’t just drop out of the sky. Faith must have a foundation, a substance, some truth that generates confidence and gives us something stable to stand on. What is that foundation, that substance upon which we can pin our hope? It’s the message about Jesus. Every time we read or hear something more about Him, our confidence in Him can grow.
Like patience and all the other virtues we long to possess, faith can be cultivated by exposing ourselves to the message. The more we can discover about Jesus, the more we will be able to trust Him, not only with our eternal destiny but with the nitty-gritty of our everyday lives.
There is no one who cannot respond to the message in faith. It takes nothing more than hearing and believing. No ritual, performance, ceremony, offering, sacrifice or even a pastor or counsellor is necessary to facilitate believing. Just believe and Jesus Christ is yours.
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