Election: Romans 10, Part 2 (“faith comes from hearing the message”)

(Rom 10:11-13) As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Again, our Reformation eyes put the emphasis on salvation coming through trust and calling on the name of the Lord — which is true. But Paul made that point back in chapters 1 – 8. Here his point is that this promise is for both Jew and Gentile and on the very same terms.

Verse 11 paraphrases Isa 28:16, plainly referring to trust in the Messiah.

(Isa 28:16)  So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.”

Verse 13 refers to the same passage on which Peter built his Pentecost sermon —

(Joel 2:28-32)  ‘And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 29 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

Paul is not just quoting a convenient aphorism. Joel was speaking specifically of the Messianic age, and he was predicting that only “the survivors” (translated as “remnant” by many) would be delivered.

(Notice Isaiah’s use of “calls.” “Calls” refers to the remnant, the Jews who believe in the Messiah although Israel, as a nation, rejects Jesus.)

(Rom 10:14) 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? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Here, in the midst of these passages so often argued as being about Calvinism, Paul teaches a powerful lesson on evangelism. If faith is necessary to save, then someone must be sent to preach!

(Isa 52:7)  How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

This passage is found in the midst of one of the most magnificent of the Messianic prophecies.

(Isa 52:13-15)  See, my servant will act wisely ; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. 14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness– 15 so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.

You see, it’s not just good news. It’s good news for “many nations.” “What they were not told” in v. 15 refers to the Gentiles, who didn’t have the benefit of the prophecies of the good news. But they are the ones who will understand.

(Rom 10:16) But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”

Paul’s reference is to —

(Isa 53:1-3)  Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

And Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be rejected by the Jews (as a nation — not all of them, of course).

(Rom 10:17) Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

This is a famous verse in Church of Christ circles, because it’s the proof text for “hear” in the 5-step plan of salvation. But that’s not why Paul wrote it (although, it’s true). Paul is setting up his next point, which is — since faith comes from hearing, and since the Jews heard the good news, why didn’t they believe?

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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One Response to Election: Romans 10, Part 2 (“faith comes from hearing the message”)

  1. Jerry Starling says:

    "12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”

    This in Romans chapter ten echoes chapter three.

    "22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in [of?] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…."

    In chapter three, the emphasis is that there is no difference because all are sinners. In chapter ten, the emphasis is that all find salvation in the same way.

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