Rom 10:14-17 “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
As we look at these scriptures, we need to remember that Paul is still addressing his concern for his Jewish brethren who have a zeal of God. His heart’s desire is for them to be delivered from pursuing their own righteousness and to submit themselves to the righteousness of God. Paul asks a series of questions in the verses before us. In order to rightly consider these verses, let us first look at Paul’s conclusion.
The faith that Paul has under consideration here, which relates to the righteousness of faith (see verse 6), comes by hearing. If we take this statement alone, then it would be easy to conclude that there is at least some measure of faith (consistently relying on Christ for salvation – see Strong’s) that we can achieve simply by hearing the gospel preached. However, we need to consider the origin of this hearing. Note that Paul does not say that faith comes by hearing the word of God.
Paul states here that our hearing comes by the word of God. God must first speak the truth in our ears and hearts before we can hear it. Until we hear it from God, it is foolishness when we hear it from men. The most able minister is a laughingstock to the ears of men until they have first heard from God. In Paul’s conclusion, he draws our attention first to God.
Paul then points out how long this gospel has been preached. It was not something that was brand new to his Jewish brethren. Although Jesus’ crucifixion and probably taken place some twenty-four years before the writing of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he points to the book of Isaiah to demonstrate that they had the gospel long before then (Isa 52:7). Paul then points to Isaiah’s writing again to prove his assertion that everyone who hears the gospel does not obey the gospel.
It is important for us to realize that men do not decide on their own to go and preach the word of God. True ministers of the word are sent by God. Paul’s fourth question clearly indicates that a man cannot simply choose to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is not to say that there are not men who sometimes try to take this upon themselves.
Men who are sent by God to preach the gospel are not sent on an impossible mission. When God sends a man to preach, He sends Him to those He has prepared to hear. While hearing the gospel is not fundamental to our eternal destiny (that having been secured on the cross by the blood of Jesus), it is clear that the gospel has great benefit for the child of God who hears and obeys. We should never be deterred in what God has sent us to do simply because there are some that will not believe our report.
The purpose of the preaching of the gospel is to proclaim the wonderful name of Jesus. It is the vehicle that Jesus Christ uses to bring life and immortality to light (2 Tim 1:10). We are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. Through the hearing of the word of God, we learn who to thank.
When we are blessed by God to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, then we know that we can call upon Him for deliverance. We can ask the Father according to the will of our Savior, and the Father will hear us. The glory of God is manifested in our hearts, and praise springs to our lips. This all begins with God (hearing comes by the word of God) and not man.
May we rejoice in the gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing that it is His word that draws us to the righteousness that is of faith!