“Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17)
God’s Word is so vast that our full understanding will always remain elusive. That’s why He is God. Just as He has foreordained salvation, God has also foreordained the means by which it comes. Romans 10:17 tells us the only way to come to faith is to hear the gospel—the good about Jesus Christ. That was Paul’s message to the Jews. Though many rejected the gospel, Paul continued to proclaim that their salvation came the same way everyone else’s did, through Christ alone. He was all about breaking down the barriers between Jews and Gentiles. They were all one in Christ. Salvation was for anyone who called on the name of the Lord. So, Paul continued to preach.
Romans 10:17 answers the question of why the gospel must be preached, but prior to this verse, with a series of rhetorical questions, he considers the chain of events that lead to salvation, writing, “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?” (Romans 10:14-15). Paul went on to make the point that hearing alone wasn’t enough to be saved. They also needed to respond in faith.
We live in a time where fear and discomfort sometimes inhibits our sharing the message of Christ. Let’s face it, when you express the one way of salvation, you risk offending people. But we must be true to the gospel mandate. We must go and tell because the only way for anyone to be saved is to hear and believe. It may be impossible to always know what those we encounter died believing, but we can know if our lives reflected Christ in us, and if we were faithful to share our reason for hope with them. Be faithful to heed the words of Scripture. These are not just words for us to believe, but words to share like there’s no tomorrow. We can never know, for some, there may not be a tomorrow and eternity is at stake.