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So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.Romans 10:17

 rom 10.17We have been answering the question, “Where does faith come from?” We learned, faith does not come from men, that is to say, faith is not produced by, inherent in, or available to any person without outside intervention.

So where does faith come from? The answer, as we break it up into several days worth of study, is that faith is a gift from God given through the hearing of the Word applied by the power of the Holy Spirit as He produces spiritual fruit in our lives.

Today and tomorrow we will be looking at the second part of that answer: Faith is given to us through the hearing of the Word of God. This study will demonstrate for us the power of the Word of God as it is the means that God uses to give the gift of faith to those who would believe the gospel and be saved. Let us start then with the hearing of the Word of God.

Hearing the Word

Our verse for the day, in its context, reads:

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” 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 unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things.” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. – Romans 10:13-17

In order to be saved one must call on the Lord, turning from his sin to Christ in faith. But the immediate question that the Spirit addresses through Paul is that of asking how can anyone call on God if they do not believe God and His Word and obey the gospel. Further though is the question that they cannot believe God if they have not even heard of Him. So there needs to be a preacher to proclaim the truth to them so that they might know Who God is and what is required of them to be reconciled to Him.

This gives us a hint about what we preach when we witness. We tell them the truth about God and the truth about themselves and their need for calling on Him for salvation.

We also must note that this is not speaking of a preacher in the sense of a pastor or evangelist or “official” church position. It is speaking of the role we all have to be proclaiming the gospel to those around us. So it is not necessarily preaching from a pulpit, but any proclamation of the gospel from those who know it to those who need to hear it.

This preacher must be sent. While we understand the call of God on the lives of those serving as pastors and missionaries, we must not forget that we have all received such a call to proclaim the gospel. Again, all believers in Jesus Christ have been called to go and make disciples. (Matthew 28:19-20). We are all to be sowing the seed, because if we do not tell people about God and about their need for salvation, then how can they call out to Him and be saved?

God is sovereign in the salvation of sinners, no doubt. But He uses us as the means to call sinners to salvation. We see then from this series of questions and answers about who will be saved this truth – faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. People must hear the Word of God in order to know the truth and believe it. Faith comes by hearing the gospel – not just listening, but hearing and understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ. And hearing comes by the Word of God. God uses the Word to open ears and eyes to hear and see the truth.

Without Him we are dead, blind, and deaf. But when He uses the Word to open our ears and eyes then we can hear and see and believe and call out with our mouths. And “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

(tomorrow: Hearing the Word Preached)

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright
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