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The Necessity of Faith (Romans 10:1-21)

Romans 10:1–21 - 1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. 2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. 6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” 16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. 18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” 19 But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, By a nation without understanding will I anger you.” 20 And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those who did not seek Me, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” 21 But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” What does today’s passage say? In today’s passage, Paul expresses his anguished desire for his Israelite brethren to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and receive salvation (vv. 1-4). He then clarifies that attaining right standing with God comes through faith in Christ, not works or keeping law (vv. 5-13). Next Paul describes the necessary chain of events for people to call on Christ in faith: preachers must be sent out, listeners need to hear the gospel message, and those who hear must believe what Scripture says about the good news (vv. 14-17). Using the logic of general revelation pointing to a Creator, Paul argues that Israel had ample opportunity to respond in faith to God's clearly displayed existence and handiwork (vv. 18-21). How can I apply Romans 10:1-21 to my life? The lost condition of the unbelieving world grieved Paul’s heart deeply as conveyed in this passage. His burden exemplifies the compassionate concern that we as followers of Jesus should feel for those in our circles living devoid of saving knowledge. Even beloved family and friends who currently rebuff the gospel should stir us to plead fervently for their salvation. At the same time, these verses exhort us toward self-reflection about the clarity and priority of our personal evangelism. Do our proclamations rely on watered down notions of cheap grace adding human stipulations? Do we really understand that regeneration springs from grasping biblical truth not emotional coercion? Have we forfeited opportunities expecting the Holy Spirit to overwhelm hearts while failing to faithfully employ the powerful gospel tool entrusted to us? Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Don’t Stop Praying for the Salvation of Unbelieving Loved Ones and Friends (vv. 1-4): Paul expresses his heartfelt desire for the salvation of his fellow Israelites who have rejected Jesus as the Messiah. In the same manner, we should passionately pray for the salvation of our unbelieving loved ones and persist in bringing their names before God regularly. Do not underestimate the power of prayer and give up hope for those who show no interest in the gospel currently. Pray specific prayers for God to arrange divine encounters where the truth can cut into their hearts. Ask God to use any means necessary to bring them from spiritual death to. Approach intercession as a privilege not a duty. While their rebellion surely grieves God’s heart, He is patient and not willing that any should perish waiting for all to come to repentance. Remain sensitive to opportunities to share your faith gently and winsomely while allowing your Christlike love for them to shine. Trust that the word of God, as His power unto salvation for all who believe, can transform even the hardest heart over time through continued exposure. Do not nag or dishonor them, but overflow with compassion befitting the mercy shown you by God (Colossians 4:2-4, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:1-4).

Food for Thought: If you stopped praying for someone recently, what motivated that decision and how can focusing on God's heart for the lost empower you to resume praying? When is the last time you shared the reason for the hope within you with an unbelieving friend and what holds you back from speaking up?

  1. Proclaim the Gospel Clearly so that People Can Respond in Faith (vv. 5-13): Paul juxtaposes the different means of attaining righteousness before God under the law versus by faith in Jesus. Human effort can never measure up to divine standards. Rather than complicating the simple truth of the gospel with religious requirements, we must keep the message straightforward focusing on Christ’s finished work. Use simple tools like the 4 Spiritual Laws or the Wordless Book to share; craft your own clear explanation of God’s redeeming grace so you can articulate it comfortably when afforded opportunities. Highlight how we are justified by faith alone through grace alone in Christ’s atoning sacrifice alone. Include diagnostic elements highlighting sin’s penalty followed by the hope extended that while we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. Aim to proclaim the liberating truth so that listeners comprehend fully to either call upon the Lord in faith or intelligently reject it for themselves having understood properly. Gospel seeds when watered by remaining prayer will bear saving fruit in God’s timing as His perfectly powerful words never fail but accomplish their purpose (Isaiah 55:10-11, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Acts 4:12).

Food for Thought: What aspects of the gospel message confuse you still needing clarification to strengthen your own proclamation? Do you currently have any open doors to share Christ while social distancing and if not, what burdens you to reach your sphere of influence?

  1. Understand that Faith in Christ Comes Only by Hearing and Understanding the Word of God (vv. 14-17): True saving faith comes from people hearing God's word rightly explained and believing it. Many wrongly think being good earns eternal life when no one can meet God's standard without Christ. The Bible is clear that all fall short of God's glory and perfection, but He gives eternal life to all who repent and believe Jesus' sacrifice justifies them by faith. Our job is to clearly share straight truth from Scripture that shows people how Christ paid sin's penalty so they can respond in faith. Be urgent to open the word with the lost without inserting man's reasoning that distorts or confuses. God's powerful gospel saves people who grasp it and trust it so keep it simple and Spirit led. Use Scripture to help people come to a place where they can know the truth of what Christ done to save them. It is then up to them, having come to a knowledge of that truth, to put their faith in it or reject it to their own peril (Acts 17:11, Titus 3:4-7, Ephesians 2:8-9)

Food for Thought: When was the last time you clarified the basis of salvation for a confused friend using the Bible? What passage do you find most helpful to explain salvation clearly and why?

  1. Recognize That God Makes Himself Knowable to All People So We Must Respond in Faith to His Offer of Salvation While We Still Can (vv. 18-21): God’s invisible nature and divine existence shine plainly through His creation. No one can realistically claim ignorance. Also, His faithfulness in fulfilling all of His prophecies and even promises in our own lives make Him and His word undeniable. When doubts or disbelief plague us, we can reflect on His fingerprints all over His world and remember His faithfulness to bolster our own wavering faith. Beyond this, proclaiming His knowability forms persuasive common ground when evangelizing. Ask seekers to consider why this ordered universe and universally common morality within point toward an intelligent Creator desiring relationship rather than cosmic randomness. God permits glimpses of His presence and handiwork as appetizers for faith but requires individuals call upon Him to serve saving knowledge of Jesus. His word warns that those who reject Him are without excuse. So, appeal to open hearts with compassion while there is still time, making much of the evidence God supplies that some may come to faith (Acts 17:24-28, 2 Peter 3:9-13, Romans 1:18-23, Psalm 19:1-4) .

Food for Thought: What specific aspect of creation or God’s faithfulness most encourages your faith when doubts arise? When sharing the gospel, do you integrate God revealing Himself through creation and conscience as part of your presentation? If not, what adjustments could you make? The lost condition of the world around us represents the “fields ripe for harvest” and we must pray accordingly pleading for God to send out workers into divine appointments (including ourselves). Our yearning for unbelievers’ salvation should drive persistence in bringing them before God’s throne of grace refusing to relent. Meanwhile, we must present the gospel message of justification by faith alone carefully explaining how Christ’s finished work and full atonement reconciles undeserving sinners with a holy God. Half-truths wrapped in pious language save no one. We protect against false profession by driving hearers to reckon with the Word of God as the basis for genuine conversion. While God is patient, let these understandings compel us to winsomely engage those still lost in the world by guiding them lovingly toward repentance and faith. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would place specific people currently far from You heavy upon my heart spurring daily intercession. Give me compassion and urgency during each moment afforded to clearly explain our hopeless estate apart from Christ alongside the rich mercy You extend in the gospel. Help me balance grace and truth indicating both the dire reality facing the lost as well as freedom found in surrendering fully to the forgiveness attained by Your Son. I pray that You would embolden me to keep the message plain focused on justification by faith apart from works so that the gospel is not diluted. As I embrace opportunities to model gospel by living fully for You, I pray that You would give my words power in the lives of those I share with. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Romans 10:13 - for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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