Romans 10:14-17

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Romans 10:14
  • Romans 10:15
  • Romans 10:16
  • Romans 10:17

The Apostle Paul writes to the world-renowned believers in Rome, the center of the world at that time, in order to answer a slanderous charge made to them against Paul and his message. Paul’s detractors claim his emphasis on faith overturns the law. Paul says that ” just living by the law” does not achieve personal justice before God, while “just living by faith” does. Paul then demonstrates what a just life looks like: harmonious living with Jesus as the leader. Paul also makes clear the choice a believer has: to walk in faith and the power of the resurrection and experience resurrection life, or walk in sin and unnecessarily experience the negative consequences.

Righteousness does not come by the law, but by faith. Paul uses two quotes from the Old Testament to demonstrate the point. Rules do not make people righteous, because rules do not change the heart. The path to righteousness starts with faith. Believe, speak/think on those beliefs, then do them. It is very simple, you do what you know is true and right. Paul summarizes these Old Testament passages by simply saying believe and confess. That is how faith turns into righteousness, you think or say what is true then do what is true.

Paul contrasts the Gentiles simple walk of faith, and therefore finding of righteousness, with Israel’s fixation on rules, which do not make anyone righteous. Chapter 10 is the culmination of Paul’s demolition of the competing Jewish “authorities” attack on his gospel and attempt to bring the Roman believers under their sway to follow the rules of Judaism. These “authorities” claim following rules, the law, is the path to righteousness. In this chapter, Paul culminates his argument that their claim is exactly the opposite of what is true, and as usual Paul uses Scripture (in this case the very words of Moses) to make his case.

Paul states an obvious point that we can’t believe something that we have never heard. But it is also the case that we can hear and not believe.

In order to call for help from someone, you have to believe in that person’s power, How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? In order to believe in someone you must hear about them, How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? In order to hear about them, you must have someone tell you, And how will they hear without a preacher? In order for someone to tell you they must be sent, How will they preach unless they are sent? Those who are sent and preach the gospel are doing something very good and beautiful, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good thingsThe chronological order of this preaching process looks like: a preacher is sent to the lost, the preacher preaches the gospel of Jesus, the lost hear the good news of Jesus, they believe the good news of Jesus and are saved from Hell, and they call on their Lord to help them in their daily life of living by faith. This is a picture of how preaching the gospel should logically and ideally work out, but Paul proceeds to use it to display the unbelief of the Jews.

Throughout history the Jewish people have heard this message of pursuing righteousness through faith and not the law (Rom 9:30-33), but they did not all heed the good news. Paul quotes the Old Testament prophet to demonstrate this rejection, “Lord, who has believed our report?” Faith comes from hearing, and the Jewish people have heard the word of Christ. Paul is reiterating what he said in verse 8-11, that God does not need to send more messengers down from heaven, including Christ, because they and Christ have already come. The message is already here and has been delivered to the Jewish people.

But what if someone has never heard the preaching of the gospel? What if someone never heard the word of the prophets, or it was just something they didn’t understand? Paul will now address that possibility.

Biblical Text

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.

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