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Faith comes from hearing
Romans 10:17 The importance of hearing and understanding the Gospel in cultivating faith
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
Romans 10:17 NASB1995
We’re back to Paul’s epistle to the Romans again today. Romans is chock full of solid advice and admonitions from Paul, which is why it appears frequently in these devotionals.
In Chapter 10, Paul is writing of his desire to have his fellow Jews saved through Jesus Christ. He tells the church in Rome that he has been fervently praying for this; he knows that the people of Israel have a love of and zeal for God, but no real knowledge of God. In other words, he’s describing a people who are similar to who he was prior to his conversion on the road to Damascus!
Paul expounds on how God’s righteousness is gained by faith, as well as necessity of preaching the Gospel to all people — and he also tells them that the Jewish people will not hear the message if someone isn’t sent to them to preach the Gospel!
Many of the people of Israel at the time had heard the gospel, but not believed it. They didn’t trust what the prophet Isaiah had plainly told them in Isaiah 52 and 53, where the life, ministry, and death of the Messiah is foretold. Without that trust and faith, they were not saved.
So, what is Paul telling us in today’s short verse? He’s emphasizing the role of faith, and describing how faith comes about — through the act of hearing the teachings and messages related to Jesus Christ. Paul is highlighting the importance of listening to and understanding the message of Christ as a way of growing one’s faith.
Bible commentator Leon Morris points out something that today’s Christians might not immediately remember — at the time the epistle was written, most people could not read! The people of Israel would only hear Scripture in synagogue, and the message of Christ would not be discussed.
“Hearing is a reflection of first-century life. Paul does not raise the possibility of the message being read. While there were people who could read, the ordinary first-century citizen depended rather on being able to hear something.”
Paul is underscoring the significance of evangelism to both Jew and Gentile to bring the Good News to all nations. That message is just as important now — if not more so — as it was when Christianity was first taking hold.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
God, I thank You today for the sense of hearing, and for all those who proclaimed the message of Christ so that I might hear it. I am also thankful to You for those people who told me that I was a sinner in need of salvation, the saving grace that only comes through Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross on my behalf. I ask You to give me the opportunity and courage to share that message with all who will hear it. AMEN.
Morris, Leon "The Epistle to the Romans" (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1988)