Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
October 6, 2002
Man’s Responsibility in Salvation, Part 2
God’s timing is marvelous. This evening we will have one of our
missionaries with us. Alex Knauss, who has served with Trans World Radio for
nearly 20 years, will be speaking in our evening service. This morning, we come
to one of the great missionary texts. God has been faithful to send His
messengers out with the gospel message. Turn to Romans 10.
Last week we examined the first half of this chapter. This morning I would
like to concentrate on the second half, but to do so, I need to set the context
of the passage.
In the course of explaining the gospel message of salvation from sin by faith
in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul sought to bring comfort
and assurance to believers by pointing out the sovereignty of God in salvation.
Though we struggle with our own sin, though we suffer persecution in this world
for the sake of righteousness because we are identified with Christ. Though we
have not yet received the fulfilment of all God’s promises, we long for the
fulfillment of those promises of our final redemption with great confidence.
Why? Because God is omniscient, omnipotent and sovereign. Nothing can thwart His
plans. What He began in eternity past in His foreknowledge and predestination of
those who would be saved has worked out in the present in His calling and
justification of those who are saved and will be completed in His glorification
of them. There is absolute confidence that God will complete the good work that
He began in us. No circumstance and no entity of past, present or future,
nothing can separate us from His love.
These are wonderful truths, but the declaration of God’s sovereignty bring
up some other questions including God’s justness if He is sovereign over a man’s
eternal destiny. And what about God’s promises to the nation of Israel? In
view of the fact that much of the nation had not yet been saved, would God
fulfill His promises to them? Paul uses God’s relationship with Israel to
demonstrate both God’s justness and mercy while also answering the question of
the future of that nation of people.
In chapter 9 Paul demonstrated that God was just in His dealings with Israel,
and all people, by virtue of the fact that He is the creator and that He has
been merciful to all people. By virtue of being the creator, God has the right
to do whatever He wishes with the beings He has created. We have no right to
question what God does (9:20-23). Paul points out further that irrespective of
God’s right as creator, God cannot be accused of injustice because His actual
actions toward man are a step beyond being just fair. God is merciful. God would
be fair and just to immediately condemn all men to eternal Hell. Instead, God is
merciful and patiently endures the rebellion of sinners while making known the
riches of His glory to those He has chosen to be "vessels of mercy."
God’s sovereignty in salvation is not a basis for any accusation that God
is unjust in His dealings with man. But Paul goes further in Chapter 10 to
demonstrate that God is also just in His condemnation of the wicked because man
is responsible for his rejection of God’s offer of salvation through faith in
Israel’s Ignorant Zeal (2,3)
Last week we saw in verses 1-3 that Paul longed for the salvation of his
fellow Israelites. They had a great zeal for God, but they were ignorant of the
true nature of righteousness. Paul had been that way himself when he was still
Saul the Pharisee. Paul had considered himself then to be blameless according to
the righteousness of the law. He was so zealous for God that he became a
persecutor of the church because he thought they were blaspheming God and His
law. But the truth was that he had been ignorant of God and the true nature of
righteousness. So many of his fellow Jews were still in that condition of being
zealous, but ignorant.
Law vs. Faith (3-5)
Paul explains in verses 3-5 that they were still busy striving to gain
righteousness for themselves through their diligent efforts to keep the Mosaic
law. However, that law condemns them for, as verse 5 states, those who practice
the righteousness based in the law must also live by that righteousness, and no
one can keep the law perfectly. All have sinned (Rom. 3:23), and to break just
one commandment brings the full condemnation of the law (James 2:10).
As I pointed out last week, it is not just the Jews that have fallen into
this trap. Whether it is the Mosaic law, religious laws they have made for
themselves, or the law of conscience that God has placed into all people (Rom.
2), everyone falls short and violates even their own standards resulting in
Since righteousness before God cannot be earned, it must be attained on
another basis. That basis is faith in Jesus Christ for He is end of the law
for righteousness to everyone who believes. In other words, Jesus Christ is
the end of a person’s futile effort to achieve their own righteousness before
God. Instead, the righteousness of Christ is imputed, or attributed to the
believer. This is the righteousness of faith that Paul has been talking about
since the beginning of the book. Paul speaks more of this in verses 6-10
The Nearness of the Message (6-8)
Paul explains here that the righteousness of faith, which is the gospel
message that he has been explaining since the beginning of the book, is not
something mystical that still has to be searched out from either heaven or from
someone who has returned from the dead. It is a message from heaven already
given by Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead. The message was near them
and should even have been in their own hearts and mouths. Paul gives the gospel
message in very simple terms in verses 9 & 10.
The Simplicity of the Salvation (9,10)
"if you confess with your mouth Jesus [as] Lord, and believe in your
heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the
heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses,
resulting in salvation."
The message is simple. The correct confession and heart belief will result in
the salvation of the individual. As with Abraham (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3), God
reckons or counts belief as righteousness. This heart belief and not mere
intellectual assent, but something that is held to as true by thought and will
which in turn generates motives for action. Confession is the outward expression
of the core belief of the heart. Jesus stated in Matthew 15:18 that the things
that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart. In Matthew 10:32,33 Jesus
said, "Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also
confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 "But whoever shall deny
Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven." Confession
is the response of belief. Belief brings righteousness, and confession confirms
that belief, resulting in salvation.
Now these truths that are believed and confessed are significant and by their
very nature life changing. Too often in American Christianity we find that they
are treated as incidental or trivial truths. Too many people profess Jesus as
their savior, yet live lives that are in contradiction to what they say they
believe. What then is the significance of confessing Jesus as Lord and believing
God has raised Him from the dead?
As I pointed out last week, to confess Jesus as Lord is to agree with God
that Jesus is deity and your master with all the ramifications that come with
it. The term "lord" here is not a simple reference to deity because
that is not how Paul uses the term in this context. In addition, even if you
wanted the term to be just a reference to deity, that does not remove the
obligation for obedience. God by His very nature is master and His creatures are
obligated to obey Him.
To believe in your heart that Jesus was raised from the dead encompasses all
that Scripture says concerning Jesus’ death and resurrection. It includes the
purpose of Jesus death as an atonement for sin, and His resurrection from the
dead according to His own prophecy (John 10:17,18; Mark 8:31). Paul makes that
clear in other passages dealing with the beliefs necessary for salvation.
The Offer of Salvation (11-15)
God has brought the message of salvation through faith in the person and work
of Jesus Christ near to man. He has not left it as some mystical truth that can
only be known through great effort. Man is responsible for the message he has
been given. God is just in this because not only has the gospel message been
openly proclaimed, but it is a message that is given to all. Look at verses
"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 upon Him;
13 for "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved." 14
How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall
they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a
preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is
written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of
The Universal Offer (11-13)
Notice in verses 11-13 that the offer is made universally. It is
"whosoever believes," and "whosoever calls." The universal
nature of the offer is emphasized by Paul’s statement that there is no
difference between the Jews and the Greek in this, for the Lord has always had
the same rich grace to all that would call upon Him. The Scripture referenced in
verse 11 is Isaiah 28:16. The offer of salvation to the gentile was not
something new, but something that existed in the Old Testament. In fact, part of
the responsibility that the nation of Israel had as God’s chosen people was to
be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation that would proclaim the true God to
the other nations (Exod. 19:6; Isa. 43:21). God had said when He made His
covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham all the families of the earth would
be blessed (Gen. 12:3).
The Jews had responded negatively to the gospel message Paul was proclaiming,
because they were hostile to the idea of the gentiles being included. They, like
all other people, were ethnocentric. They viewed themselves as the best of all
peoples, and so they wanted to be the exclusive people of God and keep the
blessings for themselves instead of sharing them with others. The book of Jonah
is a good example of both God’s mercy toward gentiles and Jewish
Recall that God told the prophet Jonah to go to Ninevah, the capital of the
Assyrian empire and warn them to repent or God would judge them. The Assyrians
had made many raids into Israel by that time, and so the Jewish people had a
hatred for them. Jonah wanted God to destroy the Assyrians, and so he wanted no
part in warning them of how to avoid it. Instead of going to Ninevah, Jonah gets
on a ship and heads the opposite direction. But it is not wise to refuse to do
what God tells you to do. God caused a great storm to occur that threatened to
destroy the ship. Jonah told the ships’ crew that the storm would stop if they
would throw him overboard. They continued to fight the storm as best they could,
but finally in desperation they followed Jonah’s advice and tossed him over.
That should have been the end of Jonah, but God still wanted him to go to
Ninevah, so he had prepared a great fish that swallowed Jonah and transported
him back to the shore where it spit him up. Jonah got the point and went to
Ninevah where he reluctantly warned them of God’s impending judgment. They
repented and God turned away from His fierce anger against them. That bothered
Jonah because he wanted the Assyrians to be destroyed by God, and as he states
in 4:2, "I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to
anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning
That is the nature of God. He cannot be accused of being unjust in His
judgement of sinners, for He has offered salvation to all. Man is responsible to
respond to that offer. Many other scriptures make this same point.
Jesus’ death as an atonement for sin is sufficient for all. 1 John 2:2 says
of Jesus, "He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours
only, but also for [those of] the whole world." 2 Peter 3:9 tells us
that "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness,
but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to
repentance." It is God’s moral will that all respond positively to
His offer of salvation. In Acts 17 Paul instructs the Athenians about the
Unknown God to whom they had made an altar, and he tells them that this God, who
made the world and all things in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth, "having
overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all
everywhere should repent" (vs. 22-31). God commands people to turn from
their false gods to Him. The gospels and epistles are full of declarations of
God’s offer of salvation to all who will believe in Jesus Christ.
John 3:16 – "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have
eternal life." John 5:24 – "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who
hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come
into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." John 6:40 – "For
this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in
Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last
day." John 8:51 "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My
word he shall never see death." John 11:25 "Jesus said to her,
"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even
if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die."
As we have seen in Romans 8 & 9, God is sovereign in salvation, but here
in Romans 10 we find that God has made a genuine offer of salvation to
"whosoever will." Man is responsible for his response to the message
of salvation. While God’s sovereignty and His universal offer seem to be
opposites to our finite minds, they are not to God’s infinite mind. The
failure for men to be saved does not rest in God or anything that He has done,
but rather the responsibility rests upon man. The offer is there and it is
genuine, and it is not that man cannot turn to Christ and believe, but rather
that because of his sinful nature, man absolutely will not believe unless God
sovereignly intervenes. All man has to do is to call upon the name of the Lord
to be saved (vs. 13). The idea of this would be desperate cry out for help to
God such as given by the tax-gatherer in Luke 18 who was beating his breast
saying, "Be merciful to me, the sinner." But man will not do
this on his own because it is foolishness to him (1 Cor. 2:14).
God has provided the means of salvation to men. The message is simple and God
has brought it to man. God has made a universal offer to all men. But some might
still object saying that a universal offer is not worth much if the message is
not told to everyone. In verses 14 & 15 we find that God has sent out His
messengers and in verse 18 we find that they have proclaimed that message
throughout the earth.
Provision of Messengers (14,15)
14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how
shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear
without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as
it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings
of good things!"
Paul brings up all the objections that could be made and then states that it
has been fulfilled just as Isaiah 52:7 says. Of course this is not a praise of
the messengers physical feet, but of the joy that comes with the good news that
the messenger has brought. At that time you got from place to place by walking
or running. When someone arrived bearing good news, you welcomed everything
about them. Even their dirty feet seemed beautiful. It is still the same way
today. Even though I think the UPS truck itself is pretty ugly, I like seeing it
pull up. You probably do to. Why? Because they usually bring good things. But we
can be a bit ambivalent toward the mail carrier because it could be good news,
or it could be bills.
That is how it is for those who declare the gospel message. To those who
understand it and receive it is great news and the messenger is given high
regard. Think back to those that shared the message of salvation with you, and
what your regard for them became when you finally understood what Jesus had done
for you, and you were forgiven your sins. Of course those that do not understand
the message or reject it are not so favorably inclined to the messenger. Perhaps
that is why so many Christians are hesitant to tell others about Jesus Christ.
Most people do not respond positively to the gospel. Look at verses 16-18
Rejection & Responsibility (16-18)
16 However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; 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."
Paul again quotes from Isaiah. This time from 53:1. The news of Jesus Christ
and what He has done for us are glad tidings. He has proven His love for us. He
has paid the price of our sins. He offers eternal life which will break the
bondage to sin to everyone who will place their faith in Him. Some will heed the
report of what the Lord has done and believe thus becoming new creations in
Christ. But most will not. In His "Sermon on the Mount," Jesus said 13
"Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that
leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14 "For the gate
is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find
it." That truth has not changed in our day. The gospel message goes
forth, but most people still reject it.
But lets back up a minute and consider the rhetorical questions Paul
presented in verses 14 & 15. "How then shall they call upon Him in
whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have
not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they
preach unless they are sent?" Add to this verse 17, "So faith
[comes] from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."
If people are going to respond to the gospel, they first need to hear it.
They cannot call on someone they have not believed, and they cannot believe if
they do not hear, and they cannot hear if someone does not tell them. The word
"preacher" in verse 14 is from khruvssw
(karusso) meaning one who heralds or proclaims. A herald was sent with a
message. God has sent His heralds to proclaim His message.
There are two important points for us to consider in this. First, do not
confuse the preacher / herald here with the office of pastor. Some have used
this text to try to bolster the importance and authority of the pastor, but that
would be contrary to the meaning of this passage. As a pastor, I preach, but I
am not the only one that is to be proclaiming the truths of God. That is
something that is the responsibility of every Christian. Every single one of you
here that know the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior are to be proclaiming Him to
others. It is not just the responsibility of the pastor and the evangelist.
What then is this idea of the preacher / herald having to be sent in verse
15? It is not the idea of being sent by a church or a mission board. Those would
be foreign to the context. It is the idea that any herald was sent to proclaim
the message given to them by someone else. They were not to proclaim whatever
was on their mind. They were to proclaim the message of the one that sent them.
Who has sent us? More specifically, who has sent you to proclaim the gospel
message? Your Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. That is the Great Commission. You
do not need my permission as the pastor of this church to do that. I am only the
undershepherd. Your true shepherd, our true pastor, the Lord Jesus Christ has
already told you to do that.
I cannot stress this fact enough. If people are going to hear the gospel,
then it will occur only because God’s people told them the message of Jesus
Christ. Even if we were able to hire an evangelist, his job would be to train
you to tell people the gospel, not to fulfill your responsibilities for you. The
question that every Christian must answer then is this. Who are you telling? You
are God’s herald. Who are you proclaiming Him to? Do not slip into the mindset
of our society that is so self-centered where life revolves around doing what
you like and being with the people who make you feel comfortable. The Christian
is to be constantly making new relationships through which they can proclaim the
good news of Jesus Christ. (Dinner for 8)
The fact is that God will get His message out even as verse 18 states. They
have heard for the sound of God’s messengers has gone to the ends of the
earth. Paul already said in Romans 1:20 that the Creation declares enough about
God that all men are left without excuse for not seeking Him. But the Lord has
gone much further than that by declaring Himself to all people through His
heralds. God gives the Christian the privilege of being His herald. It is your
loss of being fruitful and fulfilling the purpose of your life if you refuse or
fail to be and do what God wants you to be and do. Yes, you will suffer for
Christ’s sake when you strive to live in godliness. But the suffering of
living in ungodliness is worse. In addition, you also receive the blessings of
having "beautiful feet" to those who do hear and heed God’s message
There is no injustice with God in His condemnation of the unrighteous and the
ungodly. God has sent His heralds to proclaim forgiveness of sin through Jesus
Christ. The message of salvation has gone out to all. It is a message that
offers forgiveness of sin to all. It is a message that is simple, understandable
and near to all men. Man is responsible for his own rejection of that message.
God’s Faithfulness (19-21)
God’s faithfulness is further seen in verse 19-21. The mercy He has shown
to the Gentiles was also a means to provoke Israel to hear, heed and believe. He
has also continued to persevere in declaring Himself to Israel despite their
rebellion against Him. But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? At
the first Moses says, "I will make you jealous by that which is not a
nation, By a nation without understanding will I anger you." And Isaiah is
very bold and says, "I was found by those who sought Me not, I became
manifest to those who did not ask for Me." But as for Israel He says,
"All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and
Mercy to Gentiles (19-20)
The quote in verse 19 is from Deut. 32:21. Fifteen hundred years before Paul
turned to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46) with the gospel message, Moses had revealed
that God would do this. While it is a great mercy to the Gentiles, it was also
designed to provoke Israel. Israel did know God and His message of salvation of
righteousness through faith. But most of them rejected it, and so refused to
tell others. They were without excuse.
Isaiah also foretold that this would happen. The quote in verse 20 is from
Isaiah 65:1. God would reveal Himself to the Gentiles even though they had not
sought Him. The context of that passage shows that this would be done because of
Israel’s rejection of the Lord.
Paul uses the quote from Moses to represent the law, and Isaiah to represent
the prophets. It was no surprise to God that Israel would reject Him, and in
that rejection He would show mercy to the Gentiles.
Mercy to Israel (21)
Verse 22, which is a quote of Isaiah 65:2, shows that even in the midst of
Israel’s rejection of the Lord, the Lord was still merciful to Israel. They
were a disobedient and obstinate people, yet the Lord continued to "stretch
out His hands to them." This in itself was an act of great mercy. Justice
would have allowed Him to destroy them, but mercy compelled Him to continue to
reveal Himself to them and offer them forgiveness. Next week we will see that
even with all this, only a remnant would hear, heed and follow God. The rest
would suffer the Lord’s condemnation.
God is loving, merciful, gracious, kind and longsuffering. He declares His
plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ to all men. He then patiently
endures man’s rejection of that message and continued rebellion against Him.
But eventually, God’s holiness, righteousness and justice compel Him to judge
the wicked and condemn them.
Any charge that God is unjust in His dealings with man is unfounded. Man is
responsible for his own rejection of God’s offer of salvation. God continues
to demonstrate Himself to be merciful. His sovereign intervention in choosing
some for salvation is only a greater extension of that mercy. God is sovereign.
He is just. He is merciful.
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s
lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something
you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older
Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times words
"message" or "gospel" are used. 2) Discuss with your parents
what the "message" is and how you can tell others the gospel.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What is the
context of Romans 10:11-21? What is Paul’s major point in this chapter
compared with Chapter 9? Can a person be saved by keeping the Law? Why or why
not? What is the gospel message? What does it mean to confess Jesus as Lord? To
whom does God offer salvation? Support your conclusions. On what basis is the
offer made? What was the responsibility of the Jews in regard to this message?
Who has that responsibility now? Who is the "preacher" in verse 14?
Who sends the preacher? What is the message that is to be preached? What
blessing do those who preach receive? What has man’s response been to God’s
message of salvation? How has God shown mercy to the Gentiles? To Israel? How
has God shown Himself to be faithful to Israel? Is God just in His dealings with
man in salvation? Why or why not? What is man’s responsibility in regard to
the message of salvation? What is the just thing to do to those that reject that
message? Can man accept the gospel message on his own accord? Why or why not?
What is your response to the gospel? What is your relationship to God? How does
God want you to respond to the non-Christian? How are you doing at obeying Him?
Sermon Study Sheets
Man’s Responsibility in Salvation, Part 2 – Romans 10:11-21
Israel’s Ignorant Zeal (2,3)
Law vs. Faith (3-5)
The Nearness of the Message (6-8)
The Simplicity of the Salvation (9,10)
The Offer of Salvation (11-15)
The Universal Offer (11-13) Isaiah 28:16
1 John 2:2; 2 Peter 3:9; Acts 17:21f
John 3:16; 5:24; 8:51; 11:25,26
Provision of Messengers (14,15) Isaiah 52:7
Rejection & Responsibility (16-18) Isaiah 53:1,2
God’s Faithfulness (19-21);
Mercy to Gentiles (19-20) Deuteronomy 32:21
Mercy to Israel (21) Isaiah 65:2