Monday, May 12, 2014

The Magnificent Salvation of God: Salvation's Messengers

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, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:14-17)

Having presented Salvation's Savior, the text now focuses on Salvation's messengers. These messengers are proclamation, creation and provocation. Through these three channels God presents salvation to Israel.

A preacher is one who proclaims. God has chosen the channel of proclamation to be the main means by which His gospel is spread, as it says in I Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” The world would consider such things to be utter foolishness; yet, this is the very channel which God has chosen. The Lord delights in using the humble and unexpected things, because in these He may more fully manifest His strength and check the pride of mankind, as I Corinthians 1:27-29 teaches, “...God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” Lifestyle is certainly important as a means of witness, but the witness must also include proclamation. At some point, God expects His people to verbally share the good news of Jesus Christ. This is often uncomfortable, because it inevitably involves dealing with man's sin problem, but God's Spirit will enable His people if they will but submit. Verse fifteen is a quote of Isaiah 52:7, which, in context, is dealing specifically with Israel. This verse is often quoted as motivation for reaching Gentiles. Such application is good and certainly much needed; yet, a man must never forget that God is intensely interested in the salvation of the Jew. God does save Jewish people in this present age; therefore, their salvation should be the concern of every Gentile believer.

Verse sixteen is a quote of Isaiah 53:1. Faith comes through the hearing of God's word. The power of God's word should never be underestimated. People often think that Scripture cannot be used with those who deny it or claim to be atheists. Many believe that Scripture will have no affect on such people; therefore, they often turn to intellectual arguments. Logical arguments are not always inappropriate; however, God's word may be given with assurance at any point. God's word is never inappropriate or insufficient. If people will not hear the word, they will not be persuaded. This truth is illustrated in Luke 16:29-31, where the rich man is found in hell, begging Abraham to send someone from the dead to warn his family of their impending doom. Abraham replied to the rich man, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” The rich man argued, “Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.” Abraham admonished him by saying, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Ultimately, if a person will not hear the word, they will not be moved to faith. Proclamation of the word is salvation's primary messenger.

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