Lesson 36


The Epistle to the Romans

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

10:14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in him whom they have not heard? How will they hear without a preacher? 10:15 And how will they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,

Who bring glad tidings of good things!"

10:16 But they didnít all listen to the glad news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" 10:17 So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 10:18 But I say, didnít they hear? Yes, most assuredly,

"Their sound went out into all the earth,

Their words to the ends of the world."

10:19 But I ask, didnít Israel know? First Moses says,

"I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation,

With a nation void of understanding I will make you angry."

10:20 Isaiah is very bold, and says,

"I was found by those who didnít seek me.

I was revealed to those who didnít ask for me."

10:21 But as to Israel he says, "All day long I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.


 Today's Lesson 

God sent out preachers so that men might hear the gospel and believe. First there was Moses and the prophets. Jesus had said that if the people believed Moses then they would believe in Him because Moses prophesied of Him. All throughout these chapters Paul quotes from the Old Testament prophets because they also spoke the words of God to their generations and those that followed.

 

Finally, in the fullness of time, God sent His own Son to speak for Him. Jesus told the nation what God had given Him to say. He spoke of the immediate challenge of God in their lives. "The kingdom of heaven is at hand!" He told them that God accepted sinners and rejected the proud and self-righteous. He told them, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."

 

They killed the prophets and eventually they even killed the Son. Even so, after the Son God was even now sending out the apostles and after them came the martyrs of the church. Truly it can be said, as Paul quotes in this passage, "Their sound went out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."

 

Paul writes a beautiful line in the middle of this passage, "So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." God sends forth His word into the world, through His people. Those who truly hear what God is saying will believe its message because that message is truth. Our faith comes from hearing the word of God.

 

But it also explains why so often we shut ourselves off from the word of God. The word of God is active and powerful. It changes us. But it only changes us when we allow ourselves to hear it, or when God forces us to hear it. So we have trained our ears to only hear what we want to hear. We only allow God to affect our lives in certain ways, to only touch our hearts when we want Him to do so.

 

But God is beyond our powers of manipulation. We may fool ourselves, but we canít fool God. When we shut ourselves off from God in certain areas of our lives we shut ourselves off from healing and life. We cannot grow as children of God unless we are willing to listen when God speaks to us, even about those areas of our lives where we really donít want to change. Especially in those areas of life where we really donít want to change!

 

Being a child of God means allowing God complete access to our lives and granting Him the authority to change us in any way that He feels necessary. We cannot limit the impact that God can have on our lives. We cannot say to Him, "Here you are welcome, but in this area I still want to be in control." When we accept the grace of God it is through humility. God is the one in control from that point on, not us. The sooner we learn this difficult lesson the sooner we can move on to the more important lessons in the Christian life.

 

God is speaking. His word is going out into the world. Are you listening to what He is saying to you? Are you willing to hear all of His words?

 

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