Romans 10:14-15 – “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”
In Isaiah 55:8, God says, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” As intelligent humans, we have the propensity to feel as if we should be able to have every single little detail of how God works nailed down to be described in a neat and systematic way. There are many questions we ask about God’s work in the world with respect to his sovereignty, our sin and responsibility, and evil in general. There are pillars of truth taught in Scripture that seem to be very clear. God is sovereign over all things in this world, including salvation. We as humans are held responsible for our acceptance or rejection of the message of the gospel. The effect of sin on our life is complete, overwhelming, and damning. Those are three clear teachings of Scripture that leave us in a difficult place to try to reconcile.
When I consider how total our depravity is, and I also see God’s sovereignty over all things, including my salvation, and I also see words used in God’s Word such as election, predestination, and chosen, I believe the best way to describe these ideas is to say that we are held responsible for our rejection or acceptance of the message of salvation. Yet, at the same time, God has chosen those who he will save, because apart from God’s first choosing us, none of us would ever choose him. While I feel this is the “system” that makes the most sense of what Scripture teaches, I also affirm that Isaiah 55:8 is true.
There have been a few times that I have been accused of disregarding Scripture’s teaching on evangelism. They say that if these ideas are true, that God chooses who will be saved, then we have no place of sharing the faith. As I consider this question, I feel as if God specifically put Romans 10:14-15 in its place to help us see that while God is sovereign over our salvation, we are held responsible for the spread of this message, and we are the ones that are agents of this gospel spreading.
Paul makes it clear: No one will believe the message of the gospel if they do not hear it. Sure, some hear this message purely from God’s Word, but the majority of people that come to faith in Christ are those that hear the message preached by one of God’s sent ones. So God is both sovereign over our salvation, and he is sovereign over our being sent. He is sovereign over the words that come out of our mouth when sharing the message of Christ.
When I consider God’s wisdom in leading Paul to write what he did in Romans 10, I am blown away, once again, at God’s sovereignty and wisdom. Yes, he is sovereign over our salvation; but somehow, in his wisdom and work, he has given us the task of both accepting the message of the gospel, and then preaching it. “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Are your feet beautiful? Are you preaching the good news?