Sunday, August 18, 2013
Vol. II — Chapter 7 — Romans 10:14-21
Vol. II — Chapter 7 — Romans 10:14-21
PREACHING THE GOSPEL TO ALL MEN
Romans 10:14-21 (14) 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? (15) 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! (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (18) But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (19) But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke to jealousy by them that are no, people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. (20) But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that ask not after me. (21) But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
Verse 14 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? “How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” A belief in God’s grace must precede the voice of supplication for the exercise of it. “He who cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). Our Lord Christ Himself said there must be “a seeing the Son, and believing on Him;” (John 6:40) that is, somewhat more than hearing a message proclaim His Person and offices. The grace of faith, and that wrought in the heart by the Holy Ghost, must go before calling upon the name of the Lord.
“And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” Through preaching it pleases God through Christ, Who alone gathers His elect, to speak to His people unto salvation. This phrase is better rendered “How shall they believe in him whom they have not heard?” It is not “of whom,” but “whom” they have not heard. You cannot believe in Christ unless you have heard Him speak inwardly to you. This our Lord Christ makes clear in John 5:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” And in the following verse Christ said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5:25). In John 10:3 He says that His sheep hear His voice and in verse 4 He says that they follow Him, for they know His voice. Also, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
How can the sinner hear this Word which is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged piercing sword (Heb. 4:12-13) unless they hear it from Christ, unless they hear the voice of Christ? And how shall they hear without a preacher? That is the point of our text. A truly called and sent preacher is one who does not merely speak concerning Christ, but he is one through whom it pleases Christ Himself to powerfully speak, to cause His own voice to be heard by His elect people. God gave the apostles and preachers the duty of expounding the message; but the production of belief is the work of the Spirit, for faith is the gift of God (Phil. 1:29). Our Sovereign God gives the hearing ear and the seeing eye, the understanding and believing heart, for the savingly receiving of Christ in the truth of Him (Prov. 20:12; Ezek. 36:26). In this and no other way is an experimental proof of the doctrine itself witnessed within our Churches today. May the Holy Ghost, to whose province it peculiarly belongs to send forth preachers, and to open the hearts of hearers; May He be so gracious with us that our Gospel may go forth, not in word only, but in power, and in much assurance of faith (I Thes. 1:5). The thing that matters in the hearing of any sermon is whether we hear the voice in our innermost being of the Lord Jesus Christ say “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I shall give you rest;” whether we hear Him say: “Repent and believe,” whether He speaks in our soul that our sins are forgiven and He gives us eternal life.
“How shall they hear without a preacher?” To be a minister of the Gospel is to fill one of the most solemn and responsible positions to which any man can be called and no man has a right to assume it but him that is called of God. The preaching of the Gospel by the ambassadors of our Lord Christ is the instrument chosen of God for the bringing home of sinners to Himself in and through Christ (Acts 26:17-18). When one sinner, awakened by the Holy Ghost, is sent to minister to another sinner to speak to him words of salvation; what an animation of discourse may be expected from his lips, when, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” It is vital that the herald who brings the Gospel message be commissioned to the office Titus 1:3). Everything is taught in the Gospel which through the Spirit’s application to the heart can form our nature for comfort here and happiness hereafter. It is Christ who makes true, called preachers and it is He who burns His Word in their hearts (Jer. 20:9).
Preaching as to its contents is strictly limited to the Word of Christ in the Bible (2 Tim. 4:2). The preacher has nothing of his own to deliver and if he does so he proves the he is not called of God. True preaching does tell jokes and make the hearers laugh, or move their minds with ticklish levity, and affect them as stage-players do, instead of affecting them with a holy reverence of the name of God. The central theme of all true preaching is the Lord Jesus Christ as the revelation of the God of our salvation (2 Cor. 4:6). The fruit of preaching depends solely on Christ, Who speaks through the sermon (1 Cor. 3:6). In the following quote from our spiritual brother and dear friend Wylie W. Fulton is given an example of the true meaning of our verse: “Evangelist Rolfe P. Barnard was born in 1904, completed his education in Texas and was prepared to join a prosperous law firm. Something happened to interrupt his plans. He was gloriously converted! Then he went to Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, where he had the privilege of meeting some of the best teachers the Southern Baptists had to offer at that time. Dr. W. T. Conner was a professor who held (though mildly) to the doctrines of sovereign grace. But it was not from Conner that Barnard really found the truth of salvation by electing grace burned into his soul. In a used book store he found a book of sermons by the late Dr. B. H. Carroll (who had earlier been instrumental in founding the seminary), and as he began to read from that old saint of God on regeneration, he came to where Carroll had told his audience: ‘If my poor voice is all you hear tonight, you will go away nothing bettered. But if through grace you are enabled through my voice to hear HIS voice, you will go away a new man or a new woman.’ And Barnard always said that's where the truth that God moves first upon the dead sinner made an impact on his soul — that God must move individually, effectually, personally. Then it came down to the point where each sinner was personally dealt with by the Lord God Himself — something far beyond the persuasive powers of any fervent preacher.”
Verse 15 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! “And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” There is much reason that many assume this office without the call of God and they run unsent. Our Lord gives us a picture of them when He said “I have not sent these prophets, yet the run: I have not spoken to them, yet the prophesied” (Jer. 23:21). It is no wonder that we see in our day the little success attending the ministry. Except the preacher be actually commissioned by our Lord Christ whose name he is suppose to preach, and by whose authority he goes forth, his labor is in vain. Every mission of the Gospel, in order to insure success, must be Divinely appointed.
A preacher is a man who is authorized by Christ to speak in His name, and through whom it please Christ to speak His own Word to men. Therefore, he must be sent. The sinner must hear Christ speak to him. He must not hear the voice of the preacher, a mere man, but he must hear the voice of Christ in his heart speak to him. The spiritually dead sinner must hear the voice of the Son of God (John 5:25). The sheep must hear the voice of the Good Shepherd (John 10:3, 27). The word of a mere man has no power, even though he should quote the Scriptures. What is the effect of the mere word of a preacher telling a helpless sinner that Christ died for him? But if Christ Himself speaks to the sinner and causes His mighty Word to reach into his innermost heart, then that sinner will repent, come to Him believing, and follow Him. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
The true preacher most profits the saints whose ministry brings most of the awe of a Holy and Sovereign God on our hearts, who discovers to us our sinfulness and failures, who conveys most light on our path of duty, who makes Christ most precious to us, who encourages us to press forward along the narrow way. The sweetest notes of the Gospel, on which all the true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ love to dwell, are those which tell us that “we have redemption in His blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7), we no less bless him, that “that grace of God which bringeth salvation teacheth us” and through the constraining influence of the Holy Ghost, no less enableth us, “to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12).
“As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.” John Gill said that these words “may be rightly understood of any minister of the Gospel, whose business it is to ‘preach the Gospel of peace’: which is so called from the subject matter of it, peace made by the blood of Christ, which it proclaims; from the effect of it, producing peace and tranquility in distressed minds, and making men of peaceable dispositions; and from the use of it, which is to direct men to the way of peace, to guide their feet in it, lead them to eternal peace: their work is also to ‘bring glad tidings of good things’; such as reconciliation, righteousness, pardon, life, and eternal salvation, by a crucified Christ; and the preaching of such a Gospel, and bringing such news, make their ‘feet beautiful’: one should have thought rather their lips than their feet would be took notice of; the reason of this is, partly because of the agreeableness of their walk and conversation to the doctrine they preach; and partly because of their readiness to preach it everywhere, though they run the utmost risk in so doing; and also because of their swiftness, particularly of the apostles, in going through the cities of Israel, and running over the Gentile world with the Gospel of peace, in so short a time as they did; and more especially because of the acceptableness of their message, with which they were sent and ran; see 2 Samuel 18:27. And so this passage is pertinently alleged to prove, that mission is necessary to preaching; since these words declare the character of Gospel ministers, as publishers of peace, and messengers of good tidings; and express the message itself, and the nature of it; both which suppose them to be sent by another, even the Lord, under whose authority, and by whose warrant they act; just as ambassadors, heralds, and messengers do, by virtue of a commission they receive from their prince.”
The content of a message which a true preacher brings to his audience is always the Word of Christ. Our Heavenly Master will not speak anything but His own Word. The apostles Paul tells us that He gave His own Word directly to the apostles, “and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation’ (2 Cor. 5:19). It was Christ Himself that made preachers out of the apostles by putting, or burning, His own Word in their hearts. This same Word of Christ is committed unto the Church in the Holy Scriptures, and true Gospel preaching is strictly limited to this Word of Christ in the Bible.
Verse 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel, For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report. Saving faith is definitely something more than merely the assent of the understanding, because it is called an “obeying the gospel”. It is obeying the doctrine form the heart (Rom. 6:17). “But they,” mankind, “have not all obeyed the gospel.” God’s flock is a “little flock,” and comparatively few believed the Gospel, the report of the Divinely-commissioned messengers (Luke 12:32). Few yielded to their message; the vast majority did not believe the Gospel (Acts 19:9). As in Heb. 3:16, it is said, “But some, when they had heard, did provoke,” and the some were “all who came out of Egypt with Moses,” with the exception of Caleb and Joshua.
“That Gospel had been ‘reported’ by Isaiah, and the sound and words of them that preached the Gospel had gone out into all the earth and unto the ends of the world (vs. 18). That Gospel had been preached from the beginning. God had revealed it in Paradise when He promised He would put enmity between the serpent and the woman, and between His seed and her seed, and that the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15), though it would be in the way of suffering, would have the victory. He had revealed it in ever clearer light to the patriarchs and prophets, through whom He had spoken to His people in the old dispensation, directly by visions and dreams, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds of redemption, through types and shadows in temple and altar and sacrifice. And in the fulness of time He had spoken to His people through the Son, who in His Incarnation, His cross and resurrection, His exaltation and pouring out of the Holy Spirit is at the same time the realization of the Gospel of peace (Heb. 1:1-2). And now the feet of them that bring the glad tidings of good things move swiftly in every direction to carry the Gospel into every land and to all the nations of the world” (Herman Hoeksema).
“For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” This is the first verse of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. It is a wonderful report concerning the very things needed by poor sinners. It is the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ as God’s Sacrifice and the sinner’s Substitute. God has spoken; but sinful men have neither believed nor listened. Christ preached and deplored the unbelief in His day (Luke 19:42). John tells us in his Gospel, “though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him” (John 12:37). But Paul tells us that Isaiah had foretold this very unbelief. The heartbreak and disappointment of the minister is ever present for he expects his message to be believed and it is not. And were it not that he knows that God’s purpose concerning the many called and few chosen is being worked out by the Holy Ghost, he would be a most disappointed man.
Verse 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. “Faith” is not a means through or by which the new birth of a sinner is effected, but it is an evidence or fruit of this birth: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God” (1 John 5:1). Faith is the fruit of a sinner who was spiritually dead and who has now been quickened to life by the Holy Ghost (1 Thes. 2:13). A preached Gospel will never give life to a sinner or produce faith in the sinner’s heart for it is said of every sinner, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). It is the Holy Ghost, not the Gospel, that gives life to the sinner (John 3:5-6), and faith is the fruit of the Spirit indwelling the sinner in new life (Gal. 5:22).
Saving faith relies on the entire Word of God as revealed in the Scriptures, and it does not have the promises of the Gospel only for its object. All that the Scriptures teach concerning God and creation, man and sin, Christ and salvation, the Holy Ghost and sanctification is included. It includes all the knowledge of God, His will and precepts, and the whole counsel concerning our salvation and all things revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Faith is both a true spiritual knowledge and a hearty confidence. It has for its object the entire Word of God, revealing the God of our salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord (2 Cor. 4:6). In the experience of God’s people faith is a childlike taking God at His Word and resting on what He has said (Matt. 18:3-4). When faith comes by the inward “hearing,” then we assent to what God has said, and we rely upon His faithfulness to make good what He has promised. Faith is a humble, helpless sinner crying “though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15), yet depending upon Christ to bestow saving mercies, blessings, and graces which He has promised to those who call upon Him. It is a beggar, a sin-defiled soul, seeking to know that he is made a partaker of the cleansing efficacy of the blood of the Lamb (Lev. 17:11). The purifying virtue of Christ’s blood, and the administration of the Spirit, for the application to make it effectual unto our souls and consciences, is exhibited in the Gospel; and the only way to be a partaker of the good things presented in the promise is by faith (Eph. 2:8; Heb. 11:6).
“So the faith cometh by hearing,” yet it is also true that “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them” (Prov. 20:12). This is true both to the natural body and spiritually, for morally fallen man is both deaf and blind to the things of God (Matt13:13-14). He is deaf to the merciful tones of the Gospel, in rebellion against its message, and perceives no beauty in Christ that he should desire Him (Isa. 53:2). To his miserable state and need, and to the remedy, he is insensible. Until a miracle of grace is wrought within him, his imagination is darkened and his heart is closed against God. This is why multitudes that hear the Gospel with the outward ear receive no profit from it, and those who are saved under it and receive it into their hearts do so solely because God has made them to differ from unbelieving mankind and they are enabled to “hear the voice of the Son of God” in their souls.
All men are naturally deaf to the voice of Christ in the Gospel of the grace of God, therefore the minister says, “Who hath believed our report”? But the Holy Ghost opens the ears, eyes and hearts of the elect and enables them to “hear the voice of the Son of God.” Our Lord Christ, Who has all authority to speak says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). By hearing the inward voice of Christ faith cometh. At the sound of the voice of the Beloved the hearing ear is all awake, and the believing heart is all joy.
“And hearing by the Word of God.” The omnipotent operations of the Holy Ghost work in the elect those things which are necessary for their participation in and application of the benefits purposed by God and purchased by Christ. The Word is the chief means employed in conversion of sinners, for faith comes by hearing. As the result of the Spirit’s operations and application in enabling the elect sinner to hear the inward voice of Christ, we are brought to repentance and saving faith. As it is Christ Who speaks in all true preaching, so it is His voice that is heard in all true hearing. Saving faith is trusting God’s “Son revealed in the sinner” (Gal. 1:16), whom the effectually called sinner hears, not only with the outward ear, but with the heart. We must hear with desire, hear with need, and hear with understanding (Matt. 13:15-16).
Verse 18 But I say, Have they not all heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. “But I say, Have they not all heard”? Since the Gospel is now freely proclaimed to all men without distinction Israel cannot plead ignorance as an excuse for their unbelief. Paul refers to Psalm 19:4 to show that the universal proclamation of the Gospel was foreshadowed by the general witness of creation to its Creator (Rom. 1:19-20). It is evident that the Holy Spirit, in those expressions from Psalm 19, verses 4, 5, and 6, has respect not to the natural sun, but had an eye toward the Son of Righteousness, that by His light the soul is converted, the simple are made wise, blind eyes are enlightened, and a new rejoicing heart is given. This is the effect of those who hear “the voice of the Son of God in His effectual call.
The whole world hears the external Word preached to the physical ear through the preaching of the Gospel, but the elect sinners hear Christ’s inner Word and voice which secretly speaks to the heart. The external Word the Jews did hear at Christ’s baptism, in His earthly ministry, and in reading the Scriptures, and when they heard it, it was God’s Word that they heard, full of glory, and so they heard the Word spoken, but only man speaking it. On the other hand, those who heard the Word spoken to their hearts, heard not only the Word spoken, but heard God in Christ speaking the Word. Unbelieving Israel did hear, but they did not know. Christ spoke in parables; hence in seeing they did not see (Luke 8:10). In this way the words of Christ ring true as He says, “they never heard his voice” (John 8:43, 47).
“Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” They have heard the Gospel (Col. 1:23); it has been preached in their hearing, and unbelief and infidelity still remain, and will remain until “the arm of the Lord is revealed” in the heart. For saving faith is not the product of man’s abilities but it is the fruit of God’s Spirit, and is begotten in the heart by the operation of God, and is produced by the same power that raised up our Lord from the dead ( Col. 2:12).
Verse 19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. “Did not Israel know?” The Jews could not claim ignorance of the events accompanying and following the manifestation of God’s method of justification that would take place. These were distinctly enough announced in the writings of their prophets. “First” their great prophet and legislator Moses predicted what was then taking place. The quotation of Moses is from Deut. 32:21. Owen of Thrussington gives the following, “They have made me jealous by a no-god, They have provoked me by their foolish idols: And I will make them jealous by a no-people, By a foolish nation will I provoke them.” This verse refers to the Jews (for Israel is named), and refers to them to show that their great prophet foretold that the day would come when God would bring the Gentiles to a saving knowledge of Himself in Christ (Hosea 2:21-23). This is a plain prophecy of the rejection of the Jews and calling of the Gentiles. It was foretold in both Old Testament and New, that the Jews would reject the Messiah, so it was foretold as well that the elect Gentiles would receive Him, and so be admitted to the privileges of God’s people, in too many places to be particularly mentioned. In Deut. 32:21 it was foretold that the Jews would envy the Gentiles on this account. Christ Himself often foretold that the elect Gentiles would embrace the truth and become His followers and people (Matt. 8:10-12; 21:41-43; 22:8-10; Luke 13:28; 14:16-24; 20:16; John 10:16). Christ also foretold the Jew’s envy of the Gentiles Matt. 20:12-16; Luke 15:26-32). He foretold that they would continue in their opposition and envy, and would manifest it in cruel persecutions of His followers, to their utter destruction (Matt. 21:33-42; 22:6; 23:34-39; Luke 11:49-51). The Jews obstinacy is also foretold (Acts 22:18). Christ also foretold the great success of the Gospel in the city of Samaria as near; which afterwards was fulfilled by the preaching of Philip (John 4: 35-38). He foretold the rising of many deceivers after His earthly departure (Matt. 24:4-5), and the apostasy of many of His professed followers (Matt. 24:10-12).
That wonderful chapter of Deut. 24 contains a summary of the anticipated history of the Jewish people, from the time of Moses down to these latter days. “I will provoke you to jealousy” is intimation that God would, for the punishment of their sins, withdraw from them their special favors He had bestowed on them, and confer them upon them who had been destitute of them. The provocations given by the Jews to the Almighty had been many and long continued. They had moved God to jealousy by that which is not God, by casting Him off, and taking other gods, which were no gods, in His place. So often they had fallen into idolatry; often had they despised His ordinances; often had they refused to hear His reproofs. At the coming of Christ, they had disowned the true God by denying God the Son, who was His express image, so that he who had seen the Lord Christ had seen the Father (John 14: 7, 9). He that denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father (2 John v. 9). So our Holy God declares that He will “provoke them to jealousy” in like manner, by casting them off “by them that are no people” — taking other people, that had not been His people, in their room.
“By a foolish nation” He “will anger them.” He will take all their privileges from them and give these to a people whom the Jews accounted most vile and despicable (Acts 13:45). The Jews had chosen to themselves such as were no gods; and therefore, to requite them, God would take to Himself such as were consider by the self righteous Jews no people.
Verse 20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.” But Esaias is very bold” — in stronger and more explicit terms, plainly speaking in a manner quite unmistakable, does Isaiah speak of the calling of the Gentiles and the rejection of the Jews. This “very bold” speech is called “great plainness of speech” in 2 Cor. 3:12. The passage referred to is Isa. 65:1-2 from the greatest of all the prophets of the Messiah. The Jews vainly imagined that they alone enjoyed the monopoly of God’s grace and favor. But how plainly and fully did Isaiah describe the manner and circumstances, the nature and end of the suffering and sacrifice of Christ in the 53rd chapter of his prophecy. And how much, and in a glorious strain, does the prophet speak from time to time of the glorious benefits of Christ, the unspeakable blessings which shall redound to His Church through His redemption. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Person that Isaiah wrote so much of, once appeared to him in the form of the human nature, the nature that He would afterward take upon Himself. “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple” (Isa. 6:1). This was our Lord Christ that Isaiah saw, as we are expressly told in the New Testament (see John 12: 39-41).
Dear Reader, note well that the critics and Bible deniers deny that Isaiah wrote this portion, the 65th chapter, of his prophecy. The Holy Ghost puts the lie to their foolishness through the pen of the apostle by stating that Isaiah was the author of the last part of the book.
“I was found of them that sought me not” quoted from Isaiah (65:1) when he was showing that a time was coming during the earthly life of our Messiah when Gentiles whom the Lord had sought and drawn to Himself would be found — those who had never had even a desire to seek Him are given a new heart and then become persistent seekers of Him. We must remind ourselves of the state of the Gentile world at the Incarnation of Christ our Lord and yet how strikingly was this prediction fulfilled in the conversion of so many idolatrous Gentiles.
“I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me,” — had not previously ask after or cried unto Him. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience’ (Eph. 2:2). The advantage, advancement, and salvation of the Gentiles were altogether of God’s free grace, and an effect of His free election.
Oh dear Gentile saint of God, how thankful we should be to Him for coming to “seek and save” such sinners. View ourselves in our natural state of nature, lying spiritually dead in the arms of the evil one (2 Tim. 2:26) — dead to God — under the power of sin — in love with self and the world — blind to the things of Christ, without a single desire after Him, or the least care for your eternal soul. Look within our natural hearts where we find enmity against God and His Holy Law (Rom. 8:7), without love to Christ or desire for Him; living to please our own natures with worldly pleasures, and void of any seeking of and longings for Christ. Did Christ first seek you or did you first seek Him? (1 John 4:19). Do you know that we should have been cast into Hell without any desire of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ had He not sought us, and manifested Himself in our hearts; His grace was first in the salvation of our soul. Oh look to Him and praise and worship Him in His glory. There was nothing in us to invite the Holy Ghost to draw us with everlasting love, but everything to cause Him to loathe us, and to leave us alone. Yet, oh matchless love and sovereign grace! He showed us Christ, drew us to Christ, and caused us to receive Christ. Let us give God the glory for His amazing grace in His Son.
Verse 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. A reason is subjoined why God passed over to the Gentiles; it was because he saw that His favor was become a mockery to the Jews (Isa. 65:2). But that we may more fully understand that the blindness of the people is pointed out in the second clause, Paul expressly reminds us that the Jewish people were charged with their own wickedness. And he says, that to Israel God stretched forth His hands and continually, by his word, gave an external call in the voice of the prophets to Himself, and ceased not to allure by every sort of kindness; for these are the two ways which He adopts to call men Jer. 25:4). However, he chiefly complains of the contempt shown to His truth; which is the more abominable, as the more remarkable is the manner by which God manifests His paternal solicitude in inviting men by His word to Himself (Matt. 21:33-43).
And very emphatical is the expression that he “stretches out his hands” through the ministers of His word — the ministry of the many prophets, one after another, to them, the preaching of John the Baptist, of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and His apostles. But they were a stiffnecked and rebellious people, uncircumcised in heart and ears. They would have none of His counsel and they despised all His reproof; contradicted and blasphemed the Word; rejected the Messiah and His Gospel; killed the Prince of life, and persecuted His apostles. Their unfaithfulness is also set forth by two most suitable words, calling them first disobedient or rebellious, and then gainsaying; for their contumacy showed itself in this, because the people, with untamable pride and bitterness, obstinately rejected the holy admonitions of the Prophets. So the nation is only repeating its sad history and fulfilling the Scriptures by this rejection of the Gospel of Christ. What more melancholy comment can we have on the vanity of man’s self-will? So our just and Holy God wrote a “Lo-ammi” (Not my people, Hosea 1:9) upon them and cast them off in rejection of them (Jer. 44:4-6; Acts 7:51-52).
Unregenerate humanity is totally indifferent toward God and His Gospel. They are occupied with themselves and their own world of pleasure and business. They treat God and His claims with disregard. God is not in all their thoughts (Psa. 10:4). The absence of God and His favor are not things which concern them or make them unhappy. In their daily lives and activities they say, “no God for me.” In the things of God they are thoroughly unbelievers; both as to God Himself, and as to the truth and testimony of God. They are enmity toward God and His Holy Law. They live in total disobedience of the Almighty. God’s will is a hateful thing unto them; so is God’s Law, which is the declaration of that will. They are gainsaying, meaning, they speak against Him and act against Him. They are perpetually finding fault with God; with His Word, and ways; with His actings toward individuals and the world at large. They are ever murmuring against the ways of God and charging Him with either injustice or unkindness. They, as we all are by nature, are stout-hearted and stiffnecked, stubborn and self-willed; preferring their own will and wisdom to His.
Worthy Doctrinal and Spiritual Notes and Quotes on Romans 10:14-21
Verse 14. One thing always has been a great marvel to me, and it has become rather more marvelous as the years passed by, that God can and will use a sinner like myself to preach His Word to His people, and that through this preaching by a sinful man He will speak His Own Word and accomplish His purpose of salvation. How then can we feel inclined to glory in self? The glory is all His, not ours. — Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965).
The Holy Ghost says, How then shall they call upon Him on whom they have not believed? Thus believing is required before prayer, as life before breath. — Robert Hawker (1753-1827).
The sinner cannot even believe until he has been quickened by the Holy Spirit. M. R. DeHaan (1891-1965).
God commands His preachers to show the house of Jacob their sins, or to show God's people their transgressions (Isa.58:1). No man weighted by the Lord with the ministry of His Word will use lightness or frivolity, jesting and trifling expressions. The people benefitted by gospel preaching are God's people and the whole counsel should be declared to them. A preacher should seek to speak so as to be understood. Some speak so fast and loud with a sing-song that it is difficult to understand them. Paul says he would rather speak five words with his understanding that by his voice he might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue (I Cor.14:19). That is, he desired that the brethren understand what he said, and therefore he desired to speak plainly in every sense that this might be done. If the Lord has given a preacher a message for the people, let him deliver it without excuses, promises, apologies or introductions. Many apologies are no sign of humility or seriousness. Do not tell the people you had rather die naturally than to preach, and then stand long enough to make them think you had rather try to preach than to do anything else! — P.D. Gold (1833-1920).
But is regeneration produced by teaching? Teaching, naturally, does not give a natural mind. Think of this; all the books on earth can never produce natural minds; they only instruct natural minds. Now, will spiritual instruction give spiritual minds? If so, why will not natural teaching give natural minds? “He that is spiritual judgeth all things.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God.” Is this enmity cured by presenting that to the mind against which it is enmity? Paul says the Gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” The believer is one that has “passed from death unto life.” I conclude that if God meant to regenerate men by His Word, it would be His power to men dead in sin; but such men cannot see the kingdom, not its beauties, neither can they know them except they were born of the Spirit. Therefore they need another kind of force. Moral force is not sufficient. Paul speaks of the Ephesians, as believing “according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand” (Eph. 1:28). — James H. Oliphant (1846-1925).
The grand question is, Have I inwardly known, and felt the power of the Gospel? It has an internal voice: It speaks glad tidings, good news, of life and salvation to the very soul: It is the Word of power, to quicken dead souls to life: It is a revelation to the heart, of pardon and peace by Jesus. Thus it brings the clearest evidence, the fullest assurance along with it, that it is God’s Word of life and salvation. The Holy Ghost bears witness to it, in power and demonstration. —William Mason (1719-1791).
Verse 15. But not only is there the marked absence of that dignified silence, gravity, solemnity and reverence, which befits all gatherings that are professedly engaged in Divine worship, but modern evangelism is characterized by that which is noisy, vulgar, and carnally exciting. No purveyors of smooth things were the faithful and practical Puritans, nor did they entertain their hearers and readers with matters of no spiritual profit. How different the self-advertised evangelists of this decadent age from the supreme Evangelist, who “suffered not the demons to speak, because they knew Him,” and who said to the cleansed leper “See thou say nothing to any man” (Mark 1:34, 42). — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
O that God would raise up men who know the truth, love the truth, preach the truth, and live the truth. — J. C. Philpot (1802-1869).
God does not use means in imparting life to the soul, but He does use means in awakening grace and bringing to repentance and faith. — E. W. Johnson (d. 2001).
The Word of God will not avail to salvation without the Spirit of God. A compass is of no use to a mariner unless he has light to see it by. — Augustus Toplady (1740-1778).
When the Holy Spirit renews the heart, and a sense of God’s favor is firmly fixed there, then the mind becomes exercised on spiritual objects, and wants to break forth in various ways of gratitude, love, and praise to the Author of all. The individual exclaims, “Oh, the riches of electing love! Oh, the wonders of distinguishing grace! Lord, what shall I render?” Thus we enter into the feelings of the prophet (Jer. 20:9); we feel a burning fire; and this inward feeling of the heart is seen in its outward demonstrations. — David A. Doudney (1811-1894).
Verse 16. SALVATION is far more than being delivered from Hell and going to Heaven when we die. These are incidentals and by-products — bonuses of salvation. His real purpose is to make perfect saints out of worthless sinners ... But we are faced today with a brand of cheap, shallow gospel. Men are told they have but to believe, accept Christ, raise the hand, sign a card, and they are saved. In too many cases there is no change evident, for the preaching of separation from the world of sin and evil is sadly lacking. People claiming to be converted continue right on in their “shady” dealings, questionable and evil habits. They go right on with their worldly occupations and associations. They continue to fellowship with unbelievers, supporting Christ-denying organizations, and giving their endorsement to those who deny the faith once for all delivered to the saints. After “conversion” they seem to have no sense of duty to separate themselves and come out from among the enemies of Christ. They still continue the unequal yoke, frequent the same places of worldly amusement, indulge in the same habits of entertainment. In short, there is nothing in their lives to indicate that a change has taken place, except that they go on Sunday to “the church of their choice. — Dr. M. R. DeHaan (1891-1965).
“Behold a man full of leprosy” — a man full of “leprosy,” a man full of sin. The child of God, equally with the worldling — the elect, equally with the reprobate — is full of sin. But the distinction, as far as I understand it (and I can only teach others as I am taught myself) — the distinction between the church and the world, or I may go deeper still — the distinction between the church and the carnal professing hypocrite is this: the child of God feels his sin, and grieves and groans under his personal, terrible iniquity, but the professor does not do so. We cannot paint sin too black. I know it in my own soul; I know what I am myself.
“What, though he feels himself depraved?
Yet he’s in Christ a sinner saved;
And ’tis a sign of life within
To groan beneath the power of sin.”
But the empty professor does not do so. He may talk, he may preach, or he may hear; but he is dead in trespasses and sins, and knows nothing about sin. It is one of the sweetest favors of Jehovah to His people, to make them shame-faced under a sense of sin. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, upon and in a child of God. This is preaching red-hot Calvinism: but this is coming to the point, in my heart and in your heart. I do not speak to you about election; I do not talk to you about this, that or the other doctrine that stands based upon it; but I ask you — and God hears me ask you — Are you convinced of your sin? — J. J. West.
Many will listen to a flowery sermon, or an address on dispensational truth that displays oratorical powers or exhibits the intellectual skill of the preacher, but which, usually, contains no searching application to the conscience. It is received with approbation, but no one is humbled before God or brought into a closer walk with Him through it. But let a faithful servant of the Lord (who by grace is not seeking to acquire a reputation for his brilliance) bring the teaching of Scripture to bear upon character and conduct, exposing the sad failures of even the best of God’s people, and, though the crowd will despise the messenger, the truly regenerate will be thankful for the message which causes them to mourn before God and cry, “Oh, wretched man that I am.” — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
One of the facts you must face is the SOLEMN condition of all men by nature, including yourself. Man is totally depraved, which means he is 100-percent involved with the world and the pleasing of his flesh. Man has total inability in the things of the Spirit of God until such time as God visits him and grants him spiritual eyes and spiritual understanding. Man can neither “accept Jesus in his heart” nor keep Jesus out of his heart — it is all the working of God that we are enabled to BELIEVE on HIM (John 6:29). And remember a saved soul is “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of GOD” (John 1:12-13). For you to be saved, it takes the power that CREATED the universe (we are said to be a “new creature” whenever we are saved - 2 Cor. 5:17) ... to be saved, it also takes the power that RAISED CHRIST FROM THE TOMB (for Christians are said to be “quickened” or raised to newness of life in HIM - Eph. 2:1) ... to be saved also, we must be BORN AGAIN, and the birth of any creature is not an ACT of that creature but he must be ACTED UPON by outside agents — his mother and father and the creative life of God that comes about in the work of conception (we are said to be “born again,” John 3:3, and also to be “begotten,” James 1:18). — Wylie W. Fulton (b. 1939).
Verse 17. A man must have the Spirit of God before he can have true faith; for the Spirit does not first find faith in us, and then come Himself to us; but He first cometh Himself to us, and then worketh faith in us. So that he that believes must needs have the Spirit; for, unless he had the Spirit, he could not believe. — Bishop William Beveridge (1637-1708).
Do you know what it is to believe? It is not to do some great thing by your own power. No, it is a grace that has two eyes. With the one it looks to a man’s self, and sees his utter weakness, saying, “Not that I am sufficient of myself to think anything as of myself.” With the other it looks to God, and sees His infinite power, saying, “My sufficiency is of God.” — Ralph Erskine (1685-1752).
Faith stands not in man’s wisdom, but in God’s power. — Charles Hemington.
This does not mean that faith is originated by hearing the Word of God, any more than that the shining of the sun imparts sight to the eye. No, faith is bestowed by a sovereign act of the Spirit, and then it is instructed and nourished by the Word. As an unimpaired eye receives light from the sun and is thereby enabled to perceive objects so faith takes in the testimony of God and is regulated thereby. My acceptance of the Truth does not create faith, but makes manifest that I have faith, and it becomes the sure ground on which my faith rests. — A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
The Gospel has nothing for those who want nothing. The rich are to be sent empty away; but the poor in spirit are to be fed with the bread of life, which is Christ and Him crucified. And “blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” Yes; every vessel of mercy shall be filled with heavenly treasure, even to the brim; nor will the oil of grace cease to flow till every vessel foreordained to glory shall be full. Till then, God will keep a standing ministry in the earth, to bear witness to the truth of His Word, and to turn men from darkness to light. They shall preach according to the ability that God giveth, that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ. — Henry Fowler (1779-1838).
Verse 18. The Word does not return void; therefore we must ever preach, hear, and use it, waiting for the Holy Ghost. To sit in a corner, folding the hands, and gazing toward Heaven until thou seest Him return in all idle work. The Word is the only bridge or stile by which the Holy Ghost comes to us. We read in Acts 20:44, that as Peter preached how Jesus died and rose again, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who listened to the Word. There was no work there; it is the hearing only that brings down the Holy Spirit. — Martin Luther (1483-1546).
Evangelism’s highest and ultimate end is not the welfare of men, not even their eternal bliss, but the glorification of God. — R. B. Kuiper (1886-1966).
It is a blessed privilege to enjoy the means of grace; to read the Gospel, the Word of salvation, and to live in a Christian country, where we have repeated opportunities of hearing the Gospel preached; to be told that Divine mercy has appointed an all-sufficient Saviour to be the Daysman and Mediator between a Holy God and His offending creatures; that, accordingly, Christ is the Redeemer of those that trust in Him; that they are clothed with His righteousness, washed from their sins by His blood-shedding, and created anew unto holiness and good works, by that Almighty Spirit of Grace, whose influence is the fruit of, and was merited by, the atonement of the Cross; and that such shall be preserved and led safe to the enjoyment of life eternal, and reign in Heaven with Him who died on earth for them; I say, it is a privilege to be informed of these things; because, hearing is the means God often uses to produce faith in the soul. But, alas, the outward perception of the Gospel report will conduce but little to our well-being, unless Divine grace opens the avenues of the heart; gives us to see with the eye of faith, as well as to hear with the hearing of the ear; and produces in us that abhorrence of self, and that repentance unto life, which causes the soul to discern the unsearchable riches of Christ’s redemption, to rest on Him for pardon and salvation, and to aim at the imitation of Him in holiness of heart and pureness of living. — Augustus M. Toplady (1740-1778).
Satan’s great role throughout history is to keep the sinner blinded and the fact of sin concealed. These are the very things upon which the world prides itself, but which lure men to eternal damnation. The ministry is so trained today that every device is used to confirm the sinner in his sins. The modern ministry bypasses Holy Spirit conviction and repentance, and by this means allows the sinner to get into the church with as little knowledge of his wicked depraved condition as possible, making him feel that he is doing God a favor and helping in His kingdom. They studiously ignore, conceal and virtually deny the fact of sin and its potency in human affairs. ‘The whole world lieth in the evil one’ (1 John 5:19); he is also its prince, and since the evil one is the author of sin, it is not surprising that his utmost endeavors should be constantly put forth to blind the minds of his deceived victims as to the presence of sin in the world and its disastrous effects upon mankind …That man is by nature a sinner and totally unable to help himself, is denied in the great institutions of the world, whether they be secular or religious. Whatever line of books one may examine, the same falsehood as to the real character of human society will be found. Books of science, encyclopedias, biographies, tell only of the achievements of great and worthy men. Likewise most of the religious books tell the same false story; and few there are that declare the truth as to this world and as to God’s judgment upon it; but nevertheless the Word of our God standeth sure. Every form of the lie ahs an acknowledged standing in literature, but the truth has none. The effect of all this deceitfulness of sin is to harden the hearts of the people, so that they will not heard the Word of t he Lord concerning the real character of the world and its works — so that they will not believe that ‘the whole world lieth in the evil one,’ and that he is its ruler and god. And so they become utterly indifferent to the declared purpose of God for the glory of Christ and His co-heirs in the world to come …When the soul is quickened by the Spirit of God he is made to realize the truth of the Scriptures. From the crown of his head to the sole of his feet he is covered with shame and guilt before God and his own conscience. Neither he himself nor any other creature is able to cleanse him from his shame, make retribution for this guilt or improve anything at all in him. Now he becomes humble, meek and pliable before God and man. The same Spirit who acquainted him with the reality of his misery also opens his heart to the truth of Christ’s deliverance. Now he discovers in that Saviour all that he needs. And thus the sinner is dethroned and Christ becomes his Lord and Saviour” — Tom L. Daniel (1704-1769).
By faith, I would not mean what is generally meant in the world, where almost all who call themselves Christians imagine they believe; but I mean that faith which we have of God, which is the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart, whereby we have the firm persuasion and assurance that Jesus the true God was made a man, and suffered, out of pure love and mercy to us, our death and curse, and has now fully pardoned our sins and given us eternal life. — John Cennick (1717-1755).
Verse 19. Unbelief is not an intellectual inability, but the expression of moral bias against God. — T. T. Shields (1873-1955).
Beware of a religion that is most taken up about public matters. The sum of the Gospel is Christ crucified. Seek where this is purely preached; and beware of an itch after pulpit debates. — Thomas Halyburton (1674-1712).
God would have us know that He makes much of His Son. Christ is the very center of God's affection and purpose. If God thinks of the universe, it is in connection with the One by whom all things hold together. If God has a plan for the nations, it is summed up in "the government shall be upon HIS shoulder." — Will H. Houghton (1887-1947).
Oh, what a dry thing is religion without the life and spirit of the precept! Who would have thought that such an ignorant man as I was when the Lord called me — who if asked could not have said what the law, doctrine or gospel meant — t o think that the Lord should have called such an ignorant thing and made him know the mysteries of His grace! I now feel that "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Praise the Lord, O my soul! — Simeon Burns.
I would rather utter one of those groans the apostle speaks of in Rom. 8:26, than shed Esau's tears, have Balaam's prophetic spirit, or the joy of the stony-ground hearer. — Thomas Boston (1676-1732).
Sin is moral leprosy. To put up with leprosy is to die of leprosy. Sin is spiritual cancer. A man who tries only to live with cancer, dies with it. If we do not deal with spiritual malignancy, then indeed it deals with us. — Vance Havner (1901-1973).
Verse 20. OH, that God would open our eyes! Then the cross of Christ may mean, will mean, must mean, forgiveness of sins, restoration to Divine favor, the peace of God passing all understanding here, and eternal life hereafter. "Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so Divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all!" — T. T. Shields (1873-1955).
The mercy of God prevents (goes before) the desire of Gideon. If God should not begin with us, we should be ever miserable. If He should not give us till we ask, yet who should give us to ask? If His Spirit did not work those holy groans and sighs in us, we should never make suit with God. He that commonly gives us power to crave, sometimes gives us without craving, that the benefit might be so much more welcome, by how much less it was expected; and we so much more thankful as He is more forward. Where He sees fervent desires, He waits not for words; and He that gives us ere we ask, how much more will He give us when we ask. — Bishop Joseph Hall (1574-1656).
To believe on the Son of God to the saving of the soul, is not a matter of reason but of faith; not of argument but of revelation. — J. C. Philpot (1802-1869).
All the angels in heaven cannot subdue the heart of a sinner. Heart-work is God’s work. — William Dyer (1600-1677).
If God be my God, and the God of my salvation, He is worthy to be waited on, and waited for. But how may I know that He is such? By what He has done for me. Has He opened my once blind eyes, and given me to see the infinite evil of my sin in the light, and by the spirituality, purity, and holiness of His Law? Has He made Christ, and the knowledge and enjoyment of His dear name, the chief and only desire of my heart? Then God is mine, and salvation mine; all in the covenant is mine, and every promise in the Bible is mine; and Heaven at last shall be mine, for ever to enjoy. — Henry Fowler (1779-1838).
Men may have speculative notions of the sublime truths of the Bible, and by head knowledge may even reason and argue upon them; but a true spiritual apprehension of the mysteries of our holy faith can only be received by supernatural revelation. — Dr. Robert Hawker (1753-1827).
What a miracle of mercy! He is convinced to a demonstration, that his calling must be ascribed to reigning grace. He is fully persuaded that God was the first mover in this, as well in every other blessing bestowed, in every other benefit enjoyed or promised. When he meditates upon his calling, his language is, “I am found of Him, whom I neither love nor sought. He is manifested to me, after whom I did not inquire.” He will say, “I am known of God; I am apprehended of Christ:” rather than “I know God; I apprehend Christ.” — Abraham Booth (1734-1896).
Verse 21. As God’s decrees are secret and known only to Himself, we are all of us under obligation to consider our ways, turn from wrath, and seek the Lord while He may be found. Always and everywhere God clears Himself of all blame for the deplorable end of the wicked. — Charles D. Alexander (1904-1991).
How obstinately and perversely some men sin and rebel against God. There have often been cases of a very sad description, men resisting truth and their own convictions to an infatuation. In the days of the weeping prophet the Lord spake unto Israel, ri9sing up early and speaking, but they heard not; and He called, and they answered not. Yea, He earnestly protested unto Israel from the days of Moses for a thousand years and more, yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart, Jer. 7:13; 11:7-8. What pardon then do they deserve, who exhibit such excessive obstinacy? — William Plumer (1802-1880).