Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Romans 10:5-15 Faith is Rooted in God's Word

KEY TEXT: Romans 10:12-1 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." But how are they to 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!"

KEY THOT: What is the role of faith in our salvation? According to Paul, faith enables a seeker to "confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead" so that "you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). But faith does not appear in a vacuum. Instead, it is rooted in the proclaimed twin truth of the Gospel: viz., that Jesus has been raised from the dead and is now made Lord of all creation. So for faith to arise in a seeker, the "word of faith" must first be heard by the seeker. It's only when the seeker understands the content of the Gospel that he or she may call upon His name: "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (v.13). 

But Paul argues that this is only possible if someone shares the twin truth of the Gospel with the seeker, viz., that Jesus has been raised from the dead and is now exalted to the right hand of God the Father as Lord of all creation. While faith is ultimately a gift of God, it is also in some way the work of man. It is a combined effort of God's Holy Spirit bringing conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment as the human evangelist shares the good news of Christ's resurrection and exaltation.

The evangelist is like the farmer who sows seeds. Without the farmer sowing seeds, there will be no harvest, no matter how hard the farmer may pray. So, God still requires a human agency to share God's word with the seekers who come to hear. Saving souls is therefore a joint-effort between God and us: the sowing is our responsibility but conversion is God's responsibility. Our task in evangelism is to share the Gospel and clear every obstacle to faith, just as the farmer ploughs the field and removes weeds and stones that can block the seeds from taking roots in the soil.

As a new run of Alpha starts again in churches it is important to recognize what is our responsibility and what is God's responsibility. Firstly, we must recognize that conversion is not our responsibility but God's. Our responsibility is to simply share Christ through our personal testimonies, through the Scriptures, through demonstrations of the Spirit's presence and power to confirm the truth of the Kingdom reality in our midst.

Abba-Father, thank You for another new run of Alpha in the churches. May we be faithful evangelists through our testimony and demonstration of Your kingdom presence and power in our midst. Amen.

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