Romans 10:11-15

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The Powerful Proclamation of the Preached Word, part 3

When George Whitefield came to America to begin preaching to the lost, he came as a fiery bolt of lightening which would erupt into the flame of revival that was widespread over the U.S. during the First Great Awakening. Whitefield’s fiery passion and zeal for preaching without compromise the doctrines of grace and the necessity of Jesus Christ as Lord was at the forefront of his evangelistic preaching. Eyewitnesses of his preaching “testified to being fearful during his preaching because of the solemn realization that they had been in the presence of Christ” (Lawson, 39).
Whitefield was theologically precise, knowing the doctrines of election and predestination, yet it did not hinder him to preach the Gospel. Whitefield knew the Scriptures. He was a man of the Book. And he preached and traveled without compromise knowing that “all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”
God uses means to accomplish His will. God uses ordinary people to proclaim his Gospel. There was nothing inherently special about George Whitefield, and there was nothing inherently special about Moses, Ezekiel, Amos, of Jonah, when they proclaimed the Gospel. Nor is there anything special about those who preach the Word of God. They are merely called by God to be heralds of the Gospel. At the end of the day, as Paul tells us in Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Paul has made it explicitly clear that both Jew and Gentile are sinners in need of a Saviour and both Jew and Gentile are recipients of God’s love if they would believe in their heart and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord. It matters not which nation you belong to. What matters is that you repent and believe in the Gospel.
The message is simple this morning, call upon the name of the Lord.
The Conclusion to Call Upon the Lord (vv. 11-13)
The Context to Call Upon the Lord (vv. 14-15)
[1.] The Conclusion to Call Upon the Lord (v. 11-13).
Romans 10:11–13“For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for 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.””
[10.11] Sub-point 1. Calling upon the Lord means you are honored.
Romans 10:11 “For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.””
It has already been established that Jesus Christ is Lord. Verses 9-10 highlight the manner in which Jesus saves sinners, the response required, and the result leading to redemption. Once again, Paul is grounding and supporting the main points of his salvific method to the people by pointing to Scripture.
The validity and truthfulness of Scripture is truly astounding. In writing, “the Scripture says,” Paul makes it evident that Scripture is still speaking on this matter. It is in the present tense, meaning it is still validating the claims of Jesus Christ. This was the main push of the Reformation and retaining the authority of the Scriptures, which should still be prominent in our own lives. Why?
Paul tells us clearly in 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” So also does Peter proclaim in 2 Peter 1:21 “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Not only that, but the author of Hebrews recognizes the importance of the Word of God in Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Scripture is the grounding means by which we derive doctrine. Hence, Paul continues to appeal to Scripture to support these truths. And so Paul again quotes from Isaiah 28:16 as he did in Romans 9:33, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Once again, we come to the point Paul made in Romans 10:9-10 of belief. Saving faith and belief go hand-in-hand. To believe is to have confident conviction in what Christ has done on your behalf.
There is a distinction made between the different types of belief. Two are non-saving. The Reformers distinguished between assensus and noticia. That is, ascending to the truths about God and the knowledge that God exists. We know that everyone believes in God, whether or not they admit to it. Unbelievers suppress this truth and worship idols created by man rather than the Creator. Similarly, James highlights that even the demonic spiritual realm has belief in God. A mere knowledge of facts about God or truths about God does not save an individual.
What is needed is fiducia, or personal trust. Personal trust in the object of our faith, namely, Jesus Christ. Hence Paul, in quoting Isaiah, declares “Everyone who believes in him.” Belief, trust, confidence with conviction in the creator of the heavens and the earth, Jesus Christ, truly God, truly man, who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried, was raised again from the dead by God the Father. That believe saves Christians. It is belief in someone, personal trust in someone and that someone is Jesus Christ.
There are some people in the military who jump out of airplanes. And as they are handed their parachutes, there is a level of personal faith and trust they put in that object. The confidence is that it will open, it will remain opened, and that there are no large holes or tears in it. And most people can imagaine a parachute and say yes, I believe that it will open when the ripcord is pulled. But that belief is not a saving belief. Belief and trust that Paul is talking about is putting the parachute on your back and jumping out of the plane. Our faith in Jesus Christ is a life-saving faith.
Paul continues to provide the result of belief, or confident conviction in the Lord Jesus Christ. You will not be put to shame. This is the precise argument Paul has laid forth elsewhere. In Romans 5:5, after reminding Christians that they have been therefore justified by faith in Jesus Christ that they are given peace with God. Because of the peace we have with God we rejoice in our present sufferings. Paul provides the practical implications of a justified individual. Because of God’s great persevering love, he writes, “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
No longer do we endure the shame of sin in our lives, the very condemning nature brought forth by Adam’s first transgression in the Garden. When Adam and Eve sinned, their we are told in Genesis 3:7 “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” Sin left them totally exposed and completely ashamed. Their actions in that moment separated them from the Lord.
So also, our sin bears the mark of our shame. Yet, there is no shame in Jesus Christ. The shameless Suffering Servant, the Lord’s Anointed, bore the shame of His sheep upon the Cross. Matthew 26:67 “Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him,” Matthew 27:28–29“And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!””
Where he became a stumbling stone and rock of offense to the people of Israel, he becomes a beloved treasure and sure foundation for those who believe in Him. And this really serves as a summary of what Paul has already argued before. You do not endure the shame of sin because Jesus Himself bore it on your behalf. Jesus Christ is the Saviour of sinners. Call upon the name of the Lord, believe in the Lord Jesus, and you brothers and sisters in Christ are honored.
Lean in on this truth. When you suffer doubts, when you are conflicted with assurance, when you are downcast, turn in and lean in on what Christ has done for you. Remember your Saviour for he remembers you. This is the conclusion to call upon the name of the Lord because calling upon the Lord means you are honored, and it also means you are heirs.
[10.12] Sub-point 2. Calling upon the Lord means you are heirs
Romans 10:12 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.”
Once again, Paul grounds his argument. Paul reminds the people that there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. The real barrier to salvation is not ethnic, racial, or cultural. The barrier is utter rejection of the Gospel. The barrier is the stumbling block, which is the Gospel.
1. There is no distinction before conversion because all are united in Adam and therefore united in their sins and trespasses. No one is ethnically free from sin. Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—” Previously, Paul had reminded of the nature of sin. Sin is indiscriminate. Romans 3:9–10“What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;” Romans 3:20 “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
The conclusion Paul has already made, is that there is absolutely no distinction when it comes to mankind and sin. Romans 3:22–24“the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
2. There is no distinction after conversion because all are united in the Second Adam, Jesus Christ and therefore by way of their union with Christ, are found in him blameless. Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:29 “Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,” Romans 3:30 “since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.” Therefore, Paul can conclude in Romans 10:12 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.”
This occurs because the same Lord is Lord of all. Once again, an assertion to the Lordship of Christ. The same expression is used of Jesus Christ in Acts 10:36 “As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all).” What is the importance of expressing this for the listeners?
The indictment against the people of Israel for rejecting their Messiah has been at the forefront of Paul’s mind since he stated in Romans 9:2–3“that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” The people who hoped for the Messiah rejected him. Not only did they reject his work on the cross, but they rejected him as their God.
Jesus is Lord because he is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. Just as the WSC Q. 6 answers regarding the God-head, “There are three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one God the same in substance, equal in power in glory.” Christ Himself proclaimed his equality with God, specifically, the covenantal name of God in the Old Testament, where we translate “Lord,” namely, YHWH. Jesus’ name means “YHWH Saves.” It is in his name and reputation. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the God’s saving plan because He is God.
This is precisely what John opens up his epistle in full recognition that Jesus is the Lord. John 1:1–5“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
The claim Jesus makes about Himself in John 8:58 echoes back to the self-identification the Lord gives to Moses in Exodus 3:14 “God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”” The Lord of Hosts is Jesus Christ.
Elsewhere in Scripture, we are pointed to the reality that Jesus Christ is the Lord. He is not only Lord but he is the Lord.
Philippians 2:6 “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,” Philippians 2:9–10“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,”
Colossians 1:15–16“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” If we are told that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and Jesus Himself was there in the beginning and “all things were created through him” then Jesus is the Lord.
Hebrews 1:2–4“but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” He is the representation of God and upholds the universe.
1 John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”
John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.””
Revelation 22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”” Jesus is eternal.
Paul has highlighted in Romans 10:9-10 the importance of believing upon the Lord Jesus and being saved in His name and now makes the explicit distinction that Jesus is the Lord. That the Lord is Lord of all is representative of His sovereignty to all people without exception. But this sphere of sovereignty has a special benefit to God’s people, the special covenantal love that he pours out upon His sheep.
In Romans 8:28 we are told that “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” A particular people are in mind, namely, those who are called by God, those who love God. This salvation is effectually secured by the saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. John 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” And because of Christ’s work, the salvation of the elect is accomplished. Ephesians 1:11 “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,”
What does this Lord do then in return? He bestows his riches on all who call on him. To bestow upon an object, in this case [those] who call on him is to be plentifully supplied. It goes far beyond mere temporal wealth and riches and points to an everlasting inheritance. It points back to the gift of salvation granted to believers by faith. It is the same benefits we receive by means of our adoption as sons. Romans 8:16–17“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
Once again an affirmation that we cannot earn such riches. Yet God is the one who freely gives them. It means that God is plentifully supplying believers with these riches. Philippians 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” which brings about the result that in Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” They are not worldly or temporal riches, rather, they are true riches of heaven, redemption, adoption, justification, and glorification.
If Jesus Himself has given you everything you need, why then be anxious? Again Paul exhorts us “do not be anxious about anything” because Christ will fill you with what you truly need. Even Jesus Himself says in Matthew 6:30–33“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
We live in an anxiety ridden world. Everyday we wake, even though the mercies of the Lord are renewed every morning, we set him aside and focus upon the unknowns, the things that cause great pains and anxiety. Yet, the Lord Himself promises that he will supply everything we need. Hence we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Give us just enough Lord for today. Tomorrow has plenty of troubles ahead. We need today and today only.
When you feel burdened by the cares of this world, as we all do, turn to Christ and his promises. He alone supplies you with exactly what you need. He gives you everything.
This is the conclusion to call upon the name of the Lord because calling upon the Lord means you are honored, and it also means you are heirs, you are honored, and calling upon the Lord means you are saved.
[10.13] Sub-point 3. Calling upon the Lord means you are saved.
For all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved
There is no exclusivity in those who call upon the name of the Lord. This in and of itself is such a blessed treasure to grasp on to. As the hymn Rock of Ages says, “Naked come to thee for dress, helpless look to thee for grace.” We have nothing to bring to God except our sinful state but Christ Jesus takes our filthy garments and makes them white as snow so that all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
In the Old Testament, the word name meant something much more than what a person was called. Name means reputation. It encompasses who the person is. And so when we call upon the name of the Lord, we are calling upon who he is, a thrice holy God, all-powerful, all-wise, all-knowing, almighty. We call upon the name of the Lord and his reputation for our salvation. We call upon Christ’s name because he alone is the one who purchased our redemption. He alone is the saviour.
And this last bit of Romans 10:5-13 is really a reminder of the great coming together of the people of God as prophesied by Joel. Even though God’s redemptive plan worked itself out through a particular people, the nation of Israel, “it was menat from the beginning for the benefit of all people everywhere” (Mounce, 211).
We see this clearly in the prophet Joel who Paul quotes. Joel 2:32 “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.” There was prophesied a day when all peoples one come together and serve the Lord and call upon his name. This is precisely what was fulfilled in Acts. As the people had been separated and the nations dispersed from the tower of Babel incident in Genesis 11, in Acts 2 the people are united again. And Peter reiterates the exact thing Joel prophesied which Paul builds upon as well. Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”
All throughout Acts we see this fulfillment as expressed by Jesus in Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” The Gospel went forth from Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria by Peter and the twelve. The Gospel itself was carried through Paul’s imprisonment to Rome, which consisted of the “ends of the earth” at the time, as Rome’s empire was representative of the ends of the earth. The promise of Christ to preserve the church in Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Comes to fruition through the Gospel presentation.
This becomes an encouragement to us as we live the Christian life. We have the honor and privilege to continue this message and mission on behalf of Christ. You do not need to be a minister to proclaim these glorious truths. You who are students can be salt and light amidst an increasingly secular world by holding firm to the faith once delivered to the saints. By holding firm to the Scriptures.
You who are called to secular employments have the distinct honor and privilege to proclaim the Gospel in your work place. You have the ability, as Peter admonishes us to, 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” When unbelievers ask you why you are joyful, kind, loving, and generous to others you have an open door to share the hope within you.
You who have unbelieving family members as well have the distinct honor and privilege to share the Gospel. It is an oddity in our society to set apart a day of the week for holy worship to the Lord. Our actions serve as a battering ram to the stubborn hearts of unbelievers to disturb their shaky foundation and to implore them to build their foundation on the sure and steady anchor of Jesus Christ our Lord. We have looked at first, a conclusion to call upon the Lord because calling upon the Lord means you are honored, means you are heirs, and means you are saved. Secondly, we will look at “The Context to Call Upon the Lord.”
[2] The Context to Call Upon the Lord (vv. 14-15)
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!””
The first major division of these verses represents the importance of one going forth to proclaim the Gospel. It requires action brought forth by a major heart conviction for the lost. The primacy of preaching and declaring the Good News is at the forefront of Paul’s mind.
There is a popular quote that runs in circles which has been in fact a misquote from Francis of Assisi. It goes, “Preach the Gospel, if necessary, use words.” The attempt is to draw upon one’s external actions as the means by which an unbeliever sees and acts. While certainly, we are - as applied above - to demonstrate and defend and proclaim the hope that is within us, but it is not done by mere actions alone. It is done through proclaiming Christ’s words (v. 17)
The proclamation of the Word of Christ is the content of this very message. And Romans 10:14-15 really goes against the grain of modern evangelical tactics to win people to Christ. A church that neglects to preach Christ malnourishes the listeners. They are nothing better than the false shepherds of Israel. A failure to preach Christ is a failure to feed the flock. A failure to feed the flock is a failure to shepherd. A failure to shepherd is a failure on the part of the pastor, or teacher.
This also goes against the grain that one can come to saving faith in Jesus Christ apart from the Word proclaimed to them. Paul has already demonstrated in Romans 1:18-32 that no one can be saved by natural revelation alone. That is, none can be saved be mere recognition that God exists. Instead, they reject and suppress the truth in unrighteousness.
WLC Q. 60. Can they who have never heard the gospel, and so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living according to the light of nature?
A. They who having never heard the gospel, know not Jesus Christ, and believe not in him, cannot be saved, be they ever so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, or the laws of that religion which they profess; neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone, who is the Saviour only of his body the church.
Salvation cannot be obtained without hearing the gospel. In holding up Romans 1:18-32 and Romans 10:14-17, there is no other conclusion to be made other than the fact that the message of the Gospel needs to be proclaimed. Not a water-downed message but the totality of the Gospel, from sin to salvation, all aspects must be proclaimed.
By reversing the order, we see the way in which preaching brings those to call upon the name of the Lord for salvation. First, authorized messengers of the Gospel are sent forth. Next, proclamation of the word of Christ, sufficient for salvation, from these authorized messengers. Third, the words proclaimed are heard by the listener. Fourth, the listener, being convicted of their own sin and misery as God uses the preached Word as the means to call a sinner unto salvation, is then granted, or gifted, faith (or belief). Finally, the very result that Paul has argued is that this individual calls upon the name of the Lord, as we know, Romans 10:13 “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
The powerful proclamation of the preached word reaches its pinnacle. Thomas Watson says of preaching, “It was by the ear, by our first parents listening to the serpent, that we lose paradise; and it is by the ear, by hearing of the Word, that we get to heaven.” Therefore, Paul can recognize in borrowing from Isaiah 52:7, As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”” Those who labor and carry by foot the Good News endure much hardship in order to bring it to the ears of its listeners.
In the fifth century BC, the Greeks were at war with the Persians. There were many critical battles that occurred which would lead to the Greek conquest led by Alexander the Great. One such battle occured in the Battle of the Plain, which occured on the Marathon plain. Pheidippides was the commissioned runner of the Greek army, to bring messages back and forth from the battlefield to Athens. When the Greek army defeated the Persians at marathon, Pheidippides ran the entire course, roughly 26 miles, to proclaim the Good News. Hence, we get the term marathon from his excursion.
This man was excited to run the course with endurance to proclaim this wonderful defeat of the Persians to the Greek military commanders and leaders. In relation to the present passage, again, John Murray is helpful, summarizing , “The purpose is to declare the inestimable treasure which the institution of gospel proclamation implies, a treasure that consists in the sending of messengers to preach the Word of Christ” (John Murray, 59).
We have a great treasure to proclaim. This message is a saving message. It both saves the sinner out of his deadness in sins and trespasses and simultaneously saves him from God’s wrath, for Jesus Christ Himself bore it all on the cross. Why take such great news and hide it under a lampstand? Why take such great news and burry it in a field so no one else can be blessed by its treasure? We proclaim the message because our conviction is like Paul’s in Romans 1:16–17“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.””
And we do this with endurance. Hebrews 12:1–2“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Brothers and sisters, how beautiful are the feet that carry the good news? Will you carry the good news? Will you bear the shame and criticism from unbelievers for the sake of Christ? Will you proclaim his glories when defending the hope within you? Will you extol the message of the saviour all the days of your lives?
Will you call upon the name of the Lord when you are enduring hardship? Will you call upon the author and perfecter of your faith when all is taken from you? Call upon the Lord for your salvation sinner. Call upon the Lord for your sanctification saint.
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