13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
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 unless they are sent?
We’ve been looking at evangelism the last several weeks, and the passage above fits right in with that topic. What a wonderful promise we have in v. 13. “Whoever calls…” What a message of comfort and hope we have for the lost! Can any soul be denied that calls upon the name of the Lord? No! God said so! Call upon Him, and He will answer. You will be saved!
But, we often remember v. 13 of the above passage and forget what follows. The apostle takes us on a journey backwards from the time an individual calls on the name of the Lord. Before that person can cry out to God, he must first believe in Him according to v. 14. What’s the point in crying out if nobody’s there to hear? As Heb 11:6 says, “…he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” There’s no reason to call out for the reward of salvation unless you first believe God exists and will respond to that call.
So does the journey start with belief? Nope, let’s go back further. How can a person believe in a God of whom they’ve never heard? They’ve got to have this Lord and Savior declared to them first, and that requires an individual who will declare or publish the Gospel message–a preacher! The Greek word meaning “to preach” literally means to “publish or proclaim openly.” It doesn’t have to be tied to an office but can describe the calling of every believer, for we all have been given “the ministry of reconciliation.” We are “ambassadors for Christ” who cry to the world, “Be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5:18-20)
But we’ve got one more step to take to find the origin of this salvation. Before the sinner calls to the Lord, before He believes in his heart unto righteousness, and before the preacher publishes the glad tidings of the gospel of peace, we read in v. 15, “And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” Someone does the sending, and it is none other that the gracious and merciful God that originated this plan of salvation. It all starts with Him! Before the prophet says “Here am I! Send me,” the God of the prophet asks, “Whom shall I send?” (Is 6:8) The Lord Jesus sends those who believe in like manner in Mk 16:15: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Aren’t you glad that long before you believed in Him, while you were still lost in unbelief, the Lord came looking for you! Do you remember how He rescued you from darkness? It’s no mistake His message entered our ears and then our hearts at the time in our life that it did. God prepared the soil of our hearts to receive the seed of His gospel and sent His messengers to disperse that seed at just the right time in our lives! You ought to feel pretty special, oh beloved of the Lord! Truly, the Author and Finisher of our faith is worthy of all our praise!