by Mike Ratliff
11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”
16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:11-17 (NASB)
Look at the passage at the top of this post (Romans 10:11-17). I remember memorizing v13 several years ago when I was in Evangelism Explosion training. We pulled that verse out of Romans 10 and used in part of our gospel presentations. Does this passage show us the human side of the order of salvation? Start in v15. Preachers of the Gospel must be sent. Then from v14 we see that the preachers are to preach the Gospel. Then people hear the Gospel. As they hear the Gospel they believe. Then they call on the name of the Lord and are saved. It is very important that we see that belief comes before a person calls on the name of the Lord. Now let’s compare this with another passage.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 (NASB)
From this passage we know that all who are saved are called according to God’s purpose. Whom does God call? He calls those whom He foreknew and predestined. What happens to those whom God called? They are justified and glorified. If we extrapolate these steps to compare them with what we learned from Romans 10:11-17 what do we have? What comes first? God foreknew those whom He is going to save. Look at the passage below. What do we learn about God’s foreknowing us?
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:3-14 (NASB)
God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. We also see that God predestined us for adoption. From Romans 8:29 we see that we are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. All of this happened before the foundation of the world. So let’s move forward to now. God has chosen those whom He foreknew then He predestined them. Now, where does the preacher preaching the gospel come in? It is now. This is why it is so important that preachers preach the entire Gospel comparing our depravity and violation of God’s Law with His Holiness and Righteousness. Then they must preach why Jesus came to earth and what He accomplished in His life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Those whom God has chosen and predestined will believe because God calls them. This is the effectual call which quickens spiritually dead people unto the New Birth. This is where God gives us the gift of belief. This belief is saving faith through which Grace is given by God and received by the new Christian. Because of this belief the new Christian repents and turns to Christ by calling on Him for salvation. Then God justifies him or her. They are now in Christ.
Did they decide for Christ or were they converted and saved by God?
Addendum: If you do not agree with the premise of this post please understand that my method of teaching is never to persuade by my words. Instead, what I attempt to do is to cause those who read what I write or hear what I teach or preach to THINK, to reason. However, that is not enough. This reasoning should always drive us to dig into God’s Word in the context of seeking the Truth, therefore, ask God to show you the truth. Don’t EVER presume that you understand everything about the subject, but rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal it to your heart. If your conscience is clear then you can trust it. If you have unresolved guilt then your conscience has become calloused. Seek the Lord, repent of what He is showing you. THEN, and only then, approach the throne of grace with your petition to know the truth. Humble yourself before Him and tell Him that you will embrace the truth He shows you. Then study the Bible. If you do this the Lord will answer and your conscience will lead you by imparting conviction as the Holy Spirit speaks to you. If you stray from the truth it will impart condemnation. If you find it it will impart commendation (joy?). You will know by these “convictions” if you know the truth.
Soli Deo Gloria!