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!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.” Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
As a new Christian many years ago, I was at a fundraiser for a pro-life pregnancy center. Throughout the presentation, amazing testimonies were given by young women who met Jesus at the center, decided to not end the life of their unborn child, and went on to live new lives with incredible testimonies. One of the most emotional was a woman who was going to have an abortion and did not. After telling her testimony of life, she then introduced her son who was a pastor preaching about the grace of God and seeing many people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Unfamiliar with how a fundraising dinner ended for a non-profit ministry, I was not expecting the director of the center to get up and make an appeal for generous giving to fund more ministry. He said something that everyone laughed at, but to me seemed profoundly and pointedly true. First, he told us the amount of money they hoped to raise that night. He said something to the effect of, “the good news is that we have every single dollar we need!” In hearing this, everyone cheered. Waiting for the room to quiet down again, he then said something like, “the bad news is that every dollar we need is still in your account!” He was right. God had provided everything needed, and we simply needed to do our part.
In the context of predestination and seeing people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, Paul anticipates the question of why we should give or do anything since God lacks no resources, has no needs, and, unlike other ministries, can get everything done without us.
What has God prepared for you to do? What steps do you need to take to obey Him?
This is an excerpt from Pastor Mark’s Romans 8-9 commentary Duck Duck Doom. You can get a free e-book copy on our store here.
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