on Romans 10 :14
How then shall they call on him - As the apostle had laid so much stress on believing in order to salvation, and as this doctrine, without farther explanation, might be misunderstood, it was necessary to show how this faith was produced; and therefore he lays the whole doctrine down in a beautifully graduated order.
1. There can be no salvation without the Gospel: a dispensation of mercy and grace from God alone, here called, Romans 10:15, the Gospel of peace; glad tidings of good things.
2. This must be preached, proclaimed in the world for the obedience of faith.
3. None can effectually preach this unless he have a Divine mission; for how shall they preach except they be Sent, Romans 10:15. The matter must come from God; and the person mho proclaims it must have both authority and unction from on high.
4. This Divinely-commissioned person must be heard: it is the duty of all, to whom this message of salvation is sent, to hear it with the deepest reverence and attention.
5. What is heard must be credited; for they who do not believe the Gospel as the record which God has given of his Son cannot be saved, Romans 10:14.
6. Those who believe must invoke God by Christ, which they cannot do unless they believe in him; and in this way alone they are to expect salvation. Professing to believe in Christ, without earnest, importunate prayer for salvation, can save no man. All these things the apostle lays down as essentially necessary; and they all follow from his grand proposition, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. But, says the apostle, How shall they Call upon 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? And how shall they Preach except they be sent? And with what message which can bring salvation can they be sent, but with the Gospel of Peace, the Glad Tidings Of Good Things. When, therefore, there is:
1st, a proper Message;
2ndly, a proper Messenger;
3rdly, the message Preached, proclaimed, or properly delivered by him;
4thly, the proclamation properly Heard and attentively considered by the people;
5thly, the message which they have heard, conscientiously Believed;
6thly, the name of the Lord Jesus, by whom alone this salvation is provided, most fervently Invoked; then,
7thly, salvation, or redemption from sin and misery, and the enjoyment of peace and happiness, will be the result of such calling, believing, hearing, preaching, sending, and message sent: - and thus the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith is guarded from abuse.
on Romans 10 :14
How then shall they call. ... - The apostle here adverts to an objection which might be urged to his argument. His doctrine was, that faith in Christ was essential to justification and salvation; and that this was needful for all; and that, without this, man must perish. The objection was, that they could not call on him in whom they had not believed; that they could not believe in him of whom they had not heard; and that this was arranged by God himself, so that a large part of the world was destitute of the gospel, and in fact did not believe; Romans 10:16-17. The objection had particular reference to the Jews; and the ground of injustice which a Jew would complain of, would be, that the plan made salvation dependent on faith, when a large part of the nation had not heard the gospel, and had had no opportunity to know it. This objection the apostle meets, so far as it was of importance to his argument, in Romans 10:18-21. The first part of the objection is, that they could "not call on him in whom they had not believed." That is, how could they call on one in whose existence, ability, and willingness to help, they did not believe? The objection is, that in order to our calling on one for help, we must be satisfied that there is such a being, and that he is able to aid us. This remark is just, and every man feels it. But the point of the objection is, that "sufficient evidence of the divine mission and claims of Jesus Christ had not been given to authorize the doctrine that eternal salvation depended on belief in him, or that it would be right to suspend the eternal happiness of few and Gentile on this."
How shall they believe in him ... - This position is equally undeniable, that people could not believe in a being of whom they had not heard. And the implied objection was, that people could not be expected to believe in one of whose existence they knew nothing, and, of course, that they could not be blamed for not doing it. It was not right, therefore, to make eternal life depend, both among Jews and Gentiles, on faith in Christ.
And how shall they hear ... - How can people hear, unless some one proclaim to them, or preach to them what is to be heard and believed? This is also true. The objection thence derived is, that it is not right to condemn people for not believing what has never been proclaimed to them; and, of course, that the doctrine that eternal life is suspended on faith cannot be just and right.
on Romans 10 :14