Romans 10:14: Faith by preaching
How do we discover the truth? Sadly this most important question goes unconsidered by many people today. How do you discover the truth about yourself, about your world and most importantly about God and salvation? In the humanistic world we live in in the West, we have portrayed ourselves as the discoverers of our own truth. You can hardly watch one movie or TV series today without hearing the typical humanistic cliché, ‘the truth lies within you;’ or, ‘you will discover the truth if you just put your mind to it;’ or, ‘we all need to find our own personal truth, what is true for me.’ This view of epistemology is at odds with what the bible teaches. Because of sin man is no longer a reliable guide in the truth and needs to be guided. We have suffered the noetic effects of sin. Sin has impacted our ability to know the truth. Because of our sinful natures we in fact even deliberately deny the truth and believe lies. Paul shows how ignorance flows from sinfulness in Ephesians 4:17-18, ‘Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.’ Do you see how Paul shows how our hardness of heart produces the futility of mind and the darkening in the understanding. When it comes to discovering truth we are self-deceiving. For this reason we need God to tell us the truth. We need the truth to come to us from outside of ourselves not from within us. This is what Paul is affirming in Romans 10:14, ‘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?’ Sinful man is not the fount of truth, nor the competent discoverer of truth, he is in need or hearing the message brought to him from another.
Paul is dealing with the fact that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. He then points out the necessary logical steps in order for people to call upon the Lord. Working backwards Paul reveals that a person calls because they believe, they believe because they hear, they hear because of preaching, they hear preachers because someone sends them. Paul knows that we cannot find the truth for ourselves and that someone has to bring it to us. So this morning we will be looking more deeply into the reality that faith comes by hearing and will be investigating the necessity of preaching, the nature of preaching and the primacy of preaching.