Posted November 18, 2013
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
“Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” How often have you heard this quote from Saint Francis? Though with good intent, this well-loved phrase (which actually was never spoken by St. Francis) butchers a true understanding of the gospel and faith. Of course, the point of the quote is that our lives are already speaking volumes without us saying a word, which is true, and by no means should any of us live lives that are contrary to the gospel! We should absolutely seek to be the kind of people whose lives are in tune with the gospel. However, according to Romans 10:17, preaching of the Christian gospel that generates faith in the hearts of new believers is always done with words and through the word of Christ (that is, the good news of His life, death, and resurrection). Verse 17 seems to be a summary of the prior three verses:
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? 15 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!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”
If your life is the only thing talking, then you are not preaching a Christian gospel. God’s means of bringing about faith is the audibly proclaimed gospel of Jesus. How can people believe if they have not heard? May we never believe the lie that people are saved through observing our lives. At some point, they must hear the good news with their ears! May we be faithful in both deed and declaration.
Song by Chris Clark.
Sample from John Piper's sermon (http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/the-gospel-is-the-power-of-god-unto-salvation).
Artwork by Chris Wright.