Romans 10:17 (English Standard Version)
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Over the years, I have heard countless messages on faith. Many people consider the term to just mean a belief in God. I’m sure that you will have seen interviews with people who claim to have ‘a personal faith’ and many others claim to be part of the ‘Anglican faith’ or some other denomination. While the word could be applied in this kind of abstract way we should always remember that the root meaning of the word is ‘trust’. So having faith in God really is stating that we trust in God for something. Jesus also said that faith is measurable and that we can add to our faith and increase it. He told His disciples that ‘if you have faith as small as a mustard seed’. Having a little faith in a big God is not to be dismissed. Jesus told one man and one lady that they had ‘great faith’. So, it is possible to have a small amount of faith and also to have great faith. There are some people who believe that we can only have faith if God gives it to us and so we are powerless to believe unless God grants us the ability to believe by providing faith. That seems to be contradictory to everything I’ve been taught but I believe that there is an element of truth in that as we study this verse 17 today.
From my understanding, we are saved by calling on God. However, we can only call on God if we believe that He exists. We cannot believe that He exists unless we have faith. We can’t have faith unless we hear the message and that message is given by God through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Many better people than I have tried to explain verse 17 and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. I believe that it is good and proper to preach the Word of God and as we hear that preaching, our faith is increased because we understand more and more about Him and appreciate exactly who He is and walk in the purpose that He has ordained for us. I learn to trust Him more and place my faith in Him in more and more areas of my life as I hear the Word of God preached.
However, there is another aspect to faith that is shown in this verse. The ‘Word of Christ’ is a particular word in the original language and is related to a specific word that has been spoken at a particular time. Someone has called this a ‘now word’. I believe that are moments in our life when we hear this ‘now word’ and instantly, faith is created within us allowing us to respond to what He says. If we hadn’t heard the word then we wouldn’t have the faith to respond.
As I’ve said so many times this week, let us continue to preach the word of God and pray that He speaks the ‘now word’ into people’s hearts so that they can respond to the gospel.