Chapter # 10 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
May 12, 2009
14 How then shall they call on 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?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh
by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are
no people, and
by a foolish nation I will anger you.
20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
1901 ASV Translation
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So belief cometh
of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
18 But I say, Did they not hear? Yea, verily, Their sound went out into all the earth, And their words unto the ends of the world.
19 But I say, Did Israel not know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, With a nation void of understanding will I anger you.
20 And Isaiah is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I became manifest unto them that asked not of me.
21 But as to Israel he saith, All the day long did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
- I. Paul's "Process" of Salvation.
- A. Having established "the word of faith" as the fundamental principle of a heart/mouth agreement regarding "Truth" about the character of the Lord of the Universe, Paul now sets about to unveil the divine process by means of a series of questions [See Notes for May 5, 2009] (494).
- B. The "questions".
- 1. How shall they call upon [the One] into whom they did not believe? [See Notes for May 5, 2009 (494)]
- 2. How should they believe from out of One Whom they did not hear? [See Notes for May 5, 2009 (494)]
- 3. How should they hear without one who proclaims?
- a. Clearly, in the physical realm, sound has to precede hearing.
- b. Just so, the proclamation must exist before the hearing can.
- c. It is at this point that the "process" becomes inclusive of "others" who are outside of the God/me loop. To be saved, I must "confess a heart belief to God in an interpersonal act wherein I 'call' upon Him." To confess, I must be justified, so that I must "believe with my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead." To "believe unto calling", I must have "heared" that God raised Jesus from the dead. This "hearing" necessity brings an element into the picture that has not been there: another entity that brings the "sound" that makes the "hearing" possible. Thus, it is at this point that God's Plan is revealed to be "inclusive of others."
- 1) This is an important point. The core of "Life" is a one-on-one between the one needing Life and the God Who Lives. Any violation of this one-on-one reality negates "living" as it becomes idolatrous by pretending that God is not the Sole Source of Life.
- 2) But, this one-on-one reality has to morph into a one-with-one reality so that the one who has been "saved" can now enter into the agenda of God as a co-laborer. God created "persons" as beings of "spirit". As such, their participation in Life at the level of "spirit" has to involve the chief function of "spirit" -- i.e., "action". In other words, one-on-one brings the created person into the flow of Life from the Creating Person, but it is the one-with-one that makes "Life" meaningful at the level of "spirit". Becoming "one" with God means that a person has entered into not only Who God is but also What God is doing. This is Paul's point in Romans 1:9 where he claimed that he "served God with his spirit in the Gospel of His Son."
- 3) According to our text, the primary element in our participation with God involves some level of getting people to "hear" what can lead to "belief" that can lead to "calling" that yields "salvation". Because of the enormous complexity that is involved in almost every action that can be taken, there is plenty of "room" in the "agenda" for everyone and every skill, but the objective must be clear: God introduces "participation" in the salvation issue at the point of "proclamation". The dangers are twofold: on one hand there can be a level of exasperation with the enormous level of details so that the tendency is to by-pass many of them in order to "get the job done"; and on the other hand there can be an obsession with the details so that there is a tendency to never actually get involved in the bigger picture.
- 4. How should they proclaim if they should not have been sent?
- a. This is the first part of the text that Paul reinforces with a reference to the Old Testament.
- 1) This reinforcement comes from either Isaiah 52:7 or Nahum 1:15 (or both).
- 2) There is a bit of a textual difference that probably arises out of the fact that Paul did not quote exactly and the transcribers were tempted to "fill in".
- 3) What was Paul's "point" in attaching this Old Testament quote to his "logic"?
- a) Being "sent" is, in some way in Paul's mind, in direct harmony with Isaiah's thought. When we look into Isaiah's thinking in chapter 52 we immediately note that the background for the words is a setting in bondage that is declared to be "over". Because no one enjoys "bondage", there is a very natural affinity for words of release and that leads to an affinity for the one bringing the words. The word translated "beautiful" is actually related to the word for "hour" and seems to lend its sense of "beauty" to the idea of the point in time when a "beautiful" thing has reached its zenith in its cycle of "inception-unto-maturity" [see Online Bible's comment on the synonyms for "beautiful"]. In other words, the "feet" of those who bring good news are "beautiful" in the sense that they have brought the message just when it is needed the most. This is not a physical "beauty"; it is a "beauty of timeliness".
- b) Being "sent", then, is tied to the biblical concept of "in the fullness of the time, God sent His Son".
- c) But the question remains: why did Paul decide to throw this notion into his flow of thought at this point? Clearly, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is one of the realities of Paul's own experiences. He was seriously hated by those who were offended by His message, but he was welcomed by those whose bondage was so severe that they actually wanted deliverance. Just as clearly, Paul's very next statement deals with those who hated him: "But not all submitted to the good news." The conclusion seems to be that Paul sensed a specific need to insert a "word from God" (an Old Testament quote) into his "logic" at this point precisely because there are those whose "fixation" upon being "sent" is too negative in the sense of "I do not want to participate with God in His grand plan because of the downside of how that plan generates response in men."
- b. This question continues and expands the prior shift to the "one-with-one" reality. It is not necessary that all be equally involved in creating the "sound" that can be "heard" unto faith. Most will find places for their abilities under God, and with God, to make it possible for those who are going to make the actual proclamation to do so. One cannot simply "materialize" in a location and begin to "proclaim". All of the particulars that must be in place for any legitimate proclamation to be made need to be supplied by those who are co-laborers with God in providing salvation for the Church. This is a huge necessity...almost beyond description. Paul's line of questions is simply the very top crust of all of the questions that will need answers if the job is going to be accomplished. To God's credit, He has left nothing without answers and He oversees the work with great care.
- c. This also precedes the disclaimer: not all obeyed what they heard. So, the entire process from the "sending" to the "calling" is in the text but carries no guarantee of the outcome of the connecting links. One can send a proclaimer and yet be given the silent treatment at the end (no "calling" by the hearer).