Romans 10:17

Romans 10:17

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Rom 10:17 NKJV)

obedient faith comes from the hearing of God's word

The words “so then” pull us into the context of chapter ten where Paul discusses his desire for the salvation of his Jewish countrymen (Rom. 10:1-3).  They are lost because they are seeking salvation by their own righteousness (their own plan of salvation), not God’s.

Christ is the end (the goal) of the old covenant (Rom. 10:4).  This end is not limited to Jews, but embraces “everyone who believes” (a worldwide scope, Rom. 10:5-8). 

Both Jew and Gentile must believe in the resurrected Lord and confess Him in order to be saved (Rom. 10:9-10).  Paul quotes Isaiah 28:16 to show that God always planned to include Gentiles in the scheme of redemption.  “For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.  For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved”’ (Rom. 10:11-13). 

These facts force us to undeniable conclusions –

  1. There is one plan for all.   Verse 17 is an inclusive statement, based on the context (verses 11-13).   The emphatic word is whoever.   “Whoever” calls on His name shall be saved (verse 13). 
  2. Paul summarizes this plan with the words, “obeyed the gospel” (Rom. 10:16).  Faith is for all, Jew and Gentile alike, Rom.1:16-17.  Many Jews were lost because they chose disobedience (Rom. 10:21). 
  3. Faith, first mentioned in Romans in Rom. 1:5, links with “obedience.”  This link holds throughout Romans.  Paul ends the letter as he began, Rom. 16:26: “for obedience to the faith.”  Does Romans 1:8 say their faith is spoken of throughout the whole world?  Romans 16:19 says it is their obedience that has become known to all.  Faith and obedience are synonyms.  “But they have not all obeyed the gospel.  For Isaiah says, ‘LORD, who has believed our report?’” (Rom. 10:16).
  4. Faith comes by hearing, which includes reading, John 20:30-31.  John wrote that we may believe... 
  5. The Scriptures never say that one is saved merely by believing what God says without acting upon it (Romans 10; James 2:14-26).   Dead, demonic faith never saved anyone.  Paul’s Roman letter requires the same kind of works as James: “…but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:10-11). 

Paul also wrote, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).  No passage ever commends an inactive, disobedient faith.  



-- Rick Duggin