By Clifton Angel
“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 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?” (Romans 10:13–14).
The fact that we need to hear implies that someone has spoken and something has been said.
Who has spoken? God. The Hebrews writer began his letter: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2). Yes, God has spoken! Many have claimed and do claim that God has spoken directly to them, but their words can be tested against the Bible and found to be untrue. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). Let’s be sure that the things we believe concerning God are truly from God.
What is it that God has said that we need to hear? We need to hear everything that God has recorded and preserved for man to read and study. The Psalmist said, “The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever” (Psalm 119:160, ASV). More specifically, we live under the New Testament today, so we especially need to give heed to its teachings. Hebrews 1:2 informs us that God has spoken unto us in these last days by his Son. On a special occasion in which Peter was allowed to see the transfigured Jesus, and Moses, and Elijah, Peter wanted to worship all three, but “The voice of God came from Heaven and said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5). Therefore, it is not the words of Moses, nor the words of Elijah, but the words of Jesus and His will and testament which I need to pattern my life after today.
What of Jesus do I need to hear? “That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). Paul calls this the gospel (good news). Furthermore, I need to hear, “He is head over all things to his church, which is his body” (Ephesians 1:22-23), and that “He is the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). I need to hear the entire New Testament, but these two principles are at the heart of the entirety of it: (1) Sinless Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to fulfill God’s will; (2) Jesus has one church (body), and He is the only Savior of it.Why do I need to hear? Because hearing produces faith. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). And, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). It is that faith which leads to repentance, confession, and baptism, and it is at the point of baptism that we can confidently say we are “in Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Have you heard?
- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/