If asked how faith begins, we would refer the asker to Romans 10:17. The immediate context has to do with the message that Isaiah presented to Israel. Those who listened to Isaiah trusted God. Those who did not listen to Isaiah rejected God and His message.

The paragraph previous to Romans 10:17 deals with the failure of the Jewish people to realize that God’s great agenda included extending salvation to all people—even idol worshippers who had the wrong concept of deity and no idea about godly morals. God simply wants everyone to have access to Him. God through Christ granted that access to all, in spite of where they were. It is not about one’s education, or one’s society, or one’s material success, or one’s ability to read, or one being primitive or advanced. It is about understanding the message of what God did in Jesus Christ.

This article is not about seeking to deny the message of Romans 10:17. It suggests faith begins earlier. The message begins with God’s concern forming the basis for God’s act.

To act to benefit a perceived god was not unusual in any religion. For God to initiate an act of compassion to benefit people was incredibly different. For God to act on our behalf when we had done nothing to “obligate” Him was absolutely amazing (Romans 5:6-8)! The message from an involved God was unique—but true!

Faith begins with understanding that God gave His most precious relationship to make our salvation possible (John 3:16-21). Do you understand that God made a major sacrifice to make salvation possible for us? He hurt first that we might rejoice in Christ!

Do you understand that God is even involved in our coming to Him? We are enabled to repent through God’s support (2 Timothy 2:24-26)!

Do you understand that entrance into Jesus Christ begins a continuing forgiveness for those who refuse to reject Jesus Christ (1 John 1:1-10)? God is even involved (if we permit) in our remaining in Jesus Christ. We are not “on our own ”!

God is involved in our salvation from A to Z—accepting God’s concern begins our faith!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 28 March 2010

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