The Scriptures leave no doubt that God has a salvific plan that involves each and every one of us. The question is: What is our responsibility to His plan? Another way of asking this question is: Whose job is it to see people come to Christ? God has a wonderful plan to reach the world with His loving grace. This salvific plan is divinely inspired but has woven within it the need for human participation. In Romans 10, Paul explains God’s plan and the part each of us is called to play.
Paul, in Romans 10:8-10, describes what one must do to be saved. The gospel message is salvation by faith in Christ. It is as near as believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth, and available to all who hear. One must believe on (trust in, have faith in) Christ as Lord and Savior. Everything else is discipleship. What must someone do to be saved? Believe!
Who can be saved? Paul gives us the answer in Romans 10:11-13. He explains that salvation is for everyone who places their faith in Jesus as Lord. God offers salvation to all and saves all who ask Him in faith. Anyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.
Then, in Romans 10:14-15, Paul answers the question: How does someone know how to be saved? In fact, these verses lay out a logical sequence of necessary events for people to come to Christ. The importance of preaching is evident. Without preaching, no one would hear the good news of Christ to believe in Him and thus call on Him. This preaching is not to be mistaken as merely being relegated to a person speaking from a platform. Instead, it embraces every believer’s ministry, sharing the message of Christ’s love and salvation with others.
I believe Romans 10:8-15 powerfully speaks to world evangelization. God’s sovereign plan includes the taking of the gospel to all peoples in the entire world. Accordingly, Christ’s last words to the apostles (see: Acts 1:8) were that they would be used to reach out to the world with the gospel. World evangelization is the theme of the Bible. Not only is the Bible the basis for missions, but missions is the basis for the Bible. Therefore, from Genesis to Revelation, we see that world evangelization is God’s sovereign plan and that humanity has responsibility within His plan. How does someone know how to be saved? They are told!
I came across this account from the life of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. William Booth was entering a city one day. As he entered the city, his heart felt strange, and he began to look at those around him with tears in his eyes. Soon he pictured himself standing at the end of a pier that extended over a rough sea. On the dock was a large, beautiful choir, and church people wrapped up in fellowship with one another with great big smiles on their faces. His attention was then drawn to what appeared to be thousands of people, young and old, in the rough sea. Each person was struggling to get their head up out of the rough water to breathe. Some he could see was under the water, and others, with hopeless gazes, ready to drown with a forced gasp of water rather than air rushing down their throat. Those on the pier seemed not to notice those in the sea. Even though those in the sea were screaming and splashing. Even though the waves were huge and smashing against the pier, those on the dock seemed unmoved, unconcerned, wrapped up in their own world. William Booth began to sob as he realized the meaning of this vision. For too long, he had spent time within the walls of the church without even a peak off of the pier into the sea of dying souls. On that day, William Booth, who would later be known as General Booth, got a view of the unsaved that turned into a burden that turned into a vision that started what we know today as the Salvation Army, a ministry reaching hundreds upon hundreds of thousands for Jesus Christ.
God has done the work necessary for people to be saved. However, He has invited us to be part of His salvific plan by being messengers of His grace. In this sense, each of us has the responsibility of knowing God and making Him known. It is a privilege to be a part of God’s plan. Have you accepted His plan? What must someone do to be saved? Believe! Who can be saved? Anyone who calls on the Lord! Have you accepted the responsibility to be a messenger of His plan? How does someone know how to be saved? They are told! Why not give yourself to God right now? Why not accept the responsibility He has placed on all of us to know Him and make Him Known? Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!