Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
In my experiences through the years I have encountered all sorts of ideas people have about salvation and the gospel. We’re plainly told what it takes, but large numbers of people say they believe God. They believe the Bible. They believe Jesus. I’ve seen some even come forward for prayer, go out the door and never come back thinking they don’t have to do anything else. They never follow through. The devil steals the truth. If there was ever a simple thing to understand, it is the gospel. It’s the most important news we’ll ever hear. It is the target of the more deceit and confusion of anything else. The devil doesn’t care how well you know about the use of your computer, but he doesn’t want you to understand salvation.
We have a responsibility to the gospel. Another word goes with belief—obedience. For the gospel to do its work there must be belief and then it must be acted upon. Romans 10:10 says for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. It’s a private and public matter, inner and outer. We can’t stop at saying we believe Jesus died and rose again. There must be an outward showing. Believing is the beginning. The beginning of life is conception, but we don’t remain in the womb. We were born. Verse 17 says faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. I’m thankful for the gospel. The Holy Spirit brought it to our ears and it is conceived in the heart. We’re then born again. A baby cries upon its birth. No other announcement is needed. You hear it cry and know that a birth has taken place. Being born again is a private experience of the heart, but an outward confession must be made to continue in faith and obedience to the gospel. Obedience is putting legs on faith and following through. The Bible tells us faith without works is dead. Hidden faith is not faith. When we trust who he is—the Son of God—and trust him to save us, obedience comes in the form of doing what he says do. We be and behave in the ways he says we are to live. After our birth we learned in stages how to live day to day. The same is true with obedience to the gospel.
Paul said not all had obeyed the gospel. Some followed for healing or feeding or just hearing Jesus teach. When push came to shove they left him because they didn’t trust him as Savior. We must be willing to follow through with it. To just believe is to stop short of salvation. It’s to stop short of Jesus and stop short of heaven. Paul told Agrippa he knew the believed the prophets, but Agrippa said almost thou persuadedst me to be a Christian. Almost wasn’t enough. Even though he believed what Paul said he had to act on it. He had to call on the Lord and surrender to him. If we want to go to heaven we have to obey the gospel. Hebrews 5:8 says though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. See why we must believe and follow through? Jesus himself had to obey the gospel. He didn’t have to be saved, but he had to create salvation for us. Even though he was the Son of God he stepped down from his throne, became like us and laid down his life. He became Savior through his obedience to the plan of God. If the Son had to obey, we must do so as well. He obeyed what was necessary to provide salvation. In suffering, dying and raising on the third day, he made salvation possible for us. Verse 9 says and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.
Jesus said if any man came after him he had to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow him. Jesus wouldn’t have said that if it was not possible to do it. It is possible. Obedience is something we can do. Not doing so is because of the choice not to believe and obey. Romans 16:25-26 says now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. God will enforce what he says if we back up what we say. Everyone can believe. Everyone can obey the gospel and be saved.
How well are you trusting? How well are you obeying? How well are you following through with what you should? Do we need to do more and trust the Lord more?