“Salvation that comes from trusting Christ-which is the message we preach-is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.”
“For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives his riches to all who ask for them. For “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:8-15)
“But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” (Romans 10:16).
Reading what the apostle Paul wrote brings this scenario to mind. A cure for cancer is found. This is great news for the medical profession. Right away the story is on the news and in the newspapers. Press conferences are set up. The message is, “We have found the cure for cancer. All you have to do is take this medicine and you will be cured.” Some people believe and they take the medicine and they are cured while others refuse to believe that it is true. They don’t want to get their hopes up. So, they continue to live with the disease rather than take the cure.
So, it is with many people. Many times they have been exposed to the Gospel but they refuse to believe it. They question the authenticity of the Bible and they have trouble believing that God exists because they feel that if He did He wouldn’t allow such terrible things to be happening in the world. Many don’t believe that the Messiah came.
In Jesus’ day, many did not believe that God sent him or that He was the Son of God. They refused to listen. Jesus said to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are really trusting God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness. If anyone hears me and doesn’t obey me, I am not his judge-for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged at the Day of Judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me gave me his own instructions as to what I should say. And I know his instructions lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say!” (John 12:44-50).
When people reject the messenger, they are really rejecting the one who sent the message. When we refuse to listen to someone talk to us about God, we are not hurting that person, we are hurting God. We are not rejecting that person, we are rejecting God. Jesus told the Pharisees, “Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. For I have come to you representing my Father, and you refuse to welcome me, even though you readily accept others who represent only themselves. No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from God alone” (John 5:41-44).
Salvation comes with trust. I thought of the story of the bronze serpent in the wilderness. The people were bitten by poisonous serpents and they cried out to Moses, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” Moses prayed for them. God told him to make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to the top of a pole. “Those who are bitten will live if they simply look at it.”
So, Moses made the snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Whenever those who were bitten looked at the bronze snake they recovered. They trusted and they were saved. They believed that looking at the snake would save them and it did. How many of us would want to look at a replica of the thing that is attacking us? Jesus speaks of this same incident. “And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so I, the Son of Man, must be lifted up on a pole, so that everyone who believes in me will have eternal life” (John 3:14, 15). Jesus’ pole was the cross and all those who look to it will find salvation.
Just as He sent the apostles and Paul out to share the Good News with their communities and people around the world, Jesus is sending His people to do the same today. Will we ask the same question as the prophet Isaiah, “Lord, who has believed our message?”
Salvation is the result of faith which comes from listening to this message of good news-the Good News about Christ. When we have faith that if we confess that Jesus is Lord and that if we call upon Him we can be saved, then we will be saved. And happy are those who received salvation and swift are their feet to share the good news with others so that they too can be saved.