In order to have faith in something or someone, we must first be aware of their existence. Such is the meaning of "faith comes by hearing."
I cannot name many people who came to saving faith in Christ without first having heard about the Gospel from someone else. The Lord works in amazing ways and reveals Himself to people however He chooses to do so, however, our commission from Jesus was to go and make disciples of all nations, to baptize them, and to teach them. He promised that He would always be with us (Matthew 28:19-20). In essence, we are supposed to tell others the truth about Christ. A parallel verse is Mark 16:15 which says, “And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” This means that making disciples includes proclaiming the good news as well.
What Does the Phrase 'Faith Comes by Hearing' Mean?
Christianity.com shares, “As said in Romans 10, "how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?" In order to have faith in something or someone, we must first be aware of their existence. Such is the meaning of "faith comes by hearing." When rational people hear the good news of the Gospel and redemption in Jesus, they can have faith in Christ and accept His eternal salvation. Furthermore, when people hear the Word of God they can know and trust in the Godly order of life and why we should accept the redemption of Jesus' atonement with faith in Him.”
Think of it this way, how do you know that two plus two equals four? Or how do you know that broccoli is a vegetable? Because someone further in life taught you. Many times people use the phrase “I share the Gospel with my actions.” Or even, “When they ask me, then I will tell them.” I used to grow up singing a hymn with a line, “And they’ll know we are Christian by our love.” Although this statement is true, if we only focus on lifestyle, then we might be tempted to neglect using words. When we love there is a balance of words and actions. This is the same in our faith.
“Faith comes by hearing” is a deep thought to ponder. The fact is that God, through His Holy Spirit could come and reveal salvation by Himself. However, He allows us to be involved in His redemptive plan. Others can come to faith in Christ because we chose to tell them and obey the great commission. Our neighbors, our friends, our bosses, or a person we meet halfway across the world has an opportunity to receive salvation when we share this good news with them. We become mouthpieces for the sake of the Gospel and our sound of scriptural truth is louder than radio turned up on bass speakers. This is because, with the Bible, there is power. It is living and active, it is sharp and helps divide truth. It penetrates hearts and Jesus changes the destination of all who believe in Him (Hebrews 4:12). Faith comes when someone hears the message of the Gospel and receives the gift as his own.
Examples of Faith Comes by Hearing
“Faith comes by hearing” is an important message taken from Romans 10:17. The entire chapter is rich in motivating every believer to share the message of salvation to all.
I think of the Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus at the well. He revealed Himself to her and she left her water jar to go proclaim the better Living Water that she discovered to her whole community.
John 4:28-30 says, “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.”
John 4:39-42 goes on to share, “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
There was also the demon-possessed man who Jesus set free in Mark 5:18-20. “As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.”
Jesus gave instruction to Mary Magdalene directly after His resurrection to go and share the good news with the others in John 20:16-18. “Jesus said to her, “Mary.”She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.”
When Jesus has changed your life, you cannot help but tell others about Him. When you come to a knowledge of the saving grace of the Savior, you are unable to remain silent.
What Do We Know about Faith?
Paul began his writing of Romans 10 with one sentence that encompasses his heart for the entire chapter. Romans 10:1 says, “Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.”
One of my favorite and most used verses in all of Scripture is Romans 10:9 which says, “because, 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.” This is a simple explanation of the Gospel. These words can be heard and used as a catalyst for the moment of salvation in another’s life. Faith is placing belief and trust in Jesus.
Romans 10:10 says, “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Words speak to our hearts and minds and faith is the result of trusting in that message. The belief in the Gospel leads to sharing the Gospel. Paul goes on to share that this message of hope is for all people (Romans 10:11-13).
'Faith Comes by Hearing' - Why?
Then the charge is given to us that we need to speak this truth with others. It is easy to allow moments to pass by because of fear or insecurity thinking, “She will have another chance” or “I’m not the most qualified to share this.” How will people know about Jesus if we do not tell them who He is? Jesus chose the least qualified to follow Him and share about Him. If he can empower them, He can certainly come through with us as well. Romans 10:14 says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
Romans 10:15-17 says that feet are beautiful who go and tell others about Christ. We can have beautiful feet when we share. Our listener’s faith can come from hearing the message of the Gospel. We will be obedient, but trust that it is God who brings dead hearts to life.
This brings my mind to the concept of washing feet. Jesus set an example in the upper room when He washed His disciples’ filthy feet. These men walked dusty roads in sandals way before tennis shoes came around. When we think about how gross feet were in the area in which Christ lived, some of us could barely handle a picture, much less imagine cleaning one. John 13:14-15 says, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” Jesus makes our feet beautiful so we can go make other’s feet beautiful. Our sins are disgusting, but we are made whiter than snow by His grace (Psalm 51:7).
What about Closed Ears?
What about those who we tell, but they refuse to accept the gift of salvation? We cannot force salvation upon anyone. We can only do our part to present the need for a Savior and share the wonderful gift in which we have received through Jesus. “Faith comes by hearing” is not a magic formula. This is an encouragement to share the gospel with as many people as we can, but at the end of the day, we have to leave family members, friends, co-workers, and even strangers in God’s hands. May our words always be loving and point to the truth of the Bible. We should never give up on anyone. We should always pray for the Lord to open our ears. When Jesus explained the Parable of the Sower, he addressed that the same message can be given to multiple people, but fall on them in various ways.
Matthew 13:13-17 says, “This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
What Does the Bible Say about Faith?
The Bible has many wonderful Scriptures about faith. It tells us that faith is confidence in our hope in the unseen (Hebrews 11:1). James 2 tells us that a living faith will compel us to good works. Jesus spoke of having faith the size of a mustard seed that would help you to move a mountain (Mark 11:22-24). Faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). Salvation comes by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are called to live by faith and not based on what we see (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith is tested in trials, produces endurance, and sanctifies us (James 1:2-4). There is also the shield of faith in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:16). Faith is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Faith in Jesus saves us (Galatians 2:16).
Whether you are a seasoned man or woman in the Word or are a new believer, I pray that you know the Gospel is speaking. Even on days when you feel as if you cannot conjure the words, the Holy Spirit will move. If you are reading this right now and you have not placed your faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, I invite you right now to read this truth and to receive His gift. We not only can share through spoken word but written word as well. This is my invitation to you.
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Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew and mom to Graham. Emma serves alongside her husband in ministry, she focuses most of her time in the home, but loves to provide articles on the Bible, life questions, and Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 on Crosswalk in 2021. Most recently, Emma released Treasures for Tots, (Scripture memory songs) for young children. During her ministry career, Emma has released Wildflower: Blooming Through Singleness, two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, and ran the Refined Magazine. You can view her articles on her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com and check out her Instagram @Emmadanzey.
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