The nation of Israel was set apart by God to be “His people.” But in spite of the privilege of election and the gift of knowledge given to them, many rejected Christ and His gospel. They had been given the law of God by Moses and they clung hard to it; they didn’t believe they needed a spiritual savior. They failed to see and accept that they could never do enough to be righteous before God (Romans 3:20).
The Jews needed to see that salvation was by faith alone in Christ alone by grace alone and Paul was desperate to make them understand, that they might believe and be saved from eternal separation from God:
For Christ is the end of the law of righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:4)
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame…Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-11, 13)
God shows us throughout His word that He is full of mercy and love. He does not desire to condemn us but to save us (John 3:17). But He also shows us that He is holy and just and He demands a righteousness that we cannot attain to apart from Christ. The truth is this: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). There is salvation in no other (Acts 4:12). If we choose to reject this truth, we will have our part in the lake of fire for eternity (Revelation 21:8). So we must hear and accept the gospel in order to be saved.
Jesus promised us that if we search honestly for truth we will find it (Matthew 7:7). He has revealed Himself in creation and in our hearts, so to that extent, we are all without excuse (Romans 1:18-20). In Acts 17:22-31, Paul gave a great example of this reality when speaking to the men of Athens about their altar to the “unknown” god. “He has made from one blood every nation of men…and has determined their pre-appointed times and boundaries…so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:26-28 emphasis mine). But while these men recognized One Supreme Being, they resisted the truth and continued to worship idols and demonic powers. Without the truth of Christ, the result was (and still is) death (Romans 6:23).
If someone wants to know God, God will get someone to them with the gospel. This is why it is important that Christians respond to the Great Commission given by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20, to be witnesses to Him to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). God chooses to use us, flawed though we are, to share the truth with whomever is looking for it.
For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”…So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:13-15, 17).
What an honor it is to be entrusted with sharing God’s truth with whomever He puts before me! For God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He loves each one of us and calls us to the cross by name.