December 17 — The Process, Part 1
“As the scripture says, ‘Everyone who calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.’ But how can they call to Him for help if they have not believed?” (Romans 10:13-14 GNT)
How Are People Saved?
Yesterday, we read about Isaiah’s encounter with God. After being overwhelmed by his own unrighteousness in the presence of God’s righteousness, Isaiah confessed his sin. He was cleansed and forgiven. He then heard God ask who could be sent on a mission. Isaiah, motivated by gratitude, responded to the opportunity to be God’s instrument.
The desire to please God who has been good to us is a natural part of the believer’s life. We should respond like Isaiah responded because we have all been delivered from sin the way Isaiah was delivered.
In Romans 10, Paul explains the process of salvation and the part that humans play in the process. He takes the steps in reverse order to lead to the believer’s role.
First, he says that people who believe in the Lord call out to Him. This calling out refers to more than the justification, or freedom from the penalty of sin. It refers to an everyday part of the believer’s life. The Psalms have many examples of “calling” to God (Psalm 18:3 and Psalm 50:15 are examples.) Bartimaeus, the blind man in Mark 10, called out to Jesus to heal him. Calling out to God for help is a natural occurrence in the believer’s life.
Calling Out Comes from Believing
By implication, the believer calls out because of his belief in God. Bartimaeus called out to Jesus because he believed that Jesus could help him. Jesus told Bartimaeus that His faith had made him well.
Faith for its own sake is not what causes someone to call out to God. Christian faith believes certain things. Paul writes in Romans 10:9, “If you confess that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from death, you will be saved.” Faith believes in facts: Jesus is Lord. He was crucified to pay the penalty for our sins. God raised Him from the dead. Faith is more than facts, but there are facts that the believer accepts. The facts do not detract from the faith; rather, they reinforce the greatness of God.
In addition, merely accepting the facts does not save. The forces of evil accept all the facts about Jesus, but they do not call out to Him. Resting in the facts is evidence of faith in God. Our belief in God makes us secure in His presence and comfortable in calling out to Him for help.
The Bottom Line
Calling out to God, which grows out of believing in God, are two steps in the process of salvation. We will see the rest of the steps and the role of the believer tomorrow.
(This material about the process of salvation is primarily based on a message by John Piper entitled “How Shall People Be Saved, Part 1”. To read the entire message, go to the Resource Library at www.desiringgod.org and search for the message by title.)