My Responsibility

The world of theology has its unsolvable puzzles. One is called the sovereignty of God versus the free will of humanity. How do we reconcile these great truths? J.I. Packer said that someone once asked the Calvinist preacher Charles Spurgeon that same question. He replied, “I wouldn’t try, I never reconcile friends.”

In Romans 9 Paul confirmed that salvation is the work of God. He has elected some and He has hardened those who rejected Him. Yet how can God justly condemn those who did not choose to believe if their choosing was not the will of God?

Chapter 9 saw Paul defend the Lord’s absolute sovereignty so in chapter 10, Paul turns his attention to our responsibility. The Creator rejects sinful people because they have rejected Him. In addition, we love the Father because He first loved us.


1. The gospel is freely available so those who hear are accountable (10:8-10)
Jesus confronted Israel with a choice: receive Him by faith and be declared righteous or pursue righteousness by works and be condemned. Grace or guilt. Through the testimony and preaching of believers like Paul Israel was again confronted with a choice in the form of the gospel: believe and you will be saved.

With the heart a person believes resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth they confess resulting in salvation. That kind of belief is uncomplicated but it’s anything but easy. It wasn’t easy for Christ who paid for our salvation with His death and resurrection. It wasn’t easy for the thousands of martyrs who bore witness to this message.

The gospel message is available to all, it’s free, and there are no restrictions. Availability results in accountability.

2. The gospel is for everyone so no one is exempt (10:11-15)
The chief mason lays the first stone at the exact location of a building’s corner. This cornerstone becomes the standard reference point. The standard of righteousness, for us, is belief in Jesus Christ.
That standard applies to every stone in God’s building, Jew and Gentile alike. Everyone is responsible to meet the standard of the gospel-belief.

Some theologians object to this because responding in faith to the gospel sounds too much like a good work. By their reasoning, if people have the ability to believe in Christ of their own free will then they can claim credit for their own salvation. This belief in Christ must not be freely and independently chosen but compelled by the Holy Spirit. This doctrine is called irresistible grace. It sounds logical but has no direct support from Scripture.

In addition, some teach that Christ died only for those who were predestined to believe and no one else. This is known as the doctrine of limited atonement. But the Bible actually teaches the opposite.

“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

Christ died for all. His gift of atonement is offered to all. His grace is available to the whole world.

The Apostle Peter speaks in 2 Peter about false teachers in the church. Some people who were guilty of teaching error in the church were destined for eternal torment because they were denying Jesus who paid the price to redeem them. He paid for the sins of the whole world, including these lost teachers.

3. The gospel is clear so the unsaved are personally responsible (10:16-20)
Hearing doesn’t automatically result in believing. Paul asks, “Who has believed our message?” The answer implied by the question is Israel! They have no excuse for not believing.
Paul quotes Psalm 19:4 which shows the Lord’s special revelation of Himself ot the Hebrew people in the Scriptures.

4. The Creator is faithful and unchanging so personal responsibility remains (10:21)
Our Sovereign Creator does not change. However, He has dealt with humanity differently in various stages of history. Even so, salvation has never changed. Salvation now, as it has always been, is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. God is sovereign over choosing of His people but each person is responsible to God’s offer of grace and is blameworthy for refusing it.


1. I must care enough for the souls of others to go out of my way to share the good news
2. I must share the good news faithfully, freely, and often
3. I must pray for people that are far from God
Pastor Chris Williams
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