For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; for “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:11-13)
The Old Testament Scripture, as “witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,” had long testified that “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ [is] for all those who believe; for there is no distinction” (Rom. 3:21–22, emphasis added). In other words, salvation through faith in Him for anyone (whoever believes) has always been God’s plan. As Paul declared earlier, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16, emphasis added). And as he assured the believers at Corinth, many of whom were Gentiles, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17, emphasis added). From eternity past, God’s Word invariably has accomplished His divine goal, which has always included His loving and gracious desire that no human being would perish but that “all [would] come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
That wondrous truth is a balance to the great emphasis Paul has been placing on God’s sovereignty (see, e.g., Rom. 9:6–26). Although the two truths seem mutually exclusive to our finite minds, God’s sovereign choice of every person who is saved is, in His infinite mind, perfectly consistent with His promise that whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed. Both the Old and the New Testaments make clear that salvation is granted only to those who trust in God and that He offers His gracious redemption to all mankind, Jew and Gentile. No one who believes in Him will ever be disappointed by the salvation that He so graciously and universally offers.
The barrier to salvation, therefore, is not racial or cultural but personal rejection of the God who offers it. People perish because they refuse to “receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” (2 Thess. 2:10).
The way of salvation has always been offered to all men everywhere. As the Lord graciously promised through Jeremiah, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). God’s absolute and universal assurance to all men is that no person who sincerely seeks for Him will fail to find Him. The incarnate Christ “was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man” (John 1:9, emphasis added), and the incarnate Christ Himself declared that “this gospel of [His] kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations” (Matt. 24:14). Even in the first century Paul could therefore declare, “the word of truth, the gospel… has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing” (Col. 1:5–6).
In Romans 10:11–18, Paul affirms that the gospel is not just one more local invention or one more pagan mystery religion but is the good news of salvation that God always has sought to be proclaimed to every nation and to every person, Jew and Gentile alike.