Have you ever heard someone say, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words”? It
sounds like good advice, and in a sense it is. The basic meaning behind the quote is that we should live
our Christian lives in such a compelling manner that people will see Christ in us and come to know Him
Unfortunately, for someone to know about and believe in Jesus, it takes more than a good example. The
gospel must be communicated with words. Otherwise, people cannot be saved. Sound too extreme?
Read Romans 10:13-17
First of all, we read a wonderful promise that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be
saved” (Romans 10:13). It doesn’t matter who you are, “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” (Romans 10:9).
That’s the gospel. That’s the good news of Christianity.
But this means that non-Christians must hear about Christ and His saving work in order to be saved.
“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? And how are
they to preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15).
Retrace Paul’s logic. You must call upon the name of the Lord to be saved (V.13). But you won’t call upon
the name of the Lord unless you believe first. And you won’t believe in Him unless you first hear about
Him. And you can’t hear about Jesus unless someone preaches about Him. And there won’t be anyone
preaching unless they’re first sent.
Paul’s point is clear. If unbelievers are going to be saved, they must hear the gospel a Christian. “Faith”
which is necessary for salvation “comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans
10:17). Christians must communicate the message of Christ’s life, death and resurrection to the non-
Christian and call for a response. The response we call for is repentance and faith (Mark 1:14-15, Acts
2:37-40). People won’t be saved unless they hear the gospel.
The first question that is always raised to this teaching is this: What about people who never hear the
gospel? What about the people all over the world who never even heard the name of Jesus? Won’t they
be spared God’s judgment because they’ve never heard? Paul has already answered this question (Read
Romans 1:18-23). God has so clearly revealed Himself through creation that they “are without excuse”
(1:20). Though all men know God exists, they do not “honor him as God or give thanks to him” (1:21).
Therefore, God is right in judging all men whether they’ve heard the gospel or not. God doesn’t send
people to Hell just for rejecting Jesus. He sends people to Hell because they’ve sinned against Him
(Romans 3:23, 6:23). All have sinned, and all deserve judgement.
If people were spared God’s judgment because they didn’t hear the gospel, the best thing we could do is
withhold the message of the gospel from the world. Think about it. If people are spared for their
ignorance, then we should never tell them about Jesus and allow them to remain in that ignorance. That
way we guarantee them a spot in Heaven. But that’s not what Scripture teaches. The Bible is clear, we must communicate the gospel for people to be saved. A good Christian example is not enough. It’s going
to take words, and those words must come from bold witnesses (Acts 1:8).
Thanks for reading!
Brandon Sutton is the Senior Pastor at Blue Ridge Christian Union Church. You can email him at