Paul has clearly explained in the previous verses what Martin Luther has called "the blessed exchange." When we believe on Christ, He takes our sin, and we receive His perfect righteousness. This occurs to "whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord" (v.13).
This leads Paul to ask three very logical questions in our text:
- How can they call on him in whom they have not believed? A cry for help only comes after a person believes in his heart that help is near and available.
- How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? You can't believe on Christ's work until you have heard of Christ's work.
- How shall they hear without a preacher? I must stop at this question and ask...
- What is a preacher?
My license plate has the word kerusso, which means in the Greek "I preach." The root word keru is believed to come from the sound a rooster makes when he announces, or proclaims, the rising of the sun. So the word "preacher" means "one who proclaims or heralds news." Preaching is nothing but announcing.
- A preacher is not a moralizer... "do this, don't do this, etc...."
- A preacher is not even a motivator... "do this better, etc. . . ."
- A preacher is a memorizer... He's telling you the "news."
- Who is a preacher?
Everyone. People love to tell news or give information. We have sports announcers, news broadcasters, court reporters, and all other kinds of informants. We might as well call them sports preachers, news preachers, court preachers and "good news preachers." Which are you? The word gospel means "good news." Christ sent all of His followers to fan out across the world and "tell the Good News" (Matthew 28:19-20).
- What are you to preach?
In other words, what is the good news? Paul calls it "the gospel of peace" and "glad tidings of good things." To those who feel their sin and just condemnation from a holy God, you announce the good news. God has done it all for sinners who believe. It is not you, but it is all about Him. This is good news for sinners.
"It is a marvelous thing and unknown to the world to teach Christians to ignore the Law and to live before God as though there were no Law whatever. For if you do not ignore the Law and thus direct your thoughts to grace as though there were no law you cannot be saved." (Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians, p.6)
- Where are you to preach?
- The market place... A person would run from city to city (a marathoner) giving the news. They eventually became known as "town criers." The Athens newspaper is still called "The Town Crier."
- Relatives... if the news pertained to a family, only a relative would run to the nearest relative's house to break the news.
- Friends... Jesus Christ has sent us to "tell the good news" to those in need.
- What is a preacher?