But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us? So faith comes by hearing what is told, and what is heard comes by the preaching of the message that came from the lips of Christ. But I ask, Have they not heard? Indeed they have; for the Scripture says Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the far bounds of the world. Again I ask, Did Israel not understand? Did the Jews have no warning that the Gospel was to go forth to the Gentiles, to all the earth? First, there is Moses who says, I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry. Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, I have been found by those who did not seek Me; I have shown Myself to those who did not consciously ask for Me (Romans 10:16-20)
Even though people encounter the message, not everybody is going to accept it. We must contend with this reality.
It would be nice if you simply shared the truth about Jesus Christ with others in order to see them come to Christ. It would be wonderful if everyone were eager to hear and believe. Sadly, that is not the case. In fact, most are not receptive to the good news about Christ. To them it is not good news or welcome news. To those who are content in going their own way, the message about their need to give their lives to Christ is an unwelcome intrusion. They do not want to give anything to anyone, and certainly not their own lives. They want to be in charge and free to do what they want.
Here is the real problem. Not everyone has ears to hear. Paul said that faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Notice he did not say that physically hearing the message was truly hearing. You can hear and not hear. Ask any wife whether that is true. Faith only comes when we have truly heard with our hearts.
Jesus, in his messages to the seven churches in Asia in the book of Revelation, would challenge them by saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” Obviously, it was possible, even probable, that many would not have ears to hear, even though they had physically and intellectually heard the message.
True hearing is revealed in the response to the message. We know that a person has truly heard when that individual responds in faith. Faith comes by hearing, hearing with the heart. Sadly, many will not hear with the heart. They cannot exercise faith because they have no spiritual ears.
However, God never gives up declaring the message to everyone. In the case of Israel, Paul indicates that they had heard the message because God was always revealing it to them in a variety of ways. He quotes a part of Psalm 19 when he says, “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” If you read more of the Psalm, you will find that it reveals how God has given great revelation of himself through nature.
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; Yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome