16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”
Paul’s focus in this chapter has been on Israel’s response to the gospel. Verse 16 develops further verses 14 and 15 which demonstrate the importance of communicating the gospel message.
The “but” here is strong contrast in the Greek. It is a contrast to those who “call” on the name of the Lord to be saved (v. 16); there are those who do not respond to God’s invitation to believe on the Messiah.
they have not all obeyed [accepted, heeded] the gospel.
Most Jews and Gentiles did not accepted the gospel message (cf. vv. 14-15). The primary reference here, however, is to Jews. Only a few believed the message. “Not all” but some did. Their problem was the acceptance of the authority of the gospel. “Obeyed” is the response to listening to the power of the gospel. Rejection of the gospel was true in Paul’s day as well as ours.
For Isaiah says,
Paul quotes Isaiah 53:1 verbatim here. Isaiah 53 is a reference to the Messiah. This passage is a prediction that the nation Israel would not accept the Messiah’s work on the cross.
“Lord, who has believed our report [message]?”
This quotation is from the famous chapter on the suffering Messiah.
Isaiah 53:5, But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Only a remnant in Paul’s time believed the gospel. No one should expect everyone to respond to the gospel. John 12:38 also quotes Isaiah 53:1 for the same reason.
Extensive sharing of the gospel does not imply extensive acceptance of the message. The word “report” means the thing heard. Faith always comes from a message, the truth heard. Belief continuously finds it source in what is heard, the witness of the Word. There will always be those who reject the divinely commissioned message.
Christians are not responsible for the results of their witness but only the delivery of it.
Christians need to be prepared that some will reject their witness. Unbelief always results from the choice not to accept the authority of the Word of God. It is the charge of believers to extend the gospel message to those who do not know the Lord; on the other hand, it is the responsibility of those who do not know Him to believe it. The believer is not responsible for the response to their message. That was true of the Lord Jesus as well.
Jn 12:37, But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,