It seems as though verse 17 is out of order. However, if you take verse 17 as the summary statement for 10:14-16, then the order makes sense. As we partner with God as His sent messengers of the Gospel, people hear the Gospel, some will transfer their trust onto Jesus Christ and express their faith in Christ in prayer (verses 14-15). However, some won’t believe Jesus is the Messiah (verse 16). Paul then summarizes the importance of Christ-followers communicating the Gospel in verse 17: “Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NET) God has sovereignly chosen to weave together His redemptive work with our proclamation of the Gospel.
On Sunday, I stated that in verses 14-15 is a four step process of salvation: God sends every believer, those sent are to communicate the Gospel, those hearing the Gospel may choose to respond with faith, and those who choose to transfer their faith onto Jesus express it through prayer. I emphatically said that this process begins with us, with those who are Christ-followers.
To be honest, I am surprised that I have not received emails about this statement. Salvation from a human perspective begins with a believer engaged in prayer, care and share. However, from a divine perspective it all begins with God. Romans 8:29-30 makes this abundantly clear: "... because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified." (Romans 8:29-30 NET) The four step process in Romans 10 takes place between God's call and justification.
Praise the Lord our salvation is totally a work of God in which He chooses to use His people as instruments to communicate the Gospel!