ROMANS 10.9-10 RECEIVING RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH INVOLVES CONFESSING JESUS AS LORD (GOD, YAHWEH) AND BELIEVING IN HIS RESURRECTION
Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. In these verses, Paul stated the content of that message concerning faith. Confessing with the mouth that Jesus is Lord is mentioned first to conform to the order of the quotation from Deuteronomy 30:14 in Romans 10:8. The confession is an acknowledgement that God has been incarnated in Jesus (cf. v. 6), that Jesus Christ is God (Yahweh – the self-existent One). Also essential is heart-faith that God raised Him from the dead (cf. v. 7). The result is salvation. The true order is given in verse 10: For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified (lit., “it is believed unto righteousness”), and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (lit., “it is confessed unto salvation”).
Yet these are not two separate steps to salvation. They are chronologically together. Salvation comes through acknowledging to God that Christ is God and believing in Him.
The normal chronological order is that one believes and then acknowledges his or her belief (i.e., confesses; cf. v. 10; 2 Cor. 4:13-14).
"Confess" means to say the same thing about something as someone else does (Gr. homologeo; cf. 1 John 1:9). In this context, it refers to saying the same thing about Jesus Christ as other believers in Him do. It is an acknowledgment of one's faith in Christ. Obedient Christians in the early church made this confession verbally and in water baptism, as we do today (cf. Matt. 28:19-20).
Notice in verse 10 something that's very basic. The word "righteousness" is equated with the word "salvation." They are referring to the same thing. With the heart man believes unto righteousness, with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. It doesn't take a great scholar to figure out then that righteousness equals salvation, salvation equals righteousness. You confess unto righteousness, you believe unto salvation. You believe unto righteousness, you confess unto salvation. They're synonymous.
In the early church the phrase, "Jesus is Lord" was one of the most common and simple expressions by which believers confessed their faith in Christ (cf. Acts. 2:36; 1 Cor. 8:6; 12:3; Phil. 2:11). It is a confession parallel and very similar to Israel's basic confession of faith in Yahweh: "Yahweh our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6:4, the Shema). In the Roman world, faithful citizens were increasingly being expected to acknowledge that Caesar was Lord (divine). So the original recipients of this epistle, especially, had to face the issue of who really is divine, Jesus or Caesar.
We take it that, for Paul, the confession that Jesus is Lord meant the acknowledgment that Jesus shares the name, the nature, the holiness, the authority, power, majesty and eternity of the one and only true God." Paul is speaking of the fact of the lordship of Christ, which is the very cornerstone for faith, something without which no one could be saved."
The fact that Jesus is Lord (God and Savior) became clear when He arose from the dead (cf. v. 7). Jesus' resurrection was the proof that He really was the divine Messiah, God's Holy One (cf. Ps. 16:10-11). Belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ meant belief that Jesus is Lord.
Ro 1:3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Ac 8:37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
Mt 10:32 "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
The contrast between mouth and heart needs to be observed. But we may not tone down the importance of confession with the mouth. Confession without faith would be vain (cf. Matt. 7:22, 23; Tit. 1:16). Likewise faith without confession would be shown to be fake. Our Lord and the New Testament in general bear out Paul’s coordination of faith and confession (cf. Matt. 10:22; Luke 12:8; John 9:22; 12:42; 1 Tim. 6:12; 1 John 2:23; 4:15; 2 John 7). Confession with the mouth is the evidence of the genuineness of faith and sustains to the same the relation which good works sustain (cf. 12:1, 2; 14:17; Eph. 2:8–10; 4:1, 2; James 2:17–22).
1Jo 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.
Belief in Jesus Christ in one's heart results in acceptance by God (i.e., imputed righteousness, justification, and positional sanctification). Testimony to one's belief in Jesus Christ normally follows and normally is verbal. Paul was describing the normal consequence of belief. Witmer wrote that the confession is to God. One's confession that Jesus is Lord would be to God initially (i.e., expressing trust in Christ to the Father), but most interpreters have believed that the confession in view goes beyond God and includes other people as well. This seems to be a reasonable conclusion since the confession is to be made with the mouth.
Righteousness has to do with what we become. Salvation has to do with what we don't become. Righteousness has to do with what we receive. Salvation has to do with what we don't receive, punishment. Righteousness has to do with entering into blessedness. Salvation has to do with escaping cursedness. Two great terms describing two sides of God's saving work.
When you're saved, you receive a new kind of life. What kind of life? Righteous life, holy life.
Ro 4:22 And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness." 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
Ac 13:29 "Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. 30 "But God raised Him from the dead. 31 "He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. 32 "And we declare to you glad tidings--that promise which was made to the fathers. 33 "God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus.
Verse 32 he says, "We declare unto you good news, glad tidings, the promise which was made to the fathers, God has fulfilled the same unto us their children." How did God do it? "In that He raised up Jesus again." In other words, he says God's promises are all fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Acts 16:30, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, thou shalt be saved.’" But what were they to believe? What was the point of their faith? What was it about Jesus Christ that they were to accept?
You say, "Well, Paul must have told them something. What did he tell them?" Well, what did he do to them immediately after this? Verse 33, "He took them the same hour of the night, washed their stripes and was baptized." The jailer took care of them and he was baptized. What does baptism signify? When you go down in the water and you come out, what's that an identification with? The resurrection of Jesus Christ. They must have gotten very clearly the message of resurrection.
Acts 17:30, "God commands everyone everywhere to repent because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained concerning which He has given assurance unto all." How did God give assurance to all that this in fact was the Messiah, that this in fact was the Lord that this in fact was the judge and the coming king? How did He do it? "In that He raised Him from the dead, raised Him from the dead." That's the key.
1 Peter 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And you can read the whole fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. The resurrection was the ultimate approval, substantiation, verification of the ministry of Christ. It showed that He indeed was God in human flesh, able to conquer death, hell, Satan. It showed that He had lived a perfect life for death had no right to hold Him. There was no sin for which He must pay. It showed that He conquered death, all of that, that the Father approved of His work on the cross and took Him out of the grave and set Him at His own right hand. Philippians 2 tells us that He humbled Himself, took upon Himself the form of a man, found in fashion as a servant. And He went through all the suffering that He went through and then it says God has Highly exalted Him, given Him a name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.
The resurrection was the Father's stamp of approval. An infinitely holy God put His stamp of approval on the work of Jesus Christ. That is what you say when you believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead
Back to Romans 10 — that you believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, you're saying something that's far more than just believing in an isolated event. In essence, what you're saying is that you believe that this is the incarnate God who came into the world, God in human flesh, lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, went into the grave and conquered death, came out the other side having purchased salvation for us, is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, and someday will come again as the Father's appointed judge and King to judge men and to rule the world forever. That's all bound up in the resurrection.
If Paul had picked any other event, it wouldn’t have been as significant as this. The resurrection says He is Son of God. The resurrection says He is Messiah, He is Savior. He is the ultimate Lamb, the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He is the perfect one, the sinless one, the one exalted at the right hand of God, the one to be the judge, the one to be the King. The only Savior, the judge of all men, the conqueror of death, the coming King, the eternal monarch of glory; all of that is bound up in the resurrection. And that's what we're called to believe.
In other words, you couldn’t say, "Well, I believe that Jesus rose from the dead. It just doesn't matter to me." No, that's not the kind of belief we're talking about. It's when your heart affirms all that the resurrection is intended to affirm. Affirming that the resurrection of Jesus was a historical fact won't save you. It is when you see in the resurrection the divine verification of all that Jesus claimed to be and do, that's the issue, it's believing that.
The Greek word in one form or another for faith and believing is 484 times in the New Testament. That's a lot of times. It's the key to salvation.
John 8:30 Jesus is talking to the population there, the area around Jerusalem. And He says things to them about Himself, about the Father. Then in verse 30, "As He spoke these words, many believed." Well there wasn't any resurrection yet so they couldn't believe that. What did they believe? Well they believed He was a prophet, they believed His words were true. They believed that He was a messenger from God. They believed He was a miracle worker. They believed He was a teacher. Whatever. But Jesus said to those Jews who believed, "If you continue in My Word then you're My real disciples." Something more than believing, right? There's continuing. In other words, it isn't enough that you've accepted Me as a miracle worker, or that you believe I'm a teacher from God, you've got to continue to believe everything else that I have to say about Myself. And that's what cut them out.
There are people who believe Jesus is the Son of God. And they may believe that He died on a cross and that He came out of the grave. But that's not saving faith because it doesn't imply that they embrace in the deepest part of their being all that His work meant. Do you understand that? All that it meant. All that it implied. In John 2 it says some people believed but He didn't commit Himself unto them because He knew the heart of man and He knew what their thinking was. And it wasn't adequate. It wasn't sufficient. James talks about the kind of faith that is dead faith. Because it has no product. What kind of believing is this? Well it's superficial believing. It's shallow believing. It doesn't encompass everything. And that's why in Romans 10 Paul says you must believe in the fullest sense from the deepest part of your person that God raised Him from the dead. In other words, all that that implies must be believed.
Believes means an ongoing condition not a one-time event of belief. True faith is a way of life.
Saving faith consists of three elements:
- Mental - The mind understands the gospel and truth about Christ
- Emotional - one embraces the truthfulness of those facts with sorrow over sin and joyfulness over God's mercy and Grace
- A volitional or voluntary submission of the sinners will to Christ and trusts in Christ alone as the only hope of salvation.
CONFESSION VERIFIES AND CONFIRMS THE FAITH OF THE HEART.
Jas 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
Lu 4:33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, 34 saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!"
The words of Thomas are very familiar to us, when he sees Jesus he says "My Lord and My God." “God” has to do with deity, “Lord” has to do with sovereignty. And if they both meant the same thing then he was repeating himself. “Lord” is the word that indicates sovereign power, sovereign control. “God” is the expression of deity.
The point is that the true heart that really believes, understands the fullness of who Christ is and willingly submits to His authority.
In the book of Acts, He is called “Savior” two times and “Lord” 92 times. And in the whole New Testament the word, "Lord" appears 634 times. “Savior,” appears 24 times, and never before “Lord,” but always after 116 times. God and Savior twice. Therefore, the context here of Romans 10 fits right into the standard understanding of this word kurios, that it is a word of sovereign ruler ship.
Tit 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
Salvation is to believe that He is all of that and to affirm that you take your place under His sovereign ruler ship.
Demons believe the right stuff, but have no capacity to submit to the lordship of Christ. That's why the Bible in Romans 1 calls it the obedience of faith. It is faith that leads to obedient submission to the lordship of Christ.