Jul. 26, 2017

Confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart...

Romans 9:25-10:13 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’
And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’” 26 “And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; 28 for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.” 29 And just as Isaiah foretold, “Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, We would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written,

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

10 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


John 3:16 says:  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”   Believing in Jesus is more than just believing about Him. It is not enough to believe that Jesus was a good man and a good teacher. It is not enough even to believe and follow His teachings. To believe in Jesus is in part, as today’s text says: That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.   So then there is also the necessity of confessing that Jesus is Lord. Even that though, confessing that Christ is Lord, is not enough. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says:    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”    More than just calling Jesus Lord, He must be Lord.    If Jesus is our Lord, then we will, do as He does and says:   “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.(John 5:19)  If Jesus is Lord, all that we do will be according to the will of God, according to what He says, in His word and through His Spirit, which also is given to those who believe.

Still along with confessing and living with Jesus as Lord, there is still the need to: believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, (so that)  you will be saved.   Believing that God raised Jesus from the dead is important for two reasons. First, if we acknowledge that Jesus was raised from the dead, we must acknowledge that He died. The death He died was a horrible, painful death on the cross. Yet in John 10:18 Jesus says:  “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”   Jesus died willingly, of His own initiative, yet even the cross was according to what the Father said, to fulfill what He was doing. What was the Father doing through the cross, through the death of Jesus?  Romans 5:8 says:  God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God was demonstrating His love for us through the cross and Jesus death.   God loves us so much that:   “He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  He demonstrated that love, while we were yet sinners. When we acknowledge the death of Christ on the cross, we acknowledge the reason for His death, that He died for us, for our sins, that through Him, we might be redeemed from sin and reconciled to God.

Still it is important that we believe more than that Jesus died, as John the Baptist said in John 1: 29:  "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  Along with dying for our sins, we must also believe that:  God raised Him from the dead. The fact that God raised Jesus from the dead is important in many ways. First it, the resurrection, is one way that Jesus stands alone, different than every other teacher, prophet or leader of faith. Jesus alone, of all the prophets and teachers, those before Him and those after Him, lived as a man, died and was raised from the grave in both body and spirit.   We must also believe in the resurrection because we are called to join Him in the resurrection. Jesus died for our sins so that we could live. Romans 6:5 says:  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.   Jesus says:  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  (John 19:10)  Jesus came that we might have life. Believing in His death on the cross, confessing that He is Lord and that He died for our sins, we have eternal life. Believing that God raised Him from the dead, living with Jesus as Lord, we have abundant, resurrection life here and now.

Today’s text ends saying:  If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.  In John 14:15 Jesus says:   "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” In John 3:17-21, following what God did because of love, Jesus says:  “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”  Righteousness, doing the will of God is both the result of living a resurrection life with Christ and the evidence of it.

We have both a need to confess the Lord and the privilege and responsibility to do it.  The text says:  With the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Our confession of Christ is critical to our salvation. It also though, has the result of salvation. Jesus says: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)   He says:  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)   Our confession of Christ not only results in our salvation, but it also is our joining the Father, doing what He is doing, as Jesus did. We are to live and speak that Christ would be revealed to the world, that they too would see, believe and receive the love of God, demonstrated in the cross, in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit. I believe in Christ, that because of love, He died for me. I believe that He was raised from the dead, to live again so that I too might live in Him. Holy Spirit, fill me and empower me to live the abundant life Jesus came to give me. Empower me to live in the righteousness of Christ and to confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, that others too would see, hear and believe, that the result would be salvation according to Your will.   Amen.