If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:9-15
Today’s passage starts off with a summary of the most necessary elements of spiritual salvation. They center on belief in the Lordship (the leadership and/or authority) of Christ and his bodily resurrection. Faith must be in the heart, which includes the emotions, intellect and will, and it takes hold of the whole person. Faith must also committing oneself publicly to Jesus as Lord, both in words and in actions.
The first element of spiritual salvation we see is to “declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’.” The earliest creed (statement of belief) or confession of the New Testament church was not “Jesus is Savior,” but “Jesus is Lord.” Jesus Christ is specifically called “Savior” 16 times in the New Testament and “Lord” more than 450 times. The teaching in some religious circles that Jesus can be your Savior without necessarily being your Lord is not found in the New Testament. No one can truly receive Jesus as Savior without receiving him as Lord-and then continuing to follow him as the supreme Leader and authority in his or her life. And this is a key focus in true Biblical preaching and Christian evangelism.
The word “lord” that we have been talking about is the Greek word “kyrios,” which means having power, authority, control and the right to exercise ruling power as Master. To confess “Jesus is Lord” is to declare him to be equal with God and worthy of power, worship, trust, obedience and prayer. When New Testament Christians called Jesus “Lord,” it was not just an outward profession but an earnest inward attitude of the heart by which they recognized Christ and his Word as the highest authority over all of life. Jesus must be our Lord at home, church, school and on the job. He must be Lord in intellectual, financial, educational and recreational aspects of life-in fact, he must be Lord in all areas of life.
And now we come to the second necessary element of spiritual salvation “believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead.” Anyone who denies Christ’s bodily resurrection cannot, in a true spiritual sense, claim to be a Christian. He or she is still an unbeliever, for the death and resurrection of Christ are the central events of salvation.
And finally we come to the best part of this entire passage, which is found in verse 13, and it says “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” God has not made it difficult to receive his gracious gifts of forgiveness, spiritual salvation and eternal life through him, though there is a cost in following Christ in world that rejects him and persecutes his followers. Yet, if a person recognizes his or her need for God, humbly acknowledges his or her sin and calls on God for mercy, he or she can receive forgiveness and spiritual salvation. As simple as this first step is, however, it cannot happen unless people believe in Chris, which will not happen unless they hear the message. And in order for people to hear and receive the message of Jesus, someone has to tell them about him. The whole process starts with someone who cares enough to communicate Christ’s message. In many cases, the message will not even be communicated fully enough to people in other lands and cultures unless Christians send and support those whom God has called to deliver his message to these people and places. Those who help to send others are filling a major and privileged role in introducing people to Christ. We all can participate in the effort to “bring good news” to those who have not yet heard about Jesus.
Today’s Bible Readings:
Joshua 19-20, Luke 19:28-48, Psalm 88:1-18 and Proverbs 13:12-14