God’s Way of Salvation – Romans 10:9-13
Pastor Mark Hardy June 9, 2013
Lew Wallace, a general in the Civil War, was so antagonistic toward Christianity that he wanted to prove that Jesus, if He had ever lived to begin with, was certainly not God, but merely a man, and that He never rose from the dead. He determined to so thoroughly study the life of Christ that he could so convincingly write a book that would prove once and for all that Christianity was a hoax. However, this great and enormous subject drew him further and further into his research until the evidence overwhelmed him. Wallace was so convicted by the fact that Jesus Christ was not only a real historical person, but also God Himself in human flesh who died on the cross for his own sins and literally rose from the dead, that he dropped to his knees during his study and cried out to Jesus to be his personal Lord and Savior.
Although he first intended to write a book to prove to the world that Jesus was not God, Lew Wallace instead wrote the book entitled Ben Hur in 1899 to try to prove to the world that Jesus was God. His book became a classic and remains a towering story of love, suffering, the struggle of good against evil, and of triumph. It is an exquisite portrayal of the power, grace and love of Jesus. I never read the book but the book was turned into a movie starring Charleton Heston, which I’ve seen many times, and it won the Academy Award for best movie in 1959.
What happened to Lew Wallace is a beautiful example of what has taken place in the lives of countless others by the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is this gospel that we will be looking at this morning as we continue on in our study of Romans. Turn in your Bible to Romans 10.
In Romans 10:9-13 we see three important aspects concerning the life-saving and life-transforming gospel of Jesus Christ.
The first important aspect is:
I. The Content of the Gospel
A. Look at v. 9: 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;
1. Having mentioned in v. 8 the “word of faith,” the gospel, which is the message that he and the other apostles were preaching that required the response of faith, Paul now gives a synopsis of the content of this gospel in v. 9. And since he also used the phrase “in your mouth and in your heart” in v. 8, which he quoted from Deuteronomy 30:14, he follows this same order of “mouth” first then “heart” in v. 9.
2. In vv. 9-10 Paul shows us the two-part response to the gospel of Jesus Christ that is needed in order to be saved. Paul says the first-part of this response is “…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord.”
3. The word “confess” (homologeses) here means “to say the same thing about, to acknowledge, agree, admit, declare, profess, or proclaim.” It is to openly and publicly declare something before others with one’s mouth.
4. And the content of what one publicly declares to be saved is “Jesus as Lord” or “Jesus is Lord.” The word “Lord” (kurion) is used 6,823 times in the Old Testament to translate “Yahweh” or “Jehovah,” which is LORD in all caps. Therefore, to confess here that “Jesus is Lord” is essentially to call Him Yahweh God incarnate, the great “I AM” (Ex. 3:14).
5. It is to acknowledge the deity of Christ, whereby He is the God-Man: 100% God, 100% man. This was a very serious matter especially for a Jew in Paul’s day, and to do so was at the cost of an extremely high price.
6. For a Jew to claim that Jesus of Nazareth was “Lord,” Yahweh God, meant that he would be ostracized from his family, treated as if he had died, put out of the synagogue, and sometimes even killed (Jn. 9:22; 12:42).
7. Jesus knew that following Him would be costly when He said in Matthew 10:34-36, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUTHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.”
8. Now the reason that this happens is because the term “Lord” signifies Christ’s sovereign rulership, power and authority over the universe and everything in it. And as the Sovereign Ruler and Master, He is the Owner of every believer and requires our total allegiance and obedience to Him first and foremost.
9. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 we read, “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”
10. Now obviously Paul isn’t talking about unbelieving people who merely mouth the empty words “Jesus is Lord.” Jesus warned in Matthew 7:21, “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.” (Lk. 6:46)
11. The true confession that Jesus is Lord comes only by the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life. For 1 Corinthians 12:3 states that, “…no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 16:16-17)
B. Now although the official title “Lord” was not bestowed on Jesus until His exaltation, Scripture tells us that He was always intended to be the Supreme Ruler of the universe.
1. We see this at His birth when the angel said to the shepherds in Luke 2:11, “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
2. We see this during His ministry when Jesus said to His disciples in John 13:13, “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.” (Matt. 22:41-46)
3. We see this after His resurrection when doubting Thomas, who had just seen the risen Christ declared in John 20:28, “…My Lord and my God!”
4. We see this as Paul speaks of Christ’s exaltation to the right hand of God in Philippians 2:9-11, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
5. The Lordship of Christ was a central theme in the preaching of the early church. Peter summarized his first sermon on the day of Pentecost saying in Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”
6. Paul and Silas proclaimed to the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
7. Paul declared in 2 Corinthians 4:5, “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” In Colossians 2:6 he said, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”
8. And one day at His Second Coming, we are told in Revelation 19:16 that the glorified Christ will have “…on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
9. Therefore, the confession “Jesus is Lord” was one of the earliest Christian creeds. It is a fact that in the New Testament Jesus is called “Lord” far more often than He is called “Savior?”
10. In the book of Acts alone, He is referred to as “Savior” only twice, but as “Lord” ninety-two times. John MacArthur says, “In the entire New Testament, He is referred to some ten times as Savior and some seven hundred times as Lord. When the two titles are mentioned together, Lord always precedes Savior.” (pg. 74)
11. This is why, contrary to much teaching today that waters-down the gospel, a true Christian cannot have Jesus Christ as his Savior but not as His Lord. Scripture never separates Jesus as Lord from Jesus as Savior, for both are essential.
12. And because Jesus is Lord, it is important for us as believers to understand that we never “make” Him Lord of our lives. He is already Lord; our responsibility is simply to submit to His lordship.
13. And since He is Lord, when we refuse to submit to Him as the Master of our lives and continue to live in sin and disobedience, Hebrews 12:5-11 tells us that He will exercise His lordship over us in the form of loving discipline.
C. Paul goes on to show us the second-part of this response to the gospel of Jesus Christ in v. 9. Look what he says, “…and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.” (Stop there)
1. Here we see that belief in the heart is clearly the crucial requirement for salvation. The word “believe” (pisteuses) is far more than mere intellectual assent (Jn. 2:23-25; 12:42-43), but means to trust in, to place confidence in, and to rely upon.
2. Since the “heart” (kardia) is the mission-control center of our lives, which includes our mind, will, and emotions, here we see in inwardness of faith. True belief or saving faith takes hold of the whole of the inner man.
3. Whereas the content of the gospel is first the belief that “Jesus is Lord,” now we see that it also is the belief that “God raised Him from the dead.” It is impossible to overestimate the importance of the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
4. This historical fact is the cornerstone and crowning proof of Christianity. In addition to Christ’s Lordship, Christ’s resurrection was also a central theme of the apostles preaching (Acts 2:29-32; 4:1-2, 33; 13:32-33; 17:18; 26:23).
5. The resurrection of Christ from the dead, and thus, His victory over sin, death, and Satan proves that He is truly who He claimed to be—God Himself in human flesh. His resurrection marks out Jesus as absolutely distinct from all others.
6. Paul said back in Romans 1:4, “who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
7. Christ’s resurrection proved that the Father’s redeeming work for the world was accomplished His (Heb. 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:3-4). John Stott said it well, “The cross was victory won, and the resurrection was the victory confirmed and announced.” In other words, the resurrection was the Father’s “AMEN!” to the Son’s cry on the cross “It is finished.”
8. Leon Morris described it this way, “It is at the cross that God did his saving work, but Paul does not believe in a dead martyr but in a living Savior. Not only did Jesus die for our sins but God raised him, triumphant over all the forces of evil.” (pg. 386)
9. Therefore, take away resurrection of Christ and all of Christianity crumbles into ruins and becomes nothing more than a false, man-made religion like all of the rest.
10. This is exactly what Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:14-19, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”
11. Now although Paul puts confession before belief in this verse, in reality, confession is merely the evidence of genuine faith. What the heart truly believes will be uttered by the lips (Acts 4:20).
12. For Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
13. There must be true saving faith in the heart or such a confession with the lips is a mockery. Paul’s point is that internal faith will always manifest itself in external confession (Eph. 2:8-10; Jam. 2:14-26).
D. Now notice the guaranteed result of this mouth confession and heart belief in Christ’s Lordship and resurrection at the end of v. 9, “…you will be saved.”
1. It’s a promise! The one Greek word translated “will be saved” (sothese) here is passive, which means it is God Himself who will save you.
2. And the future tense of the word means that God will save you from His wrath on the future Day of Judgment.
E. Paul then explains this further in v. 10: for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
1. Notice how Paul now reverses the order and states the true order of heart belief prior to mouth confession. Paul is not talking about two different steps to salvation, but one step or response with two parts—believing and confessing, which are inseparable.
2. And there is no substantive difference between “righteousness” and “salvation” here, for they are used synonymously. Leon Morris aptly states, “We should not think of faith as leading to righteousness and confession as a different act that leads to salvation. These are but two parts of the same saving experience.” (pg. 386)
3. And since the word “believes” and “confesses” are in the present tense, this indicates that the truths of Christ’s lordship and resurrection that make up the content of the gospel are the constant, lifelong convictions of all those who are genuinely saved.
4. So here again in vv. 9-10 we see the biblical balance of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. It is God who saves, but not apart from heart belief and mouth confession which is a genuine human response to God.
5. The second aspect concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ is:
II. The Confirmation of the Gospel
A. Paul now sets out to scripturally proved what he has just said about salvation by faith by appealing once again to an excerpt from Isaiah 28:16, which he used before in 9:33. Look at v. 11: For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
1. First of all, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, instead of saying “He” as in the original text, Paul adds the word “whoever” at the beginning of this verse. This paves the way for what he will say in vv. 12-13.
2. Then Paul goes on to state that everyone who “believes in Him” (i.e. in Jesus Christ), who puts their trust in Him alone, “will not be disappointed.” The word “disappointed” (kataischunthesetai) refers to vindication in the final judgment.
3. In other words, those who put their faith in Jesus as the resurrected Lord will be delivered from His wrath on the Day of Judgment.
4. Therefore, we as believers never need to fear that our faith in Christ is ill placed or ill-founded. What God has promised to us in His Word He will do!
5. The third aspect concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ is:
III. The Comprehensiveness of the Gospel
A. Look again at the first part of v. 11: “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN
HIM…” (Stop there)
1. The word “whoever” (pas) or everyone speaks of the whole world. This word picks up the element of universality at the end of v. 4 when Paul said that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
2. The universality or comprehensiveness of the gospel is communicated with the term “whoever,” indicating that God’s saving purpose in Christ is for everyone in the world, Jew and Gentile alike. There is no exception!
3. Although the content of the gospel, Jesus’ lordship and resurrection, is scandalous to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles (9:32-33; 1 Cor. 1:18-23), it is available and accessible to everyone who believes.
B. Paul explains this further in v. 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;
1. Just as Paul has already established the fact that there is “no distinction” (diastole) or partiality between Jew and Gentile regarding God’s condemnation because we’re all sinners (3:9, 22-23), so there is no distinction or partiality between Jew and Gentile regarding God’s salvation by faith (3:29-30).
2. These ethnic distinctions are absolutely irrelevant because “the same Lord is Lord of all.” The ground is level at the foot of the cross.
3. Now this “same Lord” is Jesus Christ, whom we saw is “Lord” in v. 9, “Him” in v. 11, and will see again is “Lord” in v. 13. Since there is only one and the same Lord, there is only one way of salvation that is exactly the same for both Jews and Gentiles.
4. God’s way of salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, who is the resurrected Lord. There is no other way! (Jn. 3:16-18; 14:6; Acts 4:12)
5. And the Lord Jesus Christ who is “Lord of all” is “…abounding in riches for all who call on Him.” To “call on” (epikaloumenous) here and in v. 13 (epikalesatai), is an Old Testament term for coming to God in prayer and worship. Here and in v. 13 it refers to seriously request the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
6. And notice that “all” those who do find Him “abounding in riches” to them. The word “riches” (plouton) in this context speak of His loving mercy and unfathomable grace in bestowing salvation on all those who call out to Him, Jew and Gentile alike.
7. The riches of God’s mercy is seen in His not giving to us the judgment that we do deserve; and the riches of God’s grace is seen in His giving to us the blessings of His saving kindness and favor that we do not deserve. And God will continue to pour out His spiritual blessings in Christ upon us as believers, both now and throughout eternity (2:4; 9:23; 11:33; 1 Cor. 1:5; 2 Cor. 8:9; 9:8; Eph. 1:7, 18; 2:4, 7; 3:8, 16; Col. 1:27; Tit. 3:5-6).
8. One of the most encouraging promises in God’s Word is Philippians 4:19 which says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
C. Paul then further explains and proves from the Old Testament that God’s salvation is available to everyone who calls on Christ with a quote from Joel 2:32. Look at v. 13: for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
1. Again under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul takes a passage that originally spoke of “Yahweh” and applies it to Jesus Christ. As we saw in v. 12, the expression “call on the name of the LORD” is a common Old Testament expression that involved both prayer to and worship of God (Gen. 4:26; 12:8; 13:4; 21:22; 26:25; 33:20; 1 Sam. 12:17-18; 2 Sam. 22:4, 7; 1 Kgs. 8:43, 52; 17:21; 18:24; 2 Kgs. 5:11; Ps. 4:2; 13:4; 17:4; 30:18; 52:5; 79:6; 105:1; 116:4-5, 13; Isa. 64:7).
2. God’s “name” (onoma) refers to the sum total of all His attributes—who He is in His person, what He does, and His reputation. Therefore, to “call on” the name of the Lord Jesus Christ speaks of putting our trust in Him alone as the God-man and His atoning sacrifice on the cross to save us from our sins.
3. Leon Morris rightly states, “We must understand calls on in no mere formal sense; it is a calling on the Lord out of a sense of inadequacy and need and proceeds from a genuine conviction that the Lord can be relied on. It is significant that once again Paul takes words which in the Old Testament are used of Yahweh and uses them of Christ.” (pg. 388)
4. And everyone (whoever) prays to the Lord Jesus Christ and puts their trust in Him is again given the promise that they “will be saved.” This one Greek word (sothesetai) is again passive, meaning that Christ Himself will save you. And it’s future tense shows that He will save you from wrath on the future Day of Judgment.
In closing, Woodrow Kroll said, “The basis for human responsibility in salvation arises out of the fact that the gospel is offered to all, irrespective of national heritage, and therefore all are responsible to respond to that offer. If we fail to respond to the offer, our failure is itself a response.” (pg. 170)
Let me ask you this morning: How have you responded to God’s offer of salvation? Have you received Him as your personal Lord and Savior to allow Him to save and transform your life?
To bow and confess “Jesus Christ is Lord” now in this lifetime means eternal salvation, but to bow and confess this after it is too late means eternal condemnation. Please don’t wait! “Now is ‘THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,’ now is ‘THE DAY OF SALVATION’” (2 Cor. 6:2).