Romans 10:9-10 & 13 are three of the most often used passages to encourage nonbelievers to confess Christ as Savior and Lord that we evangelicals use in our witnessing.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Rom 10:9-10, 13
These passages are found at the end of a witnessing method known as the Roman Road, offering the ultimate relief from the problem of our sin, that the preceding stops along the Road made abundantly clear (Rom 3:23, Rom 6:23, Rom 5:8).
Some of us might even ponder the order of ‘believing and confessing’, in a ‘chicken and egg’ manner. That might be because verse 9 speaks of ‘confessing then believing’, but verse 10 speaks of ’believing then confessing’.
I think the answer to that is found in verse 10, which begins with the preposition ‘for’ indicating that what follows further explains the preceding phrase. Therefore I suggest to you that ‘believing in one’s heart’ ought to precede ‘confessing with one’s mouth’. Also, note that when one someone believes, he/she is also justified. If being ‘justified’ equates to being saved, the confessing is a result of having believed. On a more down to earth note, don’t we tend to see it to believe it and believe it before broadcasting it on social media? Just a thought.
Having said all that, perhaps want is most important here is the ‘character’ of the ‘believing’ – ‘heart’ belief. It’s one thing to assent to something mentally, but something quite different to believe in your heart that something is true. In the case of salvation, it is one thing to merely assent to a historical fact about Jesus – that he was crucified on a Roman cross and that perhaps the reason was because of human sin. It is another thing to realize at the depths of my being that I should have been the one hanging on a tree that day because of MY sin – that Jesus died in MY place. And by MY sin, I don’t just mean the sinful things that do, but the condition I was in at birth – dead in trespasses and sin and by nature an object of God’s wrath (Eph 2).
The Apostle Paul gives us an example of what God does in the matter of ‘heart’ belief:
“On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Acts 16:13-14
Several women were listening to Paul preach, but we are told quite clearly that God opened Lydia’s heart to ‘hear’ the words of Paul. Lydia believed with her heart Paul’s words and was saved.
If what I have said above is true, it leaves us with a question:
Why do we so often ask others if they have made a ‘confession’ of faith but rarely ask them if they ‘believed in their hearts’?
Something to think about. . .
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” – Rom 10:9-10