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.Romans 10:9
Throughout the New Testament, we see that Jesus hasn’t concealed or camouflaged how he and His Father (God) expects us to live, or how we can attain eternal life with him in the New Creation after we die. The apostle Paul gives to the Christians in Rome (as much as to you and I) this revelation:
- If you declare
- In this verse, Paul’s use of the conjunction “if” indicates a definite clause. He means to say, “on the condition that,”… “so long as,”… “under the provision” or “in the case that.”
- “You” is a singular and/or plural second-person pronoun. In Old English, ye and you were used as the plural forms of thee and thou.
- To “declare” something is to announce, confess, agree with, or state something in an official and public domain. It’s much more than just saying something idly or through repetition.
- with your mouth
- When a Christian says anything, we’re to do so in light of the examples given to us by Jesus Christ. During his first imprisonment in Rome, Paul implored to the believers in the church of Colossae (located near the modern Turkish city of Honaz),
- “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17.
- Jesus has commissioned all his believers to speak about him with your mouth (or with your hands if you can’t speak), professing the good news (the gospel), and the pledge of his return (see Matthew 24:36).
- During this time under Roman authority, confessing in public that Jesus was Lord, the Messiah, would result in imprisonment, torture or martyrdom.
- “Jesus is Lord”
- Firstly, this is a definite and exclusive statement. Paul’s not telling the believers that Jesus is an additional, new, or alternative leader for them to follow. Jesus isn’t a lord; Jesus is Lord.
- In English Bibles, the word “Lord” appears in three forms: lord, Lord and LORD. For example:
- Genesis 18:1 “And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day.”
- Genesis 18:3 “O Lord, if I have found favour in your sight, do not pass by your servant.”
- Genesis 18:12 “So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?'”.
- Coming from the Hebrew word Adonai, the regular use of “Lord” means “my Lord.” This relational title characterises the power, strength, exclusivity, and reigning authority of God the Father.
- and believe in your heart
- “And” is a conjunctive function word that is used to connect words, phrases, or items of the same class or type.
- To “believe” is to have faith and put your trust in.
- The preposition of “in” followed by the noun of “your heart” illustrates the location and spatial relationship of one’s belief.
- Apart from being a muscular organ that pumps blood around a person’s body or vertebrate animal to allow life, “your heart” is your emotional, spiritual and moral nature differentiated from your intellectual nature.
- “…believe in your heart” is correlated with “declare with your mouth.” Hence, both must take place for the following conclusion to be realised.
- that God raised him from the dead
- It’s important to understand that although Jesus tells us in John 10:30 that he and God are one, God and Jesus are distinct from each other.
- Jesus didn’t raise himself from the dead; God did. Jesus didn’t pray to himself in the Garden of Gethsemene; he prayed to God, Abba Father. In Matthew 27:46, Jesus didn’t ask himself: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, he asked God.
- God the Father and God the Son are two divine personalities in an interpersonal relationship.
- We read in 1 Peter 3:18-22 that after he died, Jesus went and proclaimed the good news to the spirits in prison (hades). The results of this are seen in Matthew 27: “52The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised…”.
- If you wander amongst a selection of theologians, you’re sure to read that some don’t take this passage literally. They don’t think that Peer had witnessed scores of resurrected individuals strolling around the vistas of Jerusalem.
- We must keep in mind that Peter was the head of the twelve disciples; his writing doesn’t contain the spiritual hermeneutics often seen in later Christology.
- you will be saved
- The pronoun “you” is used towards the person or people being addressed. Paul’s application applies as much to any Christian believer today as it did to those living during first-century Rome. Feel free to replace the “you” and “your” of Romans 10:9 with your own name.
- “Will” is an auxiliary verb that’s used to express futurity (time to come).
- To “be” something denotes a correlation of meaning or substance. It is used towards something that you can identify with or have a qualification or relationship towards.
- In Christianity, to be saved (otherwise known as salvation) means to be set aside from the penalties of sin; thereby, eternal spiritual death.
If I publicly confess that Jesus Christ is my reigning authority and accept by faith that he was raised from the dead by the hand of God, I’m set free from the eternal spiritual death and torments which I deserve.