Wednesday, 18 September 2013
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10
Paul connects 10:9 to 10:10 with his common conjunction “for.” In 10:9 he explained what was required to be saved – 1) confession with the mouth and 2) belief in the heart. Now he explains why this is so –
1) With the heart one believes unto righteousness – Belief is what justifies. This is a consistent and common teaching of Paul. Faith in God’s provision results in the declaration of righteousness; one is found “not guilty” before the law. This occurs the moment one believes and no further act “fulfills” this standing before God (as is supposed in the teaching of N.T. Wright). Paul speaks of this justification as immediate, complete, and assured in Ephesians 1:13, 14 –
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
It is immediate because faith results in sealing; no delay can be inferred. It is complete because God has sealed the believer with His Spirit. Nothing could be more comprehensive than this. And it is assured because this sealing is referred to as a “guarantee.” As this is God’s plan to reconcile men to Himself, it would make no sense to justify a sinner through pardoning of sin just to turn around and later “un-justify” him for a later failing.
God doesn’t make mistakes and His sealing is eternal. Likewise, the plan has been given and it is one which is fully satisfactory. Because it is, no other method is necessary or provided. Justification comes through Christ and Christ alone. God will not deviate from this avenue, nor will He make exceptions along the way.
2) With the mouth confession is made unto salvation – Belief results in righteousness and it precedes confession. As noted in the commentary on 10:9, the audible confession stands because of the inward profession. Anyone can confess a matter without believing it. We see this in our politicians daily. However, when the heart believes, the confession will be sincere. For God “who searches the hearts and minds” knowing the difference is not a difficult task. Morison states it this way, “Confession is just faith turned from its obverse side to its reverse … When faith comes forth from its silence to announce itself, and to proclaim the glory and the grace of the Lord, its voice is confession.”
Life application: No city on a hill can be hid and no true faith will be silent. Belief will naturally result in confession. Let your words be overflowing with gratitude to the Lord who saved you despite yourself, and do not quench the Spirit with whom God has sealed you. Be bold and proclaim the Lord Jesus every chance you get.
Precious Lord Jesus – I have heard of You, I have read about You, and I have fellowshipped with you through faith. I have seen and tasted Your goodness and it has consumed my soul with delight. Be near, O God and guide my steps and my words that my life may be a testament to the wondrous change which has taken hold because of You. Praises belong to You! Amen.