Updated: Aug 14
because, 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. Romans 10:9
Confessing Jesus as Lord
Chosen and loved before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5), faith in Jesus is a gift by God's grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), and God's love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5).
It's not what we do that sets us free from the bondage of sin. It's what we believe in our hearts that sets us free, and only Jesus can set us free. Our speech and our actions will naturally reflect what's deep down in our hearts, whether that's love for God and others or love for self and the world. (See 1 John 2:15-17 for definition on the term 'world' in this context).
Paul said,“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, 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 (Romans 10:8-10). And Jesus said, "For the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart" (Matthew 12:34).
"What's down in the well comes up the bucket. What's down in the heart comes out of the mouth." - Steve Lawson. We will confess with our mouths what we believe to be true in our hearts. We will confess Jesus as Lord if we believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, since His resurrection is the supreme validation of who He is as God. So if Jesus is down in our hearts, Jesus will come out of our mouths. We will declare Him. We will share Him. We will discuss Him. Jesus said, "Therefore, everyone who confesses Me before people, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before people, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33), (Timothy 2:11-12). Not ever speaking up for Jesus is equivalent to denying Him. Therefore, if someone never makes a peep that Jesus is Lord, it only reveals that their heart doesn't really know Him as Savior. (Scripture talks about a final, permanent denial of Jesus, not a temporary failure of a true believer like Peter).
Jesus is Not a Kept Secret
We are never to keep Jesus a secret. There is no such thing as a private faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus makes it clear that if we don't confess Him before others, He won't confess to His Father that He knows us either. True faith is a public faith. True faith is a spoken, verbal faith. Our faith ought to be the most public thing about us, regardless of personalities or insecurities, extroverted or introverted, bold or shy. Being convicted about the magnificent truth in Jesus should far outweigh and transcend our personalities, personal preferences, and the manner in which we like to socialize. No matter what personality we are given by God, where we're at in the Christian walk, true faith in Jesus is a public faith (Romans 10:9), whether we speak of Him in front of an entire audience or we quietly share Him one-on-one with a close friend. I'm not talking about making some grand public announcement that Jesus is Lord (although that would bring glory to Jesus too), but I'm talking about simply acknowledging that Jesus is Lord with our mouths in front of other people, as Scripture clearly states. In the end, no matter who we are or what insecurities we have, the Lord will give us the grace to verbally confess Jesus as Lord in front of others if He is truly down in our hearts.
Obeying Jesus as Lord
“The driver on the highway is safe not when He reads the signs, but when He obeys them.” AW Tozer
We who confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead will naturally follow and obey Jesus too, by the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts. We won't just profess to know Him with hollow words and then by our actions deny Him (Titus 1:16), (1 John 2:4). That's just playing the hypocrite.
We don't obey God to be saved. We obey God because we are saved. Reasons why we obey God:
• We obey God because we trust in God (Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 37:5)
• We obey God because we trust that Jesus paid it all. Jesus was our Perfect Substitute. He died on the cross for our sins and rose again, so that by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, we may have eternal life. (2 Corinth 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18, Isaiah 53:5, 1 Corinth 15:3-4)
• We obey God because we trust His Word, His goodness, mercies, faithfulness, righteousness, justice, and character. (Psalm 119)
• We obey God because we want to. (Psalm 119)
• We obey God because we have the Holy Spirit, our Helper who will be with us forever. (John 14:16)
• We obey God because His grace is sufficient and enables us to do so (2 Corinth 12:9-10)
• We obey God because we have been born again and adopted into His eternal family. (1 Peter 1:3)
• We obey God because He knows us and we know Him. (John 10:14)
• We obey God because He is our loving and compassionate Father. (Psalm 103:13)
• We obey God because we are His children. (2 Corinth 6:18)
• We obey God because He has transformed our hearts and given us a new nature in Christ. (Ezekiel 36:26, 2 Corinth 5:17)
• We obey God because in our new natures, we now hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6) and hate the sin we once practiced and loved before our conversion. (Psalm 97:10)
• We obey God because we know that once we are saved, we are always saved. We are eternally secure. We know we can never lose our salvation. (John 10:28, Eph 1:13-14, 4:30, John 6:39)
• We obey God because we love Him..because He first loved us (John 14:15, 21, 5:10) (1 John 5:2-3, 2:3-6, 1 John 4:19)
• We obey God because He gave us the greatest gift imaginable: eternal life and to be with Jesus forever. How could we ever return to living in sin and disobedience after being given something as extraordinary as Jesus Himself? (John 3:16, Eph 2:4-9)
• We obey God because Jesus is in our hearts. (Rom 10:9)
Mere external acts of obedience, sacrificial deeds that are done without love, and working for our salvation and thinking we are earning God's favor through our "good deeds" is legalism. On the other hand, heartfelt obedience to God's Word by God's grace is evidence that we believe in Jesus and belong to Jesus.
The Litmus Test
Those who claim Jesus with their mouths must also display these three characteristics through their actions as genuine Christ followers:
1. Trusting in sound doctrine and a proper view of Christ, which naturally flows from true faith
2. Obedience to God's Word, which naturally flows from true faith
3. Love for God and other believers, which naturally flows from true faith
Those who are truly born again have been given a new nature from God, which gives evidence of itself. Displaying these byproducts of true faith is all by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by our own human willpower. Obviously, we will have far from perfect obedience, but our lives will be marked by a pattern of obedience to God's Word and a practice of righteousness rather than sin. Furthermore, believers are able to discern and reject false teaching by the Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth (John 16:13) because we are grounded in the truth of sound doctrine. Lastly, our love for God and our fellow believers will flow from loving and obeying His Word, and we will worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). When these three things, true faith, obedience, and love sing together in harmony, they produce joy, holiness, and assurance of salvation in the believer and constitute the litmus test of a true believer.
The single most responsible thing we could ever do in this life is to examine ourselves to make sure Jesus is truly in our hearts; the Biblical Jesus and not a wimpy jesus of our own making and imagination. Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5). The best way to examine ourselves is not by comparing ourselves to other Christians but through the lens of Scripture. The Book of First John was written to believers to help us know that we truly believe in Jesus and have eternal life. (It is a book of joy for the believer because it gives us assurance of our salvation)!
It's very important to examine ourselves from time to time, but we must never get so fixated on ourselves that we take our eyes off Jesus. For every look we take at ourselves, let's take ten long gazes at Jesus, the Light of the world.
Check out my other latest blog, If You Love Me...
7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous, 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother (1 John 3:7-10).
"Our faith and works are merely reflections of the salvation we have received, not a contributing factor to it." Sinclair Ferguson
"Hearing the Word without doing it, professing it without practicing it, singing 'Jesus is King' and pleasing myself is an indication of the fact that I have never truly trusted in Christ." Alistair Begg