Romans 10:9 (ESV) … “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.”
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord.” The word is near—as near as your mouth and heart (10:8; Deuteronomy 30:14). To “confess” (homologeo) means to “give verbal affirmation,”—in this case to ackowledge with your mouth that Jesus Christ died and was raised for you. Anyone can say he or she believes something, but God knows each person’s heart. In this confession, it is not enough to merely utter the words; they must be declared, professed, proclaimed “from the heart,” expressing our full conviction.
For salvation you must truly believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. In 1 Corinthians 15:17 Paul asserts how the Resurrection is totally interrelated with our salvation: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (niv). Jesus is distinct from all other religious leaders: he is the only “Lord” to have risen from the grave. This makes Christianity more than a philosophy of life or a religious option; it is the only way to be saved.
You will be saved. The gospel message in a nutshell is “believe and confess Jesus as Lord, and you will be saved.” There is no reference to works or rituals. The point of decision is between a person and God, but the point of confession implies another person. It is true that God is often our first confessor, but having others witness our confession confirms our belief. In fact, to confess and to believe become mutually related responses. If one is true, the other follows.
Jesus is Lord. The title Lord (kurios), though rarely used outside of diplomatic circles today, carried great weight in Paul’s day. It was a title of respect (similar to sir), a form of address for Roman emperors (similar to “royal highness”), a title given to Greek gods, and the title used in the Greek translation of Old Testament to translate the Hebrew word YAHWEH. When we confess that Jesus is Lord, we are acknowledging his rank or supreme place. We are pledging our obedience and worship; we are placing our life under his protection for safekeeping. We are pledging ourselves and our resources to his control for direction and service. Lord is intended to represent the highest authority to whom we submit.
BECOMING A CHRISTIAN
Have you ever been asked, “How do I become a Christian?” These verses give the beautiful answer—salvation is as close as your own mouth and heart. People think it must be a complicated process, but it is not. If we believe in our heart and say with our mouth that Christ is the risen Lord, we will be saved.