Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
In my humble estimation, one of the more misunderstood verses in the Bible is Romans 10:9. Without considering context or the Bible as a whole, many Bible students have come to a misinterpretation of the verse. In order to understand what Paul intended to teach in this verse of scripture, we mu st first consider:
(1) Romans chapters 1-9. In these nine chapters the Apostle Paul makes it clear that the Heavenly home (eternal salvation) of the children of God is by grace and grace alone. Please pay attention to Romans 3:9-20. In those verses you will find at least 14 reasons why a person cannot save themselves from the depravity of their sins. In Romans 5:6-10, Paul makes it clear that no one CAN save themselves (vs 6, without strength), WILL save themselves (vs 10, enemies) or be accepted by God in a depraved, sinful state (vs 6, ungodly, vs 8, sinners). Now, after reading these portions of scripture, we are able to understand that a person dead in sins is not able to act in a godly way to save himself. The only way a person can confess Jesus and believe in Christ is if he or she is already a Born Again Child of God. 1 John 5:1 reads, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God:” In 1 John 4:15 we read, “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” Which is another way of saying the person is already a Born Again Child of God.
(2) The many salvations taught throughout the Bible, but specifically in the book of Romans. If we compare Romans 9:27 “remnant shall be saved”, Romans 11:26 “all Israel shall be saved” and Romans 10:1 “they might be saved” it is difficult (I say impossible) to conclude that only one salvation is taught in scripture. In Romans 9:27, it’s only a small portion (remnant) that would enjoy the salvation under context. In Romans 11:26, all that are in the context of the verse shall be saved, and in Romans 10:1, Paul is praying that more children of God would enjoy a salvation. In Romans 9:27 the context of salvation is a salvation in truth. In Romans 11:26, eternal salvation in Christ Jesus is the context. Why? Because Jesus came and died for His people (Israel by Grace, not race), they all “shall be saved”. In Romans 10:1 Paul is praying for children of God (zeal of God, not just for God), that more of them would enjoy a salvation here in time found in the knowledge of the Gospel. Paul prayed that they would be saved, not from hell, because, according to Romans 3:23-24, he believed Jesus had already finished that work. Paul’s prayer is that they might be saved from IGNORANCE. There are multitudes of Children of God that need to be saved from the false teaching and the false teachers of this world. Paul was praying for them to have such a salvation. Paul in 1 Timothy 4:16 says, “”Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
(3) The salvation that is received by confessing and believing. By believing in Jesus and confessing Jesus, the already born again child of God can be saved from:
(A) The experiential condemnation of their sins (Romans 8:1). The person who feels the weight of his or her sins in their conscience is exhibiting a great evidence of the work of grace. According to Ps 73:5, the wicked do not feel that condemnation. By believing that Jesus paid it all and by confessing He paid it all, the child of God is able to enjoy an experiential consolation concerning their salvation. Several years ago there was a gentleman I knew who was in a car accident. The man was at fault and was extremely worried about the passengers of the other car who were injured. He had received a letter in the mail concerning a law suit and was calling his insurance company often. After a month had passed the insurance company settled the claim, but forgot to call the poor worried man. There he was, claim settled, but without the good news. When the man heard the good news about the claim, and believed it was settled, it was a rejoicing day in his life. In a similar way, when the child of God hears the precious gospel that Jesus Christ has paid for all their sins, and they believe that Jesus did the work for them, there is rejoicing in their soul.
(B) Feeling ashamed because of trusting in everything but Jesus. The last verse of Romans chapter 9 teaches us that if we believe in Jesus, we will not be ashamed. Many children of God put their trust and faith in their works under the law. They believe that by them keeping, doing, or saying any of these actions; they were saved from their sins. After time, when doubts sneak in, they begin to wonder if they kept, did or said enough. In the end, they felt LET DOWN (ashamed) of their actions. But, if a child of God puts their faith and hope in Jesus Christ, He will never let you down, nor will they ever feel ashamed that he or she trusted in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(C) Ignorance. So many children of God do not enjoy the comfort and peace of believing the truth. There is confusion in ignorance and peace in truth. By the child of God putting their faith and hope in Jesus Christ, he/she “shalt be saved” from the ignorance of the false teaching of this world.
Dear child of grace, confession of the Lord and believing in Him is important. Doing, or failing to do those works will not change God’s eternal love and grace, but they will effect our experiential life.