Summary: How to respond to Christ with saving faith.
Introduction: What constitutes a saving response to the resurrected Lord? James says the "demons believe and tremble". If salvation is more than mere mental ascent to a set of facts, what does real saving belief look like? This is what Paul lays out in this verse.
(READ Romans 10:9)
There are several aspects to saving belief that we must consider.
I. THERE IS A CONDITION
"That if thou shalt". Here Paul begins with a conditional phrase. This is a conditional phrase in the Greek which expresses a possibility. Paul holds out the possibility of salvation to those who read these words. God is not willing that any should perish. He according to the Scriptures would that all come to repentance. The possibility of salvation is there. The words "thou shalt" or "thou will" express a decision or a choice on the part of the hearer. We must make a choice for Christ. Noone can make that choice for us. We cannot get to heaven on anyones coat tails. In fact, when I read my Bible I see that some of the most godly men had some of the most ungodly children. Denominational allegiances have nothing to do with the choice which we are called to make. We must make a choice, enabled of course by the enlightenment of the Spirit of God to believe on Christ.
Unfortunately, most will not make the right choice. Jesus said, "narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it". Have you chosen Christ. There is a condition. You must choose.
II. THERE MUST BE A CONVICTION
"shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead". I switch the order of events here because verse 10 puts the sequence of events in order. Any confession we make about Christ follows an inward conviction of the heart. We are to be firmly persuaded or convicted in our hearts that Jesus is raised from the dead. This implies both the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross for our sins as well as the victorious resurrection of Christ from the dead. This must be a conviction. The word believe is defined as a "conviction based upon hearing."
There is a difference between a conviction and an opinion. Many I believe are of the opinion that Jesus is the Son Of God, crucified and risen from the dead. One is not willing to risk it all however for an opinion. On the other hand, men will die for a conviction. The early apostles were willing to die alone for Christ with the possibility of saving their own lives if they would only recant and deny the resurrection. Instead they were crucified upside down, skinned alive, beheaded, all because they held a deep inward conviction that Christ had died for their sins and was risen from the dead. The Holy Spirit makes this real to the heart of the genuine believer today and it becomes an inward conviction. This inworked conviction must be present. We must trust the atoning work of Christ in his death completely for the forgiveness of our sins, and his resurrection life for our salvation.
III. THERE MUST BE A CONCESSION
"the Lord Jesus" Based upon the conviction that Christ is raised from the dead, we conceed the Lordship of our lives to Him. The word "Lord" implies both the diety of Christ as well as the authority of Christ. When Thomas was faced with the resurrected Christ and his marks of divine love, his nail scarred hands and feet, his spear pierced side, he said "My Lord and My God". Jesus claimed to be God in his life on earth, but the resurrection according to Paul in Romans chapter 1 "declared him to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of Holiness."
Because he is Lord and God, he has the absolute right to own us, and be the highest authority in our lives. A geniune conversion will result in the yeilding of our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
IV. THERE WILL BE A CONFESSION
"confess with thy mouth" When Christ is chosen, when there is an inward conviction that he has been raised from the dead, when he has been yeilded to as Lord, then there will be a confession made. Christ will be owned by the believer. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10:32 "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven".
Many preachers today apply this passage of Scripture to a "walking down the isle" tradition. However, on examination of the context we see that Jesus issued this statement in the context of persecution. Here he said he came "not to bring peace but a sword." Here he said "a mans foes shall be they of his own household". A public confession of faith will be made not just in friendly environs according to Jesus, but when it costs. A confession before other believers is a good place to start. Christ will be owned publically. There is a confession. Finally