The confession of faith
But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:8-13
If legal righteousness is the way to God and is dependent upon the individual’s perfect obedience of the law, this will leave all of us out. Yet salvation is by receiving God’s righteousness in Christ that is made available to the believer by means of the confession of faith. This is the argument Paul was presenting from the text. He implies that the legalistic righteousness is equivalent to trying to find or win something that the people of God already had. A further implication is that the Christian who tries to win his or her own salvation is ignoring the significance of both the incarnation and the resurrection. Christ has already come from Heaven and has already risen from the dead. Any attempt to earn the gift He has already given to us is, at best, foolish and, at worst, idolatrous. Verses 11–13 of Romans 10 were quotations from Isaiah 28:16 and Joel 2:32. Paul used these Scripture references to state the universal consequences of the gospel: “there is no difference between Jew and Gentile.” Paul then highlighted the means of evangelism with a series of questions that leads the reader to a consideration of the place of preaching or sharing the gospel in the plan of God (Romans 10:14-15a). “It is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Here he shows how confession is dependent on faith, and faith is dependent on hearing, and hearing is dependent on speaking, and speaking in this case is dependent on being commissioned. Faith is the response of the thinking person to what that person hears. The message does not come in a voice or something written from the clouds but through the declaration of a human messenger. The messenger does not dream up the message on his or her own, but is given it and is sent by the giver Himself of salvation, from God, but it is all by means of human beings. Confessing Jesus is Lord comes as the outward, public manifestation of a heart-held belief. What the heart believes, the mouth confesses. The truly saved will always ultimately manifest a complementary expression of their new life in Christ and it is by the confession of faith.