KEY TEXT: Rom 10:9-10 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.
KEY THOT: Salvation is a free gift, but it requires a response from us--confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead. To confess (Greek: homologeo) is to "agree, assent and acknowledge" that Jesus is Lord. This is an important confession to make, for it implies submission to Christ as our King and dying to self-rule, renouncing the love of the world and Satan’s authority over us. Implied here is the change of lordship in our life: from self-rule to Christ-rule.
To believe that God raised him from the dead implies that the person also acknowledges that Christ died for his sins and God raised him from the dead as the ultimate proof of his victory over sin and death: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4).
Therefore, the person must acknowledge he has sinned and that Christ’s death has provided a way for his sins to be requited and Christ has demonstrated his power over sin, Satan and death through his resurrection from the dead.
1 Cor. 15:3-4 is the crux of the gospel and is a summary of Paul’s theological exposition from Romans chapters 3-8.
We need to help a person understand that faith in Christ is not based on mouth confession but also a heart commitment to the truth of the Gospel, viz., that we have sinned and we need to repent of our sin and renounce our allegiance to the world and Satan and accept and acknowledge Jesus as our new Lord and King. Life cannot continue as before once we confess Jesus as Lord and believe in our heart that God has raised him from the dead.
That is why Alpha is the best way to introduce people to Christ—the gospel is complex (Paul took 6 chapters in Romans to explain it). So people need time to understand before they can commit to the great truth of the Gospel. Let’s not be in a hurry to get converts but to make disciples.
Shallow explanation of the Gospel produces shallow converts. We need to take time to make disciples. Jesus took three years. And we should not be in haste to get "salvation by confession" without ensuring proper understanding. We should not trivialize the gospel to make it more acceptable.
Father, give us a burden for the lost and a love for Your Gospel, for it is precious and able to save and deliver sinners from our bondage to sin, self and Satan. In Jesus’ name. Amen.