If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
This passage is used by many well meaning Christians to lead people to Christ. And it is one of the greatest passages about the salvation we have in Christ. However, we often miss the real meaning of Romans 10:9 and simplify the verse to mean that salvation comes from a audible profession of faith.
This interpretation really misses the mark of what Romans 10:9 is saying. In this blog post we are going to look at this passage with fresh eyes and see what it actually says. This is an incredible passage that every Christian should know.
Before we look at the Romans 10:9 meaning let’s look at the context that was happening surrounding this verse.
The Context Of Romans 10:9
The book of Romans was written by the apostle Paul to help both Jews and Gentiles understand Jesus’ saving work. This book helps followers of Jesus understand his death, burial, and resurrection, and helps them live in light of what he has done.
In Romans 10 Paul is praying that his readers will be saved by placing their faith in Christ. There is a belief that is circulating that they can be made righteous through their own obedience to the law rather than faith. Paul is writing to correct this false belief and encourage both Jews and Gentiles to return to God.
In Romans 10:5-13 Paul is showing his readers that they have rejected God due to this belief. They are refusing to trust in him and instead are trying to earn salvation. Paul is urging his readers to declare their faith in God.
Persecution was also rampant at this time. So to make a public statement of confession was rare and potentially dangerous, which adds even more weight to what Paul says in this verse.
This is what leads us to Romans 10:9, Paul is trying to help them know what they need to do to be saved. Let’s dive into the Romans 10:9 meaning and see what it says.
The Meaning Of Romans 10:9
This passage is one of the most quoted and greatest verses that pertains to our salvation. And it’s important that we remember the context as we look at the meaning of Romans 10:9. To help you better understand this verse I’ve broken it down into three sections.
If You Confess With Your Mouth Jesus Is Lord
To confess is to acknowledge your faith in Jesus. In the early church, and today, this is often demonstrated by a verbal confession and shown in water baptism.
In the context of this verse what they are confessing is that Jesus is Lord. This was a simple and common expression that believers used to confess their faith. And this flies in the face of what people were doing in the world around them. In the Roman world Caesar was “Lord” and people were expected to acknowledge him as such. Paul is challenging his readers to face who is really Lord, Jesus or Caesar.
This isn’t something to be taken lightly. To have someone be “Lord” over you means that you are submitting to them. And to go against Caesar could also mean persecution.
To confess that Jesus is Lord means that our lives will be forever changed. It is no longer us who is in control, but Jesus.
And If You Believe In Your Heart That God Raised Him From The Dead
Not only should we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, but we should believe in our hearts that he rose from the dead.
These two go together. If we believe in the resurrection of Jesus we must also believe Jesus is Lord. Belief in the resurrection is evidence of faith and proves that he is indeed Lord.
To believe in your heart shows that your trust has been placed in Christ. It means that we’ve allowed it to seep into the deepest part of our being.
You Will Be Saved
If you believe in your heart and if you confess with your mouth, you will be saved.
Paul wraps this verse up by saying if we do these things, confess and believe, we will be saved.
Now, we shouldn’t take these two conditions as Paul’s guide to get salvation. Paul, and the rest of the Bible, is clear salvation is found in faith in Christ’s work on the cross. It’s not the public confession that brings salvation.
Confessing Jesus is Lord and believing in his resurrection serve as evidence of our faith, but are not prerequisites. Paul is arguing here that anyone who places their trust in God for salvation will surely agree that Christ is Lord, therefore they are saved.
Dr Tom Constable sums it up this way, “The fact that Jesus is Lord (God and Savior) became clear when He arose from the dead (Romans 10:7). Jesus’ resurrection was the proof that He really was the divine Messiah, God’s Holy One (Psalms 16:10-11). Belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ meant belief that Jesus is Lord. Paul was speaking of belief in His resurrection as an evidence of saving faith, not as a condition for salvation.”
How The Romans 10:9 Meaning Applies To Your Life
So, how does the meaning of Romans 10:9 apply to our lives today?
Again, many take this passage to mean that we simply need to say an audible profession of faith to be saved. But that approach really misses the message of this verse.
Salvation is found in placing our hope and trust in Jesus and his work on the cross. How we live is evidence of that faith.
I think this verse should cause us to examine our lives and ask some questions.
Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus? Not just intellectually, but has that belief sunk in and changed how you think and live?
Do you believe Jesus is Lord? And are you submitting to his authority in all areas of your life?
Our faith isn’t just something we believe in our heads; it should challenge us to move in a certain direction. So ask yourself these questions, and see what God brings up in your life.