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Romans 10:9 'being right with God'

Rev Steve - 13 Jun 2016

Late in 2014, Stuart Cleary set out from Australia to paddle solo to his country of birth, New Zealand. However in the end, it was only his homemade kayak that managed to complete the journey across the Tasman Sea. It was only a matter of hours into the trip before Mr. Cleary's kayak started taking on water to the point he had to abandon the craft. He was later rescued at sea. 18 months later, the battered empty kayak was discovered washed up on a New Zealand beach, it made it, he didn’t.

If our theological bearings are not water tight we too may find ourselves adrift at sea and possibly never arrive on the right shore. This is why Paul wrote to the Roman Christians, he was worried about their incorrect doctrine. It is important now as it is was then, in fact, it is eternally imperative that we fully comprehend Rom 10:9. For there is nowhere in all of scripture that requires our utmost attention. Paul writes:  

"That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved, for with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." 

Whenever the Church neglected this truth (and history tells the tale that it has) it produced a gospel of false doctrine for believers and a no hope for non-believers.

Paul’s letter exposes this, he does so by way of addressing The Past, the Present and the Future. The Past. The first 5 chapters reveal that Israel lived under Mosaic law in order to gain righteousness before God, which of course no-one could. In The Present Paul explains that righteousness is given by God through faith alone in Christ alone Chapters 6-10. Which in turn enables The Future, which offers the unredeemed salvation unto righteousness they ‘being-made-right-with-God.’

The billion dollar question then is, how do we receive the righteousness of God? How are we made-right-with-God? If we mess this up we're really in big trouble, eternal trouble. How does a person really become saved and what does a “saved” person look like? Well, it’s answered in verses 9-10. Faith, Confession and Renewal.

Paul writes to inform the WORLD (John 3:16-17) that the righteousness that pleases an infinitely holy God is IMPUTED to EVERYONE who has FAITH in the RESURRECTED JESUS and who submits to HIS LORDSHIP as the revealed and promised Christ 

Revealing that Faith alone in Christ alone is the only acceptable means to salvation unto righteousness. It's a righteousness that we can't gain of our own efforts as only Christ provides it for us. It is IMPUTED to us by what? By faith, not by working for it, nor by trying to earn it by deeds, good behaviour or works, “less we boast” says Eph 2:8. It is a free grace gift from father God, The BCP communion priestly prayer reminds us: “We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness..” sadly it goes onto to say that we’re not worthy, but that’s the point. The point of Romans 10:9-10 and in fact the whole NT is to show that in Christ we are made righteous by our confessional faith in His resurrection and by way of us surrendering to His Lordship over our lives. We are imputed ‘righteous’ not by our work, but by His grace. Therefore He has made us worthy.

These three words dominate these two verses. "That if you CONFESS with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe (or have FAITH in your heart) that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be (What?) saved, for with the heart man believes unto righteousness (our RENEWAL) and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."  Rom 10:9-10

The word "righteousness" and "salvation."  refer to the same thing. With the heart man believes unto righteousness, with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  They're synonymous.

Righteousness has to do with what we’re saved too priests, kings and queens, a holy nation and appointed co-heirs with Christ.  

Salvation has to do with what we’re saved from - fear, shame, judgment, separation, death, hell.

Righteousness has to do with what we receive - adoption, redemption, reconciliation and eternal life.

Salvation has to do with what we don't receive, punishment for our sins.  

Righteousness has to do with entering into blessedness.  

Salvation has to do with escaping cursedness.  

Here is the most foundational lesson in the importance of faith’s confession, for it is one thing to ‘believe’ but an entirely different thing all together to have mustard seed faith, and that faith has to rest upon ‘God raising Jesus from the dead’. No resurrection, no life, no life, no hope.

So when you say you are to believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you're saying something that's far more than just believing in an isolated event.  In essence, what you're saying is that you believe that this is the incarnate God who came into the world, God in human flesh, lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, went into the grave and conquered death, came out the other side having purchased salvation for us, is now seated at the right hand of God the Father and someday will come as the Father's appointed judge and King to judge men and to rule the world forever.  That's all bound up in the resurrection. No resurrection, no life, no life, no hope.

There are people who believe Jesus is the Son of God.  And they may believe that He died on a cross and that He came out of the grave.  But that's not saving faith because it doesn't imply that they embrace the deepest part of their being to Christ, it’s like me saying I have keys to a Ferrari, but unless I step in, start up and drive off, it’s only observation not participation. As James reminds us ‘even the demons believe     and tremble’  Belief isn’t enough, it’s what you do with it that counts. 

It also says your to believe in your heart and what you  confess with your mouth, confess what?  That Jesus is Lord. 

A demon do not submit to the Lordship of Christ. They know more about theology and God than we will ever do. They understand men. They know about heaven, they've been there. They know about hell, there trying not to go there.  We cannot just believe as the demons do, we must not embrace a ‘demon faith’ but a confessing Jesus is Lord faith.

 Jesus said: “Not all those who call me lord, lord will gain salvation” revealing that confession isn’t the password, a life submitted to Christ is. 

The question for the church today is, how are we living the righteous life?

 Christ’s resurrection was to affirm that He was Lord.  In 1 Corinthians chapter 12: 3 "No man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed and no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Spirit."  So when the Spirit of God does a work in the heart, it is a work that results in the proclamation of the lordship of Christ.  The words of Thomas were  "My Lord and My God."  

You see, the point is that the true heart that really believes understands the fullness of who Christ is and willingly submits to His authority. 

Demons believe the right stuff, but have no capacity to submit to the lordship of Christ. That's why the Bible in Romans 1 calls it the obedience of faith.  It is faith that leads to obedient submission to the lordship of Christ. .

So many people are ignorant of the person of God, provision of Christ and the place of faith, true faith that believes all that is said about Christ to be true, affirmed in the resurrection and confesses with the mouth a life submitted to His lordship. Jesus said ‘you cannot serve two master’s’ We choose to believe or put substance to that belief. 

This affects our evangelism too. Rather than say ‘are you saved’ What if we said: ‘do you want to be made right with God. Do you want to inherit His sonship, be made an heir in His family, be accepted, loved, forgiven, filled with joy, hope, peace and comfort. Do you want to inherit a purpose for your life, have a reason to exist. Do you want to wallow in His love.

Finally. After confession, through belief, there is renewal, behaviour as we surrender to the Lordship of Christ. 

I am deeply saddened by the narcissistic spirit prevailing within the camp, its a lie. True righteousness is Galatians 2:20 ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’

I no longer see repentance as the first port of faith but ‘where’s my healing and prosperity.’ I no longer see morality in the bride of Christ, where we should be holy ‘separate’ unto Christ. Christians, Spirit filled Christians are just as prolific in adultery than the world. Where is our witness, where is our repentance, where is our renewal. We are no longer servants but petulant demanders of self. No longer quiet but gobby, loud, showering our thoughts over others, others who haven’t asked our opinion but they got it. Where is character, humility. Grace. Mercy. Honour. Servanthood and the fruit of the Spirit. It is not all bout me, it is all bout Him.

Let's pray. I don't know where you are, but God knows.  Have you submitted your life to the Lord to add or delete as He sees fit for His glory?  Or have you said, "Well I believe all that stuff but I'm sure not going to live any different. I'm going to run my life. I'm not going to pay that high price."  Well maybe you have demon faith, not saving faith, faith that believes the right stuff and wants the right things but is unwilling to submit to the lordship of Christ.  May God's Spirit produce in you that true saving faith. Now is the time to do so. Amen.

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