“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.” (Romans 10:9)
This well-known verse reveals to us that receiving God’s full provision of salvation is a two-fold activity. There is belief, yes. But there is also confession.
Our verse today reminds us that our “confession” is a revelation of the belief that resides in our hearts.
It is not enough to believe in Jesus. A gospel that only asks us to “believe in Jesus!” is not a complete gospel.
The reason for this is that it is all too easy to accept certain facts in our minds and conclude that we are truly believing in Jesus. True belief is not just in our minds, but also our hearts – and what is in our hearts gets confessed with our mouths.
This truth is vividly demonstrated in an account recorded in John’s gospel (Chapter 12).
The scene is familiar. Many of the “Jewish leaders” had often made it their goal to make Jesus’ ministry a misery. They followed him around. Scrutinizing every detail of His words. Criticizing many of His actions. Constantly weighing His words and works through the scale of their own interpretations of the Law of Moses.
But in spite of all their misgivings, there was just something about Jesus that was so compelling. So inviting. So Godly.
So we read in John 12:42 that: “many even of the (Jewish) authorities believed in Him.” Wow! That’s great. Jesus is even winning over His detractors. They are starting to “see the light” and accepting the fact that this Jesus just might be their Messiah after all.
But not so fast… John continues by informing us: “but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue.”
Jesus had begun to find a home in their minds, but not their hearts. They were beginning to accept that Jesus just might be trustworthy after all – but they were unwilling to take the next all-essential step.
Belief must lead us to apply our faith – and faith requires us to be “all in.”
It is a powerful truth… God will only place His Kingdom in empty hands.
We cannot be holding tightly to the world, or our religious practices, or our social status, or our earthly goods and expect to receive the fullness of His Kingdom.
But we can convince ourselves that because we “believe” in Jesus (in our minds) that we have received Jesus. John’s account reminds us how easy it can be to deceive ourselves.
This is an example and warning to us all. We can believe in Jesus and still not be His. We can have fond feelings about Jesus (or about God) and still be outside the Kingdom. We can convince ourselves that we belong to God (and have received what He offers) without actually being His.
We can think that we are “believers” …but never possess the true benefits of belief.
A true (heart) belief in Jesus spills over out of our mouths. A true belief cannot be contained within us. A true belief compels us to openly confess with our mouths (and with our actions): “Jesus is Lord!” in each and every moment of our lives.