The Bible says that, “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 CSB).
There are three important ideas here that I would like to explain. The first is that we, as sinful people, need to be saved. The second is that Jesus died and rose again to save sinners. The third is that by confessing “Jesus is Lord” we can be saved.
Before I explain these three things, though, I would like you to know that I have not always believed in Jesus. In fact, I thought for a long time that God would accept me because I was good! (I later learned that there was no way I was good enough to earn my own salvation.) Yet, although I was raised by parents who believed in Jesus, there was a point in my life where I had to realize that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. Imagine how comforting it was to me when I read that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:145b)! When I finally stopped thinking I was a good person, put my faith in Jesus (calling him “Lord” and believing he died and rose for me), and received his grace, he saved me! So, with this background in mind, I would like to ask, “May I introduce you to my Lord?”
You will be saved
Returning to the verse above, we see that God offers salvation. While the verse does not expressly say that “salvation is offered only to sinners,” the rest of Romans shows this to be true. If you go to Romans 3:23, you will see that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That means I’ve sinned and fallen short, and so have you. But, Romans 10:9 says that it is possible to be saved! “Saved from what?” you might ask. And it’s a good question. In this context, God is offering salvation from death and hell. Another verse in Romans says, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23). James makes it clear that one sin is enough to separate us from God for all eternity. He says, “whoever keeps the entire law, and yet stumbles at one point, is guilty of breaking it all” (James 2:10). However, when we read the rest of Romans 6:23, we see that God offers eternal life as a gift for everyone who believes in Jesus! This brings us to our second point: Jesus died and God raised him from the grave to make it possible for sinners to be saved.
God raised him from the dead
When God originally created the world it was “good” and untainted by sin. When He created people and put them in the Garden of Eden, they were sinless and enjoyed their relationship with Him. Unfortunately, these people gave in to temptation and sin entered the world. Their disobedience damaged their relationship with God and they were removed from Eden. What’s worse, they passed their sin nature along to their children- and it’s been passed along to us, too. However, God revealed His plan for redeeming people: saving them from their sin and restoring their relationship with him. In this plan, we learn that, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22b). When we read the Old Testament, we see that God instituted a system where people offered animals as sacrifices to “atone” for their sins. The blood of these innocent animals “covered” the sins of the people so they could be seen as holy in God’s eyes. Innumerable animals were killed in this way- to protect people from God’s wrath. But this kind of covering didn’t last long. (Basically, it only lasted until the person sinned again.) But all of these sacrifices were pointing to a greater sacrifice that would come. A sacrifice that would be more acceptable; more effective. They were pointing to Jesus. John the Baptist called Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)! Jesus came to the earth for many reasons: to live a perfect life, to teach us about God, and to do miracles that proved he was the Messiah. But, ultimately, he came to lay down his life to save sinners. According to God’s plan, Jesus was arrested by the Jewish leaders of his day, put on trial before Pilate, condemned to death, and crucified. All this happened to fulfill prophecies like this one in Isaiah 53:3-6,
“He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from;
he was despised, and we didn’t value him.
Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds.
We all went astray like sheep;
we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.”
When Jesus died, he took on himself the wages of our sins. He “was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities.” But, after Jesus died, something incredible happened: in fulfillment of his own words, God raised him back to life! In doing so, God showed the world that He had accepted Jesus’ sacrifice. Now, we have seen that God offers salvation to sinners and that He raised his Son from the dead. Let’s now consider what it means to say, “Jesus is Lord.”
Jesus is Lord
When Jesus came to earth, one of the first things he did was invite people to follow him. These followers were called “disciples.” When they became disciples of Jesus, they agreed to follow him, learn from him, and do what he asked them to do. When we read the New Testament, we see that there were 11 disciples that stayed faithful to Jesus for the long-run. Others, were true disciples, but they followed him “secretly because of… fear of the Jews” (John 19:38b). One disciple, Judas, betrayed him and earned the “wages of [his] sin.” And others followed him for a while but then “turned back and no longer accompanied him” (John 6:66).
When Jesus invites people to follow him, he wants them to be fully devoted. He has demonstrated his love for us in dying for our sins and the Word points us back to the beginning where people lived in perfect harmony with and in subjection to God. This is the absolute ideal- even today. For those who believe in Jesus; who are saved, the best way to live is as a servant to this perfect, loving master. We get to say, “I’ve tried to live for myself and it didn’t work. Now, I’m going to let you be the boss. You, Jesus, are Lord.”
When we say, “Jesus is Lord” we give him control of our life. This does not mean that life will get easier, nor does it mean that he will give us everything we want. It means that we trust him to give us what we need when we need it as we do the things he asks us to do.
I believe that this is the best life.
When we “confess with [our mouths] “Jesus is Lord” and believe in [our hearts] that God raised him from the dead” we will be saved, forgiven, restored in our relationship with God, granted eternal life, and given a renewed purpose while on the earth.
Have you confessed that Jesus is Lord? Do you believe that God raised him from the dead? Have you been saved? Are you living for him?