What Must I do to be Saved?
Updated: Aug 14, 2022
If we must confess Jesus as Lord in order to be saved (Romans 10:9), yet we can only confess Jesus is Lord by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3), and only believers have the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17; Romans:8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13; John 7:37-39; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 1 Thessalonians 4:8; 1 John 4:3; Ephesians 1:13; Jude 19; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 4:30), how can anyone be saved to begin with? Isn't this a catch 22?
First of all, we need to be sure we are only reading what the passage says as opposed to reading into the passage what we have heard all our lives about the passage. The passage may not necessarily say what we've been told it is says, regardless of how many years we've been told that or how many people have told us it has a certain meaning.
Take a close look at three different translations of Romans 10:9-10:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (KJV)
"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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (NIV)
"Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation." (Amplified Bible)
Remember, “a text without a context is a pretext. We understand scripture by comparing scripture to scripture, because scripture explains scripture.”
Keep in mind that in Acts 16:31 the apostle Paul doesn't say anything about confessing with our mouth, only believing: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved"
In John 3:16, Jesus also only talks about believing without any mention of confessing: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
And, of course, let's not forget Abraham who simply believed God and was saved: "Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness." (Genesis 15:6)—No mention of confessing.
If scripture does not contradict scripture then these four scriptures cannot contradict each other. Acts 16:31, John 3:16 and Genesis 15:6 are clearly saying the same thing. Romans 10:9-10 is the only one that appears to say something different. But what is it actually saying?
Does Romans 10:9-10 actually say we must believe God raised Jesus from the dead in order to be saved or does it say that if we confess that God raised Jesus from the dead then we are saved? Is it talking about a cause-and-effect relationship or is it simply saying that if one thing is true then something else is also true i.e., if we confess that God raised Jesus from the dead then that means we are saved but not that our confession saved us? Notice all three translations of Romans 10:9 refer to believing in your heart. Since we are saved by faith and not by works (Ephesians 2:8), clearly believing is what results in salvation not confession. We confess because we believe. If we confess and believe, we will be saved, but if we confess and don’t believe we won’t be saved; but, of course, we only confess what we believe. If we needed to confess in order to be saved then people who cannot talk would not be able to get saved. We know that is not true.
We confess Jesus is Lord because we are saved. We are saved
because we believe in Jesus. Belief in Jesus Christ precedes both salvation and confession—in fact, it results in those two. So, yes only someone who has the Holy Spirit can say “Jesus is Lord," which is to say only someone who is saved can confess Jesus is Lord.
In this blog I take a close look at a wide variety of topics using the Bible as my lens. When we look at the world through the lens of scripture we discover life-changing truth that transforms us. We discover our
identity, purpose and worth. We find answers to life's most pressing questions. “If you don't know where you're going any road will take you there.” But when we look at the world through the lens of scripture we find the "way, the truth and the life;" then we live life to the fullest.
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