because, 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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)
…So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17 (ESV)
Today’s reading from Romans has much to say about faith, and we would do well to hear what the apostle says, because it is in this area that the world mounts one of its most subtle attacks against the believer. It does this by trying to redefine the term ‘faith’ – look at Webster’s dictionary – faith (noun) ‘believing where there is no evidence’.
But this is not at all what the apostle Paul says – in fact, quite the opposite. Paul says that saving faith comes from believing in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, believing the evidence. What he is saying is that our faith is founded on the truth of the resurrection, and he is not alone in focusing on the resurrection of Jesus as the most powerful evidence of His deity, and the cornerstone of our faith. John’s gospel is full of signs that are intended to support the staggering claims that Jesus made about Himself in the course of His life, claims that point to Him being the Christ, the Son of God. John’s gospel culminates in chapter 20, the resurrection account, and John ends this chapter by saying “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31 ESV). The gospel accounts are full of signs, full of evidence, and if we believe these claims in our hearts and confess them with our mouths, this is saving faith.
Jesus lays great emphasis on confessing him before men : “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before me, I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33) The world tries to silence the confession by pouring contempt on the idea of the resurrection – Dawkins calls it ‘petty’ and ‘unworthy’. Notice he doesn’t deny it, but like so many others, he just fails to see its significance. To us, it is the powerful declaration that Jesus is the Son of God, and the evidence of God accepting his sacrifice for sin on the cross, and we know that we shall never have cause to repent of our confidence in the Lord Jesus.
So if our heart’s desire is to see family members, friends and work colleagues coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ, today’s passage gives us some challenges to think about. Are we reading the scriptures daily, pondering them in our hearts, wrestling parts that seem difficult to understand, remembering them, and allowing them to change us? We cannot speak the word to others unless we know it ourselves, unless it has transformed the way we think, so that we are no longer conformed to the world’s fallen reasoning but renewed in the knowledge of Christ. And knowing the good news, are we ready to share it, to confess Jesus before others, to stand up unashamedly for the truth of the resurrection, even at the risk of what people might think of us? And confessing Jesus, are we willing to pursue lives that are pure, breaking ourselves off from sin, living daily in a manner worthy of Christ’s high calling? Faith comes from hearing the gospel message about Christ – so let us be a people through whom God can speak this word.