Monday, January 01, 2024

2024.01.01 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 10:9–13

Read Romans 10:9–13

Questions from the Scripture text: With what do you confess (Romans 10:9)? What should you confess? “In what” do you believe? What should you believe? What will happen if you confess this and believe this? With what does one believe (Romans 10:10)? Unto what? With what is confession made? Unto what? What had already taught this (Romans 10:11)? What cannot happen to the hope of one who hopes in God? For whom is this guaranteed hope sure (Romans 10:12)? What do they have the same one of? And what is He like to them, when they do what? Upon what do they call (Romans 10:13)? What will happen to them?

What are some consequences of God’s sovereignty in salvation? Romans 10:9–13 prepares us for the sermon in the midweek prayer meeting. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God’s sovereign salvation will always include what is needed, will always be completed, and is for every type of needy sinner. 

God’s sovereign salvation. Romans 10:9 must not be read as saying that we are counted worthy of salvation either by believing or by confessing. We must remember that the apostle was concluding his exposition from Deuteronomy 30:12–14, in which it was the Lord Himself Who brought the Word near and put it in their mouths, and it was the Lord Himself Who brought the Word near and put it in their hearts.

God’s sovereign salvation always includes what is needed. Romans 10:10 makes clear that while these things come there by grace, there is actual believing and actual confessing that is required. A real work of the Lord will produce real responses. We are not called upon to produce the virtue or ability from which our responses come, but we are most certainly called upon to believe. And we are most certainly called upon to confess. The Spirit commands us to engage with the heart and with the mouth.

“With the heart one believes unto righteousness.” Setting the heart upon the resurrected Christ unites us to Him. He is our righteousness in our justification—our right standing before God. And in our sanctification, righteousness of character and conduct also come from Him upon Whom we rest. God doesn’t give anyone either justification or sanctification apart from effectually making them to engage their hearts truly.

Believing is done with the heart and in the heart, at the control center of the man. It involves the intellect, the affections, and the will. The Scripture associates belief here with the resurrection. We must be careful not to make too sharp a distinction (as if we are not to confess the resurrection or not to believe the incarnation and the deity of Christ). Surely, we are both to believe and to confess each truth. But it is our union with a resurrected Christ, Who has atoned for us in His death, and Whose resurrected life is all of our virtue and ability, that we must be intellectually convinced of, and affectionately moved by, and volitionally compelled by.

“With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” In the sentimentalized days in which we live, there is the illusion of much heart-engagement (but n.b. James 1:22, James 1:26). But there is hardly even the appearance of confessing the Lord Jesus. We are to engage with our mouths where the Lord has placed us. The church that received this were expected by the empire to confess that Caesar is lord, but they refused. 

For us, confessing the Lord Jesus must take place in our home, in our ordinary conversations and in family worship. In the congregation, in public worship (that highest form of fellowship that we have), as well as lesser forms of fellowship like socialization. Even in the community, where our confession must not be of whatever the rival lords of our society are, but rather one God who is Lord overall—and that this God and Lord is Jesus Christ Himself. No one should be more careful about how he uses his mouth than a Christian is, his mouth was not only created for the praise of God, but has been redeemed for the confession of Christ.

If we do not believe in the resurrected Christ, and confess His divinity and incarnation, then we are not saved. In His sovereign, saving work, the Lord always gives these. Our believing is into righteousness, and our confessing unto salvation.

God’s sovereign salvation will always be completed. Hoping in Him for salvation will never fail; “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:11). If by His own sovereign grace, we are believing in Him and confessing Him, we shall surely be saved. The future tense here may sound strange to Christians who are accustomed to refer back to their effectual calling, or their coming to faith, as “getting saved.” 

But while the Bible sometimes uses “salvation” to refer to what Christ did on the cross, and sometimes to what He did by His Spirit in bringing us to Himself, “salvation” in Scripture most often means the full complex of all that goes into saving us, with an emphasis upon the last day and the completion of our salvation. So Romans 13:11 will say “for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”

The main point, here, is not merely that it will happen. The point is that it will happen because it depends upon Him. He Who started it will not fail to complete it. In Romans 10:11, the apostle is quoting Isaiah 28:16, which itself refers back to Isaiah 8:13–14. The point in both places (indeed, for the entire first half of Isaiah) is that only YHWH can be a real hope of salvation—and that this hope in Him is absolutely sure. And just as Christ was “the end of the law for righteousness” (cf. Romans 10:4), so now we see here that Christ is “the end of the prophets for salvation.” That is to say that He is God Whom we confess, and upon Whom we believe. We have come into final and full clarity of confessing YHWH, when we confess Jesus Christ as YHWH. We have come into final and full clarity of hoping in God alone for salvation, when we hope in the resurrected Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

God’s sovereign salvation is for every type of needy sinner. Romans 10:12-13 emphasizes something that is repeated many times in both halves of the book of Isaiah, namely that the “whoever believes” from Romans 10:11 applies not just among the Jews but to all the nations (represented here, importantly, under the word “Greek” to refer to non-Jewish nations). 

Here, it is the source of the quote in Romans 10:13 that especially emphasizes the timing at which the literal outpouring of this would be fulfilled. For, the prophet is quoting from the end of Joel 2 about the pouring out of the Spirit upon all flesh and the Spirit’s life-giving work in which He brings men to call upon the name of the Lord. 

By the time Romans is written, of course, believers have learned that the great day of which Joel spoke has occurred at Pentecost. So, applying Romans 10:13 to the preceding section, the apostle teaches us that Pentecost was a bringing in of the nations into believing and confessing YHWH alone as God and Savior—particularly in identifying YHWH with Jesus. In Jesus, the riches of God's mercy are abundant for a multitude from all the nations (Romans 10:12, cf. Romans 9:23).

Dear reader, confess with your mouth that Jesus is YHWH in the flesh, the only Lord, the one true and living God. And, believe with your heart that God has raised Him from the dead. And, then, be absolutely sure that He Who gave this to be in your heart and in your mouth is rich to save you—to complete your salvation—no matter what your nationality or former culture!

How do your own intellect, affections, and will relate to the glorified God-Man Who sits, even now, upon the throne of glory? How are you confessing the Lordship and incarnation of Christ in family worship and public worship? How are you doing so in your home life, church life, and community life? What difference does it make to you that the faith in your heart and the confession in your mouth have come from the Lord Himself? Of what further saving work does this make you confident?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You that You have brought Your Word near—in our hearts and in our mouths. Grant that we would believe with our whole heart, and that we would be consistent in our confession. Truly, You Who began the good work will be faithful to complete it. Make the confident hope of our hearts to match the certainty that belongs to Your Word and Your character, we ask in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH517 “I Know Whom I Have Believed”

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