Romans 10:5-10 (ESV)
For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 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.
Following on from yesterdays post, we know that no one can ever become righteous by their own effort or obedience – it is simply impossible. So what then? Yesterday we spoke of ‘but’. And that ‘but’ is this – the righteousness based on faith.
Galatians 2:15-16 (ESV)
Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
It is through faith that we know that our works are nothing, and we cannot ascend into heaven to reach God on our own effort. It is through faith that we know that we could not descend into the grave and defeat death – we know that through His death and resurrection, Jesus has already defeated death!
It is through faith that we rely on Jesus death to cleanse us of our sin, and through faith that we rely on Jesus perfect life of obedience to fulfill our justification. For Jesus not only died that so that our sins could be forgiven, but He lived a perfect human life, that we can be fully justified before God, having substituted our disobedience for His obedience, and suffering our punishment on the cross.
And finally, it is through faith that we believe that Jesus was resurrected from the grave. It is true we have the written record and testimony of Jesus resurrection, but we haven’t seen it ourselves. We have to rely on our faith in God, His revelation, and the guiding of the Holy Spirit to give us faith that He was truly risen from the dead, ultimately defeating death.
John 20:29 (ESV)
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
So it really is as simple as that. First, you believe in your heart the historical facts of Jesus work. Second, you confess this belief with your mouth, by proclaiming that ‘Jesus is Lord’. And you are righteous.
There is an argument that by ‘confessing’ you are actually performing a single, small ‘work’ of your own to gain your salvation. No! You are justified by your belief alone! The confession of your faith is a pure and simple overflow of your heart, for out of the abundance of your heart your mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34-37). If Jesus is truly your Lord, and you are physically able to speak, then you will confess that Jesus is Lord. This isn’t a ‘good work’, or even a work of salvation – it is the overflow of a heart that is finally right before God, and amazed that something so wondrous would be done for them.
Jesus IS Lord.
Do you believe it?
Lord God, thank you again that we can be declared righteous before you, even though we haven’t lived a wholly righteous life, and we haven’t the ability ourselves to atone for our sins. Give us faith to believe, and strengthen that faith in us through Your Word and the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name. Amen.