9 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. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, 12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him.13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
14 But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things! 16 But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? 17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
In Chapter 10, Paul talks about the righteousness of God, which is based in faith and is offered to us through Christ. It is not an effected consequence of our piety or our efforts, but is extended to everyone the same (v.12-13). We can receive salvation if we confess our sins to God and our belief in Jesus as the Son of God. This is the message of Christ – that our righteousness can no longer be attained, that we need a Savior, and that One has come for us. As Paul states in verse 17, our salvation comes by our hearing and believing these words.
In this context, Paul uses the word ‘hearing’ as a word of understanding and of acknowledgement. He is not merely talking about physical hearing, which only impacts our ears. Hearing the message of Christ in the way Paul describes is a spiritual discipline, because our salvation comes only once we have acknowledged and accepted what we hear. It is not a passive ‘hearing,’ but rather is an active redemption which – once it is acknowledged – requires a response in us. Paul emphasizes the presence of both an internal and an external response in verse 9, when he writes that we must declare Jesus as Lord with our mouth, and we must believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead.
To declare that Jesus is Lord with our mouth implies that we are confident in the message of Christ, and that we have made a decision to allow ourselves to continue being changed by Him (v. 6-8). To believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead means we acknowledge His ultimate authority – even authority over death. Belief in a risen Christ also establishesa substantial measure of accountability in our daily lives. If we believe our Savior is alive and seeking to work within us and in the world around us, then it should impact the way we live. Both of these responses show that we have heard, acknowledged, and accepted the message of Christ – which is our salvation.
When I was nine, my heart acknowledged the presence of God around me. I was raised by Christian parents and attended church each Sunday, so it was easy for me to believe that all the stories I heard about God were true. I believed that God was big, powerful, and good. The discipline of hearing and receiving God’s truths had already begun to be a part of my life.
But it wasn’t until I was 14 that I surrendered my heart to Christ, acknowledged I was a sinner, and confessed my need for His help. I heard and understood a different part of the message of Christ at that time – and it was then that I became a Christian. It was not merely enough to acknowledge God’s goodness, or appreciate His grace. I had to confess my sin, and surrender to His rule over the details of my life. Only then did I receive salvation - by hearing, acknowledging, and accepting the full message of Christ.
But not everyone will do all of these things, as we read in verse 16 – “But not all the Israelites accepted the good news.” (NIV) Another translation says it another way: “But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act.” (The Message) To have real faith – the type that allows God to bring about His righteousness in us – we must hear Christ’s message, believe it, and accept what it requires of us. It is a spiritual discipline that relies heavily on our first hearing the message of Christ, and then acknowledging the impact of that Truth on our lives. For God to fully redeem and work in us, we must be internally and externally responsive. Once we hear it, we can believe it – and once we accept it, we will understand it even better than before (v.17).
- There are multiple parts to the message of Christ which we must hear and accept in order to be saved. One of those parts is that we are sinners. Another part of the message of Christ is that although we need righteousness, it’s not something we can attain by working hard or following a bunch of laws. Reading through verses 9-13, what are some of the other parts of Christ’s message? (Think: Who, How, and Why?)
- Looking at your own life, can you identify both the internal and external responses that Paul mentioned in verses 9 and 10? When were those moments that you heard, acknowledged, and accepted the message of Christ?
- One of the ways I make sure to continue hearing the message of Christ in my life is to surround myself with other believers. When I am going through something rough, they can remind me of God and help me remember the message of Christ. What are some ways you can continue hearing the message of Christ in your life?