If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and
believe in your heart that God raised him from
the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart
and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
“Have you been saved?” How you answer that question has huge implications not only for you, but also for the future of a society. More and more the Gospel has been watered down by western Christianity to be only about how a person might go to heaven. But the New Testament announces a Gospel of far greater, even societal implications. God sent His Son not only to save a person for heaven but also to save that person from a culture’s tragic decline.
Read through the New Testament book of Romans and you can’t miss that Paul is gravely concerned by what is happening to the city of Rome. But you see that Paul is also concerned with what is happening to Christians living in Rome. Rome was a moral cesspool and culture of decadence and brutality. Paul was concerned about being “saved” from that!
Thus, Paul opens the book of Romans reminding the Christians living there of the tragedy that was ancient Rome. Paul grieves the “ungodliness and wickedness” leading people to “suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18). He warns that although they “knew God they would not honor Him as God or give thanks” (1:20) so that they “became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (1:22). They were sinking ever deeper in sin’s stupidity!
One might read Paul’s sobering analysis of Rome and wonder if he has the prophecy of Isaiah open before him, or even today’s news: “Ah, you who call evil good, and good evil, and put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20).
The Gospel that Christ and His apostles announced was not concerned with only saving people for heaven, but concerned with saving those people from a culture under God’s judgment! Thus, Paul is proud to tell Romans: “I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). The Gospel is the power of God, not only to take us to heaven but to save us from the corruption of culture.
Notice then, in today’s scripture that Paul calls for Christians to speak up in order to be “saved”! Paul calls on Christians to be saved as they “confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord.” For, Paul adds, “one confesses with the “mouth and is saved.” Saved from what? From a culture’s tragic decline!
It is important to call people to believe in Jesus. Paul says as much, then takes it a step further! “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord….and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.” Jesus expected His followers to do so! So did Paul!
I must say more than “I am a person of faith.” So does a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist. Even an atheist professes faith in reason and the scientific method. I must confess that Jesus is Lord to those around me.
“Have you been saved?” It is not as simple a question to answer as I once thought! I must confess with my lips! I must do it for me, and for my declining culture.
Jesus is Lord!
A Fellow Traveler,