Q. In Romans 10:9,10, I have come upon many different types of interpretation by pastors and commentaries. And I’m always in a debate with other Christian members when comes to this verse. I’ve always interpreted “confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” as simply asking God with our (mouth or mind) to save us because we agree that Christ is God and he died for our sin and he rose again from the dead. Is this correct?
A. There are two important points in Romans 10:9, which says, “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.” The first is the Greek word translated confess. It means to acknowledge or agree. It’s a compound word whose roots mean to speak together, or to say the same thing.
When we confess that Jesus is Lord, we’re agreeing that He is who other believers say He is, the one who came to die for our sins. When we confess that we’re sinners we’re agreeing that many of our thoughts and actions are in violation of God’s law. The idea that we have to list all of our sins individually is not Biblical. God already knows all our sins and doesn’t need to be reminded.
The second point is believing that God raised Him from the dead. After the resurrection Jesus ascended to the Father to sit at His right hand. Since Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of mankind, and since sinful man cannot exist in God’s presence, the fact that Jesus is with the Father is proof that the penalty for all the sins of mankind were paid at the cross. If even one of our sins remained unpaid Jesus would still be in the tomb and we would be without hope.
People ask, if Jesus died for everyone’s sins why isn’t everyone automatically saved? The answer lies in verse 10. “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.“ The word “believe” means to be persuaded that something is true. We have to be persuaded in our heart that Jesus came to die for our sins and that the resurrection proves His death was sufficient to pay for our sins in order to be saved. It’s this belief that justifies us. (To be justified is to be made righteous in God’s sight.)
In Romans 10:13 Paul confirmed what Jesus said earlier about the need to ask for our salvation (Matt. 7:7-8) when he said, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” To call on the name of the Lord means to ask aloud on our own behalf. We cannot ask on behalf of another, and no one else can ask on our behalf.