A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
This verse is the bottom line where salvation is concerned. In case you’ve never noticed, it’s always a matter of the heart with the Lord, and in this passage it’s clear that the central issue of salvation is a heart-felt belief in the Resurrection. Why is that? Because believing in the resurrection is how we’re justified. The Greek word for justified comes from a root meaning “to regard as innocent, faultless, guiltless.” So, if we confess (agree) that Jesus is our Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead He’ll regard us as innocent of all charges and qualify us for eternal life.
How Can This Be?
First, it helps to remember that Jesus didn’t die so that bad people could become good. He died so that dead people could live. When the Prodigal Son returned home, his joyful father didn’t exclaim, “My son was bad and is good again” but, “My son was dead and is alive again!” (Luke 15:32).
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14).
The wages of sin is death, so prior to becoming believers we were all dead in our sins. But when Jesus went to the cross He forgave all our sins, “nailing them to the cross” to signify that’s what He was dying for. The Greek word translated “all” in in Col. 2:13 literally means “each, every, any and all”. That means He agreed to accept the full punishment that was due us so that all the charges against us could be dropped and we could escape the death sentence. Simply put, He made it possible for our Father in Heaven to exclaim, “My children were dead and are alive again!”
And His act of sacrifice wasn’t only retro-active, paying back for all the sins of our pre-Christian lives, it was also pro-active, paying forward for all the sins we’ll commit during the rest of our lives too, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebr. 10:14) Put another way, He clothed Himself in our sin once so we could be clothed in His righteousness forever. (2 Cor. 5:21)
God’s eyes are too pure to look upon sin. (Haba 1:13) He literally can’t stand the sight of it. Discovering this fact about Him helps us understand the importance He places on believing in the resurrection. On the cross, Jesus became the physical embodiment of our sin. For the first time ever the Father had to turn away from His Son leaving Him alone and in anguish to cry, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Insulted, spat upon, beaten, whipped to within an inch of His life, and finally nailed to a cross, this was the only part of His entire ordeal that caused Him to cry out. The Earth shook and the sun went dark as the Light of the World was extinguished (Matt 27:45-51).
Three days later Jesus rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of Majesty, and He’s sitting there today. That wouldn’t be possible if even one of our sins remained on Him. God’s eyes are too pure to look upon sin, remember? He’d have to turn away again and banish His Own Son from His Presence forever.
Since Jesus took all of our sins upon Himself, it follows that His death had to absolutely and forever pay the complete penalty for every one of them, or else He’d still be in the grave. So His resurrection is proof of ours. By believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you’re really telling God that you believe all the sins of your life were forgiven at the cross. With that alone you’ve inherited eternal life. Selah 03-27-05