“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. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.”
As he prepared to visit Rome to share the gospel, Paul wrote and sent a letter to the Romans. In the Book of Romans, Paul introduced himself and then provided a preview of what he planned to preach to them: what to believe and how to behave. His clear teaching on the sinfulness of humanity, the forgiveness that is available through Christ, and how one experiences God’s salvation leads straight to instruction on how to live and walk in obedience to Christ.
The miracle of the gospel is that mankind can be rescued from hell and eternal separation from God. The simplicity of the gospel makes it possible for anyone to experience salvation.
Paul was an intelligent and well-educated man who was also gifted in easily relating to those with whom he was speaking. He carefully explained the sinfulness of man and the penalty of that sin; but he also revealed the step-by-step instructions to salvation through Christ Jesus.
Believing in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God, that He gave His life in the place of all men and died, and that He was raised from death to life and is now seated at the right hand of God, coupled with a public confession that Jesus is Savior and Lord of your life, results in salvation.
This year, our oldest child begins her senior year. Obviously, I’ve known for some time that this day was coming, but I held off talking about it very often. The day came, though, when I was forced to acknowledge this fact so that my wife and I could start helping her make plans and even look toward the next steps after high school graduation.
While I believed she had reached this stage, I needed to confess it. Why?
Verbal confession often leads to ownership of the fact and communicates belief to those around you.
It’s now settled: My daughter is a senior in high school and has begun planning for college and life out from under my roof. Yes, that stings a little, but I’m also able to celebrate a special season of life with her.
In today’s focal passage, Paul taught that the gift of salvation is received by confession and belief. This belief is more than a simple acknowledgement of accuracy of information. Rather, this is accurate information (that Jesus is the Christ) affecting your life. This belief causes change, settles the issue, and ushers in a peace.
Confession can be understood as a declaration of agreement. In a courtroom, a guilty party might choose to confess to a crime or agree to that of which he is guilty. When we verbally confess, declare, or agree with something, there is a psychological effect. Our confession often results in ownership of the information.
When a parent declares and embraces a new season in their child’s life, the confession results in the belief that this relationship has now changed. In the same way, when a man, woman, boy, or girl is convinced of the truth that Jesus is God’s Son and that He gave His life for them, there is a change in their lives; they’ve settled the issue and received a peace. When that person then declares (I believe, verbally) that Jesus is their Lord and Savior, that relationship is recognized and becomes real to them. It is indeed an incredible experience to witness!
Many of the students we work with are just now figuring this out. Prepare your own heart to challenge your students by verbally confessing your personal faith in Jesus to them. Introduce them to the Jesus who changed your life. Remind them that belief in Jesus and confession of that belief is what is required.
I can’t think of a better way to share Jesus with students!
Brandon Lewis has served as student pastor in churches in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi. He and Lacey have three children: Karen, Gabriel, and Ryan. Brandon is currently serving as the youth ministry strategist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. In this role, he has the privilege of planning and hosting statewide events for teenagers (YEC, Clear Camps, etc.), coordinating training events for youth ministers and youth ministry leaders, and serving as a youth ministry consultant for churches across the state.