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Certain and Sure

“The Essential Elements of a Confession of Faith” Romans 10:9-10

Date:August 6, 2023
Author: Wayne J. Edwards


Generally speaking, the term “Lord” is used to identify those with authority, control, or power over others. A servant recognizes their position of submission by referring to those they serve as “my Lord!” In Jesus’ day, when the leper called Jesus, “Lord” he was showing Him respect as a healer and a teacher.

However, after Jesus’ resurrection, the title “Lord” became much more than a title of honor or respect. Saying, “Jesus is Lord,” became a way of declaring Jesus’ deity, i.e., the “Lordship of Christ.” It began with Thomas’ exclamation when Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection: “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:28).

From then on, the apostles’ message was that Jesus is Lord, meaning “Jesus is God.” Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost contained that theme: “Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:36). In Romans 10:9-10, the Apostle Paul linked one’s eternal salvation with their public confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord!

We will explain this further in our Sunday, July 30th sermon, “Certain and Sure: The Essential Elements of a Confession of Faith.”

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Old Testament – Deuteronomy 30:1-20 
New Testament – Galatians 3:1-29

Certain and Sure
“The Essential Elements of a Confession of Faith”
Romans 10:9-10

Wayne J. Edwards, Pastor

   Traditionally, the most convincing argument for the authenticity of the Christian faith was the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • However, rather than presenting the biblical facts for the Lord’s resurrection, the majority of non-believers said what they needed to see was the difference one’s faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ made in a believer’s life.
  • According to the most recent data, there are 60 million evangelicals in the United States, which is about 20% of America’s population.
  • If 60 million Americans were submitted unto the Lordship of Christ, would our culture be as sinful today?
  • It should break our hearts that someone could say they believe in Jesus Christ and yet it made so little difference in their lives.
  • Cultural Christianity is casual assent to Christian beliefs without a total surrender unto the Lordship of Christ – it is a profession of faith in the Christian religion rather than a genuine confession of faith in the Person and work of Christ.
  • Such false presentations of the gospel have filled our churches with false believers who know very little about the Christian Faith except what they feel about it, and that’s where we are today because the gospel message has been adapted to fit the culture.

   One of the most significant doctrinal issues facing the church today is to define the essential elements of a true confession of faith.

  • The over-simplified presentations of the gospel used in evangelical churches today never mention the need for a confession of sin, much less a surrender unto the Lordship of Christ as the initial evidence of a true conversion, which means there is no witness to others.
  • The acceptance of the true gospel has the power to deliver a lost person from an eternity in hell into the everlasting kingdom of God.
  • The acceptance of a corrupted gospel can only give a lost person a false hope of their eternal security while consigning them to eternal damnation.
  • Millions of lost people have gone through the motions of accepting Christ; walking the aisle, praying the prayer, writing the date of their decision in their Bibles, etc., but they remain lost in their sins, and their false hope inoculates them from the true gospel.
  • These dumbed-down presentations of the gospel fan the flames of spiritual ignorance, which is at epidemic levels in today’s church.
  • Today’s version of Christianity can no longer restrain evil, and unless there is a genuine revival, it will soon embrace evil and even promote the acceptance of sin.

   To put our text in context:

  • In Romans 1:2-4, Paul declared the essence of the gospel as Christ s fulfillment of God s promises in the scriptures.
    • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 – “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
  • In Romans 1:16-17, Paul said the function of the gospel was God’s power for salvation,
    • “For it (the gospel) is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, the Jew first and then the Greek, for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith.”
  • In Luke 19 and Matthew 23, Jesus pronounced His judgments on the people of Israel because they refused to do two things:
    • They refused to recognize His deity – in denying his vicarious death and physical resurrection, they rejected the Lordship of Christ.
    • They refused to give up their desire to earn their acceptance with God by their acts of righteousness and place themselves under the canopy of the righteousness of Christ.

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Romans 10:9-10

  • In verse 9, Paul kept sequence with the way Mosese challenged the Israelites in Deuteronomy 30 to express their faith in God alone – i.e., by confession with their mouth and then to believe with all of their heart.
  • In verse 10, Paul corrected the order by saying, “With the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
  • Notice Paul equated “righteousness with “salvation,” for they are the same thing – one is positive, and the other is negative.
  • Righteousness is positive in that when we confess Jesus Christ as Lord, we recognize His deity, and God imputes to us the pure righteousness of Christ, which means our sins are forgiven, and we are made acceptable unto God.
  • Salvation is negative because when we confess Jesus as Lord, we are delivered from something we deserve, an eternity in hell.

So, the two essential elements of a true confession of faith are:

1.  An Affirmation from the Heart – Vs. 10 – “With the heart, man believes unto righteousness.”

   To the Hebrew, a person’s heart refers to the core of their being.

  • “Out of the heart are the issues of life.”
  • “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
  • “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
  • The heart of man is the seat of his soul, i.e., his mind, emotions, and will, so the first element of a true confession of faith is to believe in Jesus Christ with one’s whole heart.
  • To believe is to affirm that Jesus’ death on the cross was to pay for our sins, and His resurrection was to prove He was the Son of God, so we stop trying to earn our salvation by our self-righteousness and good works, and we put our faith in Jesus Christ alone.
  • In Romans 1:1-4, Paul identified Jesus as Christ our Lord, who was “Declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
  • The resurrection was God the Father’s stamp of approval on the work of His Son.

2.   A Confession with our Mouth – Vs. 10, “And with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

  • The word “confession” means to agree with the facts or to say the same thing as the facts conclude.
  • Verse 9 – We confess the same thing the Scriptures say about the Person and work of Jesus Christ – that “Jesus is Lord!”

   The difference between intellectual faith and confessional faith:

  • In James 2:19, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus wrote: “You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe— and tremble!”
  • Even demons have an intellectual knowledge of God, and they tremble at such knowledge, but it is a dead faith, for it cannot deliver them from Satan’s realm.
  • Demons are guilty of their sins and fear God’s judgment, for they know they are condemned to hell forever.
  • Demons know about the saving power of what Jesus did on the cross, but they know such grace is not in their future, for they rejected God’s authority over their lives.
  • Millions of people have an intellectual knowledge of God, and therefore, they have an intellectual faith, but it is not a saving knowledge of God, and consequently, it is not a saving faith.
    • Acts 24 – the Apostle Paul witnessed to some men and women of nobility, and while they were convicted of their sins, they were not saved because they would not recognize the deity of Jesus Christ.
  • Millions of people are convicted of their sins and even fear God’s judgment. They also know what the Bible says Jesus did to forgive their sins but they are unwilling to confess with their mouth “Jesus is Lord,” to receive God’s gift of salvation.
    • Mark 10:17-22 – the rich, young ruler forfeited his treasures in heaven because he would not submit unto Jesus as his Lord.
  • In Matthew 16, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” The Apostle Peter made the first public confession of faith when he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
  • In 1 Corinthians 12:3, Paul said, “No man speaking by Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed and no man can say Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Spirit.”
  • So, when the Spirit of God does His work in our hearts, the end result is our affirmation, confirmation, proclamation, and public confession that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.