Reading: Romans 10: 5-13
Verse Ten: It is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Rules or faith? Myself or God? Know or trust? Living by faith can be a challenge to each of us. Paul begins today’s passage with a quote from Moses about the Law. Moses is basically saying that if one follows the Law, one is righteous for living according to God’s rules. But the Law is something outside of us. It is a list of do’s and don’ts. The Law focuses on what I can (and cannot) do and is very black and white. It says things like do not murder and keep the Sabbath holy. In this sense, the Law is easy to understand.
To live by faith is another matter. Paul quotes Deuteronomy and writes, “The Word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart”. Faith in Jesus Christ is very much an internal thing. Faith is about a relationship that shifts the focus from us to God. This relationship begins with confessing “Jesus is Lord”. This confession places Jesus instead of self on the throne of our heart. It becomes less and less about what we can or cannot do (the Law again) and more and more about what Jesus is doing in and through us.
The Law is about knowing God in our head. Faith is about having God in our heart. The short distance between head and heart can be a very long journey. Sitting in a pew each Sunday is following the rule written in your head. Worshipping and praising God each week is Jesus living out of your heart. It is a world of difference to have God in your head versus having Jesus in your heart. Paul writes, “It is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved”. Faith resides in the heart. It leads us on that journey to confession of our sins and receiving mercy and forgiveness. Through our relationship with Jesus Christ we are made holy and pure once again.
Paul concludes today’s passage with two more Old Testament quotes. First, from Isaiah: “Anyone who trusts Him will never be put to shame”. Faith involves trust. In faith, Jesus has our backs. Second, from Joel: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. It’s not ‘could be’ or ‘might’ but WILL BE saved. Trust and call on the Lord. He is all we need. Jesus is our all in all. Thanks be to God.