The Apostle Paul in Romans argues that a Christian cannot rightly call themselves a disciple unless they both believe and confess that ‘Jesus is Lord’.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:9-13)
Paul’s desire is to see people saved and he knows that salvation is found only in Jesus. So his argument here states that a person’s salvation is on display when they are willing to confess with their mouth that ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead.
There is an inward and outward expression of faith here – believe in your heart (the inward reality of being justified) and confess with your mouth (the outward expression of that justification). This is the reality that drives mission. Paul models this in each of the evangelistic speeches he gives (as recorded in Acts) – in each he testifies that God raised Jesus from the dead.
Pushing this a little further, can you see how this calls upon the Christian to live out their faith publicly? It is not sufficient to consider your ‘faith’ in Jesus to be a private thing. What Paul is saying here is that if you believe that Jesus is Lord, then that is a belief that needs to be expressed publicly – for others to hear. Christians should have Jesus on their lips.
Paul calls on the Roman Christians to go beyond the Jews (the Israel of his day) and to go to even the Gentiles to help everyone call on the name of the Lord. Your faith is on display as you bear witness to Jesus. Your testimony of Jesus should aim to help others call on the name of the Lord.
How does one call on Jesus if they don’t believe in him? Yet, how will one believe in Jesus if they have not heard about him? Yet, how will one hear about Jesus without someone telling them? And how will that someone tell others about Jesus unless someone is sent to do it?
Paul tells the followers of Christ – go, tell, for Jesus to be believed, there needs to be witnesses testifying about him. Someone must be sent, for someone to go, for someone to preach, for another to hear, in order to believe, and so call upon the Lord to be saved. It is about making Jesus famous. Yet the benefit is for those who follow him.
So Christians – go and speak Jesus.
For more in this Series:
Bold in Mission
Bold in Witness & the Great Commission
Believe and Confess
How to be Bold in Witness?
Practical Tips to be Bold in Witness
Is Every Christian Called to be an Evangelist?