I have had a few interesting conversations with people on Romans 10:9; “for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” One person quoting this said that this was the sum total of her understanding of Salvation in this one verse. I asked her a question; “do you mean that we just verbally confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in His Resurrection and we don’t have to obey the words of Jesus in order to be saved?” She said “yes.”
This was a surprise to me that anyone would say that we only have to believe in the fact of Jesus existence and not obey him when it comes to Salvation. Even Satan believed in Jesus existence. He just didn’t want to obey Jesus.
- Keep in mind there are Evangelicals who are very divided on this, with some saying we only have to believe and confess with our mouth the fact of Jesus existence, while others insist that we also must believe and obey what Jesus said for salvation.
The problem with one verse or a couple of verses is that a person may mistakenly come up with conclusions that leaves out the context. For example in verse eleven it says; “No one who believes in him [Jesus] will be put to shame." And so now it is not just Confessing Jesus with your mouth, but believing in Him and you can’t very well believe in Jesus if you don’t believe and follow what He says.
There was another person who had memorized Romans 10:9 and said that you could determine who is saved by whether they have confessed with their mouth or not. First of all Romans is not saying who is saved (present tense), it is saying "will be saved" (future tense).
My other point to him was that if you go around saying who is saved (going to Heaven) and who is not, you are in violation of Romans 10:6-7; "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will go up into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down), or 'Who will go down into the abyss [Hell]?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." Even though he had memorized verse 9, he was not aware of verses 6 & 7.
- We cannot say specifically who is saved if Paul says not to judge in this way; "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will go up into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down). We are forbidden to judge the salvation of another, that is between the person and God.
He thought he had left the Catholic Church for Biblical Christianity. What he didn’t realize is that when he left the Catholic Church, he left the fullness of Biblical Christianity. After seeing this and a few other things he returned to the fullness of Biblical Christianity.
On an other occasion, I was at a function at an Evangelical Church. An individual, after discovering I was Catholic, asked me the question "On my meeting with Jesus, what would I tell Jesus is the reason I should be saved?' I rephrased the question and asked him, "Are you asking me, what must I do to spend everlasting life with God in Heaven?" He said, "Yes." I said to him, "I will answer your question if you answer your own question first." And he said, "will you promise not to change your answer after I have answered?" I said, "I absolutely will not change my answer."
- He said "all you have to do is have a personal relationship with Jesus." I said to him, "Judas had a personal relationship with Jesus, and Jesus said of Judas 'It would have been better for that one not to have been born'" (Mt 28:24). He was perplexed; he didn't know how to respond to this. He, looked at the person across from me and said, "did you hear what he just said?"
In the end, I think he realized that his answer was at best, incomplete. Both Satan and Judas had personal relationships with Jesus. They, having their own agenda didn't want to obey, Jesus. There are people who claim that all we need is a personal relationship with Jesus; obedience to what He says is not necessary. Remember, we are not to imitate the disobedience of Judas and Satan; we are to imitate the other Apostles who did obey Jesus.
Another person by the name of Eddie gives us the bad news, "the Popes are burning in Hell.” He gives them a very severe sentence; however, the good news is that Eddie is not the one doing the sentencing. It is possible that a given Pope is in Hell, and Eddie, it is also possible that you could burn in Hell as well; however, this is not something for us to judge and it is strictly forbidden in Scripture by Paul. Eddie’s comment "the popes are burning in Hell” is coming from his man-made tradition, not from the Bible. Paul says in Romans 10; don’t judge who is being saved (GOING UP TO HEAVEN) and who is not saved (DOWN INTO THE ABYSS).
- "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will go up into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down), or 'Who will go down into the abyss [Hell]?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead) (Rm 10:6-7)."
By saying, who is burning in Hell, Eddie is following a man-made tradition strictly forbidden in Scripture. The Apostle Paul says we are not to say who is going down to the abyss. It is better to follow Paul in Romans then to follow man-made traditions that are in opposition to the Bible.
I was on Facebook and and a person by the name of Timothy challenged me. He asked, "what must *I* do to obtain and maintain my salvation (and please provide me the exhaustive list of everything that I must do, please, if possible)" I thanked Timothy for his very excellent question and then gave him one condition. I will answer your question if you will answer my question first. What must you or I do to inherit everlasting life with God in Heaven? I will make it easy for you. I won’t ask you for an exhaustive list. Personally, I don’t think you can answer this question. On the other hand, if you can then you will have answered your own question.
Timothy answered my question and expressed his displeasure; "Leonard, the answer to your question is nothing, for Jesus did it all. We are saved by grace, not works (Eph 2:8-9). And please do not assume I will get an answer to a question incorrect. It is arrogant and condescending." Timothy, to your credit, you did give a verse of the Bible that has to do with salvation; faith versus works of the law [circumcision] (Eph 2:8-9), not to be confused with good works. Yes, you are correct, Jesus did it all and He also answered my question, something you did not do.
Here is the question again; What must you or I do to inherit everlasting life with God in Heaven? How did Jesus answer it? “Teacher what good must I do to gain eternal life?’ He answered him, ‘Why do you ask me about the good? There is only one who is good.’
- If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Mt 19:18).
To the question; what must you or I do to inherit everlasting life; Timothy says, “Nothing, for Jesus did it all” and Jesus says, “keep the commandments.” Who will you follow? Will you follow Timothy and do nothing, or will you follow Jesus who tells us to “keep the commandments.” Jesus did it once and for all and for all time now it is time for us to do our all.
There are others who make the statement, “no one can keep the Commandments.” However, Jesus doesn’t say that; the Apostles do not say that; the Bible does not say that anywhere. In fact, 1 John says that people who claim to follow Jesus and don’t keep the commandments are liars.
- “The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 Jn 2:4).
Jesus claims the truth is not in him. Of course these are not the only liars in Scripture. Satan was a liar as well and scripture says there is no truth in him. "He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (Jn 8:44). Jesus is very clear, if you don't keep His commandments, you don't know Him and you are a liar as well.
There are some very wonderful Christians out there that are going around saying "nobody can keep the commandments" even though Jesus said to keep the commandments. Their reasoning is that at times people fail in one or more of the commandments and so they reason that nobody can keep the commandments. Their reasoning is faulty. If they truly believe that nobody can keep the commandments, then this is actually a permission to sin, something Jesus never gave us. However, He did give us something that is a remedy for sin, which does not not include the removal of commandments. It is called repentance. I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Lk 5:32).
- There is one unanswerable question that no one as yet has ever answered. If no one can keep the commandments, then why did Jesus say to "keep the commandments"?
There are many who say "no one can keep the commandments"; however, Jesus is not one of them. Jesus says, If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Mt 19:18), and part of this is repentance if and when we fail.
“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 Jn 3:22).
“The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us (1 Jn 3:24).
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1Jn 5:3).
People who make the statement; “no one can keep the commandments” have the very best of intention; however, they don’t seem to realize that this statement is at odds with many Scripture verses.
There is one final observation that I would like to make. There is a salvation question in the Bible, “Teacher what good must I do to gain eternal life?’ It is interesting to note that virtually no one asks this salvation question. Why do they make up their own salvation question when in fact there is a salvation question in the Bible? I believe it is because they don't like the answer Jesus gives us.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Mt 19:18).