Romans 10:9 - 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.
From earliest times, men have feverishly sought to escape the doom of eternal death. Seeking to somehow dodge "the wages of sin" (Romans 6:23a), they have tried to turn God's wrath into love, to gain the assurance that their transgressions have been removed. Though they have sought to appease the Almighty and secure His favor by countless methods, fundamentally and finally there are only two ways by which sinners seek to be saved: one is man's way and the other, God's.
How deceptive and destructive is the attempt to "earn" heaven oneself! It always leaves the sinner in the dread of doubt that he has not done enough to satisfy God's justice and righteous demands. It holds out no hope to the dying. It is a lost cause. By contrast, God's way to salvation, His own promise to you that despite your sins and flawed character you can have heaven, is outlined in the apostle Paul's text above.
But receiving God's grace doesn't come easy to those who are in the pits. Are you at the point of surrendering to Satan, who whispers that the wounds caused by your transgressions are too heavy to be healed? Do you survey your life with a sense of hopelessness and despair? Do you wonder if there is any reason to go on, to continue in a day-to-day existence where futility meets you at every step?
The answer is yes; there is every reason to go on.
Learn, therefore, what the apostle really means when he says, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord"! This requires much more than acknowledging that a stand-up guy named Jesus once lived in far-off Palestine; much more than conceding that He was a great teacher, a compelling leader, a visionary with radical ideas.
To "confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord" means that you accept Him not only in His divine might but also in His God-forsaken lowliness. He is your Savior, your Redeemer, your Deliverer. At the cross you should know that Jesus, "despised and rejected—a man of sorrows" (Isaiah 53:3a), suffered the curse, the shame, the agony, the soul terror, the darkest, most dismal of deaths, because He loved you with endless devotion.
Jesus came into this world to take the only way of satisfying the divine Law and atoning for your sins: He gave Himself for you. He went to the cross in your place, suffered in your stead, died as your Substitute. His marvelous compassion is directed to each one of us, whether we make our home in a palatial mansion or in a penitentiary cell. His love knows no bounds, no restrictions, nothing that would prevent Him from reaching us wherever we are, in whatever condition we're in.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, many are those who do not know the Savior as their Redeemer. Touch the hearts of the unredeemed that they may know You and the Son You have sent to save us. In His Name we pray. Amen.
A sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Walter A. Maier, the first Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Do you ever feel like you're making a contribution to your salvation?
2. What holds people back from receiving God's gift of grace?
3. Have you ever felt yourself to be beyond God's love? Was it a situation of your own making?
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