“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.” (Romans 10:9)
The cheap Gospel, based on cheap faith, is a plastic imitation of the real thing. It neither satisfies nor sustains. For generations, preachers and pastors have misused this verse in Romans 10:9 and it has produced malformed fruit at best.
First, this verse does not stand alone in the letter to the Romans. It cannot be — must not be — separated from all that the Apostle Paul has said earlier about faith, repentance, and even baptism.
Second, we have often assumed that to “confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord” means making a simple public statement to verify a truth that the Church has affirmed for centuries. “Sure, I agree that Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth.” However, Paul’s intentions run much deeper.
This confession is a personal declaration that we abandon all other gods, that Caesar is not Lord, and that our life will henceforth be lived entirely submitted to the will and the leading of Christ. That’s true confession.
Third, to “believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead” means that we absolutely trust the God who has resurrection power and we will remain faithful to Him even if our foes threaten us with death.
These confessions and beliefs are not mental exercises or intellectual conclusions. Instead, they affirm our profound commitment and obedience to both Christ and the Father who raised Him from the dead.
Perhaps as we consider the Gospel, and ask others to make a “good confession” based on Romans 10:9 we might put it this way:
“If you vow to put Christ in charge of every resource, every opportunity, and every decision in your life, and if you will trust God and remain faithful to Him even if it costs you everything and death itself comes after you, you will be saved.”
How much shallow living and plastic faith arises from a cheap Gospel that sounds easy? Nothing short of utter devotion, complete commitment, and unfettered obedience produces abundant life. We fear losing what we have, not realizing that the Gospel calls us to death — like seeds in the ground — that true life might spring forth.
Lent — the word means Spring — seems so appropriate to consider afresh the true Lordship of Christ in our lives.