By David J. Stewart
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine HEART that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). Salvation is of the heart, NOT the mouth. I’ve actually heard radio preachers teach that a person needs to audibly profess Christ in order to be saved. Would you show me that in the Bible? On the contrary, we read the opposite in Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, LORD, LORD, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” We are NOT saved by saying certain magic words or by performing certain religious duties. The Scriptures are clear—we are saved by doing God’s will. These people in Matthew chapter seven were sincere I believe, they were religious no doubt. Let’s hear their testimony in Matthew 7:22, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” They had done so many wonderful things “in Jesus name” but listen to what Jesus told them in Matthew 7:23, “And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Wow! These people had spent their lives prophesying “in Jesus name”, casting out devils “in Jesus name” and doing many wonderful works “in Jesus name.” Now their about to be cast into hell for their disobedience. They failed to do GOD’S WILL. People get the wrong impression that they can earn their way to heaven or merit salvation by their own works—this is a lie of the devil! There is NOTHING we can do to earn heaven, we ALL deserve to burn in hell.
The passage of Scripture we just read is perhaps the most shocking and eye-opening truth in the Bible. It’s hard to imagine these sincere people going to hell after spending so much time trying to help others in the name of Jesus. We learn several truths from this passage.
First, The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Many sincere and loving people will be shocked someday to find out that their name is NOT in the book of life. They thought they were going to heaven for any number of reasons but THEY WERE WRONG. “There is a way which SEEMETH RIGHT unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Second, Many false religions operate in Jesus’ name. I cannot stress this fact enough, beware! I once witnessed to a Hispanic couple in their home concerning Christ. The man barely understood English, but the mother was able to understand. They had several wonderful children. The kids had been coming to our Baptist church on the church bus for awhile bus but then stopped coming. We kept visiting them on Saturdays. Unfortunately, this family had been caught up with the Jehovah Witnesses. I tried to explain to the mother that these people were NOT their friends and were not of God. She said, “but they talk about Jesus.” I explained Matthew chapter seven to her. She said, “but they came to visit me when I was in the hospital and brought me a box of food.” I did my best to open her eyes to the truth but she just wouldn’t listen. In her mind, anyone who came “in Jesus name” was of God and readily accepted into her home. I prayed with the family and then left. I only wish I could get people to realize that most religion is of the devil. Jesus said in Matthew 7:23 that false prophets are “workers of iniquity.”
Third, The only way to be saved is by doing GOD’S WILL. What is God’s will? We find the answer in John 6:40, “And this is the WILL of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” God’s will is for each and every person to see Jesus as He is portrayed in the Word of God and to believe on Him. Many religions will come to us but they have “another Jesus.” We must believe on Jesus Christ as he is presented by God’s Holy Word, as the true and living God. And then we must simply believe on Jesus Christ the best we know how for salvation and forgiveness of sins.
Fourth, We are NOT all God’s Children. I often hear these modernists and liberals speaking of how “we are all God’s Children.” Not so! We are all God’s creation, but we are definitely NOT all God’s Children. A “modernist” is someone who makes light of the Bible, a “liberal” is someone who doesn’t believe the Bible or deliberately disregards the Bible. These are not God’s Children Liberals are anti-authority and do what they feel like doing—”if it feels good, do it” attitude. These are the modern “free-thinkers” that discourage marriage, decency and respect for authority. Many endorse sodomy, abortion, gambling, nudity, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, etc. They have little or no purpose for God in their life. They are friends of the world and with the devil. Only those who are truly born-again can claim to be Children of God. Someone has foolishly taught that all rivers lead to the ocean. That depends! It depends on which was your traveling. Do all airplanes fly to Tokyo? Do all trains lead to Boston? Do you see how silly man’s reasoning can be?
For with the HEART man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). It is with our mouth that we can confess to others that we have been saved but it is only with the heart that we can believe on Christ and become saved. The confession of the mouth can only follow the believing of the heart. It is the believing of the heart that makes us righteous in God’s eyes because of Christ’s righteousness applied to our record. If we believe on Christ in our heart but fail to confess Him to others with our mouth, we are still saved. Why? Because it is “with the heart” that a person believeth unto righteousness. Mouth confession is optional. Surely it is a good idea to make a public confession to others that we have been saved, but this is NOT mandatory to salvation.
Neither is baptism necessary for salvation but it is something that God wants us to do if we have the opportunity to do so. When we get baptized, we are making a public profession of our faith. We are displaying outwardly what has happened inwardly. Baptism pictures the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We symbolize our faith in the Gospel in being baptized. It is similar to wearing a wedding ring. The ring doesn’t make you married, it is simply a symbol of ownership. You own each other. If the ring is destroyed, the marriage is still valid. Two people do not need a ring to be married in God’s eyes. Likewise, baptism does not save nor is it required to be saved. However, you must be saved before you can be legitimately baptized. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that BELIEVETH NOT shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). A wedding ring means nothing if you have no marriage. Likewise, baptism means nothing if you have not Christ in your heart. Salvation is of the heart, not baptism or anything else. It is NOT what you say that is important. What does matter is whether or not you believe in your HEART that Jesus is the Savior and that you have personally asked Him to forgive and save you. You need not open your mouth, Salvation is of the heart.