Mar22FriMarch 22, 2019
“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.” - Romans 10:9 (NIV)
Can Jesus be your saviour without being your Lord? Romans 10:9 tells us that you are saved by believing that Christ died and rose again AND by confessing that He is Lord. So confessing that Jesus is Lord is a part of how we are saved. But what exactly does that mean?
For the original readers of Paul’s letter, Christians living in Rome during the Roman Empire, there was no confusion. They lived in the capital of the most powerful nation on earth, the home of the Emperor, the most powerful man on earth. In order to be a good Roman citizen, you had to confess that Caesar was lord. In other words, that he was your king and had absolute authority over your life. By confessing that Caesar is lord, you were swearing loyalty and allegiance to him. He is the lord and you are the servant.
For the Romans Christians, the words “Jesus is Lord” were not empty religious words. They were a declaration of allegiance to Jesus rather than to Caesar or to anyone else. These words are a vow to obey Jesus, to follow Him completely. This is what is required for salvation, alongside faith in His death and resurrection.
But doesn’t that contradict everything that we read in Romans 1-11? We aren’t saved by our obedience, by our morality, by trying to follow God’s law. We can’t be saved that way. We can only be saved by grace alone through faith alone. It is only the death and resurrection of Jesus that is enough to pay the price for our sins and make us new. So then how does confessing that Jesus Lord fit into this gospel of grace?
Romans 6 tells us that we can’t continue to live a life characterized by sin after we have put our faith in Jesus, because the gospel doesn’t just provide forgiveness, it also makes us new. We have died with Christ and been raised to new life with Him. We cannot live the same life that we did before we knew Him. We aren’t saved by obedience, but we’re saved for obedience. We are saved so we can be obedient. When you are truly saved, then you know that your sin was destroying you and that you have been rescued and made new. You don’t want to live like you used to; you want to follow Jesus. And so you will confess that Jesus is your Lord, and you follow Him as the Holy Spirit gives you power to do so.
This is what Romans 12-16 is all about. These five chapters are the “now what?” of the gospel. Because Jesus saved you and made you new, here’s how you respond. Because you have trusted in His death and resurrection how do you live with Him as your Lord? By and large, these chapters are about living with other Christians lovingly; they’re about church life. There are other parts in there too, but loving one another is the overarching theme. So read the last few chapters of Romans with an eye towards that. How can you show your allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ by loving His people?