that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
For three whole chapters Paul gives a lengthy but beautiful discourse on the gospel and its relationship to Israel. He recounts Israel"s past history in chapter 9. He describes Israel"s future hope in chapter 11 and he explains their present condition in chapter 10. For some reason certain people consider that because of her apostasy God has terminated His promises to Israel - but that is not so. Paul"s decisive response to this is, may it never be - as clearly laid out in these chapters
Chapter 9 focuses on the sovereignty of God and His unchangeable promises to Israel.. their divine election and His changeless plan, particularly in connection with Israel. Chapter 11 reaffirms the plans that God will one day carry out through His people Israel and gives a strong rebuttal against the false teaching that the Church has replaced Israel, while chapter 10 has its sights on the place of Israel in the present - during this Church dispensation.
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Christ became a stumbling block to the Jews at His first coming because He did not fulfil their Messianic expectations and was rejected by them.. but the day is coming when the stone which the builders rejected will become the Corner-stone. Israel had to learn the lesson that righteousness comes from God and not from national parentage.. and so Paul deliberately quoted Isaiah saying: "Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable.
Despite Israel"s rejection of their Messiah-King, Paul is giving full assurance that God"s gracious offer of salvation by grace through faith in Christ finished work, is wide open to both Jew and Gentiles alike and he gave the assurance to both Israel and the nations: if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
And so here in his letter to the Romans, Paul makes it very clear that although Israel has a zeal for God, they were ignorant of the purpose of the Law, and sought to attain their own righteousness by the works of the Law. Their legalist practice sought to get God"s approval, without understanding that only the blood of their Messiah could pay the price for their sins. Neither Jew nor Gentile need to jump though legalist hoops to achieve salvation.. They do not need to: "climb up to heaven" for God"s approval.. for God incarnate had already come to earth to meet with them.. nor did they need to: "go to the place of the dead", for Christ has been raised from the dead - thus completing the work of salvation on behalf of all who will believe.
Isaiah foretold that Emmanuel, would one day dwell with man... and yet the Jews did not recognise the incarnate Word in their midst. Because of their religious bias and flawed perception they did not understand that Jesus is Lord of all and the God of Israel. Christ had died for their sin, and was raised from the dead as reported by many witnesses - yet how difficult it was for the Jews to believe in His resurrection. Nevertheless, Paul promised that if they were able to confess JESUS, as the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and if they believed in their heart that the Messiah was raised from the dead - they would indeed be saved.
There are not two steps to salvation as some like to suggest..(confessing Jesus is Lord + believing in Christ for salvation) but simply two sides of the same justification coin. Only a born-again believer can confess Jesus is Lord, for no man speaking in the Spirit of God can say, "Jesus is anathema"; and no man can say, "Jesus is Lord", except in the Holy Spirit.
It is God alone Who knows the heart. It is He alone Who knows when a man or woman believes in their heart that Christ died for their sins and rose again. And once that hidden heart decision to trust in Christ for salvation is met, the man or woman is immediately born from above by the power of the Holy Spirit and is freely able to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord... for as the apostle John reminds us: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and the Spirit of God abides in him.
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Heavenly Father, thank You that Your only begotten Son came to earth to die on the cross and to rise again so that all who believe in Him.. both Jew and Gentile alike, would not perish but have everlasting life. Thank You that You have not forgotten Your people Israel, and thank You that all who confess that Jesus is Lord - the eternal God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel and believe in their heart that He rose from the dead will not perish but have everlasting life. Thank you Father.. and in Jesus" name that I pray, AMEN.