I want to conclude this series by talking about an often quoted passage from Romans 10.
Romans 10:9-13: “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, ‘No one who believes in him will be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”
This passage is where the concept of a “Sinner’s Prayer” comes from, that is, the teaching that one is saved by praying to God and making these proclamations of faith. However, some Christians have objected to the idea, saying that you cannot be assured of your salvation simply because you have said a prayer. They say that you must also demonstrate genuine repentance.
That could be a valid objection if you are only seeing the surface meaning of the Scripture above. However, what I have come to believe is that the passage has a deeper meaning, and if you believe the deeper meaning underlying those words, then that prayer is indeed enough to give assurance of salvation.
First, while the concept of confessing Jesus as Lord is often seen as pledging allegiance to His will for our lives, it could also be seen as placing our trust in Him to work in us “to will and to work” (Phil. 2:13), believing that He will operate in us to ensure that our attitudes and actions progressively conform to His will. Next, the part about believing in one’s heart that God “raised him from the dead,” alludes back to Chapters 6-8 in which Paul describes how we should believe in the power of Christ’s resurrection over our own lives to set us free from sin’s bondage. This goes beyond simply acknowledging that a miracle happened 2,000 years ago.
Paul writes, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame . . . for ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” This is the ultimate assurance that if we sincerely ask God to bring us into this transformation through Christ, we cannot mess up our salvation. We can rest assured that, regardless of what phase of the journey we are in now, we are undergoing a transformative process to become what God has made us to be.