Sunday, January 8, 2012

What about Romans 10:9?

This question was asked on a Facebook page I'm part of. It's also the one of the first questions asked whenever Acts 2:38 is brought up. Br Charles Albert Johnson III gave the following answer. There's nothing I could add to this. It's the best exegesis on this subject I've seen thus far. Thanks, bro Charles, for allowing me to use this!

Before examining the ninth verse of the Chapter, let us get context by examining the first verse of the Chapter.

Romans 10:1 - Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

So Paul is addressing the Church (Brethren), folk who are already saved. Paul is addressing the Church concerning "Israel's" salvation, for they were the ones in the context in need of salvation. Therefore, we understand that Romans 10:9 is NOT addressing the Church about how they get saved, nor is it intended to communicate a generic plan of Salvation for sinners in general. Keep the Scripture in context and you won't err.

Now to the meat of the text. Paul is addressing folk who are already saved, therefore it doesn't make sense for him to be telling them how to get saved. He is, however, speaking concerning the salvation of Israel. Paul quotes the law in Deuteronomy 30 to proclaim that the "word" in that place in the law was the "word of faith" which "we preach." He is talking about the Gospel, to the Jew first (Romans 1:16).

In verse nine, Paul addresses the two main hindrances to Israel's salvation, namely confessing with the mouth the Lord Jesus and believing in His Resurrection. These two hindrances to Israel's salvation are clearly seen comparing the Scriptures.

Romans 10:9 - 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.


John 9:22 - These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

John 12:42 - Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:


Matthew 28

11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,

13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.

14 And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.

15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Notice also it says "thou SHALT be saved," not "thou ART saved." More beyond simple confession and belief is necessary, for example, REPENTANCE is clearly necessary for salvation.

Luke 13:3 - I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Luke 13:5 - I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

If we assume that generic salvation is simple confession and belief, as per Romans 10:9, then we'd be forced to conclude that repentance is unnecessary for salvation, though Jesus said otherwise. So you see salvation in the generic sense is absolutely not what Romans 10:9 is dealing with, rather, Romans 10:9 is dealing with the salvation of unbelieving Israel, who culturally and traditionally had issues with confessing Christ (and getting excommunicated from Jewish life ie. put out of the synagogue) as Lord and believing in the Resurrection (the Jewish leadership paid off the Roman soldiers to lie and that lie was commonly reported). To interpret otherwise is error.

Paul goes on to quote Moses and Isaiah (law and the prophets) in that God would use the unbelief of the Jews to bring about the salvation of all the nations (fulfilling His promise to Abraham...father of MANY NATIONS), and for to provoke Israel in unbelief to jealousy, that some of them may be saved.

Romans 10:19 - But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

Romans 11:11 - I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

Romans 11:14 - If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

I pray here that I have given you accurate exegesis of the Romans 10 text, and that you have been edified to be able to provide an answer to every man concerning the faith that is in you. Let all God's people be strengthened and sharpened in Jesus' Name.