Every evangelist’s favorite verse seems to always be Romans 10:9:
“If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you shall be saved.”
The other big verse used is the one in revelation at the end of the message to the church at Laodicea “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man…” you know the rest.
Now I am not against using these verses in evangelism, in fact I think that both of these verses have some very powerful truth contain in them, and both have tremendous messages of grace, and of pardon. The problem we run into is that we do not look at the historical context of either of these verses, especially Romans 10:9. I will be focusing on that passage in this post, and hopefully the Revelation passage in the next. Historical context is an odd thing, and people only seem to use it when it is convenient to the points they are trying to make, and they will quickly ignore it when it proves to be a thorn in the side of their argument or theology. The evangelical fundamentalist will often ignore the historical context of Romans 10:9 to make a new convert. This verse taken at face value makes salvation a terribly easy thing. If I say to someone “Jesus is Lord” and I believe it, well everything is AOK for me, right? Wrong. Understand that this letter of Paul to the Romans was written to a persecuted people. People who were risking their very lives any time they confessed the Lordship of Jesus Christ. To confess “Jesus is Lord” was no small thing in that day. You counted your life nothing and risked it all to make that precious confession. Today we are more worried about how we can do evangelism without losing any friends. Can you imagine in that day if your best friend got converted, and you were not, and you were out in the marked place with them and a guard walked by and said “Caesar is Lord!” and as everyone repeated it your friend stood silent. We would think, “Just say it man, your gonna get yourself killed, plus you are embarrassing me, why can you not just go along with it?” Then the guard comes up to your friend and says it again, at that point you would get real nervous, just hoping he wouldn’t say those pathetic (in the unconverted eyes) three words, but out of his mouth with trembling lips comes: “Jesus is Lord!.” That is it, the guard gives one more opportunity to say Caesar is Lord, and your friend says no! Jesus is Lord and it is all over, off to prison or executed on the spot.
Now what about us? We are afraid to be a little embarrassed, so we avoid confessing the name, that is unless we are in a place where that is normal like Church. Our entire lives should be a confession that Jesus is Lord, whether it causes us ridicule or not. If our confession that Jesus is Lord has never made us vulnerable or uncomfortable, then maybe our confession is not worthy of the confession explained in Romans 10:9.
((Just a thought, I really have to get going. Sorry about any typos))