Let's bow our hearts in prayer as we come to our study of the Word of God tonight. This is such an important portion of Scripture, so very definitive, we want to really allow the Spirit of God to be our teacher.
Father, we do ask tonight as we break open Your Word that we might depend on You to be the teacher, to be the source as we have sung Your praises, as we have worshiped You, as we have been ministered to. We trust that we have gone beyond the sound of the music, beyond the sight of those who shared with us, beyond the feelings that we felt and the people around us, and that we've been able to commune with You, to draw near to You. And now, Lord, we ask that You would be our source, our teacher. Help us to understand what it is that Your Word is saying in this most important portion and we'll praise You in Christ's name. Amen.
Tonight we look together at Romans chapter 10 and most particularly tonight our focus is going to be on two verses, verses 9 and 10, two of the most famous, familiar verses in all the Word of God. And we're going to, I believe, look at the most significant doctrinal issue facing the church today, and that is, how does one become a Christian, because that's the message of Romans 10:9 and 10.
But before we get there we need to put ourselves in the context of this chapter. I want you to listen to the words of the Messiah of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ. "And when He had approached He saw the city and wept over it saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace, but now they have been hidden from your eyes, for the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you and surround you and hem you in on every side and will level you to the ground and your children within you and they will not leave in you one stone upon another because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.’" And that He said in Luke chapter 19 verses 41 to 44. And in another place, in Matthew chapter 23, He said, "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate."
Now in both of those passages our Lord pronounced what amounts to judgment on the people of Israel. And we ask the question, what caused this judgment? What caused God to bring down a ringing condemnation on the people of Israel from which they still suffer? Well that is the issue of Romans chapter 10. Remember, that in dealing with the doctrine of justification by grace through faith, the apostle Paul must explain the unbelief of Israel. For anyone who listens to him might be prone to question and say, "Well if your new gospel is true, why didn't the people of God accept it? If it's really from God, why didn't the people who have received all the rest of the revelation from God, namely the Old Testament, why didn't they believe it?" And so he must explain, as a defense of the validity of his message, the unbelief of Israel.
And in chapter 9, you'll remember, he began to explain that. And he explained it from God's viewpoint, that is, God had planned it that way. God had sovereignly designed it that way. God was not surprised by the unbelief of Israel, it was in the plan. It was anticipated. But now in chapter 10 he deals with it from the side of Israel. Chapter 9 said God knew about it, it was in the plan, it didn't surprise God. That was God's part. Now in chapter 10 we find out that Israel was judged because of her own unbelief. So on the one hand you have the plan of God, on the other hand you have the will of man. Now, we're looking in chapter 10 at the fact that Israel rejected Messiah, Israel rejected the gospel of grace, the gospel of justification by faith, the work of Jesus on the cross. They rejected that because of willful unbelief, willful unbelief. And it says, you'll notice, in verse 3, that they were ignorant. They were ignorant. In their unbelief they were ignorant. And we've been looking at five elements of their ignorance. They were ignorant of the person of God, the provision of Christ, the place of faith, the parameters of salvation and the predictions of Scripture. Now we're in the middle of that outline.
We've already noticed very clearly, I think, that Israel was ignorant of the person of God. We examined that. They really were ignorant of who God was. They thought God to be less than He really was and so they thought they could come up to God's standard by their own works. In fact, in Luke 16:15, He spoke to the Pharisees and said, "Ye are they who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts, for that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God." You see, they didn't know God. They thought God would accept certain things that God would not accept. And so verse 3 says they were ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. They made a terrible error in not understanding the person of God, how holy He is, how righteous He is.
Secondly, we saw that they did not understand the provision of Christ. Verse 4 says, "For Christ is the termination of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes." But they didn't understand the provision of Christ. They didn't understand. They didn't believe that He was the only one who could provide a righteousness they had to have. They thought they had no need for Him, they could get there on their own. Their works would get them there and so they didn't understand the provision of Christ. Christ is the termination of law for righteousness. Christ coming into a life ends the quest of trying to be righteous by your own works. The moment a person sees Christ and understands who He is and what He's done, he knows that legal, ritual, works religion, is a thing of the past and all self-saving efforts are over. The soul is abandoned to the redeeming grace of God in Christ and therein lies true righteousness.
Thirdly, we've noticed that Israel was also ignorant of the place of faith. They were ignorant of the place of faith. Notice that verse 4 ends with a phrase: "To everyone that believes." And here Paul introduces the theme for the next few verses, right down through verse 10. It's all about believing, which is another word for faith, comes from the same Greek root. It's all about believing. Righteousness is available. The righteousness that pleases an infinitely holy God through Christ through faith, it's to everyone that believes. Faith is the issue. And to verify that righteousness comes by faith, Paul goes on to quote from Moses. And first of all he says Moses describes righteousness which is of the law in verse 5. And then he goes back and refers to Leviticus 18:5, which says the man who does these things shall live by them. In other words, if you're going to please God by law then you've got to live that way in perfection. If you want to come to God with your own works, then you have to be perfect, absolutely perfect. In Galatians 3 he said if you offend in one point of the law, you've shattered the whole law and you're cursed.
So, he said Moses in Leviticus 18:5 wrote about law righteousness. And what he wrote was if you're going to do that way you've got to do it perfect, you've got to do it perfectly. But Moses also spoke about righteousness by faith and grace, verse 6. The righteousness which is of faith speaks like this, and he quotes from Deuteronomy chapter 30 verses 12 to 14, "Say not in thine heart who shall ascend into heaven or who shall descend into the deep,” verse 7, “the word is near thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart," verse 8. And he quotes from Deuteronomy chapter 30 where Moses says you don't have to ascend into heaven, you don't have to descend into the pit somewhere, into the sea, into the depths down to the caverns of the earth, you don't have to go beyond your ability above or beyond your ability below to attain righteousness. It's near you. It's in your mouth. You talk about it all the time. It's in your heart. And so he's saying Moses knew that righteousness had been made available, that men didn't have to ascend to some impossible place to get it or descend into some impossible pit to receive it, it was available to them, it was readily available. It was as near as their own hands and their own feet and their own mouth and their own thoughts.
And, in fact, the parentheses in verses 6 and 7 indicate that to deny that is to deny that Christ came down incarnate and that He rose from the dead, for Christ came to bring us the gospel, went into the grave to triumph over death, and coming out of the grave assures us of the truth of the gospel. So he is saying Moses saw that there was righteousness by grace, by God's grace, sending a message to us so that we don't have to climb up some ladder of legalism. And Christ, of course, is the ultimate fulfillment, for He brings God's fullest message to us in His incarnation and seals that message in His resurrection.
And so it's familiar truth, he says. At the end of verse 8, "The word of faith,” he calls it, “which we preach." It's by believing, the word of faith. It's the word which God has brought down to us in the incarnation, up from the grave in the resurrection. That word is given to us, it's near to us, it isn't something you have to attain by works. It isn't something you have to pursue in some odyssey. It's available, it's readily available. It's the word of faith which we preach, he says, which we continually herald, which is the heart of the apostolic message. Everywhere they went they preached that message. It wasn't something you had to hunt for. That was the gospel, the word of the truth of the gospel, he calls it in Colossians chapter 1, the proclamation of saving grace offered in Jesus Christ. He calls it, not the word of men, in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, but the Word of God, which effectually works in you that believe.
So, the righteousness that comes to men is a righteousness that's very high because it must meet the infinite standard of the holiness of God. It's a righteousness that we can't gain on our own and so Christ provides it for us. And it is appropriated to us by what? By faith, by believing, not by pursuing it, not by trying to ascend to heaven or descend into the depths, but by receiving it.
Now that brings up this question, how do you receive it? How do you receive the righteousness of faith? How do you receive the righteousness of God? Boy, that's an important question, folks. If we mess up on this one, we're in real trouble. We've got to get this right. And I'm deeply concerned that in much of Christianity there seems to be confusion on this issue. How does a person really become saved? How does a person really by faith appropriate the righteousness of God? That is a very important question, because if you guide somebody wrong here you've committed a fatal error. Must be correct. How is the righteousness of faith received? How is it appropriated? How do I make it my own? That is answered in verses 9 and 10. That is answered in verses 9 and 10. Two words are critical, faith and confession, faith and confession. Those are the two words that dominate these two verses. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe (or have faith in thine heart) that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be (What?) saved, for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Confession and faith or believing, same word, those are the two essential things. This is how to be righteous, how to be right with God, how to be delivered and saved from judgment.
Now notice in verse 9 that first comes “confess” and then comes “believe.” And people say, "Well, that's out of order. That's backwards." Well, the apostle Paul is following the sequence of verse 8 because his text here is Deuteronomy 30 and Deuteronomy 30 says the word is near thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart, right? So he's simply commenting on Deuteronomy 30 and he's saying, "You see, even that says that it has to come from the mouth and the heart," and he keeps it in the same sequence that Deuteronomy 30 is in, in verse 9. And then in verse 10 he flip-flops them to put them in their proper order, “for with the heart man believes unto righteousness,” and then what? With the mouth confession is made. So the way that we understand verse 9 is simply to note that he is commenting on the text of Deuteronomy 30 which has it in the order of the mouth and the heart, and so he stays with that and then reverses the two, giving the actual sequence in salvation in verse 10.
Now I want you to notice in verse 10 something that's very basic. The word "righteousness" is equated with the word "salvation." They are referring to the same thing. With the heart man believes unto righteousness, with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. It doesn't take a great scholar to figure out then that righteousness equals salvation, salvation equals righteousness. You confess unto righteousness, you believe unto salvation. You believe unto righteousness, you confess unto salvation. They're synonymous.
You say, "What's their distinction?" One is positive, the other is negative. What's the positive one? What is the positive one? Righteousness. The negative one? Salvation. I'll show you what I mean. When you come to the confession and conviction that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and you believe in Him, confess with your mouth, you receive the righteousness of God, right? In other words, God imputes to you, grants to you His holy character, His holy nature. He makes you righteous. He declares you righteous. You stand right before Him. Now that's something that happens to you positively. You receive that as a positive benefit. It means forgiveness of sin. It means acceptance with God. It means access to His presence. The infinitely, absolutely holy God, too pure to tolerate sin, too holy to look on evil, will never admit into His intimate fellowship anybody who is covered with sin. And so when you believe and confess, you're covered with righteousness. That's a positive thing, that's a positive, and faith makes that happen. And that again is the marvelous emphasis of Philippians 3:8, where it says that he suffers the loss of all things and counts them but dung, Paul says, manure, “that I may win Christ and be found in Him not having my own righteousness which is of the law but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” So that when you become a believer you receive the righteousness of God by faith. That's positive, that's positive.
Then the word "salvation" is negative. Righteousness says what you receive, salvation talks about what you don't receive. In other words, you are saved from something. You are delivered from something. The word sz basically means to be delivered, it's a negative term. Now very often, and I think somewhat unfortunately, we refer to salvation only in its negative terms. We say, "Brother, have you been saved?" When we could just as well say: "Brother, have you been made holy? Brother, have you been made righteous?" That gives it a whole different feeling doesn't it? It's a whole different sense there.
You say, "Oh, yeah, man, I've been saved, I've been delivered from hell." That doesn't say a whole lot about where you're at. But when you say to someone: "My friend, have you been made perfect before God? Have you been made holy in the eyes of God? Have you been covered with the righteousness of Jesus Christ?" That's, that's something exciting. So don't camp on the word "salvation." It's a great word, I'm glad to be delivered from my sin and death and hell, aren't you? I mean, I'm glad for that deliverance part, but that's only the negative element of it. And I really believe that as Christians we need to do a lot more talking about the other side of it and it would really affect our evangelism if we said to someone, "Say, have you been made righteous in Jesus Christ?" Some people might be stunned, especially if you find somebody who appears to be very indifferent to the things of Christ but once came to church. And if you said to them, "Have you been saved?" "Oh yeah, I was saved long years ago, I haven't done much with it, but I was definitely saved." But if you said to them, "Say, have you been made holy in Christ, have you been covered with the cloak of the righteousness of Christ?" they might stop and think about that. It's a positive approach.
Righteousness has to do with what we become. Salvation has to do with what we don't become. Righteousness has to do with what we receive. Salvation has to do with what we don't receive, punishment. Righteousness has to do with entering into blessedness. Salvation has to do with escaping cursedness. Two great terms; two great terms describing two sides of God's saving work.
Now as indicated, the sequence is in verse 10, let's look at it. First of all, being made righteous, being saved, starts with the heart believing unto righteousness. In other words, righteousness or salvation is the result of the heart believing. Now in verse 9 it says: "Believe in thine heart." Verse 9 is personal, you believe in your heart. Verse 10 is general, with the heart man believes. So it goes from a personal invitation in verse 9 to a general statement of fact in verse 10. It covers the same ground twice, once personal, once general. But both affirm that righteousness and salvation are received by believing, by believing in the heart. Now the heart, as we've said so many times, is simply the Hebrew concept of the core of a person's being. Proverbs 4:23 is the key verse, "Out of the heart are the issues of life." It's the core of personhood. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The heart is not the seat of emotion to the Hebrew, it's the seat of personhood. It's the deepest inner part of us, where thought and will and motive are generated. The heart is the basic seat of human personality. That's where it all happens. And men must believe in their hearts.
In John 8:24 our Lord said to some who confronted Him, "You shall die in your sins for if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins." Believe. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes should not perish but have everlasting life.” And by the way, there's the same contrast. Should not perish, that's the what? That's the negative. But have everlasting life, that's the positive. Everlasting life is another word for righteousness. Perishing is another word for being delivered from judgment, another term for being delivered from judgment.
In fact, the gospel of John gives us a very important word in chapter 20 verse 31 as John states the purpose for his writing, "These things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that believing you might have life through His name." God's life, divine life, it isn't just quantitative, it's qualitative. When you're saved you receive a new kind of life. What kind of life? Righteous life, holy kind of life. And so it is an affirmation in the deepest part of man. And I can't really describe it any more than that. It is an affirmation in the deepest part of man that says this is true, I affirm it as true that Jesus Christ died and rose again for my justification and that He is the Son of God who paid the penalty for my sin on the cross and that if I receive Him He will give to me righteousness and deliver me from my sin and death and hell. It is a deep down in the soul affirmation that that is true. That's what it is to believe. And I can't... I can't give you any more of a formula than that. I know I believe it. Do you know you believe it? It comes from deep within me.
Now what is it you're to believe? Interesting. With the heart man believes unto righteousness. What does he believe? You say, "Well I believe in believing." I've heard, "I have faith in faith." That's ridiculous. We're not talking about believing in believing or believing in faith or believing in nothing or believing in whatever you want to believe in. Verse 9 qualifies it. It says, "And shall believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead,” then you will be delivered, then you will be saved. Then you will be left...let, I should say, out of the place of cursing and ushered into the place of blessing, out of darkness into light. You must believe. What do you believe? You believe deep down in your heart, in your inner person, as deep as you can reach for personality and for that which is the most true in your own mind, and you say I believe that God raised Christ from the dead.
You say, "Wait a minute, John. Why this? There's so much other...so many other things. I have to believe that God is. I have to believe that God communicated to men in the Old Testament, don't I have to believe that God sent His Son into the world, virgin born, lived a sinless life, died on a cross? I mean, I have to believe everything up to the resurrection. Why does He isolate the resurrection out of this?"
Very simple. Because the resurrection from the dead proved that Christ was and did all He said He was and said He would do. I mean, that's the whole thing, folks. The verification and the proof and the validity of the ministry of Jesus Christ is the resurrection. That's the key. Now let me show you that. Follow along in your Bibles. Romans 1:4... Now in Romans 1:1 Paul talks about the gospel of God, the good news, of course, of saving grace offered in Christ. And he says the gospel, verse 3, is concerning God's Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Now that's a pretty full statement. "God's Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of holiness (How?) by (What?) the resurrection from the dead." The resurrection from the dead is the way that God fully, finally declared that Jesus was His Son, in an utterly incredible display of divine power and divine approval. When God raised Jesus from the dead, He was saying this indeed is My...My Son in whom I am well pleased.
In other words, Christ had accomplished the work and the Father exalted Him out of the grave and lifted Him to His own right hand as an affirmation that He indeed had done that work. Hebrews chapter 1 says that Christ did what He did, purged our sin, and is now set down on the right hand of the majesty on high and angels are made His footstool. The resurrection was Christ showing that He had won the battle over hell and won the battle over sin and won the battle over Satan. He came out of the other side of the grave. All the enemy could do was stand and watch as He burst out of the grave. He showed His power. He showed His victory. He showed that He had indeed accomplished our salvation and won the battle and the Father approved by receiving Him to Himself and setting Him at His own right hand.
Look at Romans chapter 4 verse 24, "But for us also to whom it shall be imputed,” that is righteousness again, righteousness is given to us by faith, “if we believe (What?) on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our offenses and raised for our justification." In other words, we must believe the resurrection because the resurrection proved that He accomplished our salvation on the cross. What happens if He dies on the cross and never rises? He lost. He didn't purchase any salvation. He didn't conquer death. He didn't conquer sin. Sin killed Him. Death killed Him. Satan did hold Him in bondage. If Christ doesn't rise there's no hope for anybody anytime anywhere, but if He did, if God lifted Him up then He had done His work, conquered death, conquered sin, conquered hell, conquered Satan and is delivered and lifted and exalted because of that perfect work being accomplished.
There is another text or two texts, really, in the book of Acts that I would point out to you along the same line and there are many others, frankly. But in Acts chapter 13 Paul is preaching, great message in Antioch, and verse 32 he says, "We declare unto you good news, glad tidings, how the promise which was made to the fathers, God has fulfilled the same unto us their children." How did God do it? "In that He raised up Jesus again." In other words, he says God's promises are all fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Look at Acts 16:30, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, thou shalt be saved.’" But what were they to believe? What was the point of their faith? What was it about Jesus Christ that they were to accept?
You say, "Well, Paul must have told them something. What did he tell them?" Well, what did he do to them immediately after this? Verse 33, "He took them the same hour of the night, washed their stripes and was (What?) baptized." The jailer took care of them and he was baptized. What do you... What does baptism signify? When you go down in the water and you come out, what's that an identification with? The resurrection of Jesus Christ. They must have gotten very clearly the message of resurrection. Chapter 17 verse 31, it says in verse 30, "God commands everyone everywhere to repent because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained concerning which He has given assurance unto all." How did God give assurance to all that this in fact was the Messiah, that this in fact was the Lord, that this in fact was the judge and the coming king? How did He do it? "In that He (What?) raised Him from the dead, raised Him from the dead." You see that, that's the key.
In 1 Peter, and I'm just giving you a few samples, chapter 1 verse 3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." And you can read the whole fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. In other words, the resurrection, the resurrection was the ultimate approval, substantiation, verification of the ministry of Christ. It showed that He indeed was God in human flesh, able to conquer death, hell, Satan. It showed that He had lived a perfect life for death had no right to hold Him. There was no sin for which He must pay. It showed that He conquered death, all of that, that the Father approved of His work on the cross and took Him out of the grave and set Him at His own right hand. Philippians chapter 2, it tells us that He humbled Himself, took upon Himself the form of a man, found in fashion as a servant. And He went through all the suffering that He went through and then it says God has what? Highly exalted Him, given Him a name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.
The resurrection was the Father's stamp of approval. An infinitely holy God put His stamp of approval on the work of Jesus Christ. So when you say you are to believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead — now you can go back to Romans 10 — that you believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, you're saying something that's far more than just believing in an isolated event. In essence, what you're saying is that you believe that this is the incarnate God who came into the world, God in human flesh, lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, went into the grave and conquered death, came out the other side having purchased salvation for us, is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, someday will come as the Father's appointed judge and King to judge men and to rule the world forever. That's all bound up in the resurrection.
If Paul had picked another event, it wouldn’t have been as significant as this. The resurrection says He is Son of God. The resurrection says He is Messiah, He is Savior. He is the ultimate Lamb, the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He is the perfect one, the sinless one, the one exalted at the right hand of God, the one to be the judge, the one to be the King. The only Savior, the judge of all men, the conqueror of death, the coming King, the eternal monarch of glory; all of that is bound up in the resurrection. And that's what we're called to believe.
In other words, you couldn’t say, "Well, I believe that Jesus rose from the dead. It just doesn't matter to me." No, that's not the kind of belief we're talking about. It's when your heart affirms all that the resurrection is intended to affirm. I read in the L.A. Times yesterday that some Jewish rabbi who is not interested in Christianity affirmed that the resurrection of Jesus was a historical fact. That won't save him. It is when you see in the resurrection the divine verification of all that Jesus claimed to be and do, that's the issue, it's believing that. By the way, the Greek word in one form or another for faith and believing is 484 times in the New Testament. That's a lot of times. It's the key. It's the key.
But you say, "Oh, if you... If you just believe, I remember that song, `Only believe, only believe...'" No, no, no. I don't like that song. Something's missing.
Look at John chapter 8. John chapter 8 verse 30, and Jesus is talking to the population there, the area around Jerusalem. And He says things to them about Himself, about the Father. Then in verse 30, "As He spoke these words, many (What?) believed." Many believed. Well there wasn't any resurrection yet so they couldn't believe that. What did they believe? Well they believed He was a prophet, they believed His words were true. They believed that He was a messenger from God. They believed He was a miracle worker. They believed He was a teacher. Whatever. But Jesus said to those Jews who believed, "If you continue in My Word then you're My real disciples." Something more than believing, right? There's continuing. In other words, it isn't enough that you've accepted Me as a miracle worker, or that you believe I'm a teacher from God, you've got to continue to believe everything else that I have to say about Myself. And that's what cut them out.
There are people who believe Jesus is the Son of God. And they may believe that He died on a cross and that He came out of the grave. But that's not saving faith because it doesn't imply that they embrace in the deepest part of their being all that His work meant. Do you understand that? All that it meant. All that it implied. In chapter 2 it says some people believed but He didn't commit Himself unto them because He knew the heart of man and He knew what their thinking was. And it wasn't adequate. It wasn't sufficient. James talks about the kind of faith that is dead faith. Because it has no what? It has no product. What kind of believing is this? Well it's superficial believing. It's shallow believing. It doesn't encompass everything. And that's why in Romans 10 Paul says you must believe in the fullest sense from the deepest part of your person that God raised Him from the dead. In other words, all that that implies must be believed.
But there's something even more than that, more than that. Because it also says you believe in your heart and you what? Confess with your mouth what? Jesus as Lord.
Some time ago at a Lord's Table we looked at James 2:19 and I'd like to have you look at it again because it fits so well into this text. In James 2:19 James says, "You believe? You do well." If you believe there's one God, you do well. "The demons also believe and tremble." Hmm. Do you remember we talked about devil faith, demon faith? What is it? What is demon? What is the kind of faith that demons have? People say, "Only believe, only believe, just believe, just believe, if you just believe, you're in." The demons do that. People in John 8 did that. People in John 2 did that and they weren't in. And the people in James 2 to which he speaks believed but they had dead faith and that's demon faith. Now what do we need to know about demon faith? Well first of all, demon faith can have the right theology. You think the demons know who God is? You think they're confused about that? Not at all. The demons are monotheists. They know there's only one God in three persons. They know God's nature better than we do. They're more intelligent than we are. They've been around since before the creation of the world when God made them. They've seen more of God's works than all of the men of the world combined. They know the nature of God. They're very orthodox in their theology. They know the saving power of the work of Christ. They've seen Christ work. They've seen what He can do. They were around when He was on the earth. They know what He's done throughout history since that time. They're... They understand Scripture properly. They know who the angels are. They understand men. They know men are sinful. They know about heaven, they've been there. They know about hell, they've been there perhaps. We don't know how much in and out access they have, some are there now permanently in a bound place of punishment.
They've been through a lot of religious experiences so they're pretty well along the line of understanding theology. They have supernatural knowledge of the invisible world. They have supernatural knowledge of the eternal realm. They have a lot of knowledge, see. Secondly, they really do believe it. They're orthodox. Oh, they're really orthodox. They could sign the Apostles' Creed. They believe in the scheme of doctrine as revealed in Scripture. They know Jesus Christ is the Son of God in human flesh, and died on a cross and rose from the grave. They don't have a problem with that. They know that's true. Very orthodox.
Not only that, they're afraid of judgment. They are. They live in fear of judgment. It says right here they tremble. And they cried out to Jesus, "Don't send us to the pit, don't send us to the pit." They're afraid of that. So here you have individuals who have all this knowledge. They believe in an orthodox theology. They have a fear of judgment. Not only that, they feel guilty for their sin. Sure they do. They know judgment is coming on them. They know they've been justly condemned to hell. They're overwrought with their own guilt.
Not only that, they desire to be delivered. You say, "How do you know that?" Because Christ has to have a key to keep them in there. They'd like to get out of that whole thing. They'd like to get out of the bondage they're in right now. They'd like to not be put in bondage. Listen, Satan when he's bound for a thousand years has to be bound because he'd like to get out and get loose. They would like to escape from judgment. They would like to get rid of their guilt. They would like to eliminate their fear. They believe in orthodox theology. And they've even had a lot of religious experience. They've been in the church for years masquerading as false teachers and leaders, disguised as angels of light, very religious.
What am I saying? I'm saying this, there are many people who have knowledge and are not saved, right? Read Hebrews chapter 5 and 6. They have knowledge, they're not saved. And there are many people who believe the truth and are not saved. And there are people who fear God's judgment. Look at them in Romans chapter 9 verses 20 and 21 as they fear God's judgment and they cry out in fear and instead of asking God to deliver them, they curse God. And there are many who feel conviction. And they feel guilt like those dignitaries to whom the apostle Paul witnessed in Acts chapter 24. They feel the guilt of their sin but they're not saved. And there are others who desire eternal life like the rich young ruler who comes and says, "What do I have to do to have eternal life?" and was not saved. And there are myriads of religious people who have the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees but will never enter the kingdom.
The point is, you can know what you have to know, you can believe what you have to believe, you can fear God's judgment, feel conviction for your sin, desire eternal life, be religious and go to hell. It has to be more than knowing, believing, fearing judgment, desiring forgiveness, eternal life, being religious. I'll tell you, people, so many times when people come and they say, "Oh I know the gospel, yes, I believe it's true. Oh, I want to escape hell. Oh, I want to get the burden of my guilt off my back. I desire eternal life. And I want to be religious. I want to acknowledge God." They do all of that. You know who did all of that? The rich young ruler in Matthew 19. Jesus rejected him. He rejected him.
You say, "Well what's missing? I mean, what more could there be? If that's demon faith," by the way, demon faith doesn't save, right? "What more could there be if those aren't the marks of saving faith, what are? Or what is?"
Watch. Back to Romans 10, very carefully, very simply, verse 10 says, "And with the mouth confession is made to salvation." Confession. What is confession? The word comes from a verb homologe, homo means the same, like “homogeneous”; logeo, logic or ology, like any ology, biology, theology, “a study of.” What it simply means is to say the same thing, to say the same thing. Confession is to say the same thing. So if your mouth says the same thing, it's unto salvation.
What is it your mouth is supposed to say? What same thing? Verse 9, "You should confess with your mouth Jesus as (What?) Lord." Now watch this. Do the demons do that? No. In fact, when Jesus went to Gadara one of them said, "What have we to do with You?" Remember that? They don't acknowledge Jesus as Lord. Perhaps they have no capacity for that. There's the issue. It isn't only believe. It's believe and confess Jesus as Lord. That's the issue. True saving faith acknowledges Jesus as Lord, Lord. And not just Lord in the sense of deity because that would be included orthodox theology. What it is saying is, "Yes, I have all the knowledge. Yes, I believe it. Yes, I fear judgment. Yes, I want deliverance from my guilt. Yes, I want eternal life. Yes, I want to know God." And then comes the crux. Will you acknowledge Jesus as your sovereign ruler? That's the issue.
And the rich young ruler said what? Forget it. Jesus said to him, "I'd like to ask you to do something. Sell everything you have, give to the poor, come follow Me." And the Bible said he was very rich so he went away. He believed all the right stuff, came sliding in on his knees in a worshipful attitude. What do I need to do? Asked the right question, eternal life, felt the guilt of his sin, desired to receive from Christ eternal life or at least the way to eternal life. Jesus put him to the test, "Follow Me." And He gave him a very simple order, "Sell everything you have and give to the poor." Why? Do you get saved doing that? No, no, otherwise philanthropists would be saved, that's all. No. But what He was doing was saying, let's find out who is in charge and I'll just give you step one. The point was, "Come and follow Me," and when he wouldn't follow Him he was unwilling to acknowledge the lordship of Christ. That was the issue. That is the issue.
Some disciples showed up in Luke chapter 9. Oh, you know, they wanted to follow the Lord and the Lord says, "Come on." "Oh, well I have to go bury my father, have to go do this, have to go do that." It was the lordship issue again, wasn't it? They wanted to maintain control of their life. They wanted to stay in charge of their life. That's the issue. So if we're going to confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord, if we're going to say the same thing, who are we saying the same thing with? Well the answer to that is very simple. God. What does God say about Jesus? What does God say about Jesus? Jesus is Lord. That's what God says.
Go back to Matthew chapter 4 for a moment and we'll wrap this up. I'm sorry, Matthew chapter 3. Jesus comes to Galilee to be baptized by John. And you know the scene, verse 16, He's baptized, the Spirit of God descends. And then a voice from heaven saying, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." God says about Jesus, He's My Son. Now go to Matthew chapter 17, verse 5. And in the transfiguration the disciples are there, Peter, James and John. The Father speaks in verse 5 and says, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Then what? "Listen to Him." Which is to say, He's in charge. He's in charge.
The Father affirmed that Jesus was Lord, that Jesus was sovereign. Over and over again Jesus said that the Father had committed into His hands judgment, that the Father had committed into His hands authority, the Father had given Him power. You see, the Father affirms over and over the lordship of Christ. And so does the Scripture. I mean, it's repeated in Scripture over and over.
In Romans 14:9, for example, "For to this end Christ both died and rose and revived that He might be Lord of the dead and living." His resurrection was to affirm that He was Lord. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, a very interesting verse, verse 3, "No man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed and no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Spirit." So when the Spirit of God does a work in the heart, it is a work that results in the proclamation of the lordship of Christ. And in Ephesians 1 it goes on and on to talk about the fact that everything is put under His feet, that He's the one who fills all and all. In Philippians 9 He's exalted. In Matthew 28, all authority is given unto Him. It just goes on and on and on and all the apostolic preaching of the book of Acts affirms the lordship of Christ. Frankly, it's too vast to deal with all of the issues. The words of Thomas are very familiar to us, when he sees Jesus he says what? "My Lord and My God." “God” has to do with deity, “Lord” has to do with sovereignty. And if they both meant the same thing then he was repeating himself, he was stuttering. “Lord” is the word that indicates sovereign power, sovereign control. “God” is the expression of deity.
You see, the point is that the true heart that really believes understands the fullness of who Christ is and willingly submits to His authority. I'm sure that we don't understand all of the ramifications of such submission, but that's the essence of it. You see, some people want us to believe that the lordship of Christ is only an issue of deity, kurios only means “deity.” It only means just that He's God. But it doesn't mean that. It means a controlling authority. It means a sovereign ruler. That's been its historic meaning. That's its intent, that He is the one that we are to follow, that we are to serve. You might be interested to note in the book of Acts He is called “Savior” two times and “Lord” 92 times. And in the whole New Testament He is... The word "Lord" appears about 700 times. “Savior,” I believe, appears under 10 times, and never before “Lord,” but always after. And so the context here of Romans 10 fits right into the standard understanding of this word kurios, that it is a word of sovereign rulership.
For example, and just really wrapping our thoughts up, look at Romans 10:13: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved." Now that's a quote out of Joel 2:32. And when you look at Joel 2:32, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord," the word "Lord" in Joel 2:32 is “Yahweh,” the full title of sovereign God. And in the Greek it's kurios. So the New Testament writer, when longing to express the full sovereign...the full extent, the full person of sovereign God chose the word kurios, so it embraces way beyond deity, just that fact that He's God the fact that as God He rules all. And that shouldn't bother... That shouldn't be hard to understand because... Somebody said to me, "Well I just believe it means deity." A professor said to me, "I just believe it means deity." I said, "Well then you tell me what “deity” means. Let's assume you're right, kurios just means He's God." If you're God, what does that mean? What is the implication of that? Is the implication of that that you're in charge? It certainly would be to me. Lordship is inherent to Jesus Christ. He is Lord. He is Lord as affirmed by the Father in His resurrection, when He exalted Him and made Him Lord, Philippians 2:9 to 11, and said every knee will bow. He's Lord. And salvation is to believe that He is all of that and to affirm that you take your place under His sovereign rulership.
Demons believe the right stuff, but have no capacity to submit to the lordship of Christ. That's why the Bible in Romans 1 calls it the obedience of faith. It is faith that leads to obedient submission to the lordship of Christ. Very basic.
I want to read you a letter to close. "I grew up in a Christian home and attended church. I walked the aisle as a child, accepted Christ. But no matter how hard I tried, I had never had the joy in the Word or the joy in the Lord that others had. Then a cycle developed as I graduated from high school. I'd go to church, get involved, work hard in relationships with other Christians. Didn't last for me and then I'd leave the church. The cycle brought me to Grace Church three years ago. I was confronted with the fact that I may not be a Christian at all because of this pattern. My response was flight and I left the church. At that time I wrote John about my self-image problem and he confronted me also with my lordship problem. After three years of desperately searching for happiness and identity on the world's standards, God brought me back to Grace Church at the point of desperation for my health and sanity. Through the teaching, love and prayers of many here at Grace I met Christ. I was here Sunday evening, knowing I couldn't take communion. Before communion, John spoke about Daniel and his committed life and the uncompromising life God required. I came to the realization that I never really committed my life wholly and completely to the lordship of Christ. I sat right there in that pew and committed my life to Him, started out my new life by joining in my first communion as a Christian. Praise the Lord, I gave my life to Him that He might add or delete whatever necessary that I might be conformed to His image and be used to glorify Him. I experienced an immediate hunger to know Him and know His Word, which I was searching for, for all these years."
I wonder how many people have been through that? So many people are ignorant of the person of God, provision of Christ and the place of faith, true faith that believes all that is said about Christ to be true, affirmed in the resurrection and confesses with the mouth submission to His lordship.
Let's bow in prayer. I don't know where you are, but God knows. Have you submitted your life to the Lord to add or delete as He sees fit anything? Anything necessary for His glory? Or have you said, "Well I believe all that stuff but I'm sure not going to live any different. I'm going to hang on to what is. I'm going to run my life. I'm not going to pay that high price." Well maybe you have demon faith, not saving faith, faith that believes the right stuff and wants the right things but is unwilling to submit to the lordship of Christ. May God's Spirit produce in you that true saving faith.
Father, we pray that You'll do Your work in all our hearts. Bring those that need to come and need help and need You. Thank You that You've produced in us true faith. We thank You, for that's not something we got ourselves, stirred up ourselves, but something You did in us. We bless Your name. Do it, Lord, in the hearts of those who are not saved. Maybe even though they believe all the right things, there's never been that full submission to Jesus Christ as Lord. And bring them to the prayer room that their need might be met. In Christ's name. Amen.
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