If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Declare with your mouth. Believe in your heart. We can wonder whether the apostle saw the countless throngs to follow who would make public professions of faith—sometimes very passionately—only to turn from faith in later years…or else maintain the profession without any corresponding integrity. Why is a heart-felt belief not enough to secure a place in God’s Kingdom? Why vocalize it? After all, talk is cheap, right?
It is worth noting that Paul tethers the verbalized confession to the internal change we undergo when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The declaration of faith is not made in a vacuum. It is a sign of belonging, of ownership and of God’s claim on our lives. Jesus suffered the agony of the Cross as a payment for our sins. For one awful stretch of time, our Lord was alienated from his beloved Father so that our willful alienation through sin and rebellion is now rendered null and void. To believe in our hearts is to know this, to agree with it and to live according to its eternal truth. To make it known through our speech, therefore, is an act of worship – an outward sign of an indwelling Spirit.
A popular catchphrase in the last decade or so says “Live Out Loud!” The Urban Dictionary expands on the meaning of this:
“Being yourself, genuine, open, trustworthy, with sass, spice, and flare. Living on purpose, loving others and yourself, living passionately for your values, no matter what. Letting others see your light shine, and not being scared to be different or worry about others’ opinions of you. Living a life you’re excited about, with purpose on your terms. Inspiring others to do the same.”
This call to arms is applied to some questionable causes, yet its sentiment fits easily with Paul’s exhortation. Believe out loud. Not obnoxiously or contemptuously, mind you. Believe out loud gratefully and joyfully. The Gospel goes nowhere unless we do. Jesus drove this point home to his disciples before sending them out. There were no mushy platitudes from the Son of God. He told them to take sides: “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven (Matthew 10:33).
Which side does silence fall on?
The GRC Children’s Ministry is also providing a family Lenten Devotional which is available here.
Note: Each day’s devotional is written by a different member of the GRC family.