“For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.” vs. 10
Paul contrasts the righteousness that comes from the law with the righteousness that comes from faith in his treatise to the Romans. For him it was an important distinction. He wanted the people to know that justification, being made right with God, was a gift, and not something that was earned through obedience to the law. He believed that this knowledge could free people from anxiety about salvation–they would never have to worry about whether they had done enough because it had all been done for them through Christ Jesus. All that was required for salvation was faith! Paul’s words have been a great comfort for many through the centuries. The only difficulty has come when people, in their great desire for a conditional view of salvation, began to think of faith itself as being a work. It was what we humans had to do to get salvation–and if we didn’t have faith we were doomed. There’s a kind of logic to that perspective, but it’s been damaging to the gospel of grace. The message changes from “Here’s what God has done in Jesus for you by grace,” to “Here’s what you have to do to have life with Jesus.” And as Christians make that subtle shift they fall back under the yoke of the law. The truth is that all have been saved by grace! That grace becomes real for individuals through faith, but grace never goes away!
Thought for the Day: What is a conditional view of salvation?