“because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” vs. 9
In his effort to help the Romans understand that salvation is by God’s grace Paul describes what happens as a person comes to faith. It’s really simple, a matter of confession and belief–nothing more is required. And everyone is included, there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles. Unfortunately many Christians have turned his gracious words into spiritual laws that tend toward exclusion. According to their understanding, humans are eternally separated from God by sin, Jesus is the only way to salvation, and only individuals who receive him as Lord and Savior can personally experience the love of God. While all these assertions are backed by scattered scripture verses, when rigidly applied they create a world of insiders and outsiders. The message that Jesus brought was not formulaic, i.e. the four steps needed to get unbelievers through the pearly gates. That isn’t even close to what he taught! His intention was to proclaim the unconditional love of God to all that he encountered–Paul’s words were an extension of his. He believed with all his heart that the good news of life and salvation was for all people. No one is excluded. Will some refuse to believe? Can they refuse the gift of salvation? Of course, but it’s still theirs! They are still loved by God!
Thought for the Day: Why are spiritual laws appealing?