Purpose of Guarding the Treasure

The purpose of this blog is to encourage readers to invest their time into the Word of God and "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." Paul wrote these words to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:14) in his presumed last letter before his execution. May we be those who see the word of God as a treasure, guarding it with our lives, investing in it with our hearts and minds, and reaping the fruit of an abundant life while getting to know the God who loves us and created us for His marvelous pleasure and glory.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Roman Road Evangelism – Romans 10:9-10

Have you ever noticed that in most evangelical tracks Romans 10:9-10 is included among other key verses inviting unbelievers to salvation in Jesus Christ. Most notably these verses are a part of the "Roman Road":

Romans 3:23 – "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"

Romans 6:23a – "For the wages of sin is death"

Romans 6:23b – "but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8 – "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 10:9-10 – "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

Romans 10:13 – for "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."

For over a year now, we have been studying the Romans in Sunday school, verse-by-verse, passage-by-passage and seeing the popular verses of Romans often quoted with their context. Have you ever examined the verses of the "Roman Road" in their context? When you do, you will find some very interesting things. However, I want to focus in on Romans 10:9-10 in this writing.

Romans chapter 10 is at the heart of Paul's three chapter discussion on his own people, the nation of Israel (Romans 9-11). Paul could identify with the nation and how as a whole they had missed and rejected the true Messiah, Jesus Christ. He had missed Jesus and it was not until His encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road that he finally saw the light and realized his mistake (Acts 9). Paul grieved over the rejection of Israel and went so far as to say he would wish to be accursed if it meant that the nation would see the truth concerning Jesus (Romans 9:2-3). Israel had pursued God through the Mosaic Law rather than pursuing Him through the proper channel, faith in Jesus Christ. Paul writes, "What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed." (Romans 9:30-33) Again, Israel pursued righteousness by works rather than by faith in the Christ, the Chief Cornerstone. Paul is clearly calling for Israel to pursue God by faith and not forget the word of the Lord spoken through the prophet Isaiah, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed." (Isaiah 28:16)

Paul reiterates his desire for Israel's salvation at the start of chapter 10, "Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation." (v1) Obviously Israel is still on the forefront of his mind when penning this chapter. Israel did not lack a zeal for God (v2), but lacked knowledge of the truth. Paul could identify very well with misdirected zeal (Galatians 1:14). To be sure, misguided zeal on faulty information can be a very dangerous thing (i.e. Islamic terrorists). Israel sought to establish their own righteousness on their own terms by subjecting themselves to the Mosaic Law for life. But the Scriptures clearly teach that no one is made righteous by the Law nor can it justify anyone because no one can keep it perfectly (Romans 3:28, Galatians 3:19-26, James 2:10). So Paul wanted Israel to know that "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." (Romans 10:4) However, the nation of Israel did not believe in the blasphemer Jesus. Clearly Paul compares the "righteousness…based on law" (v4) which Israel chose with the "righteousness based on faith" (v5) which they missed. Did God not tell His people of the "righteousness based on faith"? He definitely told them. In fact, Abraham and David both pursed God by faith (Romans 4:1-8) and found the gift of righteousness. Paul reminds Israel that the righteousness based upon faith was spoken of by Moses, sighting Deuteronomy 30:11-14 which provides the context for Romans 10:9-10. Notice that both the heart and the mouth are involved in salvation (v8).

Interestingly enough, Romans 10:8-11 is in a literary form called a chiasm. Let's look closer.

A But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth (B and B') and in your heart (C and C')"— that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,

B that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord (a),

C and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved (b);

C' for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness (b),

B' and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (a).

A' For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."

Did you notice that there are actually two salvations mentioned in this famous passage?

  1. Believing in the heart (C and C') resulting in righteousness. This is justification by faith which is a free gift from God (Romans 3:28, Ephesians 2:8-9);
  2. Confession (synonymous with calling) with the mouth that Jesus is Lord (God). This is a response to our justification by faith resulting in physical salvation.

Jesus' own claim of His Lordship (deity) ultimately resulted in the Jews calling Him a blasphemer and condemning Him to crucifixion (John 5:18, 10:33). The reality is that only believers can say with confidence that Jesus is Lord. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:3, "Therefore I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus is accursed"; and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit." Who has the Holy Spirit? Only believers in Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit. As such, believing in the heart precedes confession with the mouth (i.e. calling upon the name of the Lord) because only believers have the Holy Spirit and only by the Holy Spirit can believers acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. Not convinced? This next section of Scripture also shows that believing precedes confession (calling).

You will also note that this next section, Romans 10:12-15, is like a stair-step type of chiasm.

A For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; for "Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."

A' How then shall they call upon Him

B in whom they have not believed?

B' And how shall they believe in Him

C whom they have not heard?

C' And how shall they hear

D without a preacher?

D' And how shall they preach

E unless they are sent?

E' Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!"

The progression is as follows: someone is sent, they preach the gospel, the people hear the gospel, the hearers believe the gospel resulting in righteousness (see Romans 10:10a), and the believers call upon the name of the Lord resulting in salvation (physical deliverance).

Still not convinced? You will note that in nearly every reference in the Old Testament involving someone who called upon the name of the Lord was doing so not for eternal salvation (justification), but rather as an act of worship, for the preservation of life or for physical deliverance from enemies and death. Abraham, Isaac and Moses called upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 12:8, 13:4, 21:33, 26:25, Exodus 34:5). David wrote, "I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies. In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears." (Psalm 18:3,6) David also said, "In my distress I called upon the Lord, Yes, I cried to my God; And from His temple He heard my voice, And my cry for help came into His ears." (2 Samuel 22:7, 1 Chronicles 21:26) Elijah called upon the Lord for the healing of the widows son, "And he called to the Lord and said, "O Lord my God, hast Thou also brought calamity to the widow with whom I am staying, by causing her son to die?" Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the Lord, and said, "O Lord my God, I pray Thee, let this child's life return to him." And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived." (1 Kings 17:20-22) The Psalmist wrote, "Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called on His name; They called upon the Lord, and He answered them." (Psalm 99:6) The Psalmist also said, "Then I called upon the name of the Lord: "O Lord, I beseech Thee, save my life! From my distress I called upon the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me in a large place." (Psalm 116:4, 118:5) Jeremiah wrote, "I called on Thy name, O Lord, Out of the lowest pit. Thou hast heard my voice, "Do not hide Thine ear from my prayer for relief, From my cry for help." Thou didst draw near when I called on Thee; Thou didst say, "Do not fear!" (Lamentations 3:55-57) Even the men with Jonah called upon the Lord for salvation from the storm, "Then they called on the Lord and said, "We earnestly pray, O Lord, do not let us perish on account of this man's life and do not put innocent blood on us; for Thou, O Lord, hast done as Thou hast pleased." (Jonah 1:14) Even Stephen while being stoned called upon the name of the Lord just before his death (Acts 7:59).

As you can see in each of these examples, these men of God were calling upon the name of the Lord for physical deliverance salvation, not for eternal life salvation. As believers we too have the privilege of calling upon the name of the Lord for physical deliverance. A good friend of mine only had time to yell "Jesus" before being struck by a two-ton dually truck. Miraculously, he survived without a broken bone! This is certainly a tangible example of a believer calling upon the name of the Lord for physical deliverance! Did I mention that both the dually and car he was standing in front of were totaled? Now, when will Israel need to call upon the name of the Lord for physical deliverance in the future? The tribulation and final week of Daniel comes to mind (Matthew 24-25).

When considering that Israel is the primary audience considered in Paul's writing in Romans 9-11, it sheds a different light on Romans 10:9-10 and begs the question if these are the best verses to use when leading an unbelieving Gentile to faith in Christ. I prefer verses like Romans 4:5, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16-18, 5:24, Galatians 2:16, and Titus 3:5 which emphasize faith in Christ for eternal life and receiving the gift of righteousness on the basis of faith alone in Christ alone.

So is confession required for salvation? Yes, but for physical deliverance salvation, not for eternal salvation. Eternal life (justification) is a gift from God received simply by faith in Christ (believing in the heart) and trusting in Him alone for salvation from hell. Believers have the ability to call upon the name of the Lord for physical deliverance in this life.

Another interesting thing to point out is the number of Old Testament references used in Romans and how they dramatically increase in chapters 9-11 when Israel is being discussed. See below.

Old Testament References in Romans

OT Reference Verses in Romans


Old Testament Book



Habbakuk 2:4

Chapter 1



Psalm 62:12

Chapter 2



Isaiah 52:5

Chapter 3



Psalm 51:4

Chapter 4



Psalm 14:1

Chapter 5



Psalm 14:2

Chapter 6



Psalm 14:3

Chapter 7



Psalm 5:9, 140:3

Chapter 8



Psalm 10:7

Chapter 9



Isaiah 59:7

Chapter 10



Psalm 36:1

Chapter 11



Genesis 15:6

Chapter 12



Psalm 32:1

Chapter 13



Psalm 32:2

Chapter 14



Genesis 15:6

Chapter 15



Genesis 17:5

Chapter 16



Genesis 15:5



Genesis 15:6


Exodus 20:17

OT Books Authenticated by Romans


Psalm 44:22




Genesis 21:12




Genesis 18:10




Genesis 25:23




Malachi 1:2

2 Samuel



Exodus 33:19

1 Kings



Exodus 9:16

2 Kings



Hosea 2:23




Hosea 1:10




Isaiah 10:22




Isaiah 10:23




Isaiah 1:9




Isaiah 28:16




Deuteronomy 30:12




Deuteronomy 30:13



Deuteronomy 30:14


Isaiah 28:16


Joel 2:32


Isaiah 52:7


Isaiah 53:1


Psalm 19:4


Deuteronomy 32:21


Isaiah 65:1


Isaiah 65:2


1 Kings 19:10,14


1 Kings 19:18


Deuteronomy 29:4


Psalm 69:22


Psalm 69:23


Isaiah 59:20


Isaiah 59:21


Isaiah 40:13


Job 35:7


Deuteronomy 32:35


2 Kings 6:22


Exodus 20:13-17

Leviticus 19:18


Isaiah 45:23


Psalm 69:9


2 Samuel 22:50


Deuteronomy 32:43


Psalm 117:1


Isaiah 11:10


Isaiah 52:15


shawn said...


Slave said...

I love the Tanach reference chart for Romans it was great.

Anonymous said...

The Heart of the Gospel is Romans 3:24-26 and is what must be given to the un-believer.

JUSTIFICATION is taught in the first four chapters of Romans that shows how an un-believer must be saved. Romans 4 is how the un-believer has to believe the Gospel Rom 3:24-26 that uses Abraham as an example, being fully persuaded Rom 4:21.

God is not the author of Confusion 1 Cor 14:33.

It's important to understand that key components of the Gospel must contain:
(i) Believe in Jesus
(ii) Faith in his blood for the forgiveness of life time of sins.

If the above two key components are missing from the Gospel, then there is no salvation.