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  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 

 

Confess with thy Mouth

Do we have to confess the Lord Jesus with our mouth, ie, speaking our confession of the Lord, in order to be saved?  The answer is no!  Confession is made with the mouth, but salvation is of the heart.

Let's take a look at the Bible verses in question,

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9

On reading the above scripture, it does sound like we have to both confess, and believe in order to be saved.  However, what we have to be careful about, is reading the whole scripture in its correct context, rather than isolated verses.  The very next verse in Romans 10 clarifies the matter for us,

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  Romans 10:10

Here we have it clarified:  We believe in the heart for righteousness, ie we are saved through faith, and with the mouth we confess that salvation.  However, note that salvation has already occured, when we believe in our hearts.  Our confession is an outward sign of our belief, and is not related to being saved.

What if you are a mute?

I had a Pastor quote me before, Romans 10:9, and I asked him, 'What should a person do if he cannot speak, perhaps he's a mute, can he be saved?'  Amazingly, the answer was, "I don't know."

Salvation is of the heart, confessing with our mouth is a work.  For sure, as believers, we should not be ashamed of our savior Christ, and we should confess Him.  Something would be strange if someone believed in Christ but would not be willing to say it!  As Paul says in Romans 10:11,

“For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

But, it's an important distinction to make, because faith in our heart is righteousness.  We should be careful to make this distinction, salvation comes by recognizing ourselves as guilty sinners before God, and receiving Christ's sacrifice on the cross, believing He was buried and bodily resurrected three days later, through which we (you, and me) are saved IMMEDIATELY.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

What about times when we are afraid to confess?

“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:" John 12:42

Here, we read there were even some of the rulers who believed on Jesus, but they did not confess, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, and as John 12:43 further clarifies for us,

For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:43

Fortunately for us, and them, salvation is of the heart, through faith.  Confession is with the mouth, but, salvation is of the heart.  It is the same with baptism, a person does not have to be baptized to be saved.  Baptism represents our belief in Christ, being fully immersed in water as believers represents our Savior being buried and rising again.  Baptism is a good work, but, it is still a work, and no works are required for salvation,

"He that believeth on the Son HATH everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me HATH everlasting life." John 6:47
What about Acts 2:38?
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38

Here Peter is saying that we repent first - that is, have a change of mind, ie from not believing, to believing, and then we become baptized as an external act of our internal belief.  As the Evangelist Dr John R. Rice describes it,

'Some people think that this passage contradicts the dozens of other plain statements in the Bible that a man is saved by faith and saved immediately when he believes. But when you use the word for in this passage just as it is used so many times in every-day conversation, you will see what Peter said. A man is arrested for stealing; one is grateful for a favor; one is blamed for carelessness; one is commended for bravery. The word for here does not mean in order to or to secure remission of sins, and it is not rendered that way in any translation of the Bible we know of anywhere. The Greek word eis here translated for is sometimes translated in the Bible against, among, at, unto, upon, etc. It might properly be translated here "baptized upon the remission of your sins" or "baptized referring to, or pointing toward the remission of your sins," or "baptized in the remission of your sins." When one repents, he receives the remission of his sins. Then the obedient heart, following Christ in baptism, is promised the gift of the Holy Ghost, an entirely separate matter from salvation. What Peter said was that people ought to repent and then, after their sins are forgiven, they should be baptized as evidence of that. That is exactly what people ought to be baptized for, that is, to show the remission of their sins. That Scripture, then, does not mean that people ought to be baptized in order to be saved.' Dr John R. Rice

A man is arrested for stealing, a man is commended for bravery.  Being arrested, or being commended, does not make the person a criminal, or make him a brave man, for these things have already happened.  So it is with baptism, we are baptized because we are saved, the salvation has already happened.

What of Mark 16:16?
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;" Mark 16:16a

The Lord clarifies in the remaining part of the verse,

"but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:16b

It is natural to think of baptism following believing, but the Lord does not mean to contradict the rest of the Bible, as you will see in the following words in the same verse, as the Lord clarifies, "but he that believeth not shall be damned."

Just as the thief on the cross was not baptized, still, the Lord told him he would see Heaven,

'And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”' Luke 23:42-43

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18

 

1st February 2018

 

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