It’s hard to believe in anyone today. Do you take the word of the used car salesman that the vehicle is in triple-A condition? The politician who only wants what’s best for the little guy? The company that’s only in business for your business success? The professor who pushes evolution though there’s no evidence? Or the preacher who says a Man named Jesus rose from the dead? Who do you trust? What do you trust? To believe or not to believe: that is the question.
Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Believe me, this was not an era of easy believism in Rome. Christians were dying like flies for acknowledging any competition to the mastery of Caesar who had elevated himself to deity. If they were going to confess and believe in Jesus as living and Lord, they knew they could very well be signing their own death warrant. But if He indeed died for them so they could be saved, would, should they not be willing to live and even die for Him? To believe, and confess that they believed, became the testing question.
Actually the “confess and believe” requirement Paul presented was a strong one, a life-or-death issue. When he wrote “confess”, these Roman Christians understood that he meant they were to declare publicly, speak out freely, of their allegiance to Christ as their Master and Lord. This same Jesus Who was the Jewish carpenter from Nazareth, no less, Who professed to be the Son of the Living God. The same One Who died to deliver everyone from their sins and give them eternal life – if they would but confess and believe. Their deep conviction of the facts of His life and death and return to life were to be a cause of celebration. Public celebration.
And to believe that Jesus rose from the dead? Well, this is the part where the Athenians laughed and walked out on Paul at Mars Hill, right? Now, not only must I confess that the humble Judean is my Master and Lord, demoting Caesar, I must believe that the One Who hung on a Roman cross, crucified by Roman soldiers for competing with Caesar, was indeed the Son of God and shown to be so with great power, Almighty power, through His resurrection from the dead. To believe, and confess my belief, in a crucified, resurrected Jew from Nazareth, and so be saved from sin and eternal death, though the confession may cost me my life – to believe or not to believe: that is the question.
And the question hasn’t changed. We must still be willing to publicly confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead. To stake our eternal life, and maybe this life, on these truths. To so firmly believe that our daily celebration of life declares that Jesus is our living Lord. “Neither is there salvation in any other.” To believe or not to believe: that is the question. He IS Lord! He IS alive! Believe! And be saved.Tags: confess and believe, to believe or not to believe