Salvation 2.0: Part 5.7: Romans 10

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Inevitably, we have to cover the other text on which Walter Scott built his Plan of Salvation, Rom 10:9-10 —

(Rom 10:9-10 ESV)  9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Notice that our confession — the faith that we announce — is that “Jesus is Lord” but also that “God raised him from the dead.” We must believe that Jesus was resurrected by God.

V. 10 says we believe “with the heart.” “Believe” is the verb form of pistis, and can mean trust or be faithful. Paul doesn’t make this a purely intellectual exercise. Our faith involves the emotions as well.

Now, it’s hard to see confession and belief as two entirely distinct things. After all, the line between justification and being saved is hardly clear; just so, confession is normally included within “faith.” After all, if you won’t tell me you have faith, I can’t know to treat you as a brother or to receive you in baptism. In fact, if your faith is so weak that you won’t confess it, you may not have real faith at all.

(Rom 10:11 ESV)  11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 

This is a quotation from Isa 28:16 (LXX). “Him” refers to the Lord (YHWH in the Hebrew). Paul is again declaring that faith in YHWH in the OT is now faith in Jesus.

(Rom 10:14 ESV) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

Now we get to the source of the familiar “hear, believe …” in the Five Step Plan of Salvation. Of course, “hear” is no more a separate requirement than “preach.” Paul’s real point is that the gospel must be preached for the lost to become saved — as they cannot believe what they have not heard. (Obviously, contradicting many “available light” theories.)

And so, in Rom 10, Paul is arguing for the necessity of preaching the gospel to Jews. Although they believed in God, they did not believe in Jesus. Therefore, they needed to hear, believe, confess, and so be saved and justified. Plainly, there were not yet saved or justified.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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3 Responses to Salvation 2.0: Part 5.7: Romans 10

  1. Chris says:

    Jay, what exactly does it mean to “call upon the Lord.” What greek word is used here to denote this action? Is it a prayer? A plea? An appeal? Is it an outward display at all? If someone said “so and so called upon the name of the Lord.” What’s the first thing one would think of?

    Romans 10:13
    Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    Acts 2:21
    And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

    Acts 22:16
    And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

  2. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Chris,

    Very interesting questions. Thanks for asking.

    Here’s a rough, preliminary sketch of an answer.

    The language is taken from Joel —

    (Joel 2:32 ESV) 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

    This in turn refers back to such passages as —

    (Gen. 4:26 ESV) To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.

    Psa 116:17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.

    Zep 3:9 “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord.

    Gen 12:8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.

    1Ki 18:24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”

    Gen 26:25 So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the LORD and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.

    1Co 1:2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

    Gen 13:4 to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the LORD.

    Gen 21:33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God.

    Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    Rom 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    In short, to “call upon the name of the LORD” is to worship God or to serve God, that is, to claim the LORD as the god you worship as opposed to all others. Many of these OT passages speak in terms of someone choosing YHWH rather than any other deity as the object of worship and reverence.

    Notice that the OT passages uniformly speak of YHWH (“LORD” in all caps) rather than some other divine name. They are calling on the God of the Jews, whom Peter and Paul identify as Messiah Jesus, at least in Joel, but as Paul demonstrates in 1 Cor 8, also in several YHWH passages in the Exodus. And this particular turn of phrase in the OT is always the “name” of God, that is, YHWH, now identified as Jesus, the Lord.

    Isa 65 I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
    I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
    I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
    to a nation that was not called by my name

    The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Is 65:1.

    9  “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples
    to a pure speech,
    that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD
    and serve him with one accord.

    The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Zep 3:9.

    And this is the language chosen for those OT passages that speak of salvation being provided to the Gentiles. So we can see where the apostles get their thinking.

    But there is nothing in this language specific to a Sinner’s Prayer or even to water baptism. The promise is given to those with faith in Jesus as Lord (Rom 10:9). To confess that Jesus is LORD is to call upon the name of the LORD, bringing salvation as Joel promises — a promise repeatedly restated by the apostles.

    The coming of the Spirit upon those with faith in Jesus, of course, was seen as confirming not just the prophecy but that the prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus and extended to the Gentiles. Baptism was administered without controversy because it symbolized repentance, that is, the element of faith that requires the faithful to serve the LORD as Lord. The question when salvation happened was not considered because baptism was administered immediately after a confession of faith.

    In the Jew/Gentile controversy that takes up so much of Acts and Paul’s epistles, baptism was (among many other things) the church’s acknowledgement that this person was among the saved, a child of God, in Jesus, a part of the church, etc. It wasn’t just an admission rite, but it was that as well. Having such a rite forced the church to decide whether to accept this Gentile as a brother and marked the transition in the minds both of the converts and the congregation (as very clearly shown in the case of Cornelius).

    Hence, baptism was “in the name of Jesus Christ,” that is, the name of the LORD, per Joel. And thus Paul says converts are saved when they confess “Jesus is LORD,” citing Joel 2:32. That is, faith in Jesus as LORD is central, but baptism is itself a confession of faith. Again, these are not distinct, separate steps. Rather, repentance/confession/faith/baptism all speak to the same thing — calling on the name of the LORD.

    It’s not mere intellectual acceptance of who is the Lord of Hosts. It’s submission, symbolized in the OT by sacrifice and in the NT by baptism (among other things). In the OT, sacrifice to the LORD was to call on his name. It was to honor him as the God of this person and his household or tribe. Sacrifice symbolized a willingness to serve in a much bigger way. The sacrifice was merely an ancient was of saying, “This is the God I serve and worship and count on for salvation — so much so that I will give up a part of my wealth and security in reliance on his promises.” To sacrifice a lamb in a society that might eat meat only weekly or monthly and that often lived on the verge of starvation was an act of great faith — demonstrating confidence in God’s provision.

    Baptism is a sense takes the place of animal sacrifice. Rather, we die in baptism and count on God to raise us up as he raised up Jesus in newness of life. In fact, someone being baptized quite literally places his life in the hands of another. It’s an act of faith — but it’s also an act of submitting to co-crucifixion with Jesus — self-sacrifice. It’s more sacrifice than a sheep. It’s an offering of oneself to be re-shaped into the image of God found in Jesus on the cross.

    So, to me, submitting to baptism fills much the same place as OT sacrifice. Both are a way to call on the name of the LORD — by calling on the LORD to save while confessing whom you submit to as Lord.

    Something like that.

  3. Chris says:

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. You have a wonderful gift of bringing scripture together so that things makes sense.

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