“…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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” -Romans 10:9-10
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ -Matthew 7:21-23
I became a Christian several years before my husband did. It was a really challenging time in our marriage. He thought I had gone off the deep end and I tried to navigate a new belief system while loving someone who wanted nothing to do with it. It was a difficult time for both of us.
After many years of going to church by myself, with a little bit of nudging on my part, my husband decided to accompany me. We made a date out of it by stopping at a coffee shop before church and it became an enjoyable routine for us.
This went on for about three years when it happened. We went out to dinner one Friday night and while we were sitting there, he very casually said, “I believe that Jesus is who He says He is.”
I just about spit out my drink. “What did you say?”
“You heard what I said.”
“I want you to repeat it.”
“I believe that Jesus is who He says He is.”
And then I said, “Are you saying with your mouth that you believe that Jesus is Lord? And do you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead?” like he was on the stand and I was the defense attorney.
At the time, I had the notion that all it takes to be saved is exactly what Paul says in Romans 10 and if I said it exactly right and had my husband agree, it was a done deal! We were finally equally yoked.
The problem is Matthew 7. What does it mean to call Jesus Lord?
A Lord is someone who pretty much directs your life. You surrender to Him and all that He is, and all that He calls you to you do. It is not just a title; it is a transformation of your heart. Paul says that it is with the heart one believes and is justified. Jesus tells us that it’s the one who does the will of His Father who is in heaven who will enter the kingdom of heaven. Who does the will of the Father? Those who love Him with all their heart and love their neighbor, too. Being saved isn’t just about saying or doing the right things, it is about your heart.