Derek teaches us today that salvation requires a cooperation between the heart and the mouth. Believing in the heart enables us to achieve righteousness. This is only achieved as we confess with our mouth what we believe in our heart. Make the words of your mouth agree with God’s Word.
It’s good to be with you again, sharing precious truths and insights that have made the difference between success and failure in my life, and can do the same in yours.
In my two previous talks this week I’ve been speaking about the two great barriers that hinder us from entering into all that Jesus has obtained for us through His death: the two barriers of ignorance and unbelief.
In my talk yesterday I dealt specifically with overcoming unbelief. I explained, first of all, that unbelief is a sin; and, second that there is a practical and scriptural way to obtain faith, and that’s contained in Romans 10:17:
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (NASB)
Lay hold of that opening phrase in that verse, ”faith comes...” If you don’t have it, you can get it. It comes from hearing what the Bible says that Christ did for us. “Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.”
In my talk yesterday I related how I proved that in my own experience. After I’d lain sick in hospital for a year on end with a condition that doctors were unable to heal, I realized that if I listened to what God said in His Word and acted on it, faith would come, and through faith God would heal me. I met the conditions, God fulfilled His part and in due course, through that simple scriptural remedy I was completely and permanently healed.
Today I’m going to explain how our faith must be expressed. There’s something else very important about faith that I’m going to deal with in my talk today. It’s not enough just to believe in your heart. You must express with your mouth what you believe in your heart.
Paul states this so clearly in Romans chapter 10, verses 8 through 10 where he says this:
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; [In this passage, Paul deals with two things: the mouth and the heart. And both of them have to cooperate before our faith becomes truly affective. He goes on to say in verse 9:] That is thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, [or confess Jesus as Lord] and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Notice there are two requirements for being saved. One is to believe in the heart, but the second is to confess with the mouth, to say it out with your mouth. All through this passage there’s the cooperation with the heart and mouth. And then in the next verse, verse 10, Paul goes on:
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Believing in the heart enables us to achieve righteousness, but it does not bring us into the fullness of salvation. That is only achieved as we confess with our mouth what we believe in our heart. There are two words that we need to understand, confessions and salvation. Each of them has a specific and important meaning. To confess means to say the same as. Therefore confession, in this sense, means that we with our mouth say the same as God says in His Word. We make the words of our mouth agree with the Word of God. God’s Word doesn’t change. So if there are any changes needed, they’re going to be in us, not in the Word. We’ve got to make the words of our mouth agree with the written Word of God. That’s confession.
And then the word salvation, it’s one glorious all-inclusive word for all the benefits that Jesus has obtained for us through His death. The very thing we’re talking about. Salvation covers the forgiveness of sins, the gift of eternal life, the healing of your physical body, deliverance from demon power and the preserving power of God to keep you in every situation in life, it’s all wrapped up in one glorious word, SALVATION. Just to reduce salvation to having your sins forgiven is to whittle it down in a way that scripture does not justify. Salvation is the full inclusive provision of God for us through the death of Jesus Christ, the very thing we’re talking about, our inheritance.
Now to enter into our inheritance we have to confess with our mouth. Confession is made unto salvation. The suggestion is progress. You start by having your sins forgiven, by receiving the gift of eternal life. And as you go on confessing with your mouth everything that God says in His Word, you move into the fullness of God’s complete salvation which covers every area of your life, the whole of time and the whole of eternity, and all of which is made available to us on the basis of the death of Jesus Christ.
We need to understand that Jesus has a ministry in heaven which is very important and is often overlooked. In heaven, Jesus is our High Priest. He represents us directly to God the Father, but He’s the High Priest of our confession. He only can minister as High Priest on our behalf when we make the right confession with our mouths on earth. If we say the wrong thing or if we say nothing about our faith, then we tie the hands of Jesus as our High Priest. He loves us, He wants to bless us. But He cannot do all that He would because we have not made the right confession. Listen to what it says in Hebrews chapter 3, verse 1:
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” (NASB)
So you see, we’re told to fix our eyes on Jesus and think of Him as the High Priest of our confession. So if we want His High Priestly ministry on our behalf, making effective the promises of God’s Word and the provision of His atonement, we have to make the right confession. It’s confession that releases His ministry as High Priest on our behalf.
And then in the next chapter of Hebrews, chapter 4 and verse 14 the writer says again:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” (NASB)
That’s an important word, “hold fast.” If they say to you in some situation, “Fasten your seat belt,” it’s a kind of warning that there’s going to be motion and you may need to be firmly held in your seat. And so when the Bible says, “Hold fast your confession,” it’s really a kind of warning you’re going to be subjected to pressures that might cause you to back off what you’ve said. But don’t back off, hold fast profession or confession, it’s the same word.
So first, we make the right confession, we make the words of our mouth agree with the words of scripture. We say about what Jesus has done for us exactly what the Word of God says. We say, “By his stripes we are healed... He became poor that we might be rich... He tasted death that we might have life... He took the curse that we might receive the blessing...” That’s the right confession. We make it and then no matter what pressures come against us, no matter how much things may seem to go the wrong way, we hold fast our confession. That’s what makes our faith effective and that’s what releases the High Priestly ministry of Jesus on our behalf in heaven.
There’s one more important thing that I need to say in this talk today about faith. It’s simple but very important. Faith relates us to what our senses cannot perceive. As long as we are the slaves of our senses we really cannot move in faith. Paul says this clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:7:
“...for we walk by faith, not by sight” (NASB)
In other words, what we do as Christians, the way we live is based on faith, on what we believe, not on what we see. Not on what our senses tell us. Because our senses may tell us one thing, our faith may tell us another, and that’s where we come into conflict. We all come into conflict. There’s no exception. That’s why the writer of Hebrews says, “Make your confession and then hold it fast.” Even if your senses tell you it isn’t so, if God’s Word says, it is so, it is so.
The same truth about the tension between faith and the revelation of the senses is contained in Hebrews chapter 11, the great faith chapter. Let me read two verses there, 1 and 3:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. [You see, faith is a strong persuasion, a conviction, something unshakable. But it relates, not to what we see, but to things that are not seen. And then in the third verse of that chapter:] By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” (NASB)
Again, notice through faith we understand. That’s so important. We don’t understand and then believe. We believe and through believing we understand. Through faith we come to understand that the great eternal underlying reality behind the whole visible created universe is the invisible Word of God. The universe was made by the Word of God, so that everything that is seen was made out of something that is not seen, the invisible Word of God.
Now faith does not relate us to the visible world. We don’t need faith to relate us to the visible world. We have five senses to do that. But faith relates us to that invisible word which is the word of eternal unchanging truth, the truth that is behind the whole visible world. So in faith, we relate to something that brought the visible world into being. And if we hold onto that faith, that faith will bring the visible world, that which the senses reveal to us, into line with what we believe. I want to say that what the sense reveal is not unreal. But it’s impermanent. It can change. What faith perceives is unchangeable. It’s eternal.
So we are walking by faith, not by the senses. We believe what God says and that brings what our senses show us into line what God says. So we walk by faith, not by sight.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be giving you what I call the “Romans Recipe.”