Sunday, December 2, 2012

Confess. Believe. Saved.




Scripture

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
(Romans 10:9 NASB)
for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
(Romans 10:10 NASB)

 

Observation


Paul lays out a simple plan for those coming to Christ. They are to confess that Jesus is Lord. This is in contrast with the popular culture of the day which openly and proudly confessed that Caesar was lord. The Emperor was worshiped as a god, and to confess that Jesus was Lord was to say brazenly not accept the Emperor worship of the day. But it was not enough to simply confess, but to truly believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. So often today we focus on the death of Jesus Christ and what he did for us on the cross, but for the early church they constantly celebrated the victory which was his resurrection. It's why we worship on Sundays -- it's resurrection day. It's the reminder over and over again that God raised Jesus from the dead and it is his resurrection, the first of those to be raised again, which provides for us the power and the promise of the resurrection to come. This is what we must believe in our hearts. And if we confess and we believe, we will be saved!

 

Application


Today is the first Sunday of Advent, one of my very favorite seasons of the year. Having been born and raised in my early years in Germany, Advent has always been a part of my life and of our family tradition. As long as I can remember I always had an Advent Calendar and we had the Advent wreath on the dining room or kitchen table. Throughout the month we would light the candles as the time drew closer and closer for the Christ-child to come on Christmas Eve. The anticipation throughout the month was almost more than a child could bear! He's coming -- He's coming!

It is with this childlike faith that we move into anticipation of the hope of things to come and in which we find our salvation. With childlike faith we must declare the Jesus is Lord! No, we have no Emperor worship these days, but we have other worship. To declare publicly, for the world to know that we believe Jesus is Lord is that we have to stand up to the things of the world. Jesus is Lord -- not sports, not family, not friends, not weekends away -- but Jesus is Lord! Jesus is number one in my life, there is nothing that I would place before him. That's what we must confess to our world, both by our words and by our behavior. This is a human choice, a choice that says I have decided to put all things aside and by the grace of God to declare that Jesus is Lord of all things in my life.

We continue with childlike faith and we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus is not resurrected, then what faith do we have? He simply becomes another prophet who has come and gone. Jesus is the only one who has come and been raised again, paving the way for all of us to participate with him in a new humanity. This is God's plan, the redemption of all things. Today, the first Sunday (resurrection day) of Advent, we celebrate and anticipate the coming of Jesus, but also his victory over death, for we celebrate both his coming and his victory at the same time, since it all happens on a Sunday! Why are we going to church to gather today? Because we celebrate his resurrection, and through advent we anticipate his coming. May we believe this in our hearts, down to the very depths of our being!

Childlike faith of declaration and belief results in salvation. As a child I anticipated Christmas Eve when the Christ-child would finally come. The gifts arrived! I knew they would come! Today, with childlike faith, a declaration that Jesus is my Lord, and a solemn belief in my heart that he has been raised from the dead, I have the greatest Christmas gift ever -- salvation. The gift has already arrived and I have the pleasure and joy of enjoying the gift with him throughout all eternity.

 

Prayer


Lord, thank you for your coming and your resurrection and the hope of the season. Amen.

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