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The Transformative Power, Profundity and Promise of the Simple Gospel, part 2

“…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.”
Romans 10:9

  At the very core of the Gospel message is the reality that it requires a child-like faith. The Gospel is simplistic in its nature, which we have seen in the previous article. But often times, the Christian culture overcomplicates this simplistic message because of its profundity. The idea of a single message of hope bringing the spiritually dead to life and making the spiritually blind to see generates a difficult communication of its simplicity to be Justified. The Truth is that the Power of the Gospel is a Profound message.

     “…if you confess…” is something that is very often overlooked in its understanding. The misunderstanding of this requirement to “confess” is thought of as simply saying, “There is a God” or “I love Jesus.” But that is not the author’s intent behind this word. 

     “Confess” means, “to say the same things as.” And specifically here, to “confess” in the terminology of Justification means “to say the same thing as God is saying.” And this is where we often fall short in the understanding of the process of salvation. Reconciliation, according to Romans 10:9, requires that we are “confessing” what God is confessing. It mandates that we are “professing” the same words that God is professing. It demands that we affirm all that God has proclaimed.

     Because of easy-believism and the Lordship Gospel (which are two prevalent false gospels in America Christianity today), there are many individuals who are uncertain of their faith. In the past 75 years, the Christian Church, in general, has done a poor job of explaining the profound nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And because of this, there is a large percentage of people who are unsure of their standing with the Holy God. In a wide-scoping survey of the previous decades, it seems as though  the 1950’s to the 1970’s skipped the preaching and went straight to the invitation, the 1980’s to the early 2000’s focused on emotionalism and music and the early 2000’s to today have spent a majority of time teaching about self-love and living your own definition of truth.

     But when the profound nature of the Gospel is taught, we can understand that “confessing with your mouth” means that you have affirmed the proclamation that God has made in saying that Jesus Christ is Lord. This profession of faith must include the transformation of ones life from being at enmity with God to abiding in Him. When you “confess with your mouth” your life must change. This conversion mandates that one’s life no longer desires the things of this world, but now the new creation will “love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.” This transformation is only possible because of the profound message that the Gospel proclaims.

     “…and (if you) believe in your heart…” is another very misunderstood concept of salvation. To “believe” is often thought of as just a simplistic idea that something could  happen. The average “American Christian” might think of this word “believe” in the same way that he believes that his favorite football team will win the game on Saturday. And this is not the correct understanding of Saving Faith.

     Saving Faith is the instrumental cause of our Justification. We are able to stand on the shoulders of the Reformers in understanding the three aspects of Saving Faith, which brings to light much understanding of our reconciliation to God. The Puritans broke this down into three essential components: notitia, assensus, and fiducia.

     Notitia is the component of our faith that we must know something. We cannot believe something unless we first know what we are to believe. There is a false understanding that Christianity is a blind faith, which is equivalent to climbing up on a mountain and jumping off, hoping that Jesus will catch you. But this is not the truth about the Christian faith at all. In Christianity, seeing is not believing. Instead, we understand from Ephesians 1:15-19 that the Christian Faith teaches that believing is seeing. And before you can believe in something, you must know about what you are believing. This is notitia.

     Assensus is the essential component of Saving Faith which states that we must believe in what we know to be true. Notitia is the knowledge about the objective truth, where assensus is the belief in what you know to be true. And this is where most people will stop and say that Romans 10:9 means this right here. But we know from James 2:19 that even the demons know and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. So, there must be more than just believing what you know to be true.

     Fiducia is the third component of Saving Faith, which explains that one must put their trust in what they believe that they know to be true. This is a living trust to die to yourself, repent of your sins and to walk with Christ. Fiducia is evidenced in the every day life of a Christian, because his trust is relying totally and supremely on Christ and His righteousness. We must know the true, believe the truth and then place our trust in what we believe that is true.

     Understanding Saving Faith enlightens the mind to grasp this statement: “…and (if you) believe in your heart…” No longer does “believe” mean easy-believism or just a general idea of believing things about God. Now, after understanding the three essential components of Saving Faith, one must come to the conclusion that in order to be reconciled to the One, True, Holy God, he must “confess” the same thing that God has proclaimed and “believe” with an authentic, saving faith.

     Even though this seems profound, which is most certainly is, it does not change the reality that the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is simplistic. God demands that every human being profess that Jesus is Lord, believe in the Word of God and trust Him as Savior. This message is direct and straightforward. But the ramifications of this message are extremely impactful because of the transformative power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is impossible for someone to “confess” and “believe” and not be completely changed by the power of God unto salvation. This is a profound Gospel.

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