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; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.(Romans 10:8-11)
What does God require of any sinner, Gentile or Jew? Righteousness cannot be attained by any system of works, God cannot be indebted by bankrupt sinners in any way. What God requires is that we all believe in our heart, that God raised Jesus from the dead, and confess with our mouth that He (Jesus) is the LORD.
How is it that believing in the heart brings a man into Righteousness? Why does God require belief?
First of all, when the way of Righteousness is simple faith, there can be no personal glory allotted to any man. All of the glory goes to the God who has made salvation possible.
Faith has an object, God. In heaven the multitudes sing, “Salvation belongs to God, who sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb…”.
Secondly,the most important thing about any person, and the determining factor of anyone’s life for good or evil, is what He or She believes about God. A person’s moral, spiritual, ethical, intellectual and emotional destiny is determined by whether or not they hold the right view of God. All of our personal problems are in fact at the root, Theological problems.
Where did Adam and Eve go wrong? They fell when they entertained a malicious notion about their Creator, that He had been withholding something good from them out of a sense of petty jealousy. The lies people believe about God are the corrupting influence of their whole lives.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.(Genesis 3:4)
The Serpent told all of us a series of lies about God, thus we are all estranged from Him, who is the source of our life, and the only true ground of our happiness.
The gospel sets the record straight about God, and in the process, puts our ruined lives back together again, restoring us to the extent that we ,”grow in grace Through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue”, as the apostle Peter tells us.
It is “Seeing Him, as He (truly) Is…”, that transforms us, breaking the power of sin and unbelief. Thus the highest duty of the believer is the worshipful beholding of Him, as in a glass.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.( 2 Cor 3:18)
The fall of man has further distorted our belief about God, rendering all of us unworthy, and unable to worship Him. We cannot ‘see’ him because we are estranged from him, and have become slaves to our own desires. Our fallen hearts have virtually become an “idol factory”, manufacturing ‘Gods’ in our own image and likeness, as projections of our own fallen lusts and desires.
Believing the serpent’s lie, we want to become ‘gods’ ourselves, making our own rules, and seeking our own ‘salvation’, which is self-realization of some form or other.
But in the Gospel, the invisible God presents himself to us again, for Christ is “the image of the invisible God”, he is none less than “God with us”,Immanuel.
Furthermore the gospel gives us something new to believe about God, for God has done something unprecedented in Christ. God became a man, He humbled himself and even became obedient, taking on himself the form of a servant.What does this do to the heart that accepts this revelation of God?
Faith in the gospel of the incarnation alone is what we need to ‘dethrone’ the haughty, false, SELF god we have been enslaved to in our hearts. We don’t want to be ‘god’ anymore, for we have seen a vision of the true God, who ‘humbled himself’, and ‘emptied himself’ of all of his Divine prerogatives, in order to Righteously save us from our sins.
Thus we sing with trembling lips,
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Phillipians 2:5-11)