About Jesus - Steve Sweetman

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The Rhema Word Of Faith


"If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and if you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9 NIV)."  This is one well known Bible verse, but do we understand its finer, but vitally important implications?


Backing up one verse to Romans 10:8 we note that Paul preached the word of faith.  The Greek word "rhema" is translated into English as "word" in verse 8.  Unlike the Greek word "logos" that simply means an idea put into a word, "rhema" is an idea that once put into a word produces some kind of result in the one to whom it is intended.  For example; if I say to you, "That's a dog" you probably won't have a reaction.  That's a logos style word.  If I say to you, "Here's a million dollars to do as you wish" you'd react.  That's a rhema style word.       


The Greek word "pistis" is translated into English as "faith" in the phrase "word of faith".  "Pistis" simply means "trust".  If you have faith that I can hold onto your million dollars without spending it, you trust me.  Faith is trust.   


The word of faith is the message about trust.  Once the message is carried by the Holy Spirit to your heart it gives you the ability to trust Jesus with your life. 


Now let's look at Romans 10:9.  Once the rhema word of faith gives you the ability to trust Jesus, according to verse 9 you confess that Jesus is Lord.  The word "confess" is translated from the Greek word "homolegeo" which means "to speak the same thing or to agree."  Confessing is in fact agreeing with God that Jesus has now become your personal Lord.  Merely mouthing the words "Jesus is Lord" isn't agreeing with God on this matter.  Anyone can say "Jesus is Lord."  When you agree with God that Jesus is Lord, you agree that He is the ultimate universal authority.  You, therefore, have no other logical choice but to hand your life over to Him.   


The verb "believe" in the phrase "believe in your heart" in verse 9 is translated from the Greek verb "pisteuo", the verb form of the noun "pistis" that I defined above.  Believing that God raised Jesus from the dead is not a mental acknowledgement of the historical fact that Jesus rose from the dead.  Believe means to trust.  You trust, or give yourself to, the historical fact that Jesus is alive.  You can't trust a dead man with your life, but you can trust a living man with your life.          


Both Greek verbs translated as "confess" and "believe" in Romans 10:9 are aorist active subjunctive verbs.  Simply put, "only" when you agree with God by allowing Jesus to become your personal Lord, and "only" when you trust that He is alive to be your Lord, will you be saved. 


The Greek word "sozo", meaning to rescue, to deliver, or to heal, is translated into English as saved in verse 9.  The most important thing you are saved from is the wrath of God.  The phrase "You shall be saved" is a future passive indicative Greek verb.  That means your salvation, although instantaneous upon confessing and believing, is completed on the future day when Jesus transforms your mortal body into an eternal body. 


Romans 10:9 tells us that once the Holy Spirit plants the message of trust into your heart, that message enables you to make Jesus your personal Lord because He is alive for you to trust.  Only then are you saved.


My Methodist background taught me that I was to receive Jesus as my Saviour and at some later date make Him my Lord.  Romans 10:9 says differently.  First of all I don't receive Jesus.  He receives me when I allow Him to be my personal Lord.  At that point Jesus immediately becomes my Saviour.  The reverse to Methodist teaching is in fact true.  Jesus becomes my Saviour because He is first my Lord.   


We should also understand that inherent in allowing Jesus to be your personal Lord is the act of repentance.  You cannot serve your Lord when you are serving your sinful self.  Without acknowledging and leaving your sin you can't make Jesus your Lord and thus you cannot be saved.    


Understanding Romans 10:9 is not only important for our own spiritual health, it's vitally important for those we are trying to lead to Jesus.  We do an eternally damaging disservice by asking people to simply repeat a sinner's prayer, by having them mouth the words "Jesus is Lord", and by having them mentally acknowledge that Jesus rose from the dead.  Those things may be a step towards salvation but in themselves they save no one according to Romans 10:9.  God forbid that we cause someone to believe he is saved when he is not saved. 




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