The way to salvation is, in a sense, contradictory. That is to say, it is so easy, and yet so hard.
But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). (6-7)
In other words, we don’t need to drag Jesus down from heaven to effect our salvation. Nor do we have to drag his dead body from the grave in order for us to be saved. Jesus has already come. He has already paid for our sins on the cross. And he has already been raised from the dead.
So what is there left for us to do then?
But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (8-10)
In short, all we need to do is acknowledge in our hearts who Jesus is and what he has already done for us.
Who is he? He is Lord.
What does that mean exactly. Paul makes it crystal clear in the next few verses.
As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (11-13)
The last quotation he brings out is Joel 2:32, and the word translated “Lord” is not simply “Adonai” which can be used of mere men as well as of God. Joel uses the divine name, “Yahweh.” In short, “Everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved.” So Jesus is not merely “a lord,” but he is God himself.
Paul says as much in Philippians 2 where he quotes Isaiah 45:23 in which Yahweh says,
Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.
He then applies it to Jesus, saying,
At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)
So if we are to be saved we need to confess Jesus for who he really is, Lord and God.
More we are to believe in what he has done. That he died for our sins and was raised from the dead. And then beyond that, we are to call on him.
It’s not enough just to know Jesus is Lord. It is not enough to know that he died for us and was raised again. The demons know all this.
We must call on him and ask him to save us. And if we do, he will.
It is so easy. Yet it is so difficult. Why? Because people simply do not want to believe. Many people claim they can’t believe. But God has given enough evidence for all of us to believe. It’s not that people can’t believe. They choose not to.
They choose not to because of pride. “It’s too simple. I must be able to do something to save myself.” Or, “I don’t need God in my life. I’m fine as it is. I don’t need a crutch in my life.” Or, “I’m too intelligent to believe in God.”
Others are simply too in love with their sin. They know that if they acknowledge Jesus in their lives, they can’t keep living as they are. And they don’t want to give it up even though it is destroying them.
How about you? What will you do with Jesus in your life?