I wanted to ask you about Romans 10:9-10. My question: is confession or a prayer necessary for salvation or is simply believing the Gospel sufficient? I have gotten away from things like “ask Jesus into your heart,” “give your life to Christ,” and other unbiblical terms when sharing the Gospel. But Romans 10:9-10 is difficult for me to understand.
Good question! Most passages articulate the condition for salvation as simply believing in or on Jesus (John 3:15,16,36; 5:24; 6:47; Acts 10:43; 16:31; Rom. 4:5). Even in Romans 10, after its says whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, it goes on to ask how then shall they call on Him in whom they’ve not believed. Therefore, though faith is sometimes expressed as a prayer, the real issue is not prayer’s outward expression but in the heart, believing on Jesus. Perhaps there is a sense in which mouth confession strengthens heart faith, but the faith is already there. And God saves immediately when someone believes in Jesus.
“Asking Jesus into your heart” may be valid, if there is understanding that sin is the problem, judgment is the consequence, and Jesus alone is the answer. John 1:12 does state, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Again, the key is clarity leading up to the decision of believing on Jesus as your Savior.
Of course, sometimes the scriptural terminology is repentance, which is the flip-side of faith. The key is articulating the need to change your way of thinking by transferring your dependence to Jesus alone to do all the saving. The condition is simple heart faith in Jesus to save.
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