But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:8-10)
Confession Establishes A Covenant
A man from Ethiopia had been to Jerusalem to worship and as he returned home he found himself immersed in the book of Isaiah. The reading of the prophet intrigued the Ethiopian as he tried to discern the message of God. Traveling through the region of Gaza a stranger approached his chariot and asked to join him. Hearing the Ethiopian reading the prophet Isaiah the invited guest asked if he understood the passage. Wanting to know more Philip the evangelist began to explain the story of the man from Ethiopia. Later as they came to water the eunuch asked why he could not be baptized in accordance with the teaching of Jesus. Philip told the eunuch that if he believed in his heart he could. Upon this command the Ethiopian proclaimed he believed Jesus was the Christ and this Jesus was the Son of God. Stopping the chariot Philip took the eunuch into the water and baptized him for the remission of his sins. The key to this story is found not only in the eunuch’s need to hear the gospel of Christ and to be baptized into water but a covenant he made when he confessed Jesus Christ as Lord.
It is important to note the covenant required of the Lord for salvation. Man cannot be saved by faith alone. The eunuch needed to hear the message of truth from God’s word. His heart had to believe all the truth contained in the teaching of the Lord. Philip began at Isaiah 53 and taught the Ethiopian the story of Jesus with the Ethiopian concluding that Jesus taught salvation was consummated in the waters of baptism. Before this took place a covenant would be established. This covenant was a confession. The eunuch was required to believe and confess certain things to establish the covenant between himself and God.
Paul explains this covenant in Romans 10:9-10. A covenant is an oath taken to cement an agreement between two parties. Obedience to salvation cannot be fulfilled unless a confession is made with the mouth that Jesus is Lord. What happens when confession is made is a covenant is established between the believer and God. There are four parts to this covenant: (1) “I BELIEVE”; the oath taken is a personal belief. (2) “THAT JESUS”; this is a real person, not a myth. Acknowledging that Jesus is real requires an abiding faith in a man we have never seen. We have to accept everything He did, He taught and He commanded. He arose from the dead! (3) “CHRIST”; Jesus was not only a man in the flesh but He was God. Believing Jesus is the Christ is establishing a covenant of faith that He is Lord. There is no other way, there is no other truth and there is no other life. (4) “IS THE SON OF GOD”; the final part of the covenant made with God is believing that Jesus Christ is HIS Son. Obedience is supreme. There is no turning back. Allegiance to one King, one Lord and one Savior. His word is the only word we can follow.
When we confess Jesus Christ we make a promise to God to be faithful. If we fail in our belief of Jesus we break a solemn oath we made when we obeyed the gospel. The marriage vow is a covenant made with God that should not be broken. A vow made to God in obedience should not be broken either. Confession is our oath of the covenant established when we are baptized into Christ.
The heart of revival, of the deeper Christian life, of Christianity, is making Jesus Lord. (Vance Havner, 1901-1986)