(from a manuscript of a sermon preached on 9/11/11 at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly)
Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 10, and let’s read verses 4 through 13:
Romans 10: (4) For Christ [is] the end of Law for righteousness to everyone that believes. (5) For Moses writes [of] the righteousness [which is] of the Law: The man doing these things shall live by them. (6) But the righteousness of faith says this: Do not say in your heart, Who will go up into Heaven? (that is, to bring down Christ); (7) or, Who will go down into the abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from [the] dead.) (8) 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 proclaim). (9) Because if you confess [the] Lord Jesus with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from [the] dead, you will be saved. (10) For with [the] heart [one] believes unto righteousness, and with [the] mouth [on]e confesses unto salvation. (11) For the Scripture says, Everyone believing on Him will not be put to shame. (12) For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord of all is rich toward all the ones calling on Him. (13) For everyone, whoever may call on the name of [the] Lord will be saved.
We spent three sermons on verse 9; the first one was about the ACTION of confession and belief, and the last two were about the CONTENT of the confession and belief. Now we come to verse 10, which is the third sentence in a row that includes the words “heart” and “mouth.” The HEART is what BELIEVES, and the MOUTH is what CONFESSES. We already went over passages that show how inextricably linked the heart and mouth are – they really can’t be separated. For example, in verse 9, Paul isn’t saying that believers only CONFESS the Lord Jesus with their mouths and don’t BELIEVE the Lord Jesus with their hearts and only BELIEVE that God raised Him from the dead with their hearts and don’t CONFESS that God raised Him from the dead with their mouths. That would be ridiculous. In the same way in verse 10, Paul is not saying that BELIEF is unto righteousness and not unto salvation, while CONFESSION is unto salvation and not unto righteousness. This is just a manner of speaking. We shouldn’t get hung up on the notion that one is unto one thing and one is unto another thing; it’s really two ways of saying the same thing. The heart, which is what thinks, contemplates, and understands, and the mouth, which is what shows, evidences, and states, both believe and confess unto righteousness and salvation.
So what does “unto righteousness” mean here? Well, the Greek word for “unto” is a very common preposition that can mean “to,” “into,” “unto,” “towards,” “for,” or “by.” So let’s go over some passages in Scripture where this word, translated “unto” here, is used right next to the word for “righteousness”:
Romans 4: (3) For what does the Scripture say? And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. … (5) But to the [one] not working, but believing on Him justifying the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. … (9) [Is] this blessedness then on the circumcision, or also on the uncircumcision? For we say the faith was counted to Abraham for righteousness. … (22) Because of this, it was also counted to him for righteousness.
Galatians 3: (6) Even as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,
James 2: (23) And the Scripture was fulfilled, saying, And Abraham believed God, and it was counted for righteousness to him; and he was called, Friend of God.
We can see that Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23 say the same thing that Romans 4:3 says, which is quoting from Genesis 15:6. Now it would be nice if the translation would use the same English word there as it does in our text. I think the word “unto” is the English word that makes this phrase the most understandable. “Unto righteousness” is a good phrase. Abraham’s faith was counted UNTO righteousness. It was not counted INSTEAD OF righteousness, as if God accepted Abraham’s faith IN THE PLACE OF perfect righteousness. Abraham’s faith was the MEANS THROUGH WHICH the imputed righteousness of Christ was received. And we who are believers, like Abraham, have believed UNTO righteousness; we have received imputed righteousness through faith. This is what justification by faith means. Abraham did not find acceptance before God by his works, because if he were justified by works, he would have a boast in himself, not in God. Back in Romans 3:27, Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, concludes that salvation based on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ excludes boasting in self. No one who believes the gospel boasts in himself. Since Abraham believed the gospel, it was impossible for Abraham or any other believer to boast in himself. Abraham believed God's promise, and it was counted to him unto righteousness. If one's efforts are what recommend a person to God, then when God rewards someone, it is not according to GRACE but according to DEBT. Grace is giving something that is UNMERITED, NOT WORKED FOR. So if God rewards someone based on what the person does, then this person has WORKED FOR his reward, and God OWES him that reward. That's what all universal atonement advocates believe, whether they say it or not. Since they believe that Christ died for everyone without exception, then they MUST believe that their reward of heaven is based on THEIR OWN EFFORTS, since they DO NOT believe that it is the work of Christ ALONE that makes the difference between heaven and hell. They believe that God OWES them heaven based on what they did. We who are believers have received the imputed righteousness of Christ by belief of the gospel. We believe on Him justifying the ungodly, and this faith is counted to us unto righteousness. Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith is the belief in God's promise of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone, totally apart from the work of the sinner. It is through THIS FAITH and THIS FAITH ALONE that we are justified. Justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. There has been, and there is, no other way. Confession unto salvation is a way of saying it in terms of fruits or results. Confession is a result of our belief, and salvation is a result of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us.
Notice the importance of faith here. We’ve run into so many people who say that it is possible that a saved person does not believe the gospel. Some just go so far as to say that a saved person can be ignorant of the true gospel, while others will go all-out and say that a saved person can believe and/or confess a false gospel. Well, we’ve already seen from Romans 10:1-4 that to be ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel is to be unsaved. And now we see that belief and confession are unto righteousness and salvation. There is no such monster as a saved person – a person who has the imputed righteousness of Christ – who does not have faith. There is no such monster as a saved person who does not believe the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone. There is no such monster as a saved person who believes that any part of his salvation, from regeneration to final glory, is based in any way, to any degree, on his own works and efforts. That eliminates most of what you see in professing Christianity today.
This gets into verse 11:
Romans 10: (11) For the Scripture says, Everyone believing on Him will not be put to shame. (12) For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord of all is rich toward all the ones calling on Him.
Everyone who believes on Jesus Christ will not be put to shame. So what does this say about those who do NOT believe on Jesus Christ? In case you don’t think it implies that such people WILL be put to shame, we have Mark 16:16 that says that all who do not believe will be condemned. Try to wiggle out of that one. Put these two passages together, and you get, “Everyone believing on Him will not be put to shame, and the one not believing will be condemned.” So much for those who say that there will be some who do not believe who will not be condemned. ONLY BELIEVERS OF THE GOSPEL will not be ashamed and will not be condemned.
Now let’s concentrate on the phrase “everyone believing.” What is a famous passage of Scripture that uses this phrase? Well, if you only know the KJV, you might miss this one. The Greek for “everyone believing” is PAS HO pist-YOO-on, which is found in the most well-known and twisted verse in the Bible, John 3:16. The KJV translates the second half of the verse as: “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The more accurate way of translating it is in the LITV, which says, “everyone believing into Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This phrase “everyone believing” is also found in John 3:15, Acts 10:43, Acts 13:39, Romans 1:16, Romans 9:33, and 1 John 5:1. Now we know that the beginning of John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” Who or what is meant by “world”? Most in Christendom would say that it means “everyone without exception.” Thus, God’s love for everyone without exception is manifested in God’s giving His only begotten Son to die for everyone without exception. But that is a deadly twisting of Scripture – and yes, when I say deadly, I mean deadly, unlike many others who toss this term around and make it meaningless because they do not truly mean deadly. When I say deadly, I mean that those who believe this are dead in their sins, unregenerate, haters of God, bringing forth dead works and fruit unto death. Now if you remember, I went into this in my sermon on Romans 9:24-26. In John 3, Jesus was talking to a Pharisee who believed and taught that God loved the Jews only and that the Messiah was going to come for the Jews only. Yet right in the middle of talking about the Messiah being lifted up like the bronze serpent, saying that everyone who looks to Him will live, Jesus Christ defined the “everyone” by using a form of the word KOS-mos, which is translated “world” in English. Nicodemus and the Jews knew exactly what Jesus meant by KOS-mos. They would know that He was saying that God's love was not confined to the Jews only but was also toward the Gentiles. They would have known that Jesus was not talking about every single person without exception. His use of the phrase PAS HO pist-YOO-on absolutely confirmed this. And the next verses in our passage in Romans 10 shows without any doubt whatsoever that Jesus Christ was talking about the world of Jews and Gentiles and not every single person without exception. Look at verses 12 and 13:
Romans 10: (12) For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord of all is rich toward all the ones calling on Him. (13) For everyone, whoever may call on the name of [the] Lord will be saved.
I really want you to notice how this is set up. Verse 11 uses the phrase “Everyone believing.” Verse 12 uses the connector word “For,” which ties it in to what was previously said. Verse 12 gives us an EXPLANATION of who he means when he says, “Everyone believing.” Do you see that? And then verse 13 uses another Old Testament passage to say the same thing as verse 11 in a little bit of a different way.
We can use this to see what Jesus Christ meant when He used the word “world” and the phrase “everyone believing” in John 3:16. So what does verse 12 show us? “Everyone believing” is talking about both Jews and Gentiles. Just to let you know, the word “Greeks” is used here as a synonym for Gentiles - it’s the same thing – it means non-Jews. So Paul is saying that EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES, or as verse 13 says, EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD, no matter if they are Jews or Gentiles, will not be put to shame, as verse 11 says, and will be saved, as verse 13 says. And Jesus Christ was saying in John 3:16 that God so loved the WORLD - not just Jews, but Gentiles, too - that He gave His only begotten Son, that EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES, no matter if they are Jews or Gentiles, will not perish but have everlasting life. There is NO DIFFERENCE both of Jew and of Greek. The SAME LORD is rich toward ALL the ones who call on Him. God is not more rich toward one kind of people over another kind of people. Salvation is not restricted to just a certain people. Acts 10:34 and Romans 2:11 says that God is not a respecter of faces or persons. Galatians 3:28 says that there is no difference between Jew or Greek, slave or freeman, and male or female – all are one in Christ Jesus. Nationality doesn’t make any difference. Gender doesn’t make any difference. Skin color doesn’t make any difference. Status doesn’t make any difference. Former religion doesn’t make any difference. Whatever your upbringing and background, it makes no difference. EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES, EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD, will not be put to shame and will be saved. Those riches that the Lord has for His people are freely bestowed on EVERYONE who believes. Romans 8:32 says, “Truly He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up on behalf of us all, how will He not freely give all things to us with Him?” Romans 9:23 says that God makes known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy that he prepared beforehand for glory. Ephesians 1 says that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies with Christ and that we have redemption through Christ’s blood according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 2:4-7 says that God, being rich in mercy, saved us to demonstrate the exceeding great riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 says that God will fill our every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Titus 3:5-7 says, “not by works in righteousness which we had done, but according to His mercy, He saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ, our Savior; that being justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Psalm 86:5 says that the Lord is good and ready to forgive, and rich in mercy to all who call on Him. Verse 15 says that the Lord is full of pity, gracious, longsuffering, and rich in mercy and truth. The Lord of all is RICH toward ALL the ones calling on Him! It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is. The Lord Jesus Christ promises that EVERYONE who believes into Him will not be ashamed and will not perish, but will be saved and will have everlasting life! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved! Amen.