What Must I Do To Be Saved?
We know Jesus as the suffering servant, willing to lay down his life to atone for the sins of people who did not even yet exist. Living a perfectly righteous life, he sacrificed himself for us. So why are some people so angry about Jesus? Why do they resist him and his saving grace? For the same reason that many rejected Jesus in his own day.
Join Brett Clemmer as he unpacks Paul’s argument for Jesus, and look at what it takes to be saved. Hint: it has to do with your heart and your mouth. If you’re not already in a group, invite some other men to watch the video and discuss it together. We will always be stronger together.
Verses referenced in this lesson:
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The Beautiful Mystery of Your Salvation
What Must I Do To Be Saved?
Hey guys. Welcome to the Man in the Mirror Bible study. We’re continuing our series in Romans today, and today, we’re going to talk about, What Must I Do To Be Saved?, so if you have a Bible turn to Romans chapter nine. We’re going to have a long passage today, Romans 9:30 all the way through the end of chapter 10 and at the heart of this passage, sort of a crux of this passage, we’re going to actually find our Big Idea.
The Big Idea today we’re going to take right from verse 13, and verse 13 says this. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” That’s our Big Idea today, and so when Paul quotes this in Romans, in the letter to the Romans, in Romans chapter 10 here, he’s actually quoting Joel, Joel 2:32, but he’s using it here in sort of a special application of what it means to call on the name of the Lord, and so we’re going to unpack why Paul says this and what he means by this phrase, but let’s start up in chapter nine, verse 30.
Now there are, I didn’t even count them, six or eight maybe, Old Testament references in just these 24 verses alone, 24, 25 verses. There are a ton of references to the Old Testament, and if you want to flip around and read them along, you can, but you don’t really need to. They’re pretty much in the passage. We’re going to spend a little time in Deuteronomy, so if you want to put your finger and Deuteronomy 30, you can, but there’s a reason that Paul quotes so much Old Testament, and actually I’d like you to think about that.
TWO WAYS TO STRIVE FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
Why would Paul, if he’s talking to the Gentiles, why would he quote so much Old Testament prophecy and Torah? So our first point then today in our talk on what must I do to be saved is that there are two ways to strive for righteousness, two ways to strive for righteousness, and Paul talks about them, the way the Gentiles seek righteousness and the way the Jews seek righteousness. And starting in verse 30, he says, “What shall we say then? The Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it. That is a righteousness that is by faith. But that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works.”
And so here you can see Paul laying out right from the start of this section that you can attain righteousness by faith, you cannot attain righteousness by works, and then he goes on to talk about Jesus as if it were based on works. They have stumbled,” in verse 32, “they have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, ‘Behold, I’m laying in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. And whoever believes in him will not be put to shame,'” so he’s quoting Isaiah 28:16 here. You might want to write that down, Isaiah 28:16.
Now, why would he say that Jesus is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense? Well, here’s why. Because Jesus is offensive, and Jesus was offensive to the Jews back in the day and Jesus is offensive to people that don’t believe in him today, and for one reason only. What Jesus does is in his perfection and in his grace and he’s willing to stand in our place, Jesus points out our unworthiness before God, and nobody likes to feel unworthy. For the Jews, it was a matter of pride, right? They were the chosen people, the people called out by God saved in the Exodus from Egypt delivered into the promised land.
They were God’s people. Of course we’re worthy, and to show their worthiness, they tried to follow the law, but Jesus shows that you can’t follow the law, and the people knew this. They had a whole complicated series of sacrifices that were basically there to atone for the fact that they weren’t living up to the law, but Jesus comes along and he says, “I’m going to live up to the law for you. The law is no longer important.”
In fact, if you keep reading, “Brothers,” chapter 10, “my heart’s desire and prayer to God is for them,” the Jews, “is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge, for being ignorant of the righteousness of God and seeking to establish their own,” their own righteousness, “they did not submit God’s righteousness,” and again, this is why Jesus is offensive because he required submission to God’s righteousness.
And then listen to this. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” What does that mean, “the end of the law”? Well, it really means two things. One, it means he’s the end of your striving, “But we have faith in Jesus and your striving ends,” but it also means that the idea of completion, that Jesus completes the law on our behalf, and so makes us righteous in God’s eyes. And again, this is why some people will find Jesus to be offensive because they want to do it on their own. They want to stand up on their own two feet and Jesus comes along and says, “You can’t do it, but I’ll do it for you,” and some people just can’t handle that.
So that first section then is two ways to strive for righteousness, by faith like the Gentiles or by trying to live up to the law like the Jews, and that because of Jesus the law has no power anymore. You can’t live up to it anyway, and so even though that’s a stumbling block for people, that’s what Jesus came to do.
WHO IS DISQUALIFIED?
Moving onto the next section then, let’s talk about, well if you have to attain righteousness by faith, who’s disqualified? Is there anybody that’s disqualified? For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on 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 abyss? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead:). But what does it say? The word is near you in your mouth and in your heart. That is the word of faith that we proclaim.”
Now, this seems like kind of a weird interlude here, right? Moses writes about the righteousness that’s based on the law that the person who does the commandments shall live by them, but the righteousness based on faith says, “Don’t say in your heart who will ascend into heaven or who will ascend into the abyss.” What’s that all about? We’ll turn over to Deuteronomy chapter 30, and we can read Moses towards the end of his time leading the nation of Israel.
Deuteronomy 30 verse 11 says, “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it too far off. It is not in heaven that you should say who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us that we may hear it and do it. Neither is it beyond the sea or the abyss that you should say who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us that we may hear it and do it but the word is very near to you. It is in your mouth and in your heart so that you can do it.” And what he’s talking about here, what Paul is doing here is he’s saying, “You know that time that Moses said to the people that belief in God is not something that you have to go find. It’s actually in your heart and in your mouth.”
And so look how Paul turns that then in the next few verses. I’ll start with verse nine, “What does it say? The word is near you in your mouth and in your heart. That is, the word of faith that we proclaim because,” verse nine, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes and is justified and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved. For the scripture, says, everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” That’s Isaiah 28:16.
“For there’s no distinction between Jew and Greek for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him for,” and then our Big Idea, right? “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Again, that’s Joel 2:32 that Paul is quoting here, so Paul is saying that faith is shown by belief in your heart and confessing with your mouth. So what does he mean by that? Well, look at it this way. If you believe something in your head, you can just… It’s just knowledge, right? But if you believe something with your heart, that’s a belief system that you live by. It’s in your heart, right?
Like if I love my wife with all my heart, I live in a way that shows my love for her. I tell her I love her. I provide for her as best I can. I provide emotional strength when she needs it. I provide support and encouragement. I live my life with the belief in my heart I love my wife. That’s a heart belief. Well, if I love God, if I believe in God’s faithfulness to me, then I’m going to live my life as if that’s true and the way that I’m going to do that in this passage is I’m going to confess it with my mouth.
If I really believe that Jesus is Lord, if I really believe that he walked, was born and walked on earth and was crucified for my sake, and God raised him from the dead and he defeated death on my behalf, and I have a salvation because of what Jesus did, if I really believe that in my heart, I can’t keep that to myself. I have to live as if that’s true. I have to tell people about him. When they ask me, “Where does your happiness come from? You’re in such a troubling circumstance. How come you’re able to walk through that?”
I know those things, aren’t easy, but there’s oftentimes when people notice believers in Jesus, when we go through difficult times, there’s a different air about us. Why? Because we know that we’re just at the very, very beginning of our story that goes on for eternity. There’s a hope that comes from that, a peace that comes from that, now a strength that comes from that, and we’re not perfect. We still stumble, and we still get frustrated, but people notice a difference in the way a believer lives his life if he’s living a life of faith, if he believes in his heart and he confesses with his mouth.
Now, if you… What if you confess with your mouth, but you don’t actually believe in your heart, and there are people like that, I think. And I think when you look and you see some of these people who are talented writers or talented speakers, and then one day they just sort of walk away from their faith, I got to wonder, did they really believe it in their heart or was it just something that they were good at? It was head knowledge. They were able to communicate it effectively. They were able to make logical arguments from the Bible. They knew a lot of verses and they spoke well.
But when, at the end of the day, when their faith was really tested, there was no heart faith. There was just a lot of head knowledge, and so who is disqualified? The person who does not believe in his heart and live in such a way, confess with your mouth, that Jesus is Lord, those are the people that are disqualified. Everybody else is qualified, and Paul says, “There’s no difference,” verse 12, “There’s no difference between Jew and Greek. For the same Lord is the Lord of all, bestowing riches on all who,” what? “Who call on him.”
And so once again, that brings us to our Big Idea, verse 13, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Who is disqualified? Well, we’re all disqualified until we call on the name of the Lord, until we confess with our mouth and believe with our hearts that Jesus is Lord, and then we’re qualified. We’re qualified forever.
So then let’s look at the last part of this passage and this contains a couple of warnings for us.
Verse 14. “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” So Paul is saying, “Look, people aren’t just going to out of thin air find out about Jesus. We have to send people to preach the word so that people can hear it and then believe it,” and so he’s making a little, this is like a little missions moment here for the people. We’ve got to keep sending the people that are preaching the word, he says in verse 16. I’m sorry, in verse 15, “As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news?”
And so Paul is just reminding us that we have to send people, that we have to speak the good news. That’s the first warning, that people can’t hear the good news unless we send it, we send people to tell them or we go ourselves to tell them, but they need to be told. And then the second warning is this. Verse 16, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?'” This is Isaiah 53:1, “So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ, but I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have.”
Now “they” in this case, this is now the Jews that he’s talking about. “Their voice has gone out to all the earth and their words to the ends of the earth.” This is Psalm 19 verse four, “But I ask, did Israel not understand? Well, first Moses says, ‘I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation. With a foolish nation I will make you angry.'” This is Deuteronomy 32:21, and what he’s saying is this is Israel’s pride in being the nation of God, the nation of Israel.
God, through Moses is saying, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation.” In other words, the Gentiles who are now learning about Jesus and coming to faith in Jesus, that there are Jewish Christians even that are jealous of them, and Paul’s saying, “This is exactly like scripture said it would be.” And then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me. I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me,” and so what he’s saying is when we send people out, we’re sending them to people who may not even realize that they need Jesus, who haven’t even asked for Jesus.
By our sending them out, they hear the word and they come to belief, and then the very next verse in Isaiah 65, verse two, Paul quotes at the end of the chapter here, he says, “But of Israel, he says, ‘All day long, I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.'” So this warning here is that there is no religious elite. There is no group of people who are more deserving of the gospel than others. The Jews thought that they were the ones that the Messiah was for, and Paul is telling the Gentiles, “No,” and the Jews that may be reading this, “No, the Messiah is for everyone. The Messiah is for everyone,” which brings us again back to our Big Idea. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Everyone. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, and that is our Big Idea.
So I asked you at the beginning, why do you think Paul keeps quoting the Old Testament? And here’s what I think Paul is trying to say. He’s trying to say to the Gentiles, “From the very beginning, you were part of the plan,” and the Jews would say that the Torah and the writings and the prophecies, they were just theirs, and Paul is saying, “No, no, no, no. You, Gentile believers, you were part of the plan from the very beginning.” What great news for us. We have always been a part of the plan. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Our job, believe in our hearts and confess with our mouth. Go out and preach the gospel. Live it out in front of people. Tell them about your faith. Help other people go and tell people about Jesus. That’s our job as men today. Let’s pray.
Well, father, thank you for Paul’s words in Romans. We’re diving deep Lord, but we know there’s even more than we can possibly get to, so would you continue to illuminate our hearts as we read the book of Romans, as we learn about you and about the gospel of grace, about righteousness that comes from faith not from works. Lord, help us to believe that in our hearts, Lord, and tell the people around us about you so that they can believe in you, too.
Father, we know that you can be a stumbling block for people who don’t like to feel unworthy. Help us to be gentle and kind in the way that we communicate the gospel, Lord, so that people can recover from their stumbling, they can get over their own need to feel worthy Lord and instead find their worthiness in you. Thank you, Jesus, for saving us, for saving all of us who call on your name. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.