Romans 10:8-10 (ESV)
8 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); 9 because, 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. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Lots of words with much deeper meanings that we describe in their English translations here.
heart – the word kardia – means “inner self, never the literal body part called the “heart,” this is a reference to the areas of the inner self, including: the volition, the mind, the desires, etc., though the facility of the intellect make be slightly more emphasized.” The volition (will), the mind (mind), the desires (emotions) all make up the soul… that battleground between the spirit and the flesh. This is where we store up good treasure OR we store up bad treasure according to Jesus in Luke 6:45.
Luke 6:45 (ESV) 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
It is the same word used in Luke as is used in this Romans passage. The interesting part to me in these passages is that heart (kardia) and mouth (stoma) are both used together in the same sentences. Stoma (the mouth) literally means the fleshly mouth that utters sounds. So, in a way, it could very well represent the flesh. That would mean to me that the condition of my soul is reflected in what comes out of my mouth and my flesh.
Back to the Romans passage…
near – can mean “be close to a place“, but can also mean “be close to a time.” Which changes everything in the context of this verse.
proclaim – means “to proclaim with the goal to persuade, urge, warn to comply”, “to announce publicly”.
word of faith – doctrine, trustworthiness, Christian faith, what can be believed
confesses – According to Strongs (homologeo) – “1 to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent. 2 to concede. 2a not to refuse, to promise. 2b not to deny. 2b1 to confess. 2b2 declare. 2b3 to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of. 3 to profess. 3a to declare openly, speak out freely. 3b to profess one’s self the worshiper of one. 4 to praise, celebrate.“
OK. THAT is a drastically different meaning than to “utter” something. I think we’re too quick to assume someone is a follower of Jesus based on our Western definition of “confess.” I’ve always struggled with this verse because only God can know if a person truly believes in his heart. The heart and someone’s belief is hidden. All we look for is someone to say “Jesus is Lord,” and that’s good enough.
What we need to be looking for now is the NEW definition of “confess.” When someone truly believes and understands the grace Christ afforded them, they cannot help but “confess” Jesus is Lord with praise and celebration and declaring themselves both by word and action to be a worshiper of Christ. This worship comes from adoration and thankfulness, not out of duty or because someone said so. Everything about salvation is about relationship, not religion.
I’ll try to tie it all together. First – His Word is near me- near in location and near in timing. He wants to use me at any place, at any time to proclaim publicly that which is trustworthy, with the goal of persuading and urging others to the Truth. However, there is something that can influence my vocal utterances – my heart (my soul, if you remember our definition). In my heart I can store up good treasure or bad treasure. That is my choice. What I store up, is what will come out.
How can I persuade others of the truth, if I’ve stored up bad treasure?
I can’t just put “enough” good treasure in either. Jesus was very specific in the word “abundance” and it means exactly what it says, “in excess”, “scraps left over”, “overflow”, “plenty.”
So today’s exercise for me is “How do I store up an abundance of good treasure in my soul (mind, will, and emotions)?”