Romans 10:10: Heart Faith


As a young Christian my friend and I were always willing to learn from what we considered to be any zealous, consistent and effective Christian. One early example was a man called Don Leonard, we called him Oom Don. He was a converted actor and alcoholic who was turned into a raging evangelist. He was the boldest man I have ever met. He would drive a car around that said, ‘TURN OR BURN’, and ‘Hell has no fire escape.’ He would walk through the streets of Randburg preaching loudly in the shopping malls and squares. However, he was not very theologically accurate. One day he stood to give a testimony. He told us that he pulled up to a traffic light and his window was open, another car with an open window pulled alongside, he shouted to the man in the car, ‘Say Jesus is Lord.’ The man did so, the traffic light turned green, and Oom Don’s assessment was, ‘saved.’

Confusion about the true nature of saving faith is pervasive today. Although the example I have shared with you is an extreme one it is not very different from the modern trend to rush someone forward in an altar call or to rush someone through sinner’s prayer not recognizing the nature of true faith. How many people go to church because they have an urgent need. Many go to church but not for the right reasons. They do not go to church thinking, I am a sinner under the judgement of God and I need a saviour to do for me what I cannot do for myself. No, most people go to church because they are depressed, they are in a crisis, they have suffered a humiliating blow in a failed relationship or the loss of a successful business. They know they are unhappy and in their desperation they are willing to look for help, but they will not be able to articulate the help they need. So when someone gets up at the front and presents a Jesus who will remove all of our troubles, who will make us successful, remove our loneliness or the other common afflictions we face, there are many who thinking they will get some help go forward without actually understanding the gospel. Many of these people are not saved, even though they are taken through a sinner’s prayer, and they will fall away and be added to the statistics of failed Christianity.

The words of Paul in Romans 10 are the remedy we need to define biblical saving faith. Last time we looked at the content of saving faith, that it believes something, that Jesus is Lord, and that God raised Him from the dead. And we also contrasted faith with law and showed the two ways of salvation, by confidence in my works-law; or confidence in Christ’s works-faith. Today we want to look at 10:10 and see how Paul views faith as being something from the heart. ‘For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.’