About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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Which Jesus Saves Us?


Romans 10:9 says, "if you confess with your mouth that 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."  This is an often quoted verse, but is it well understood?


Back in the Jesus Movement of the late 1960's and early 1970's we did a lot of street witnessing to hippies, and "wanna-be-hippies".  Some of our witnessing was powerful, and some was a bit flakey.  An example of flakey witnessing is, "hey, man, try Jesus. You can't lose.  Believe He's Lord, and you'll be saved."  The Lord did use us at times despite our ignorance, but He doesn't want us to remain ignorant of Biblical  truth.    


When studying Biblical passages, we need to ask, "what is the author saying, and how did his readers understand what he is saying?"  We don't ask, "what do I think the passage means?"  So concerning Romans 10:9 we ask, "what is Paul saying?"  We can't superimpose our thoughts over his thoughts which were formed from his education, culture, and of course, divine revelation.   


For the most part, the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the language of the Jews.  Paul was a Jew.  Paul was also a Roman and spoke fluent Greek, which is the language of the New Testament.  Decades before Paul was born, the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew into Greek.  This translation is called the "Septuagint".  Paul would have studied from both the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek Septuagint.  This bit of  information is important in understanding Romans 10:9. 


I'll address four words from Romans 10:9. They are, "Jesus, Lord, confess, and believe."  If you understand these words, you'll understand what Paul is saying, and what salvation is all about.


The English name "Jesus" is translated from the Greek name "Iesous", which is a transliteration of the Hebrew name "Jashweuh", or, "Joshua" in English.  "Jesus" means, "Yahweh (God) is our salvation or deliverer." 

This is important because it was God who named Him. (Matthew 1:21)  It's also important because it tells us who Jesus is.


"Yahweh" is the name God wanted Israel to know Him by. (Exodus  3:14)  "Yahweh" means "I AM".  Simply put, "God is".  So, when God named His son Jesus, He was saying that "Jesus is God, and He will save people."              


The word "Lord" in Romans 10:9 is translated from the Greek word "kurios".  '"Kurios" means, "lord or master", and was used in ordinary conversation for any human lord or master.


Now to the reason why I mentioned the Septuagint.  The name "Yahweh" is translated as "kurios" in the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament.  The Septuagint translators understood the name "Yahweh" to mean the same as the  word "Lord".  Therefore, when Paul used the Greek word "kurios", or "Lord" in English, in Romans 10:9 and elsewhere, he would have understood the "Lord" to be "Yahweh", or, "God".  His study of both the Septuagint and the Hebrew Old Testament would have formed his thinking on these words.  This is why I said it's important to understand where Paul came from in order to understand what he is saying. 


By virtue of the fact that the name Jesus means "Yahweh is salvation", and the word "Lord" is associated with "Yahweh", Paul understood Jesus to be the manifestation of God in human flesh.  This is who Jesus is.  It is this Jesus alone who saves us.  


In today's ecclesiastical circles, the race is on to redefine Jesus to be someone other than who Paul states here.  Any redefined Jesus can't save you, because he is a myth, a fabrication of a humanistic mind.  He's not real.


All this is important.  When we share Jesus with others, we must make it clear which Jesus we're talking about.  We must clearly state that "Jesus was, and still is God," even though people might not fully comprehend this.  This is fundamental to salvation because only this Jesus will save those to whom we speak.  If we simply present Jesus as a man in history, we've misled those to whom we speak, and fail to teach the gospel.  It's amazing to me how often we preach the wrong Jesus.    


Now to the word "confess".  Confess is translated from the Greek word "homologio", which means, "to speak the same thing."  The idea here is that we must "speak the same thing" that God would speak, and in this particular verse, the thing we must confess is that Jesus is Lord, or, Jesus is God.    


The word "believe" is translated from the Greek word "pisteuo", which means, to be persuaded and convinced of, resulting in trust."  "Pisteuo", or, "to believe", as it relates to Jesus means that we  have a "trusting relationship with Him because we are convinced that He is God.  Believing isn't just acknowledging the existence of Jesus, although that is a first step.  Believing is trusting your life to Him because once you  understand who He is, you have no other logical choice than to trust Him with your life.       


The words, "Jesus, Lord, confess, and believe", state the gospel message.  We confess with our mouths, and we trust in our hearts that Jesus is God and that He has risen from death to save us.  Only this Jesus can rescue us from the penalty of our sin.  No other redefined Jesus can save anyone.  We must have no other conviction.  There is only one Jesus.  He is God.  He now rules in a place of  supreme authority over all there is. 


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