By Christin Ditchfield Lazo
A Reading from Romans 10:1-13
1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. 3For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. 4For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
5 Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” 6But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say?
“The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Have you ever been asked to write a mission statement or a rule of life? A covenant or affirmation or declaration that articulates guiding principles or core values? These kinds of statements can be beneficial, leading us (or our organization or ministry) to establish our identity, define our priorities, and focus our energies on our true calling or purpose.
But as helpful as these declarations may be, their power is nothing compared to the power of confession — particularly the “confession” of our faith. The Scripture says that if we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus died for us and was raised from the dead, we will be saved — saved from our sin, saved from the powers of darkness, saved for eternal and abundant life in Christ.
Other statements reflect our good intentions, but this confession acknowledges that our good intentions are not enough. Our best efforts — no matter how righteous or inspired — fall short. We need a power greater than ourselves. We need a strong and mighty savior — and we have found one!
This is the good news of the Gospel: that it’s not about the things we have done or left undone. It’s about what God has done on our behalf, by sending his Son. It’s about his passion, what Jesus was willing to suffer and endure for our sakes — the lengths to which he would go to rescue us, redeem us, and restore us — out of his great love for us.
As we read the Scriptures and recite the creeds and bend our knees in prayer, we are holding these things to be true, confessing our faith, declaring our devotion to and dependence on Jesus. Remembering that, ultimately, this is what gives us hope. This is what gives our lives purpose and meaning.
Christin Ditchfield Lazo, Th.M., is a best-selling author, conference speaker, and syndicated radio host, passionate about calling believers to a deeper life of faith.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
Church of St. Mark, Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Diocese of Bakuru (Church of Nigeria)