by Mike Ratliff
This only would I learne of you, Receiued ye the Spirit by the workes of the Lawe, or by the hearing of faith preached? Are ye so foolish, that after ye haue begun in the Spirit, ye would now be made perfect by the flesh? Haue ye suffered so many things in vaine? If so be it be euen in vaine. He therefore that ministreth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it through the workes of the Law, or by the hearing of faith preached? (Galatians 3:2-5 Geneva)
In our recent discussion of all things “missional,” we did achieve much of what I intended. We did reach a point of clarification, which is the point isn’t it? When it comes to Justification by God of His people, shouldn’t the clutter be removed and the rubbish swept away? All aspects of our salvation should be clarified and those things that are only meant to cause confusion or misdirection (showing those with discernment their true source) should be shown for what they really are and cast aside. Then, with a sharp focus, we must look at the truth, which means we go to the source; i.e. The Word of God not some emergent or missional guru. Therefore, in this post we will look at part of Romans 10, in which the Apostle Paul, showing that God has provided a way to justification in His eyes to both Jews and Gentiles, further nails down from where salvation comes, who possesses it, and how they got it. What could be more important than that?
For Moses thus describeth the righteousnes which is of the Lawe, That the man which doeth these things, shall liue thereby. But the righteousnes which is of faith, speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heauen? (that is to bring Christ from aboue) Or, Who shal descend into the deepe? (that is to bring Christ againe from the dead) But what sayth it? The worde is neere thee, euen in thy mouth, and in thine heart. This is the worde of faith which we preach. For if thou shalt confesse with thy mouth the Lord Iesus, and shalt beleeue in thine heart, that God raised him vp from the dead, thou shalt be saued: For with the heart man beleeueth vnto righteousnes, and with the mouth man confesseth to saluation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoeuer beleeueth in him, shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference betweene the Iewe and the Grecian: for he that is Lorde ouer all, is rich vnto all, that call on him. For whosoeuer shall call vpon the Name of the Lord, shalbe saued. (Romans 10:5-13 Geneva)
5μωυσης γαρ γραφει οτι την δικαιοσυνην την εκ νομου ο ποιησας ανθρωπος ζησεται εν αυτη 6η δε εκ πιστεως δικαιοσυνη ουτως λεγει μη ειπης εν τη καρδια σου τις αναβησεται εις τον ουρανον τουτ εστιν χριστον καταγαγειν 7η τις καταβησεται εις την αβυσσον τουτ εστιν χριστον εκ νεκρων αναγαγειν 8αλλα τι λεγει εγγυς σου το ρημα εστιν εν τω στοματι σου και εν τη καρδια σου τουτ εστιν το ρημα της πιστεως ο κηρυσσομεν 9οτι εαν ομολογησης το ρημα εν τω στοματι σου οτι κυριος ιησους και πιστευσης εν τη καρδια σου οτι ο θεος αυτον ηγειρεν εκ νεκρων σωθηση 10καρδια γαρ πιστευεται εις δικαιοσυνην στοματι δε ομολογειται εις σωτηριαν 11λεγει γαρ η γραφη πας ο πιστευων επ αυτω ου καταισχυνθησεται 12ου γαρ εστιν διαστολη ιουδαιου τε και ελληνος ο γαρ αυτος κυριος παντων πλουτων εις παντας τους επικαλουμενους αυτον 13πας γαρ ος αν επικαλεσηται το ονομα κυριου σωθησεται (Romans 10:5-13 WHNU)
The word translated above as “righteousness,” δικαιοσυνη, pronounced dikaiosunē, speaks of a righteousness that is a fulfillment of God’s claims. Those who possess δικαιοσυνη according to God are so in conformity with His own claims. This is a declaration by Him that one is righteous in His eyes, that is, he justifies them. Paul says that this δικαιοσυνη is of faith, εκ πιστεως. This speaks of the source. For someone to be declared righteous by God, which is their justification, they must possess this πιστεως. πιστεως is a state of faith or belief, which assents to and has confidence in the Gospel. To say that someone can be saved or be declared a Christian without being persuaded by the Gospel is not biblical, therefore, not Christian. Paul gives us a very good summary of this in Ephesians 2:1-10, below. Pay close attention to vv8-9, which is in bold.
And you hath he quickened, that were dead in trespasses and sinnes, Wherein, in times past ye walked, according to the course of this world, and after the prince that ruleth in the aire, euen the spirite, that nowe worketh in the children of disobedience, Among whom we also had our conuersation in time past, in the lustes of our flesh, in fulfilling the will of the flesh, and of the minde, and were by nature the children of wrath, as well as others. But God which is rich in mercie, through his great loue wherewith he loued vs, Euen when we were dead by sinnes, hath quickened vs together in Christ, by whose grace ye are saued, And hath raysed vs vp together, and made vs sit together in the heauenly places in Christ Iesus, That he might shewe in the ages to come the exceeding riches of his grace, through his kindnesse toward vs in Christ Iesus. For by grace are ye saued through faith, and that not of your selues: it is the gift of God, Not of workes, least any man should boast himselfe. For we are his workemanship created in Christ Iesus vnto good workes, which God hath ordeined, that we should walke in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 Geneva)
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 10:8-10, “But what sayth it? The worde is neere thee, euen in thy mouth, and in thine heart. This is the worde of faith which we preach. For if thou shalt confesse with thy mouth the Lord Iesus, and shalt beleeue in thine heart, that God raised him vp from the dead, thou shalt be saued: For with the heart man beleeueth vnto righteousnes, and with the mouth man confesseth to saluation.” The word translated here as “preach,” κηρυσσομεν, speaks of making an announcement as a herald. To preach the message of the Gospel is to announce a message of vital importance. That message is conditional. For if you hear it then should confess, ομολογησης with your mouth, εν τω στοματι, Jesus as your Lord, σου οκυριος ιησους and believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, και πιστευσης εν τη καρδια σου οτι ο θεος αυτον ηγειρεν εκ νεκρων, shall be saved, σωθηση.
There it is. This is how a person demonstrates what God has done within them by the gift of faith. Those with this faith believe a message from God about Jesus Christ and what He has done and that this cost Him His life, but God raised Him from the dead. Those who believe that this propititiation on their behalf is true, surrender to Christ as their Lord, and confess it with their mouths are saved. The word used here that is translated as “shall be saved” is in the grammatical form that literally states, “you shall be delivered.” This is a statement by Paul to us that if we will believe the Gospel then we shall be delivered, “For with the heart man beleeueth vnto righteousnes, and with the mouth man confesseth to saluation” and in Romans 10:13, “For whosoeuer shall call vpon the Name of the Lord, shalbe saued.” Yes, the Gospel message is for everyone to hear, but those who are saved are those who hear it and respond to it by calling upon the name of the Lord as Paul shared in vv8-10.
But how shall they call on him, in whome they haue not beleeued? and how shall they beleeue in him, of whom they haue not heard? and howe shall they heare without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, Howe beautifull are the feete of them which bring glad tidings of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they haue not all obeyed ye Gospel: for Esaias saith, Lord, who hath beleeued our report? Then faith is by hearing, and hearing by the worde of God. (Romans 10:14-17 Geneva)
It is a false claim to be “missional,” but then not verbally preach the Gospel to the lost. The Gospel is the good news that the evangelist heralds. It is a declaration of victory won at the Cross that there is victory over eternal judgment, death, and separation from God because of sin. That victory is for those who hear the Gospel, believe the Gospel, and profess it to all who will hear. The following note is from the 1560 Geneva Bible referring to v17, which is bold above. It says, “That is, by Gods commandment, of whome they are sent that preache the Gospel. It may be also taken for the very preaching it self.” I updated “some” of the spelling. In any case, do you see that the preaching of the Gospel is commanded by God to the Church and that to mute the message or deemphasize it by attempting to simply get people to join a church by ministering to them via good works is NOT the same thing?
The emphasis on being “missional” is often made in such a way so as to insinuate that all they are really doing is removing the Gospel message from cultural constraints. Okay, I can see that, if that is the case, but I have not been part of a church in a long time that operated the way they insinuate is the problem. I have had a lot more experience with fellow church members who were not evangelical in any of their relationships nor do they ever share their faith with anyone. Also, I could give here many examples of being approached by a coworker or friend about a lost friend or relative, but then panic and not allow me to share the Gospel with them when I had the perfect opportunity to do so. It is perplexing to say the least. What am I describing? These are symptoms of being ashamed of the Gospel. This is what professing Christians do when they are more concerned about the temporal than the eternal. The Gospel and evangelism are not high on their priority list for it is embarrassing and inconvenient. You can sure make some enemies in a hurry if you herald the Good News as we are commanded to do.
Now, if there is resistance to this message with a “yeah but” that states that Justification by Faith, the Gospel message, and Salvation are not the real focus of Christianity, but that it is rather on some form of planetary reclamation project, then I have something to say to those of you who believe that. What you are holding to is not of God, but is a product of man’s fallenness in collusion with our enemy, Satan. Therefore, to those of you who believe Brian McLaren when he says that the doctrines I have shared above are “cosmic child abuse,” you have been deceived and are not in a state of grace. You are not in Christ and unless you repent and believe the Gospel, you will spend eternity separated from God in a place referred to by our Lord as “Outer Darkness” and the “Lake of Fire.”
Soli Deo Gloria!