That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
When folks quote this verse in defense of eking out a confession, or should I say manipulating someone into repeating a prayer, it makes me uncomfortable. It always has. I’ll admit, I use to practice this all too common method myself. But, when I think that I might have played a role in a convincing someone of their salvation when in fact they very well might not have been saved, it pains me. Yes, actual and heartfelt pain.
You see, the passage doesn’t say that “once you have confessed Jesus is Lord with your mouth, you are saved.” People only think and act like it says that.
It actually says something more akin to this:
If you continue confessing with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” and continue believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will, in the future, be saved.
The point is this. Had Paul wanted to say that a singular confession or utterance saved you in the moment you spoke it, he would have used different verb forms of the words “confess” and “believe.”
What are the implications?