But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down)” or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)” (Romans 10:6-7)
Paul is now going to outline several principles of faith. Paul is quoting from the Old Testament where Moses talks about the Law, applying it to the Gospel. He is saying that there is nothing you can do, there is absolutely no work you can accomplish, other than the work that has already been done in the person of Jesus Christ. Why would you want to ascend into heaven to bring Christ down when he has already come? Because of his great love for you, he left heaven’s glory and was made a man. That is the great incarnation of God Almighty. It has already been done. There is no need for you to try to do it. Will you go into the abyss in order to bring him up from the dead? He has already risen. We celebrate that each year on Resurrection Sunday. Jesus Christ came forth from the tomb victorious over death, the grave, and hell itself. He is alive. The work has already been done. That is the point Paul is making here. Then he makes another point.
But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 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 10:8-9)
The principles of faith are extremely simple, yet exceedingly profound. Here are the principles of faith: Quit trying, and start trusting. Isn’t that simple? Sure but how hard they are to apply to our lives on a daily basis.
There is something within us; I don’t know, but maybe we inherited it from the fallen nature of Adam, which makes us want to earn our salvation. We feel that if we could just do enough good works or are good enough in ourselves, that we will somehow be worthy enough to inherit God’s promise of eternal life with Him. Maybe a sense of self-righteousness within us makes us want to do it on our own. That way, when we got to heaven our way, we earned it.
I believe that we all have a desire to have salvation, but we want it our way. If I owe God my life, then I am obligated to give it to him, not just in the life to come, but now! I want to be saved, but I want to do my own thing. I want to be saved, but I want to go my own way. I want to be saved, but I want to outline the terms of that salvation. It is more comfortable for me to work for it. If I can earn it, I won’t feel any real obligation to God. However, if Jesus Christ had to die for me, and I have to surrender to him in order to have eternal life, then I am obligated to give him my life and I can’t outline my own terms, and neither can you.
One of the things that makes the church so anemic today is Christians on membership rolls who are no more committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ than the average person on the street. We have club memberships. Think about it. If you belong to a club you pay dues, attend the meetings, and do some volunteer work once in awhile. Well, some of our churches are no different. What is at stake is the Lordship of Christ. He says, in verse 9, if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” That is the confession: Jesus is Lord. Jesus is my Master. Jesus is my Ruler. Jesus is the One who controls my life. Let me ask you, “Does Jesus control your life?” Be honest with yourself. Can you tell that he is in charge? Do you consult him? And if you do, when he gives you his direction, do you follow him? Do you do what he says to do?
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome