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The Place on Which We Stand

Tom Pennington Romans 10:5-10


It was Archimedes the great Greek mathematician who was the first to explain the physics behind the simplest human machine, the lever. He understood, really the first to fully understand, its almost limitless power. Archimedes said, in those famous words that have been recorded, "Give me a place where I may stand and I will move the world." In other words, he was saying that if he could find a place for his lever's fulcrum outside the world, using the power of a lever he could move the earth itself. In Greek, Archimedes words, "a place where I may stand," are simply pou sto.

Eventually, this idea of pou sto, or the place where I stand, came to be used metaphorically. It came to speak of the ultimate source of authority in any philosophy or religion. The place where you stand, or your pou sto, is that to which you ultimately appeal as your authority. Understand this, that lying back of every claim of truth is a foundational authority, a pou sto, a place where that person stands. It's true of every person here this morning. You have an ultimate place, an ultimate authority, on which you stand this morning, every person without exception.

Let me ask you, what is your pou sto, what is the place you stand? What is the ultimate authority for what you believe? There are many different sources of authority in our society. There's the ever popular naturalism, philosophy which says the ultimate authority is really the cosmos itself as interpreted by its priests, naturalistic scientists. There's empiricism, which argues that the human senses are the foundational authority. There's rationalism, which says it really is human reason.

But frankly, for most people in our culture and in our world it's not quite so neat and tidy. For many people the ultimate authority is not some extant philosophy, but rather it is their own minds. Our world is increasingly filled with people who create their own, sort of, unique designer religion or philosophy. We have designer clothes. We have designer dog breeds. And now we have designer religion. They view all of the available philosophies and religions as a kind of buffet line, and they can go through the line and pick the parts of each one that they like. I'll take a little Christianity here and give me a little bit of that scientific naturalism. Go ahead and throw some eastern mysticism on to the plate as well. And ooh, I like that part of postmodernism that says that truth is relative and morality is relative, so give me some of that too.

To change metaphors, it's a kind of religion like Mr. Potato Head. That's how a huge number of Americans approach what they believe.

Now let me ask you, when you take that approach, and many people do, perhaps you do, when you take that approach, what is the place on which you stand? What is your pou sto, what is your real source of authority? Ultimately, it is either your own reasoning, your own mental powers to determine what's right, or it is the consensus of the community. So the sole basis of your belief system then, is either your own mind or the community's opinion. That's really a frightening thought. Because for those who take that kind of approach, they are basing not only their lives here but their eternity, on themselves, on their own power to know what's right.

What about for us as Christians? As Christians, what is our ultimate source of authority? Now, you might be tempted to say, the Bible. And that's true, but it really doesn't go down far enough. We're still not to our ultimate foundation, to our pou sto. Why do we believe the Bible? The primary reason we as Christians believe the Bible is because of Jesus Christ. We believe the Old Testament because He quoted it often and He affirmed the Old Testament to be the very words of the living God, even those troublesome first few chapters of Genesis. We believe the New Testament because Jesus pre-authenticated it by selecting and granting authority to the men who would write it. He made them His representatives in the world. So then, our ultimate authority is Jesus Christ.

But that raises a question, how do we know that Jesus Christ is the ultimate authority as opposed to other authorities? Why not Buddha or Confucius or Darwin? Well, because of His claims, His remarkable claims to be God. Claims like John 14:6 in which Jesus said, "'I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'" It's a remarkable claim. Everything we believe ultimately goes back to the integrity and credibility of Jesus Christ.

But that raises another question, how do we know that those claims of Jesus Christ to be God, to be the only way to God, to be the truth bearer, how do we know those are true? Because Jesus staked His integrity and His credibility on one great reality. Everything He did and everything He taught, all of His claims, ultimately are based on one event. Our pou sto, the place on which we stand as Christians, is ultimately the reality of the resurrection. Jesus intended for it to be so.

You remember, early in His ministry, in John 2, His first miracle was turning the water into wine at Cana. And then He went down to Jerusalem and He went to the temple, and there in the temple, when He came to the temple, is the first, really, public act in Jerusalem of His ministry. He saw that there were money changers and those abusing the people, turning "God's house," as He called it, "into a house of merchandise." And He goes in and clears the temple. He basically takes over the temple. And those who led the temple said wait a minute, who do you think you are? "By what authority do you do these things and teach these things? Jesus answered, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.'" But He wasn't talking about the temple Herod built. He was talking about, as John said, "the temple of His body." In other words, Jesus staked everything He said and did, His whole authority, on that one event.

If there is a grave, listen to me carefully, if there is a grave in the Middle East with the body of Jesus Christ still in it, then our faith is absolutely worthless. Paul himself said that in 1 Corinthians 15. He said, "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins." And he said, "we are false witnesses of God, because we've said God did this, when in fact He didn't do it." But, if Jesus has been raised then everything He said about Himself and everything He taught about God and about man and about heaven and hell and salvation is to be embraced as the truth of God. That's why the resurrection is so essential and central to the Christian faith.

Now, there are many texts in the New Testament where the apostles make this point that we could turn to this morning, but I want us, in our time together this morning, to turn to Romans 10, Romans 10. The theme of Paul's letter to the Romans is about the righteousness of God, not the inherent righteousness of God's person by which He is personally righteous, but the righteousness that is the right standing before Him that He gives as an act of His grace to believing sinners. That's the theme of this book. As Paul begins chapter 10, he begins by expressing his desire and his prayer that his fellow Jews would come to experience that righteousness, that gift of God.

Now notice where he picks up in verse 5 of Romans 10,

For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. The righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down), or 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" - that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

The theme of those verses is how a sinner can become right with God. Obviously, that's an appropriate topic for every person here this morning, because we all know and are aware, by the promptings of conscience, that we have not done all that we ought to do and we've done many things that we should not have done.

So how can a sinner be right with God? Well, as we will see, at the core of this passage is a statement about the importance of the resurrection. In fact, we could put it like this, the resurrection is absolutely central to anyone ever having a right standing with God.

Now, these six verses that I've read for you unfold in two distinct parts. In verses 5 through 8 we will see the two kinds of righteousness and then in verses 9 and 10, the two conditions of saving faith. The two kinds of righteousness and the two conditions of saving faith.

Let's look first at the two kinds of righteousness. We see this in verses 5 through 8. In these verses, just as throughout this entire book, Paul contrasts two totally different approaches to trying to gain a right standing before God. They are the only two ways that have ever been, as to how to gain a right standing before God. Notice in verse 5, "the righteousness based on law," and in verse 6, "the righteousness based on faith." Now, both of those approaches to a right standing before God are mentioned in the Old Testament. So Paul is going to quote two passages from the Old Testament, specifically from the Pentateuch, in the first five books of the Old Testament.

Let's look at the first way to be right with God, "the righteousness based on law." Here's one way to pursue being right with God. Notice verse 5, "the righteousness based on law." Literally, it's "the righteousness out of law." It's the righteousness the has its source in the law. In other words, this first kind of righteousness is a right standing before God based on my own obedience to God's law. Notice back in verse 3, the Jews were pursuing this and there Paul calls it, "their own righteousness." This is works righteousness. This is, I do something that merits a right standing before God.

Now, notice what Paul says about this in verse 5, "For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness." Paul is here quoting a passage from Leviticus, Leviticus 18:5, and he quotes it because it is a basic principle of all law. If you want to have a right standing before the law-giver on the basis of law, then you have to do what? Keep it all. Paul here is saying that the Jewish people didn't take the law of God seriously enough. It wasn't enough to keep the law of God pretty well. Well, you know, I try to do the best I can, I live the best life I can, and I guess God will just have to be happy with that. The law demanded complete perfect obedience.

In fact, in Deuteronomy 27 God says, "'Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.'" Cursed if you don't do them. James 2, "whoever keeps the whole law," James the apostle says, so if you kept every single commandment but only violated one, "stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." That doesn't mean you broke all the other commands, it means you broke the intent of the law, which is to keep it perfectly. Break it once and you've failed. He goes on to say, "For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not commit murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do commit murder, you've still become a transgressor of the law." You've still broken the law. By the way, Jesus said it's not just about the act of murder, it's about hating somebody in your heart, and it's not just about the act of adultery, it's about lusting in your heart. So He internalizes all of the commands.

So understand then, if you have only once in your life, in thought or deed, either failed to do what God commanded or done what God commanded not to be done, then obedience before God, your obedience, has been shattered. Achieving righteousness by your obedience is utterly impossible and it's impossible for me as well. Paul's already made this point, look back at Romans 3. You can't do it. He has this amazing indictment of all of humanity in verse 10,

"There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands."

Remember, this is God talking about all of us.

"There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside."
"There is none who does good,
There is not even one."

Look down at verse 19,

Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed [here's what the law does, it stops our mouths, we can't argue with God that we've really done okay] and all the world becomes [literally] guilty before God; because by the works of the Law [here's what the law does] no flesh will be justified [or declared right] in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

It couldn't be clearer, trying to achieve a right standing before God on the basis of what we do is utterly impossible because all the law does is show us just how bad we are. So this first kind of righteousness is my own righteousness. It's achieved by my own feeble efforts to obey God. And this kind of righteousness will never make me right with God. That's what Paul wants us to know.

But there's another kind of righteousness, another way to seek to be right with God, and it's diametrically opposed to the first. Look back in Romans 10, Paul calls it "the righteousness based on faith." Verse 6 introduces us to this other kind of righteousness, the other way to be right with God. Look at verse 6, "the righteousness based on faith." Now, in verses 6 through 8, Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 30. And he's going to tell us what this other kind of righteousness has to offer and how we get it. Now notice, he personifies this righteousness and he has it speak. Verse 6, "the righteousness based on the faith speaks," and then he puts the words of Deuteronomy into the mouth of this personified other way of being right with God.

Notice, he says, what the way of faith does not say, verse 6, "the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: 'Do not say in your heart, "who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down), or "Who will decend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).'" Now what's going on here? Understand, here is a person trying to gain righteousness, trying to gain a right standing before God, and he's asking himself, how do I get it? Well, this kind of righteousness that's by faith says, don't misunderstand, don't ask yourself this, don't say, well, to get this gift of a right standing before God, do I need to do something great? Do I need to ascend into heaven? Do I need to descend into the abyss? That is probably a reference to the grave in the Jewish understanding.

Now, in the Old Testament those expressions are proverbial for that which is humanly impossible. Paul is saying, don't ask yourself if you need to do something great or superhuman to gain a right standing before God. He says, you don't have to do either of those things, because Jesus Christ has already done both. Notice the parentheses in both verses 6 and 7. In the incarnation Christ has already come down from heaven, you don't have to ascend into heaven. He's already been there and come down. He brought us the truth about God, about everything. And verse 7, in His death Jesus already descended into the grave and He has come back out of the grave. He's been raised. So don't act like neither of those things has happened. Don't think that you need to go on some odyssey around the cosmos to achieve a right standing before God. Christ has already done everything that needs to be done and all we need to do is respond to what He has done, in faith.

So the righteousness based on faith doesn't demand some impossible superhuman condition of all of us. Instead, this righteousness, this approach to a right standing before God, is very, very accessible. Notice what he says in verse 8, "But what does it say?" What does this kind of righteousness, this approach to right standing before God say, "'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,' that is, the word of faith which we are preaching." To gain a right standing before God doesn't require some great journey through the cosmos, some superhuman effort on our parts. It only involves, are you ready for this, your mouth and your heart. That's all it involves. Verse 8, Paul says, "'The word that is near,'" or accessible, is "the message of faith." It's the message of a right standing before God becomes ours through faith alone. Notice, Paul says, "that's what we're preaching."

So there's this contrast between two different kinds of righteousness. There's the righteousness based on law, that is, living in perfect obedience to God and only if we meet that standard do we gain a right standing before Him. Impossible. And on the other hand is the righteousness based on faith that Paul was preaching.

But what exactly is this message of faith that Paul was preaching? Well in verses 9 and 10 he explains. So we've seen the two kinds of righteousness.

Now, in verses 9 and 10 Paul explains the two conditions of saving faith, the two conditions of saving faith. How do I get that kind of a standing before God by faith alone? What does that look like? How do I get there? There are two conditions and Paul explains them. Notice verse 9 begins with the word that. Paul is about to define or explain exactly how this righteousness that comes from God, as a gift, received by faith, actually becomes ours.

Now, first of all, I want you to notice in verses 9 and 10, that Paul is still talking about how to become right with God. Well, how do I know that? Look at verse 9, "you will be saved." Verse 10, "resulting in righteousness," "resulting in salvation." Now Paul uses those expressions interchangeably because they're essentially talking about the same thing. But what does it mean? What is he offering here in these verses? Well, first of all, consider that expression "being saved." That's an expression we as Christians use a lot, but what does it mean? Well, the word saved simply means, "to be rescued." That's all it means. He's talking about rescue, a spiritual rescue. The question is, from what?

Well, Paul has made that very clear here in this book. It refers to God's rescuing the sinner from the eternal consequences of his sin. Don't take my word for it though, let's see what Paul says. Go back to Romans 1. Right after he introduces his theme in Romans 1, the gospel, the good news, he gets to the bad news. Romans 1:18, here's why you need the gospel he says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." You say, who's he talking about? Well, if you read the rest of this chapter and you end, starting in verse 28, with that list of sins, everybody who commits those sins. Guess what? He's talking about all of us. There isn't a single person in this room that's excluded.

Understand, as hard as it is to say and as hard as it is for us to hear, God's wrath, that's His righteous anger, God is mad, He's angry, with us as sinners, and that anger will ultimately display itself in judgment. His is a sinless wrath. It's not the impetuosity of the moment. It is a righteous anger and wrath, but it will ultimately display itself in judgment. Look at chapter 2 verse 3, "do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?" How often have you and I pointed the finger at someone else for what they're doing? Can you believe she did that? Can you believe he did that? We pick up the newspaper and we read about some atrocity and we say that is just wrong and it makes us angry. Paul says, when we do that, we're reminding ourselves that God has a right to be angry with us as well.

And we will not escape the judgment of God, verse 4, "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience." We say, nothing has happened yet, God must be happy with me, look at my life, look at all I have. He says, oh no, you misunderstood, "are you thinking lightly of the riches of His kindness and His tolerance and His patience, not knowing that the kindness of God is intended to lead you to repentance?" Verse 5, "But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God." Paul says, you may not believe it, you may think the world's going to go on as it always has, but someday, every individual will stand before God, and God will pour out that anger and wrath against our sin. That's what we need to be rescued from. And in fact, Christ does that.

Look over in Romans 5, Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love." Not only does He have wrath toward us, He has love toward us. If you doubt those two can live in the same soul, be a parent.

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, [having been declared right by the death of Christ] we shall be [here's our word] rescued from the wrath of God through Him.

Now, go back to Romans 10. That's what Paul is talking about, he's talking about being rescued from God's wrath against my sin and against your sin, that we desperately need to be rescued from. And then in verse 10 he talks about righteousness, having righteousness. This is that act of His grace by which He declares the guilty sinner to be righteous. Back in chapter 3 he introduces this theme when he says that we're all sinners, we've all fallen short of the glory of God. Then he says, as sinners we can be "justified," that is, declared right before God, "by the gift of His grace through faith, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," to have a right standing before God.

So the question is, how can I be rescued from God's righteous wrath against my sins and how can God declare me to be right with Him when I'm such a sinner? Now, look at Romans 10:9 because Paul tells us, he tells us there are two conditions. Notice, it's an if then statement. If you do these two things, then you will be rescued, you will be spiritually rescued. I want us to look at the second condition first, as Paul himself does in verse 10. The first condition then, to be saved, to receive a right standing before God, is this, verse 9, "believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead." The condition is faith. If you believe then you will be saved.

Now, the Greek word translated belief here simply means to exercise faith or confidence in the word of someone else. In the New Testament the Greek words faith, the noun form, and the verb form, believe, they are the same family of words, each occur some 240 times in the New Testament. This is a key New Testament concept. And in verse 9 Paul says, "you must believe that." It's a very interesting, very important statement, "you must believe that." In other words, true saving faith has content. The intelligent comprehension of truth is essential to true saving faith. We can only believe, truly believe, what we know.

Now, notice the fact that Paul tells us we must believe in order to gain a right understanding with God. Verse 9, "that if you believe that God raised Him from the dead." Here we have the centrality of the of the resurrection in the Christian message. Now, that isn't all the gospel. In fact, if I had time I'd take you to 1 Corinthians 15. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul says, "here's the gospel I received and that I preached to you, it's that Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried," that means He was really dead, it wasn't an apparition, He really died, His body stopped breathing, His heart stopped, His body was dead just like we've experienced in our lives with those we love, "and on the third day He was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures." And then he adds, "and He appeared to many, to Peter, to the twelve, and to many others." It wasn't an apparition. It wasn't an imagination. It was an historical reality. People saw Him. They witnessed Him alive, as many as 500 at one time. That's the gospel Paul preached.

So why, here in Roman 10, does Paul single out the resurrection as the fact that must be believed in order to be saved? Well, you have to understand what Paul has already said about the resurrection in this book. Turn back to Romans 1. Romans 1:4, "who," and he's talking here, if you look back, about His Son, "who was," that is, God's Son, who was born a human being as well, verse 3. Verse 4 says, this Son of God "was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord." In other words, the resurrection validated all of Jesus' claims to be deity.

One other passage you need to see. Look at Romans 4. The end of Romans 4, as Paul is talking about how to be declared just before God, and he uses Abraham as an example, and he ends chapter 4 by saying, it wasn't just about Abraham, verse 24,

but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions ["Delivered over" here talking about His crucifixion. He was crucified for our breaking of the law, our acts of rebellion against the law of God], and He was raised because of our justification.

What does that mean? It means this, when Jesus was raised from the dead the Father put His stamp of approval on all that Jesus claimed to be, Romans 1:4, and all that He accomplished in His death, Romans 4.

So the resurrection then is a crucial part of the message of Christ because in the resurrection it proved Jesus' claims to deity, it validated all of His teaching, and it proved that God had fully accepted His death in the place of the believing sinner. So then when Paul uses here this expression, we must believe in the resurrection, that is shorthand for Jesus' claims to be the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Messiah, for His death as our substitute, for His burial, and for His resurrection. It's really an umbrella statement of all of those things. Notice in verse 9 Paul adds, you must believe these things "in your heart." We would say, with your innermost being, your entire inner being: your mind, your emotions, your will.

So to gain a right standing before God, to be rescued from God's coming wrath against your sin, you must believe in the facts of the gospel message, and those facts are ultimately centered in the resurrection. But listen closely to me, believing those facts alone is not enough. Almost everybody here this morning believes those facts are true, or you wouldn't be here on Resurrection Sunday. Almost everyone in North Texas believes those facts to be true. Why isn't simply believing those facts enough? Because the demons believe those facts to be true. It's not enough. You remember, we're studying through Mark's gospel on Sunday night and sometimes the demons have the clearest profession of faith in Christ. "'Jesus, Son of the Most High God.'" They understood His mission, what His mission was here. They understood that He was going to die for sinners. They understood that there was going to be a resurrection.

So to make sure that we understand that salvation involves more than believing certain facts to be true, Paul adds a second condition. Look at verse 9 again, "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord." Confess literally means, to say the same thing. In this case, to say about Jesus the same thing God says about Jesus. And in this context it means, to declare openly, to acknowledge publicly, that Jesus is Lord.

By the way, this was one of the earliest confessions of the church. You couldn't be baptized in New Testament times, secular writers, church historians rather, tell us that, without confessing Jesus is Lord, it was absolutely necessary. What does it mean? Understand, it's not just mouthing the words, Jesus is Lord. It's not just saying it. Our Lord Himself said, in Luke 6, "'Why do you call me "Lord, Lord" and not do the things which I said?'" Or, in Matthew 7, Jesus said, at the judgement day, "'Many will stand before Me and say, "Lord, Lord" and then I'll say to them, "I never knew you, depart from Me."'" So it's not about just saying the words. In fact, 1 Corinthians 12:3 says, "I make known to you," Paul says, "no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit." So there's a whole lot more going on here than saying the words.

This confession must be a true reflection of the heart based on what you have come to believe about Christ, His person, and His work. But what exactly is the content of this confession, Jesus is Lord? What does that mean? Well, our Lord Himself really explains it for us in John 13. Turn there with me. John 13, it's the night of the Last Supper, the Passover meal. You remember, He washes His disciples' feet to teach them humility and in His comments after that He really explains this term for us. The term Lord in Romans 10 is Kurios. That's the Greek word, kurios. Let me show you how that word is used here, John 13:12. He washed their feet, He gets back at the table, and He says, "'Do you know what I've done to you? You call Me Teacher and Kurios; you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Kurios and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you should do as I did to you.'" You should have this humility.

Now, watch in verse 16 as Jesus defines what a kurios is and what relationship that means we have to Him. "'Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his kurios, nor is the one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.'" Saying "Jesus is Lord" means acknowledging His right to rule you. It's saying, He is my rightful Master, to me Jesus is Master and I am slave. It includes, as the rest of the New Testament makes clear, repenting from sin, trusting in Him alone for salvation, submitting to His will, submitting our will to Him. Jesus is my Master.

Christians were persecuted by the Romans and even put to death, not because they claimed Jesus was God. There were plenty of gods in Rome. It wouldn't bother them to add another god to the Pantheon. It was because they said Jesus is Kurios. It was a testimony of their allegiance. They were saying, Jesus is my sovereign instead of Caesar. In fact, from early church history, the Bishop of Smyrna, a man named Polycarp, who lived from the middle of the first century to the middle of the second century, was commanded, demanded that he publicly confess these words, "Caesar is kurios." He refused and he ended up being executed as a result. Why? Because it was considered treason. You were following a different king. That's what it means. Ultimately every intelligent being in the universe will acknowledge that Jesus is Kurios. Philippians 2 says, "every knee will bow," and "every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Kurios."

American theologian D. A. Carson writes this about that passage, "Every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, but it does not follow that every tongue will confess Jesus Christ is Lord out of happy submission. The text promises that Jesus has the last word, that He's utterly vindicated, that in the end no opposition against Him will stand. There will not be universal salvation. There will be universal confession as to who He is." Listen to what Carson finishes with, "That means that either we repent and confess Him by faith as Lord now, or we will confess Him in shame and terror on the last day, but confess Him we will."

So the two conditions for salvation, if you do this then you will be spiritually rescued. What are those conditions? Confess and believe. But they're really not two separate conditions, they're really two sides of the same coin, because in verse 9, confessing and believing produce salvation, in verse 10 believing produces righteousness, confessing produces salvation. So it's all mixed in together. It's just two sides of the same coin. Truly believing the facts about the gospel and Jesus Christ with your heart means that you will confess Him as Lord.

You say, what does this look like? Let me show you what it looks like. It was on Sunday night of resurrection day that Jesus appeared in a locked room. He showed up to His disciples, 10 of them. Judas was already dead and Thomas wasn't there. A week later, eight days later, on the following Sunday night, Jesus shows up again and this time Thomas is there. Look at John 20. Thomas was unconvinced by the testimony of the others. He wasn't sure that, in fact, the Lord had been raised. He said, "'Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, put my finger in the place of the nails, put my hand in His side, I will not believe.'" Verse 26 of John 20, "After eight days His disciples were again inside and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, 'Peace be with you.' Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach here with your finger, and see my hands; and reach here your hand and put it into my side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.'" What does believing look like? Verse 28, "Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Kurios and my God!'" That's believing. Verse 29, "Jesus said to him, 'Because you have seen Me, have you believed?'" And then for all of us who haven't seen Christ, but have believed in Him, He says, "'Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'"

Jesus Christ isn't standing here this morning, we don't have the chance to see Him and touch Him and see the scars. But He says, "'Blessed are you if not having seen Me, you respond to Me, and to the revelation about Me, just as Thomas did, you respond to Me, my Kurios,'" my master, "'and my God.'"

If you're here this morning and you've believed the facts of the gospel. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He is and was fully man, that He was Israel's Messiah, the long promised one of the Old Testament. If you believe that He died on the cross because of sin, not for His own sin, but to pay the transgression of all of those who would believe, to feel the wrath of God against sins as our substitute. If you believe that He was buried, that He actually died and was put in the grave, and that He was raised again by God on the third day, that He truly came to life. And if you have embraced those facts is true and confessed that Jesus as your Lord, as your Master, if you've said with Thomas, "My Lord and my God!", I have very good news for you. Verse 9 says, if you meet those conditions then you will be spiritually rescued. You don't need to fear when the judgment day comes and you stand before your Creator, the holy righteous God who cannot tolerate a single sin in His presence. You don't have to fear because you will be rescued. As Count Zinzendorf said, "Jesus, thy blood and righteousness, my glory are, my glorious dress, midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head."

If you're here this morning and perhaps you've had some affiliation with Christianity, maybe you have believed the basic facts about Christ, that's why you're here this morning, but you have to admit that you have never honestly come to a place in your own life where you have been willing to bow your knee to Jesus Christ and do what Thomas did and call Him your Master and your God, then you're not in Christ. You haven't met the conditions to be spiritually rescued.

But I have good news for you because the promises here make it clear He will respond to you that way. Look at Romans 10:11, "For the Scripture says, 'Whoever,'" that's you, "'Whoever does believe in Him will not be disappointed.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all," verse 13, "for 'Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be spiritually rescued.'" Today, if you'll meet the conditions, if you will believe in your heart the reality of all that Jesus claimed to be and what He accomplished, and if you will confess Him to be your Lord, your Master, then you will be spiritually rescued and you will have the gift of a right standing with God given to you forever.

Let's pray together. Father thank You for Your word. Thank You for the wonderful promises that are here. Lord, I thank You for those of us who have come to the place in our own lives where, by Your grace and mercy, we have seen Christ and we've seen who He is and we understand what He accomplished for us, and we have confessed Him as Thomas did, "'My Lord and my God!'"

Father, I thank You that You have promised us that we have nothing to fear when we stand before You. That we will be rescued from Your wrath. That You will let us stand before You in the righteousness of another, our Lord Jesus Christ. Comfort and encourage our hearts with those promises.

And Father, I pray for those here this morning who have never met the conditions to receive from You this wonderful gift of a right standing before You, spiritual rescue from Your wrath. Father, I pray that this would be the day when they would embrace the facts of the gospel, the truth of who Jesus is and what He did. And they'll meet the other condition as well and be willing to cry out to Christ, "My Kurios," my Master, "and my God!" Lord, do that for Your own glory and the glory of Your Son, whose glory will be shown when those who crucified Him gather around Your throne. We pray in Jesus' name, amen.