CAN WE BELIEVE UNTO SALVATION?

But what saith it?

The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:8‭-‬10 ASV

Some of the modern translations have obscured and altered the meaning of God’s word in this verse.

Many believe that: “For it is believing in the heart that makes a man righteous before God, and it is stating his belief by his own mouth that confirms his salvation.”

This so-called translation changes the meaning of the word of God by making a difference in the FUNCTIONS of faith and of confession, by ascribing to faith the function of making one righteous, and to confession the function of merely confirming what is already a fact.

Any student may observe that this kind of translation is not a translation at all, but it is undeniably an unjustifiable substitution of human opinion for what is written in the word of God.

The preposition “unto” (in the English Revised Version (1885)) is here translated from a Greek word [EIS], which means “for” in the sense of “in order to receive.”

No Greek scholar on earth would deny this. Attention is here called to two other New Testament passages where the same [EIS] is involved:

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many UNTO remission of sins (Matthew 26:28).

Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ UNTO the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38).

Putting the sense of these Scriptures in view together, we have this:

Blood of the covenant (Christ’s blood) (remission of sins repentance and baptism ) [EIS] (remission of sins man believeth ) (righteousness confession is made ) (salvation)

Thus, in the New Testament, faith, repentance, confession and baptism are all categorically said to sustain exactly the SAME relationship to salvation, being “unto” it, meaning that they are all, and all alike, divinely-imposed preconditions required of men, upon the fulfillment of which God gives them justification.

This great truth should have been known even without what is said in Matthew 26:28; but the statement there, in which the blood of Christ is also said to be “UNTO” the remission of sins, makes the understanding of this vital truth almost impossible, for the same word [EIS] in the Greek) “unto” relates the blood of Jesus Christ to remission of sins, in the sense of there being no remission of sins without it.

This in no sense equates the blood of Christ with the primary steps of obedience leading to justification, because the blood of Christ is the causative and enabling factor making it possible for people to be saved, thus not resembling in any way the primary steps of obedience; but IN ONE SENSE, the sense of being absolutely necessary and prior to man’s salvation, the first principles of the gospel (faith, repentance, confession and baptism) are actually placed in the same time sequence leading to salvation as the blood of Christ, all of which, and each of which, are the sine qua non of salvation.

The inexcusable rendition of Phillips, cited above, by its translating [EIS] with two utterly different meanings in the same sentence, indicates the lengths to which advocates of salvation by “faith only” go in their efforts to represent God’s word as teaching their theory.

In the passages before us, faith, repentance, confession and baptism are clearly and emphatically presented as coordinates with identical functions, facts which are made absolutely certain by the manner of these significant pairings in God’s word.

As to the identification of what that function is, which pertains to each of these, that also is unmistakably clear from Matthew 26:28.

When the scriptures state that Christ shed his blood “unto” remission of sins, it would be impossible to construe that as meaning that he did so “because man was already saved”!

Identically with that, people believe, repent, confess and are baptized, not because they are already saved but “in order to” be so.

The significant “pairings” of the preconditions of salvation, mentioned in the above paragraph, are entitled to a little further consideration.

  • Repent ye, and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).
  • He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:16)
  • Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
  • Confess with thy mouth … believe in thy heart thou shalt be saved (Romans 10:10).
  • Repent ye and turn again that your sins may be blotted out (Acts 3:91). (“turn again” is here synonymous with “be baptized”)

It is the grossest error to view any of these pairings of the conditions on which God promises salvation to people as excluding any of the conditions omitted from any one of the pairs.

All of the conditions mentioned in these pairs collectively are absolute requirements laid down in the word of God as being necessary in order to receive salvation.

They are coordinates in every sense of the word.

One passage in Hebrews mentions no less than three of these, all except confession, naming them as coordinates and designating them as the foundation doctrine of Christianity (Hebrews 6:1,2).

In teaching that these are preconditions to be fulfilled prior to salvation, it is the primary justification that is meant.

Upon the individual’s believing, repenting, confessing and being baptized, he is brought through such a response “into Christ,” making him a child of God, whereupon he receives the Holy Spirit in consequence of his being a son (Galatians 4:6).

This is not the final condition either of his sanctification or of his final justification at the last day, for that is also contingent upon his remaining “in Christ,” “quenching not the Spirit,” and being found “in him” at the end of life.

The skill and persistence with which people of marvelous intellectual endowments have tried to shout baptism out of God’s redemptive plan requires and demands the refutation of their contradiction of God’s word.

All of the conversions recorded in Acts of the Apostles make it clear that there was only one way by which people became Christians in that first age.

Without exception, all heard the word of God, all believed in Jesus Christ, all repented of their sins, and though it is not mentioned that all confessed Christ, necessary inference includes it and all were baptized into Christ. That is still the way to become a Christian.

The widely-received, illogical SALVATION-BY-FAITH-ONLY contradiction of the word of God should not be permitted to deceive anyone. As the author of this epistle said, “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

“Confess with the mouth”

The verb suggests that Paul may be using a recognized formula, and this is confirmed by 1 Corinthians 12:3.

The form of the sentence, “If thou shalt confess … and believe … thou shalt be saved,” suggests that the formula may be a baptismal confession.

Therefore, Romans 10:9-10 refer to primary obedience to the gospel of Christ, the big point that Paul was making being that the message of salvation is “nigh” unto people, one which was then (and ever afterwards) being preached to them, and a message which they were already obligated to accept and obey, and which needed not to be any further confirmed (as by Christ’s coming down from heaven, or back from the dead), because it had already been overwhelmingly authenticated.

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