This past weekend I attended my 40 year high school class reunion, joined by 3 dozen former classmates. We had a great time hanging out, reminiscing and catching up. But there was one brief element that was difficult. I was given the dreadful honor of leading a brief memorial for classmates who have passed away. It was a solemn and emotional time as I read off the names of our dearly departed friends and neighbors. Some in that moment were reminded of family members and other loved ones who have recently passed away. And in the days since that moment I have been haunted by the sense that life is fleeting. One of my classmates in her remarks noted, “time is long…until its not.” With this, our co-valedictorian encouraged us to take advantage of every moment. We all felt it. We went on the rest of the night enjoying fellowship and as the dinner wound down there were heart-felt promises to keep up with each other.
But my mind has turned to more than just redeeming the time we have left. I am reminded of Peter’s words written in his letter to Christians in the first century in which he said, “be diligent to make certain about His (God’s) calling and choosing you…” (2 Peter 1:10a) He is encouraging believers to make sure that they have indeed secured eternal life in God’s eyes. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I think this is too important not to mention. Just this past week 2 more men that I knew personally have died. I don’t even want to count the number of people who have passed on in the last couple of years – it has been a lot. In light of that I want to help anyone and everyone reading this to consider what the Bible says about salvation.
Romans 10:9-10 is an often repeated Scripture that is used to invite people to accept Christ and walk them through how to do that. It says, “9 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; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” This passage reveals that there are 2 elements or steps to becoming a Christian. Verse 9 tells us what to do and Verse 10 tells us why. In verse 10, Paul says with the heart a person believes (that Jesus was raised from the dead) and that results in righteousness. Righteousness puts in position to be saved. It goes on to explain that with the mouth a person confesses (that Jesus is Lord) which results in salvation. It’s important to note that the confession is not merely making a statement. A confession is stating the truth. And the truth that we must confess is that Jesus is Lord. Since we accept this truth – that Jesus is Lord – it means that we submit to Him. This is why we also talk about being a Christian as “following Christ”, “accepting Him into our heart”, and “giving our life to the Lord”.
Being diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you, as Peter recommends, can be done by considering both of these elements.
- Do I believe the gospel of Jesus Christ – that He is the Son of God, He came to earth and gave his earthly life to pay the penalty for our sins, rose from the grave 3 days later, and has ascended into heaven where he resides today, waiting for the proper time to come back for us?
- And do I accept the truth that Jesus is Lord and therefore submit my life to Him and try as best I can to understand and live according to His Word – the Holy Bible?