“..if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” ESV
Many Christians use the above verse as a text for evidential proof that a person is saved and going to heaven when he or she dies.
I DON’T THINK SO.
The text is an affirmation for newer Christians, especially Gentiles, who were divided by grace and law to know that their confession was a confirmation of God’s sovereign grace for the entire world. It was not a ‘bar code’ to be scanned by God for entrance into the Kingdom.
And while the statement is itself true, it does not MAKE one a Christian. It was written by Paul as a challenge to the Jews and Gentiles who depended on the Law for salvation. And in the context of Gentile Christianity Paul is simply declaring that Christ is the END of the Law (10:4) and that anyone who puts their trust in Christ alone can know with certainty that they are reconciled to God.
Salvation is simply trusting to Christ to do for us in his faithfulness to God what we could never do for ourselves. Then we can assuredly know where we stand with God and find much peace and new ways to live with God. But remember, God is blessing the whole creation and pouring out God’s Spirit on all flesh as stated in Acts 2.
This includes all who HAVE YET TO BELIEVE. And it includes the Israelites who to this point have held out from such trust in their stubbornness. (Vs. 21)
Paul will go on in chapter 11 to write that mysterious sentence about all Israel being saved. (11:26-27)
And then there is that wonderful phrase of hopefulness for the whole creation.
“God has bound all people over to disobedience that God may have mercy on them all. (11:32)
The word ‘all’ contained at the beginning is the same ‘all’ at the end of the sentence. Something akin to ‘in Adam all died and in Christ all shall be made alive.’ (See 1Cor. 15:22) From the MSG version we read, “everybody dies in Adam and everybody comes alive in Christ.”
Everyone receives God’s mercy. Blessed are those who know it right now.
Therein lies a taste of Christian Universalism.