Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Please forgive the fact that I’m going to talk like a seminary professor for a bit. We’ll get to the conclusion quickly. Romans 10:9 explains the quotation in the second portion of verse 8, from Deuteronomy 30:14. The word is near you. What word is that? The specific word of the Gospel proclaimed by the apostles and others. Then we have verse 9, which is typically not translated very well. Why is it not translated very well? I can’t assign a motive to the translators. Granted, the word translated as “if” may well mean “if.” But in the construction used here, it means something rather closer to “since.” The conclusion, “you will be saved” is predicated on a reality, not a possibility. Idiomatic Greek would have used a different “if” to show the possibility.
Why does this matter? The passage is used often to persuade people that they need to make a decision to believe Jesus. It is also used to cause people to question whether their decision was good enough. It is used to plant doubt in troubled consciences. I hope that was not the intention of the many translators who have maintained the “if”, but I cannot speculate fairly. I do know, based on the grammatical structure, that it was not the apostle’s intention. He wrote this as assurance. “You believe Jesus? God’s Word is near you, in your heart, and in the last day you can have confidence that you will be saved.” Jesus is the Lord of salvation, for all who believe on him, Jews and Greeks alike. He pours out his riches of salvation. He delivers the one who trusts on him safely to his final destination as an heir of all heaven’s blessings in Christ.
This word of Gospel, that Jesus lived a perfect life on your behalf, that he died in your place, that he was raised from the dead bodily to foreshadow your bodily resurrection, that he ascended to heaven to prepare a place for you, that word of Gospel is all yours, since you have believed. How well do you have to believe? That’s a matter of no consequence. How well did Jesus purchase your salvation? He has done it. And if, as the Romans who received this letter could, you can say that it is your confession, even if you think your faith is feeble, since you have believed, you will be saved. Take courage and enjoy the Word of God near you, in your heart.
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