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Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “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,
on your lips and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
When I was much younger, I learned about conditional, “if/then” sentences. And the reason they’re called conditional is really simple. When certain conditions are met, as indicated by what comes after the “if”, a certain result will following, as indicated by what follows the “then.” For example, if I’m able to get this devotion written and recorded, then I’ll be happy. In other words, my happiness will be determined by my ability to get the job done. This is what conditional sentences are all about.
And you know, we have one in the passage I just read from Romans: “...if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, [then] you will be saved.” Of course, the condition here involves confession and belief. And the result, well, that’s a recognition of salvation. Put another way, when we recognize that Jesus was telling the trust and when we believe that through him our past has been cleansed and our future secured and when we trust that regardless of how challenging life becomes, God holds our destinies in him loving and merciful hands, then we’ll understand what salvation is all about. We’ll be able to live in the present with peace and face the future with hope. We’ll have a good reason to relax, knowing that regardless of what we’ve done or who we’ve been, God will take care of us. If we trust in Christ, then we’ll also be able to trust in God. And since this condition is based on a decision that everybody can make, this is one “if/then” statement that’s within the reach of all of us.