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. — Romans 10:9
This verse is often quoted and is a very powerful and true one. Our belief and faith in Christ Jesus,the Son of God, dying for our sins does indeed lead to our salvation. That belief then manifests itself in our changed lives and renewed minds in Christ. Salvation leads to our worlds being turned upside down because we are no longer the same person. Former behaviors, attitudes, habits and thoughts are replaced by Biblical ones as we keep growing.
This can be a challenge. It may mean not having the same social schedule. Or devoting more time to reading the Bible and prayer. Friends you associate with may not be happy with your new-found faith. It could be no longer saying bad words or being nice to people who you have been angry with for years. Are we going to be able to deal with this? Can we get through
And when our belief grows that way, we can show it no matter what! Why? Because God will give us the faith to overcome. In the above Bible verse, Paul was writing a church in Rome that was under heavy persecution. Converting to Christianity was not about losing friends or social standing, it was a matter of life and death. Just being identified as a Christian in the first century Roman Empire was punishable by death. Underground churches, the passage of scripture in secret and other covert practices were commonplace. The believers in Rome were in need of reassurance because they were under potential attacks every day. Below is an example from a book on the early church.
It specifically addressed the sufferings they experienced, and recounted the martyrdoms of Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp, two early church fathers. It demonstrates what Romans 10:9 meant in the lives of these two early Christians, and what the verse still means today.
Ignatius (A.D. 67-110) was ordered by the emperor to be arrested and was sentenced to be thrown to the wild beasts in Rome. He longed for the honor of giving his life for his Savior, saying, “May the wild bests be eager to rush upon me. If they be unwilling, I will compel them. Come, crowds of wild beats; come, tearing and manglings, wracking of bones and hacking of limbs; come cruel tortures of the devil; only let me attain unto Christ.”
Polycarp – The Bishop of Smyrna
Polycarp was the last one of those who had been personally taught by the Apostles of Jesus Christ. He was arrested and brought into the amphitheater in Smyrna, which was filled with cheering Romans looking forward to more “torture entertainment” that was a coliseum staple. Since there were no images of gods in the house of worship of the Christians, the heathen rightly concluded that the Christians did not in believe in the existence of their gods, and so they accused them of being atheists. The proconsul reminded Polycarp of his advanced age, and urged the elderly Christian to show his regret for his faith by joining in the cry, “Away with the atheists!” Polycarp looked straight at the excited crowd, pointed his finger at them, and cried, “Away with the atheists!”:
The proconsul tried once more to get Polycarp an escape from his death sentence, this time by urging him to deny Jesus and show hatred for him. “Revile Christ and I will release you.” But Polycarp answered, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He has never done me wrong, how can I blaspheme Him, my King, who has saved me?” To the crowd the proconsul then proclaimed, “Polycarp has confessed himself to be a Christian.” The crowds yelled, “Let him be burned!”
Wood was collected and made into a pile. Polycarp asked not to be fastened to the stake. “Leave me thus,” he said, “He who strengthens me to endure the flames will also enable me to stand firm at the stake without being fastened with nails.” The woodpile was lighted. While Polycarp prayed with a loud voice, “Lord God Almighty, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I praise Thee that Thou hast judged me worthy of this day and of this hour, to participate in the number of Thy witnesses, and in the cup of Thy Christ,” the flames consumed him. Polycarp’s martyr death took place in the year 156 A.D. –From “The Church In History” by B.K. Kuiper
To the proconsul and the cheering crowd, Polycarp appeared to be “lost.” After all, he had a chance to have his life spared and chose to keep on to his faith and die. But the wise Christian understood that the biggest battle of his life had already been fought and won — Jesus Christ won victory for all believers when died on the cross. So whatever obstacle or threat a Christian faced on Earth, could do nothing to ever change the guarantee of eternal life that Jesus won for all who put their faith in him. Now while most Christians today thankfully are not facing this level of persecution, we can know that for the trials and tribulation we do face in our own lives, whether we are victorious or end up suffering, we are assured in our salvation if we believe.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33