Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Scripture Twisters - Romans 10:8-9

But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
-Romans 10:8-9

I heard a preacher, (who shall remain nameless,) Use this passage to preach the Word of Faith. I'll paraphrase for you;

The word of Faith movement teaches us that if we believe that God will do something for us with all of our heart, we simply must say it, and God will have to do it. This passage would tell us that if we confess and believe, God has to save us. If we apply that idea to everything else in life, then I could ask God for a new Porsche. As long as I truly believe that God will give me that Porsche, he has to. The basic principle is that we are able to force God's hand with our "words of faith."

Let's see what the passage is really telling us.
A few verses earlier, we find Paul talking to us about the Law of Mosses. "Do not say in your heart, Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) "or Who will descend into the deep?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). Romans 10:6-7 I see Paul talking more here about how the Law cannot save us, rather than how we can save ourselves.

Furthermore, we must interpret the unclear with the clear. While this verse may seem to state that we can essentially force God's hand, by believing what we are saying, there are countless other verses which render that claim false. Verses such as John 1:12, John 3:16, Acts 13:39, Romans 1:16, Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 2:8-9 and 1 Peter 1:8-9 tell us that Faith is through Belief and Trust in Jesus Christ. Nothing about confessing with your mouth.

So what is Paul getting at with "Confess with your mouth?" I direct your attention to Luke 6:45 where Jesus tells us, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

I believe the confession with the mouth that Paul speaks of here is as simple as the belief in our hearts overflowing from our mouths. If we believe that Jesus has saved us from the pits of Hell, how could we not talk about it. The sheer excitement of being called "sons of God" should be evident in every word we speak.

Finally, we must consider the broader implications of our interpretation of the passage in question. (This is where I really get irritated with the Word of Faith movement.) If we allow our selves to believe that we can force God's hand by simply speaking what we whole-heartily believe, then we are allowing ourselves power over God. We are making ourselves into little gods. The Bible teaches that God controls everything. (Romans 8:28, Matthew 10:29) It also teaches that "The heart is deceitful above all things." (Jeremiah 17:9) Knowing this, how can we go on believing that God would give us something that is harmful to us, simply because we believe he will. Why would God continually give us what our deceitful hearts want?

No, Salvation is through repentance and faith. God provides for us with intercession from the spirit on our behalf, So that He may provide for us according to his will and not our own. God is Good, we are not. God knows our needs, we do not.