Q: “I have a question about Romans10:9, which states that we must confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus. Can this be a ‘one time’ confession when one receives Christ, or is it something that becomes part of a Christian’s lifestyle? I’m asking because a loved one of mine once said she believed the Gospel and was saved, but I have never heard her profess the name of Jesus to anybody she knows, and none of her friends are Christians. Some Christians say that their relationship with God is “personal and private” so they never profess the Lord Jesus with their mouth. Are such people truly saved? Thank you.”
A: Salvation is a matter of the heart and only the Lord knows what is in the heart of a person. There have been secret followers of Christ such as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, but Jesus’ crucifixion brought them out of the closet, at which time they became identified with Him (John 19:38-40). The biggest reason for people being secret believers is fear, which is opposite of faith.
Fear has a tendency of making us feel embarrassed, nervous, and even ashamed of those who dare to be bold enough to stand and speak about their faith in front of us. The problem with many secret believers becomes obvious when Scripture reminds us that what is not of faith is sin and those who live in fear will not make it into the kingdom of God (Romans 14:23; Revelation 21:8). In some cases, these individuals have not been properly trained in what it means to confess that Jesus is Lord
When it comes to the matter of confessing Jesus is Lord, the Bible is clear that if you do not confess Him to others, He will not confess you before the Father. We are told that such a confession is what will bring honor to the Father, and if we do not do it here, we will do it on that great day of judgment when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father. (Matthew 10:32-33; Philippians 2:9-11).
Confession is the way of acknowledging you have entered into a relationship with God. This relationship is founded on a contractual (covenant) agreement, secured with the blood of Jesus and sealed by the Spirit. This seal identifies us as officially being part of His kingdom, His household, His work, and His inheritance. It is important to note that children born in the days of the Apostle Paul were born with the status of slaves. For a son to become an heir, he had to first be taken to the court and be officially adopted in order to be recognized as an heir (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:1-7).
On the cross of Christ, the Lord has made His intention known to adopt each of us as His heirs, but it is now our turn to step into the public arena and acknowledge that the Lord Jesus has purchased us. He is now our owner, overseer over our life and we are now joint heirs with Him in His kingdom.
Confessing that Jesus is Lord is a declaration of whose household we now belong to. It is a point of identification, where we are identifying with a certain master, teacher, and leader. The significance of this identification points to position and authority. We are official representatives of the Lord’s household and when we are doing His business, we do so with His authority.
Is such confession a one-time event? Let me put it this way. Water baptism is the first step of publicly identifying with our new status, but sharing our testimony is the second means to confess who Jesus is to us and must become to others. Although being born-again is a one-time event, we need to establish the new life in us by walking it out in faith and obedience, which is ongoing. The second means in which we become identified to His glorious kingdom is by sharing our testimony and imparting the life of Jesus to others. Preaching and making disciples of Jesus is our two-fold commission and remains our main calling until our departure from this world.