It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? When scripture (Matt 5:37) says, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’, and your ‘no,’ ‘no’…” we’re to understand personal integrity is demanded of everyone who claims Jesus as Lord. It is a most wonderful reality that Jesus Christ, after dying for us on the cross, conquered death and was raised to life.
It seems appropriate then as we reflect on the resurrection of Jesus Christ that we think, too, on some simple truths from scripture. I Corinthians 15:17 tells us, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
Romans 5:6-9 reminds us, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to diebut God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10
There is another verse that carries great weight as we consider the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord found in Romans 10:9-10. While there are Christians who wish to read and interpret this passage as some obligatory, singular confessional event, I think it is important to remember that Jesus, himself, says to us that confession and belief is a daily discipline in Matthew 10:32-33. “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
This isn’t to say that there isn’t a point in time at which we all must confess and believe so that we might receive God’s salvation through Jesus Christ; personal integrity demands that we speak truthfully to our family, friends, and coworkers – in fact, everyone we meet – about our faith in Jesus Christ, daily confessing with our mouth and believing in our hearts. The Gospel message is to be proclaimed in our words, everyday, reflective of the integrity of our confession, and our lives daily surrendered to God.
Written by The Rt. Rev. Derek Jones, Anglican Chaplains Bishop and AFL Board Member