A reading for the First Sunday in Lent: Romans 10:8b-13
What does it mean to believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead?
This is an important question because it is rather easy for people to “confess with their lips” that Jesus is Lord. I know Paul says otherwise in 1 Corinthians 12:3. He writes there that no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. But I’ve heard too many people lie and seen too many people claim to serve Jesus as Lord but show no signs of it. Lips alone I do not trust.
So I am pondering what it means to believe something in my heart.
Is it different than believing it in my head? Yes, right? The heart is the engine of our life blood. It is what carries life to every cell in our body. It is at the center of our very being. To believe in your heart is to have a faith the penetrates the center of your life.
Indeed, to believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead is to build your life itself on the truth of that statement. The resurrection of Jesus is the oxygen that sustains your cells. Everything you are and do hinges on that claim being true.
When the apostles declared the resurrection, they often declared the resurrection itself was a sign that God had chosen Jesus as judge of all life and that through him could be found forgiveness of sin. To believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead is to believe that one day we will stand before him. It is to believe that in him, we find the cure for what ails us. It is to believe he will destroy death.
John Wesley preached that we could not believe such things as an act of our own will. We cannot tell our heart what to believe any more than we can tell our heart who to love. We can only accept the faith worked in us by the grace of God.
And so, we are invited to rely on the means of grace and to pray earnestly for such a heart faith, so that we might confess with our lips, believe in our hearts, and be saved by the grace of God.