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Why Romans 10:9-10 Is Not the Plan of Salvation

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You May Not Know It, But Romans 10:9-10 Is NOT the Plan of Salvation

This topic is a very controversial one, and I know that most of you reading this are doing so because you are almost sure that the title of this note depicts heresy. I understand your curiosity, and even welcome it. If Romans 10:9-10 is the foundation of what you have been taught about salvation through Jesus Christ, you may be eager to hear what I propose to the contrary. However, to the surprise of most of you, it is a fact that Trinitarian doctrine is not the only Christian doctrine that exists.

In fact, Trinitarian doctrine is not the original doctrine of the Christian church!

While we could spend this time giving a history lesson about the Roman Catholic Church and how the doctrine of the Trinity (and therefore the Trinitarian salvation and baptismal formulas) did not exist as actual teaching before almost 400 A.D., the simplest way to discover the error in this dominant doctrine is to go to the scriptures themselves, which testify of a more excellent way.

In other words, we’re going to prove that Romans 10:9-10 is not the plan of salvation with the Bible itself.



The Bible is a book that many people believe is “subject to interpretation”, but the fact of the matter is that the Bible interprets itself. That is the only way one could ever know if a Biblical teaching was truly in the vein of what the Bible actually means (as opposed to someone taking one or two verses out of context).

There are two scriptural standards by which the Bible interprets itself:

1) By two or three witnesses let every word be established – (Matt. 18:16, 2Cor. 13:1 – See also Deut. 17:6, 19:15, 1Tim. 5:19, and Heb. 10:28) – This is a Biblical principle used in both the Old and New Testaments to discern between falsehood and truth. In matters of Biblical translation, the Bible is it’s own witness, testifying at least two or three times (often much more) of standards and principles that can truly be called “Biblical”. The Bible supports itself in sound doctrine, and therefore interprets itself.

2) Precept must be upon precept, line upon line (Isa. 28:10) – This is how you are able to prove or disprove even the craftiest of teachings; those that are strung together with two or three scriptures which, when together and out of context, appear to be sound doctrine. If you have two or three witnesses saying one thing and someone else has two or three witnesses that seem to say another, then you begin to build upon the precepts of the Bible, or in other words, you see how the teachings “stack up” in reference to the rest of the Bible.

For example, one could pull a few scriptures together and claim that all saints should be materially wealthy. However, if you stack that teaching up against established Bible truths and principles, that argument will not hold its weight, proving that the foundational scriptures were taken out of context. Common sense would actually tell you that such a teaching cannot practically be true, but a well-rounded understanding of the whole Bible proves it scripturally.


What Romans 10:9-10 Doesn’t Say

There are certain criteria for salvation that are, without controversy, absolute. They are scriptural, cannot be argued, and for the most part, are accepted by almost every Christian denomination. The ironic thing, however, is that Romans 10:9-10 does not fit these widely accepted criteria! Let’s start by reading Romans 10:8-10:

8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Sounds pretty straight forward, and it sounds like it would be the plan of salvation. But it’s not.


First, we know that in order to be saved, one must repent. To repent is not only feel convicted and sorrowful for sinning against God, but to turn away from that sin to God for forgiveness and deliverance.

Matt. 3:2 – And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matt. 9:13 – But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Mark 1:4 – John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Mark 1:15 – And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Luke 13:3 – I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Luke 15:7 – I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luke 24:47 – And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 

Romans 10:9-10 makes no mention at all of repentance. If it were a plan of salvation for sinners, repentance would have to be a part of it, and it is not.

Secondly, Jesus said that in order to be saved (under the New Covenant or New Testament), one has to be baptized:

John 3:5 – Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Mark 16:16 – He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 

Romans 10:9-10 doesn’t even mention baptism! A sinner cannot be saved without baptism. So, the plan of salvation for sinners MUST include baptism. Romans 10:9-10 does not.

NOTE: This is the requirement for salvation to take effect after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The thief on the cross next to Jesus was a Jew and was under the old covenant, so he did not need to be baptized.

Third, we know that God’s children must be filled with his Spirit (also known as the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost):

John 3:5 – Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 14:26 – But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Romans 8:9, 14-17 – 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

The presence of the Holy Spirit is what transforms us and bridges the gap between sinful man and the standards of holiness. We are not able to keep God’s laws except by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, any plan of salvation absolutely must include the Holy Spirit. Romans 10:9-10 does not.

The process of repenting, being baptized, and being filled with the Holy Ghost is what Jesus calls being “born again”:

John 3:3-8 – 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

God’s true Plan of Salvation meets all three of these criteria. We will delve into exactly what the true Biblical Plan of Salvation is momentarily. However, as promised, I will now explain what Romans 10:9-10 really does say, and to whom it is referring.


What Romans 10:9-10 Does Say

Let’s read the passage one more time:

8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 

Again, taken out of context, it sounds like this would be the Plan of Salvation. However, if you read it within the context of the Book of Romans, it becomes obvious that this passage is not even addressed to sinners, much less being a plan of salvation for the unsaved.

Let’s read Romans 10:1-8:

1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

First and foremost, the passage is specifically about Jews who would not accept the doctrine of Christ. They were so convinced that righteousness could only come by the law that they could not understand righteousness by faith. Paul even referenced Deuteronomy 30 for the sake of those Jewish converts at Rome who would understand the comparison. Deuteronomy 30:10-19 says:

10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. 17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: 

In the Old Testament reference, God was talking to his saints about how they could achieve and maintain right standing (or righteousness) with him. At that time, the Law of Moses (The 10 Commandments plus the Mosaic Law) was in effect, and by keeping the Law, Israel would continue to enjoy God’s good graces and his blessings. The allusion was for the sake of those who knew the scriptures, that they might understand that although God’s standards of righteousness had been perfected, their augmentation was not a mystery to the people of God. The Israelites represented the Kingdom of God in the earth in the Old Testament, and now all who are saved by grace, whether Jew or Gentile, represent the Kingdom of God here in the earth. Both times, the passage is directed at people who are ALREADY IN THE KINGDOM, not people who are looking to become a part of the household of God. So, now, although the requirements are different, those who were truly the people of God understand within themselves what God requires without trying to act like someone has to ascend into heaven or descend into the deep to go and retrieve the will of God.

Need more proof? In Romans 1:1-7, Paul opens the letter to the Church at Rome by identifying himself, and then identifying his audience, which was “the called of Jesus Christ”, those who were the “beloved of God, called to be saints.” Romans 6:3-5 acknowledges that the subjects of the letter, those to whom the letter was addressed, had ALREADY BEEN BAPTIZED, and reiterates their status in Romans 6:17-18:

Romans 6:17-18 – 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 

The readers of this epistle had already been baptized and had their sins remitted! So, why would he tell them how to be saved in chapter 10?

Therefore, when we come to Romans 10:9 -10, it is not the Plan of Salvation for sinners, but the requirements for righteousness to those who are ALREADY SAVED! Those who are truly saved are those who believe in the resurrection and it’s power, and who spread the gospel by confessing the Lord Jesus, not PROFESSING. To declare openly or announce is PROFESSION. In order to CONFESS something, you really must be declaring something that others do not know or something that others may not know that you have first hand knowledge of. How can one confess that Jesus is Lord if he is not yet their lord? They don’t know Jesus as Lord yet – they’re not saved! Therefore, they cannot confess it. Furthermore,

1 John 4:15 – Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

2 John 1:7 – For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

To understand that Jesus is the ‘Son of God” is to understand that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh (see 1 Timothy 3:16), and to confess that requires full persuasion and understanding – something that many of the Jews of that day did not have. They knew that the Messiah would come, the Messiah being God on earth, but they did not believe that Jesus Christ was he. The humanity of Jesus Christ was the “Son”, but his spirit was the Spirit of God, making Jesus the “Son of God.” That is a mystery that must be revealed (see 1 Timothy 3:16), and once one understands that mystery, he can confess it in faith.

You can’t just repeat the words “Jesus Christ is the Son of God” and assume that you have God’s Spirit (1 John 4:15). God’s Spirit is not given that way. God Spirit is received by faith (see Luke 11:13), oftentimes by transference in the laying on of hands from a Spirit-filled preacher to one who receives the word of God and believes (see Acts 8:18, 1 Timothy 4:14, Hebrews 6:2). Nowhere in the Bible does anyone receive the Holy Ghost by simply repeating a “sinner’s prayer” and professing that Jesus Christ is Lord. Those who have God’s Spirit are those with the witness within them that Jesus is God manifest in the flesh. These same are those who “confess” Christ.

“But what about verse 10? It says that confession is made unto salvation!”

Confession is part of God’s plan of righteousness for his people. Anyone who is truly saved feels a burden within themselves to confess Christ to the world because the Spirit of God within them seeks to bear witness in the earth. That confession is part of our Christian work, and in order to remain righteous before God, we must do his work. This work is a natural byproduct of our faith (see James 2:14-26). Therefore, the saints’ perpetual work as witnesses, an aspect of holiness (see Hebrews 12:14) keeps them in the will of God, thus making their confession “unto salvation”.

There is more about Romans 10 that can be addressed, and will be addressed in a future work. For now, we at least understand that Romans 10:9-10 is not the Plan of Salvation for the sinner, so we must now search the scriptures to determine what IS the true Plan of Salvation.


A Practical Understanding of the Importance of the Resurrection

If believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not part of the sinner’s road to salvation, what relevance does it have in Romans 10:10? If this passage is truly directed toward people who are already saved, don’t they know that Jesus was raised from the dead? How would continued belief in that event be paramount to the redemption of someone who has already obeyed the plan of salvation?

Why would you need to continually believe in that?

One Comment so far:

  1. […] is indeed true, but it is not intended for sinners for salvation. If you have not already read Why Romans 10:9-10 Is Not the Plan of Salvation, it would be a good place to start. This lesson explains  why that scripture does NOT provide the […]