The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. –Romans 10:1-13
In spite of the fact that we Lutherans understand the central doctrine of Christianity to be that we are saved by faith, through grace, and not through works, somewhere deep down in our gut we still seem to believe it’s works—what we do or don’t do—that saves us.
Yes, it’s important that we follow God’s will, and strive to do good works, and love and serve our neighbor. But these we do because they are the right thing to do, not because they will save us. Nothing we do or don’t do affects our eternal salvation, except for the active, intentional rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord—what Scripture describes as “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” Otherwise, we cling to the love, grace and mercy of God. We have faith that Jesus died and was raised for us and for our salvation.
St. Paul in the above passage reminds us of the truth of the matter: that there are no great, monumental works that must be performed in order to be saved. Rather, Paul says, “confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved.” You don’t have to be a better Christian than everyone else; you don’t have to tithe to the Church or make a contribution of record to be saved. You don’t have to be perfect, or sinless, or even a good person. Most of us would fail at each of those. It is through faith that we are saved; through confessing with our lips that Jesus is Lord, and believing in the heart that God raised Him from the dead. That’s it! No catch, no hook, no jumping through hoops.
Oddly enough, even your Lenten discipline won’t save you! Your Lenten discipline (or lack thereof) is for you—for your own growth and benefit. Whether you can’t quite get into Lent this year or you’re having the most spiritual, disciplined Lent ever, it won’t affect your eternal salvation. And that’s good news, isn’t it?!
Lord God, thank you for your love, grace and mercy. Thank you for your Son who died and was raised that we might be saved; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Taken from Wendel, David, From Ashes to Easter, Ashes Lenten Devotional Booklet, North American Lutheran Church.