Romans 10:9-13 MKJV Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, one confesses unto salvation. (11) For the Scripture says, “Everyone believing on Him shall not be put to shame.” (12) For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call on Him. (13) For everyone, “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” God will save “all who call on Him” indeed ‘whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved”. God is clearly willing to save anyone who calls on His name! God wants people to be saved and is “not willing that any should perish”.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 MKJV For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, (4) who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9 MKJV The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
There are also many verses that say ‘whoever’ believes is saved, the best known of which is probably John 3:16
John 3:16 MKJV For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Salvation is thus like a narrow road or gateway that whoever enters in is saved. But many miss that gateway!
Matthew 7:13-14 MKJV Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. (14) Because narrow is the gate and constricted is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Romans 10 goes on later to talk about the need for a preacher so that people may hear, and know the way to salvation- that is be able to find a narrow way. The disease called sin has only one cure and that is the cross of Christ and all other remedies are worthless. But the divine remedy works in all cases, even the worst of cases such as Saul the persecutor who became Paul the apostle.
1 Timothy 1:15-16 MKJV Faithful is the Word and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (16) But for this, cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, as a pattern to those being about to believe on Him to life everlasting.
We see that God suffers long with sinners, with what Paul calls “vessels prepared for destruction” in Romans 9, in order that they might repent and become glorious saints of God. God is not willing that any should perish and consigns no one to Hell before the final judgment. The offer of salvation is open as long as anyone lives.
What then does a person have to believe in order to be saved? Romans 10 gives two requirements, the first of which is that they must believe that Jesus Christ is Lord – and be able to “confess” this as the Truth:
Romans 10:9,10 Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, one confesses unto salvation.
1 John 4:15 MKJV Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him and him in God.
To confess the Lord Jesus means to own up to Him, to say that He is your Lord and Savior and that you identify with Him. You own Him as your Lord, your Boss and as the ruler of your life whom you absolutely follow. According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, the Greek word homologeo means to confess, declare openly, to agree with completely, to profess that one is a worshiper of, to praise, to celebrate…
Now to openly declare Christ as Lord in the Roman world meant not to accept Caesar as Lord and brought persecution. And to confess Christ as Lord and not Zeus or Artemis in the Greek world also brought wrath as one was seen and “not pious” as in fact an “atheist” for not honoring the traditional gods. And to confess Jesus Christ as Lord in Israel was to risk the wrath of the Sanhedrin. If we own Christ we must own Him publicly – at home, in the office, at school, even in the military.
The second requirement in Romans 10 is to have a heart belief in Christ’s work on the cross, that is His atoning death and life-giving resurrection. and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead,
you shall be saved. .. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness
My belief in the resurrection, I do not think that Paul meant mere assent to a historical fact. For the guards and the Sanhedrin believed that Jesus actually rose from the dead – but concocted a scheme to say otherwise (Matthew 28:11-15). No, it’s not just belief in the head, mere historical knowledge so to speak, it is the belief in the heart, a deep existential grasping of the cross and resurrection (for if Jesus is to rise, He first must have died for our sins).
We have to treasure the Cross and celebrate the new life brought to us by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. This heart belief in the atoning work of Christ is the first fruit of the renewed mind. Some of the brightest philosophers of Athens scoffed at the resurrection from the dead (Acts 17:32) because it offends the natural mind. To the unregenerate mind, the cross is a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Greeks (1 Corinthians 1:23).
1 Corinthians 1:21-25 MKJV (21) For since, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom did not know God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. (22) For the Jews ask for a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; (23) but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness. (24) But to them, the called-out ones, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. (25) Because the foolish thing of God is wiser than men, and the weak thing of God is stronger than men.
So when someone comes to a heart belief in the cross and resurrection they have come to a knowledge that is not naturally possible, it is a knowledge that only the Holy Spirit can work in your heart. The moment you come to that belief is the moment you have passed through the narrow gate and entered into salvation