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Author Topic: Orthodox interpretation of Romans 10:9-13  (Read 1816 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ortho_cat
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« on: November 12, 2010, 12:32:38 AM »

"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. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

This is often used as a prooftext for instantaneous salvation that many protestant denominations like to use. I must say that it is one of the most convincing ones i've come across. A straightforward reading here seems simple enough; make a declaration that Jesus is Lord and believe that He was raised from the dead and you will be saved. Indeed, this passage almost seems to imply a declaration of faith by pronouncement. Why is this interpretation incorrect, and how does this passage fit into Orthodox soteriology?
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 12:46:32 AM »

The passage says "shall be saved" and "be saved." These are in the future tense, which to me would indicate that they lead into something, likely baptism. They do not say, "are saved" and "have just been saved." I could walk around saying anything I want, but if I don't do anything about it, what good would it do?
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2010, 12:55:18 AM »

It would be possible to draw up two different lists of Scripture passages, one list contradicting the other. This is why we have sacred tradition, which appropriates and interprets scripture.
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2010, 12:57:29 AM »

You also have to understand this in the context of faith without works being dead. To believe and not act is not true faith, and to confess faith without acting on that faith is to honor God with your lips but have your heart far from Him.
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2010, 04:15:49 PM »

You also have to understand this in the context of faith without works being dead. To believe and not act is not true faith, and to confess faith without acting on that faith is to honor God with your lips but have your heart far from Him.

I suppose I find it difficult though, that such a definitive statement can be made about salvation by Paul (included in the verses I quoted) without including the necessary qualifiers that you mentioned.
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2010, 05:20:17 PM »

I don't think that anyone of the Orthodox faith would argue that faith in Christ is needed and that grace is given by god. These verses are specifically dealing with Israelites and there strict adherence to the laws of Moses and there reliance on works alone. When isolated they can easily be used in a belief system that only encompass faith. Usually when in dialogue with Protestants. What we have to remember is that the epistle was specifically written to the Israelites who cling to a works type of religion. We Orthodox believe that good works are manifest through faith in Christ.
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2010, 06:24:21 PM »

The passage says "shall be saved" and "be saved." These are in the future tense, which to me would indicate that they lead into something, likely baptism. They do not say, "are saved" and "have just been saved." I could walk around saying anything I want, but if I don't do anything about it, what good would it do?

I'm not so sure that I agree with the setup of your argument.  The passage also starts with "if thou shalt", so the whole thought is framed in the future tense.

As far as the OP, I don't see any reason that this passage should be a point of contention for Orthodox and Protestants.  I also don't see how it is any sort of proof for or against instantaneous salvation.  I think "salvation" becomes problematic when it is decided that it is one thing.  Is it instantaneous or is it a long process of theosis?  Perhaps that is an incorrect question to ask.  I think what really needs to be asked is, What does it mean to believe and confess?  I think scripture and Tradition show us that there is more to believing and confessing than the "Believer's Prayer".  Salvation does not exclude that first moment of conversion either.

My 2 cents...
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2010, 07:31:45 PM »

I thought I heard somewhere once that the word used here for "call" in the passage "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." denotes a continuous calling upon God for salvation, not a one time event. Can any greek experts confirm this?

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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2010, 12:04:43 AM »

The important part of the passage is verse 10.  It qualifies verse 9.  Verse 9 appears to imply an instantaneous result of belief and proclamation, but 10 clears it up.  We are saved by believing in our heart because it is with the heart that man "believes unto righteousness."  And we are saved by confessing Christ because it was with the mouth confession is made "unto salvation."  Notice that it is "unto" righteousness and salvation that these things lead.  It's definitely a future result and something that we move toward.

Basically, it is known that doing one thing will lead to another thing naturally.  It's like arriving at our doctrine of icons due to our doctrine of the Incarnation.  We can't have icons without Incarnation.  Once you get the Incarnation right, icons make perfect sense.  Experiencing salvation/theosis is made possible when one proclaims Christ as Lord and believes in his heart.  These are the beginning points, not the destinations.
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2010, 12:33:56 AM »

You also have to understand this in the context of faith without works being dead. To believe and not act is not true faith, and to confess faith without acting on that faith is to honor God with your lips but have your heart far from Him.

I suppose I find it difficult though, that such a definitive statement can be made about salvation by Paul (included in the verses I quoted) without including the necessary qualifiers that you mentioned.

Definitive to the exclusion of everything else written in scripture? Many will say "Lord, Lord" in that day.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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