Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


What does “If you confess with your lips Jesus Christ as Lord…” mean? Here Paul defines what a Christian is.
1. Public confession, whether verbal or not is probably not quite the point, that Jesus Christ — Israel’s long-awaited Messiah — is the Lord (and Caesar is not).
2. Belief that this Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, was raised from the dead.
3. Heart stuff and lip stuff: inner and outer. Like the Shema: “heart, soul, mind, and strength.”
4. People who believe are declared the status of “righteousness”: this is a present legal status and a present covenant status, both of which anticipate the final judgment.
5. People who believe have “salvation,” which means rescue from sin and death.
Notice, critics of Wright’s soteriology, that he says salvation is granted to those who have righteousness as their status.
Faith, Wright says, is created by the power at work in the resurrection.

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posted August 30, 2006 at 8:21 am

I take “If you confess with your lips Jesus Christ as Lord” as a reference to a baptismal confession.

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posted August 30, 2006 at 9:20 am

Interesting – especially with the unmistakable emphasis and meaning Paul puts on baptism in Romans 6.

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posted August 30, 2006 at 9:28 am

I’ve heard the argument that this is an allusion to an early baptismal confession (maybe in Cranfield’s commentary?) – I concur this is quite possible.
Personally, I’ve understood the presence of “two conditions” “believe & confess” and the order in which they occur in Rom. 10:9 to be primarily rhetorical in force. They match the order of OT quote in the previous verses from Deut. 30:14 describing the “word of faith” as “in your mouth” and “in your heart”. Because of the parallel to Deut. 30:14 I hedge on making much of “two requirements” to be saved in light of Paul’s use of “belief” as the crucial requirement here and elsewhere (9:30; 10:4, 11 – I think this is exactly what Doug Moo argues in his NICNT commentary).
If the question is concerning what is the “content” of the confession of “Jesus Christ as Lord” I think that kurion here seems to be a synonym for YHWH due to use of Joel 2:32 in 10:13 (see I understand the confession to be primarily that Jesus is God raised from the dead – and affirmation of deity and resurrection.
As for how that “faith” is created… I’m not sure I can articulate the mechanics of it, but I know it’s reality in my life and those who believe (I’m not sure if I can do any better with the “salvation” other than #5 in your list).

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Dana Ames

posted August 30, 2006 at 11:25 am

Wright relates a section of 1Cor to the structure of the Shema, one of the many proto-Trinitarian places in Paul, linking “Jesus” and the Jewish use of “Lord” as YHWH:
Hope you find it interesting.

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Peter Smythe

posted August 30, 2006 at 3:22 pm

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve Louw, but the word confession comes from a root indicating that it is a statement against a present interest.
When Paul recounts his commission in Acts26, he says that Jesus stated that all men are under the authority of Satan. When a person confesses Jesus as his Lord, he is confessing himself out of his present condition (against his present interest or state) and into another kingdom. It’s about identification and recapitulation.

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Scot McKnight

posted August 30, 2006 at 7:01 pm

Rod and Josh,
It is guess work to say it is a “baptismal” formula, but it is a good guess. It represents “entry” as it were — and that’s baptism.
You are right: it is about Deut 30, but these two acts are coalesced into a singular response to the work of God in Jesus Messiah.
Sure you are right about kyrion.
Not heard that: but the whole point is “incorporation into the saving work of Christ.”

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Peter Smythe

posted August 31, 2006 at 11:42 am

As to the question of public confession, there is no instance in the N.T. where there is a silent prayer or even a silent confession. One thing that seems to be missed is why “Lord?” Why not just “Jesus” or why not some baptismal formula?
The answer lies in identification/recapitulation that I mentioned earlier. The unregenerate man is under the authority of Satan. Consequently, when the man confesses Jesus as Lord, he confesses himself out of that realm or jurisdiction. The effect, not the confession, is baptism.

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