Let’s read Romans 10:9-10, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Before we consider your specific question, it is important to see how the HEART and the MOUTH are linked together in our confession of the Lord Jesus. In verse 10 we learn that one must first BELIEVE that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead. This means that one acknowledges, in his whole being (which is what the “heart” stands for), that Jesus Christ is no mere man; He is the Lord of glory. The Apostle John confessed this in John 1:14, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” It also means one believes that Jesus Christ was put to death on the cross as a sacrifice for sin (John 1:29 and Hebrews 9:26) and that God raised Him from the dead to show that He was satisfied with His finished work on the cross, a work which allows God to justify the believing sinner. Romans 4:25 speaks to this: “Who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” The moment God sees this faith in the heart of a believing sinner He JUSTIFIES him; that is, He counts him as RIGHTEOUS. This is borne out clearly in Romans 3:25-26, “Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith…to demonstrate at the present time His RIGHTEOUSNESS, that He might be JUST and the JUSTIFIER of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

If one has truly believed this, HE WILL CONFESS THE LORD JESUS BEFORE OTHERS! We aren’t told WHO he will confess the Lord Jesus to, but I believe it could be ANYONE that we are given the opportunity to speak to about our faith in Christ. It could be in a “church setting” or it could be in a private conversation with “one or more persons.” The important thing is that FAITH IN THE HEART leads the MOUTH TO CONFESS HIM. The true believer can’t hold this precious truth about the Lord Jesus to himself, for he knows that Jesus is the only way of salvation (John 10:9 and 14:6) and he wants others to be saved (Romans 1:16).

I have often heard people say, “But what if one is unwilling to confess Jesus as Lord before others?” I would say to that, “Well, then we can hardly consider that one a believer, can we?” Others may say, “But isn’t it true that there are some, like Joseph of Arimathea, who was “a disciple of Jesus, but SECRETLY, for fear of the Jews” (John 19:38)? It is true that Joseph, for a time, was afraid to confess the Lord Jesus but if we read on in that verse, we read that he “asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus.” Why?  So he could give Him a proper burial in his own tomb (Matthew 27:59-60). In other words, Joseph finally came out boldly and confessed Jesus as His Lord and Savior, at a time when most people would ridicule and persecute him for believing in Him.

I want to emphasize that the HEART and MOUTH go together. One believes in Jesus as Lord and in His resurrection in their HEART, which leads God, who can see the heart, to JUSTIFY him. Then he gladly opens his MOUTH to confess Jesus as Lord and the One whom God raised from the dead, which allows men (who can’t see the heart) to hear, as a powerful testimony, what is coming out of his heart. We have a beautiful example of this in the thief on the cross who turned to Christ in faith and then confessed Him as Lord (before everyone present!) and acknowledged that He would come back to earth (after His resurrection) to establish His kingdom (Luke 23:42). So, we conclude that FAITH “in the heart” is the ROOT OF SALVATION and CONFESSION “with the mouth” is the FRUIT OF SALVATION. The one necessarily leads to the other. This coincides with the teaching of James who said, “What use is it, brethren, if someone SAYS HE HAS FAITH BUT HE HAS NO WORKS? Can THAT FAITH save him?….Even so FAITH, if it has no works, IS DEAD, being by itself” (James 2:14 & 17….NASB). Both Paul and James are teaching us that a true, LIVING FAITH WILL PRODUCE GOOD WORKS, which includes confessing Jesus as Lord before men. If one is unwilling to confess Jesus as Lord their so-called FAITH IS DEAD; in other words, there is NO FAITH IN THEIR HEART.  (465.3)  (DO)