The heart of Romans 10 is verses 9 and 10 -- "if you confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Although this sounds like a magic formula it is so much more. Confession that Jesus is Lord is an admission not just to ourselves in private but to the world around us that we are Christ followers. This is not an easy thing to actually live out. How easy is it for you to drop "by the way I confess the Lordship of Jesus" in conversation at your workplace? in your school? at Wegman's? or in your home? There is much in modern society that discourages the clarity and finality of making such a statement. I believe it was Francis of Assisi who once said "Always preach the gospel, when necessary use words." I believe the essential truth of Francis' statement. However, there is this necessary "public confession" that helps to seal the deal. When someone joins a United Methodist Church they confess that Jesus is Lord . . . it is in the membership and baptismal vows . . . but that is a confession among other believers. How do we make this confession for the whole world to see without looking like we are bragging?
The second part of the passage is to believe in our "heart" that God has raised him from the dead. The heart was not the emotional center in the ancient world it was the center of the mind and will. The resurrection of Jesus is the capstone, the cornerstone, the necessary and essential core of the Christian message. Choosing to believe this and living into this belief is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. It is not a question of how I feel but what I choose to believe. As Christ followers we are to bring the best of our intellect and the force of will to the choices we make on this journey.