What does it mean to believe in your heart?

There is a passage we use often in the Bible. It is a passage frequently recited on Sunday mornings toward the end of a service. In religious parlance, the passage is referred to as the “salvation passage” – “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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom. 10:9-10, KJV).

The words roll so easily off of our tongues, but have we really taken time to consider what Paul was saying? Many times, immediately following the recitation of this passage, people will be led in what is commonly known as the “sinner’s prayer.” Yet, Paul wasn’t writing to sinners; Paul was writing to believers! In the “sinner’s prayer,” people are encouraged to “let Jesus into their hearts.” The passage, on the other hand, states that we must confess the Lord Jesus; put another way, we must confess that Jesus is Lord. Such a confession can only be expressed by one who is fully persuaded that God raised Jesus from the dead. This confession is not the result of an emotional impulse; rather, it is being absolutely convinced that Jesus indeed suffered and died, and God, with his kingly power, raised Jesus from the dead in a glorified body. This is what it means to “believe in your heart.”  Believing in one’s heart has nothing to do with the stirring of emotions. It has nothing to do with music playing, or others urging me to “accept Jesus.” This is the challenge many people face when reading this passage. We have been taught that the heart is the locus of our emotions. In fact, we reinforce this axiom when we say phrases such as “I love you with all of my heart” or “I’m in love with you.” What we are really saying is “I like how you make me feel.” True love, however, is not an emotion. It is a responsibility that requires action.

During Biblical times, it was believed that the mind was located in the part of the body where the heart is. This is why in the Bible, the word heart is synonymous with the word mind. Today, we understand that the mind is not an organ, so it doesn’t have a physical location in the body. The mind is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. What is important to understand is that we are persuaded in the mind. So to believe in your heart means that you are fully persuaded in your mind. And what you speak from your mouth is evidence of what is in your mind. Therefore, when you say “Jesus is Lord,” you are expressing that you have been fully persuaded that God raised Jesus from the dead. It is this belief that is the foundation of our faith.

By: Elder Ron Mosby

Ron Mosby grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and attended the University of Cincinnati, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts.  A former Naval officer, Ron has served government at every level – federal, state, and local. Currently, he serves as City Administrator of the city of North College Hill. Ron is an Elder at the Ekklesia of the Lord Jesus Christ, a fellowship that meets in the Northside area of Cincinnati. 

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