It is written:
“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. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)
Is Paul teaching the sinner’s prayer here? If not what is the meaning of the text?
First, the ones who are here to “confess” and “believe” are already baptized believers! Just read Romans 6:3-4.
It is extremely important to remember that when Paul addresses the Christians between Romans 9-11 (and usually through the entire Book), he addresses them with the pronoun “you” (simply study the 163 uses of this word in Romans). When Paul (in Romans 9-11) speaks of unbelieving Jews (i.e., the lost), how does he describe them? With the words “they” and “them” (cf. Romans 9:22-27, 32; 10:1-3). With that in mind, when Paul speaks of those “confessing” with their mouths, who is he addressing? “You.” “You” who? Christians, of course! This is not talking about non-Christians being saved; it is talking about Christians who keep on being saved by continuing to believe and confess Jesus.
Second, the “believing” and “confessing”’are not one time actions where a person is initially saved. Instead, it is continuous action-continuing to believe and confess. This speaks-not Of The sinner’s prayer-but of being a faithful Christian by continuing to believe and confess Jesus.
Third, the early Christians taught that this “confessing” began when a person was baptized into Christ and then was to continue on throughout the Christian life.
“BAPTISMAL PROFESSION . AUGUSTINE : This condition is fulfilled at the time of baptism, when faith and profession of faith are all that is demanded for one to be baptized. T HE CHRISTIAN LIFE 13. 63 AUGUSTINE : This profession of faith is the creed which you will be going over in your thoughts and repeating from memory. THE CREED 1. 64 AUGUSTINE : We who expect to reign in everlasting righteousness can only be saved from this wicked world if while for our neighbor’s salvation we profess with our lips the faith which we carry about in our heart, we exercise a pious and careful vigilance to see that this faith in us is not sullied in any point of belief by the deceitful snares of heretics. F AITH AND THE CREED 1. 65″ (Thomas Oden, iAncient Christian Commentary On Scripture: Romans, 12467 (Kindle Edition); New York, N.Y.; Routledge Taylor & Francis Group)”
Finally, as Augustine points out, this believing and confessing is s reference to Christians boldly and lovingly speaking God’s Word to the lost.
Romans 10:9-10 is not about unsaved people being saved by confessing and believing in Jesus: it is about people who have already been saved through baptism (Romans 6:3-4, 17-18) continuing to believe and confess Jesus to their lost neighbors.
There is no sinner’s prayer in Scripture.