Are the "confess" of Romans 10:9-10 and the "call" of Romans 10:13 pre or post justification? Or in other words, is there a "sinner's prayer" in Scripture? I'm not talking about a 1-2-3 pray-with-me easy-believism, but a legitimate cry for spiritual deliverance from sin and Hell through Jesus Christ?
Our friend and brother in Christ, Thomas Ross, says "no" to the above questions. I say "yes." What says Scripture?
So far, we've mainly looked at how the context of Romans 10:9-13 supports the pre-justification confess or call. Now we'll get into the actual text of the verses.
A pivotal point for the post-justification confess or call, one that buttresses its entire argument, is that "saved" in these verses is ultimate salvation, not immediate salvation. When I say "ultimate," I mean final salvation, that is, deliverance from the penalty and presence of sin, from God's eternal wrath and punishment at His judgment (Mt. 10:22; Mk. 13:13; 13:20; 16:16; Acts 15:11; Rom. 5:9-10; Rom. 11:36; 1 Cor. 3:15; 1 Cor. 5:5). When I use "immediate," I mean the deliverance the very moment that someone believes in the Lord from a position outside of Christ, a position of sinfulness, and from the power of sin unto the sure prospect of ultimate salvation (Lk. 8:12; 9:56; 17:19; John 3:17; Acts 4:12; 16:30-31; Rom. 11:14; 1 Cor. 7:16; 9:22; 2 Thess. 2:10; 1 Tim. 1:15; 2:4).
It is true that the word translated "saved" (sodso) can be something other than immediate salvation. When the term is used in the past tense (aorist; Rom. 8:24; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5) or the present tense (1 Cor. 1:18; 15:2) it isn't ultimate salvation.
Here in Romans 10:9-13, we see the future tense, so the question here is whether the future tense is immediate or ultimate salvation. Some times the future tense is speaking of immediate salvation and other times it is talking about ultimate salvation. Some of those times it is easy to tell from the context which it is, but other times it is more difficult.
As do I, Thomas Ross hates easy-prayerism. He starts into this passage looking through the lense of that hatred, resulting, I believe, in a rush to judgment. He misses what I am about to show you that obliterates his position. In his paper, An Exegesis and Application of Romans 10:9-14 for Soulwinning Churches and Christians, he misses the key grammatical issue to determine whether Romans 10:9-13 are ultimate or immediate salvation. My hope is that his sincere desire for the truth will cause him to abandon his post-justification confess or call position.
The verb form for "saved" (sodso) in this verse is future indicative passive. This form occurs twenty times in the New Testament. The twenty occurrences can be divided into the two categories of ultimate and immediate salvation. Romans 10:9 has a conditioned statement as its dependent clause, which contains the third class condition (ean) and two subjunctive verbs ("shalt confess" and "shalt believe"). Four other references share the same construction and clearly refer to immediate completion of the main verb upon the fulfillment of the condition (cf. Matthew 9:21; Mark 5:28; John 10:9; and 1 Timothy 2:15). Six of the references use the future indicative passive form of sodso and clearly speak of final salvation. However, each of those six is communicated with an aorist participle (cf. Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13; 16:16; Romans 5:9-10). The five references with the aorist subjunctive are always immediate. If Romans 10:9-10 is ultimate, it would be an exception. What we have here, however, are two patterns. The aorist subjunctive pattern is immediate salvation. The aorist participle pattern is ultimate salvation.
Against the grammatical pattern, in a completely exceptional way, Thomas Ross identifies "thou shalt be saved" as ultimate salvation. Because of the grammatical construction, it can't be. It must be immediate salvation. If you read his above paper, you will see that he misses this in his study. I have more evidence to come for immediate salvation, but in the meantime, I call on him to abandon his ultimate salvation position for the immediate salvation view of Romans 10:9.