Romans 10:9 guarantees us 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” (NKJV). It seems, at first, that if you simply confess (i.e. repeat or say something) Jesus and you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, then you are good to go, right? Well, not so fast.
Is it possible for one to confess Jesus as Lord without knowing what the word “Lord” means? I would argue that yes. If that confession fits the guarantee of Romans 10:9, I will bet to differ. To confess Jesus as Lord is to publicly affirm that he is your master, and you are his slave. Jesus, then, has all authority over your life, heart, emotions, desires, passions, etc. If this person fails to provide testimony of his or her words, then his testimony was false, and should not be regarded as having truth value. If is not possible to confess Jesus if we do not understand his role in our relationship with him, how would it be possible for someone to be Christian without believing in the Triune God?
“Well, ‘believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead’,” seems very simple. The matter here is, who raised Christ form the dead? Was it the Father, as Galatians 1:1 indicates? Or was Jesus himself, as John 2:19-21 asserts? Could it be the Holy Spirit, as Romans 8:11 affirms? The One who raised Jesus from the dead was the Triune God! All three were deeply involved in this action. If one affirms that one God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, he would be ignoring Biblical passages.
The God of Scripture is the Triune God. Any worship or serving to other type of God is idolatry. If one recognizes that there is a God because of creation, he too is a heathen. Why? Because he worships a “creator god” and not the Triune God. “Unless you believe that I AM HE you will die in your sins,” said Jesus in John 8:24 (ESV). The ESV adds the word “He” to the regular “ἐγώ εἰμι.” This adding is unnecessary, for other passages like Deuteronomy 32:39, and Isaiah 41:10, or even verse 58 in this same chapter, affirm that “egō eimi” refers to God, and therefore affirm his deity. If one denies that Jesus is God, he is not doing heterodoxy, as some like to identify themselves, but he is going against what Jesus himself taught. If to us that is unacceptable, I see no Biblical reason for why the Triune God would accept that.
I would argue, though, that the doctrine of a person might not always be as accurate as his or her faith in his or her heart. One might believe in the Triune God, yet having a weird speech regarding how he organizes that in his mind. Praise God that we are not saved by the accuracy of our theological communication, but by our faith! Most of us, if not all, would be damned if we were to be judged by that standard. I do not know, however, how far God’s mercy goes in this matter. I prefer not to take any unnecessary risks.
One thing is not to understand the Trinity but accept it by faith, another thing is to deny it when you have knowledge of Scripture. Perfect articulation of this doctrine is not necessary, faith in the God revealed in Scripture is.