The Heart of the Matter


“My heart’s in the right place.” “That is dear to my heart.” “We need to have a heart-to-heart.” We use the word heart in many English phrases, and the connotations of those phrases vary depending on context. But what we really mean by “heart” is the comprehensive symbol of what really matters about a person or a belief. In today’s passage, Paul explores the heart of the matter when it comes to being made right with God.  

  • When a person says that he or she has asked Jesus into his or her heart, what does that really mean?


5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. According to verse 5, what does righteousness based on the law look like?
  2. What do verses 8-9 say that righteousness based on faith is all about?
  3. What is the role of the heart and the mouth in the salvation process (vss. 9-10)?
  4. Who has the opportunity to be saved (vss. 12-13)?
  5. Do you place your hope for salvation on your works or on the work that Jesus did on the cross? How does the way you live reflect where you’ve placed your hope?


The Law of Moses, through its statutes and sacrifices, provided a way for the Jews to be made right with God. But the righteousness of the law was based on human effort. Christ was the end of that law. Because of that, being right with God is all about the heart—it’s about believing in the heart and professing with the mouth that Jesus is the way. And that righteousness is now available to us all: Jew or Gentile, male or female, educated or uneducated, rich or poor. Justification through works is about what a person does; salvation through faith is about what Jesus did. And he did it for us all.

  • Spend some time talking with God about where, or in whom, you have placed your faith and hope.