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. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
What one says with the mouth does make a difference. Members of Alcoholics Anonymous challenge one another to "Walk the walk; don't just talk the talk!"
But the talk does make a difference. Once a man or woman has said, "My name is ___ and I am an alcoholic." it can never be taken back. Those words are out there in the minds and hearts of other people. They have changed everything; the universe has absorbed those words and been reconfigured by them.
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.Of course, words can be used to testify against the speaker. "He declared in the meeting he was alcoholic but he still frequented the tavern." or "She confessed that Jesus is Lord but she continued to swear like a sailor, drive like a maniac, shop like a pagan and lie through her teeth."
Or they might be recalled in admiration, "She not only talked the talk, she walked the walk." "He professed his faith, renounced his former ways and found a useful place in our church."
Without the practice the words are not meaningless; they stand like a curse in testimony against us.
Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Andrew, the brother of Saint Peter and one of Jesus' first disciples. Hearing the Lord's invitation, he immediately declared his faith in the Lord.
In Saint John's Gospel he is one of two disciples who heard the Baptist declare, "Behold the Lamb of God!" He then went and told his brother Peter, "We have found the Messiah!"
That is why we celebrate him on this last day of November, as we enter the Advent season. Andrew has appeared in the very beginning of Jesus' ministry and models our response. We hear, we follow and we invite others to come with us.
It's fascinating that Andrew said nothing when he heard Jesus greet his brother Simon, "You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas." If Peter would be Jesus' right hand man and leader of the disciples, Andrew -- despite his seniority in the group -- would not object. He was happy just to be there.
We too are grateful to have heard the call of Advent, to declare our faith in Jesus, and to take our appointed place in the fellowship of Christmas.