10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10).
I think Paul, as a Jew, is writing like one — he’s using what is called Hebrew parallelism, that is, he’s saying the same thing two different ways. You find a lot of this in the Psalms and Proverbs. So, both believing in the heart and confessing with the mouth are the same thing, as well as righteousness and salvation. It’s easier to see righteousness and salvation as being the same, but heart and mouth are a little more difficult. Let’s camp out first on the easy part: righteousness is the positive side of conversion, while salvation infers the negative side.
To be converted reflects a positive thing — I don’t put my trust any more in my own worthless, dirty, stinky righteousness — I put my trust in the righteousness of Christ! It also means that by grace I have been given the very righteousness of God Himself — and it doesn’t get any more positive than that!
Salvation, however, reflects a very negative thing. It infers being saved from something, and, ultimately, that something is the worst thing that exists — the wrath of God. Salvation means to be saved from the wrath of God expressed through hell and damnation and eternal punishment. It doesn’t get any more negative that that!
Thank You, Lord, that we have Your righteousness and not Your wrath — for there is nothing better than Your righteousness, and nothing worse than Your wrath. Help us This Day to walk in this freely-given righteousness and to warn others of the wrath to come. Amen.