I recently came upon a wonderful truth while studying the basic verses needed to get "saved", which of course are Romans 10:9 and 10.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
I never had noticed how confession came first in verse 9 and second in verse 10. I was amazed to realize that the reason went back to the Old Testament quote in verse 8 and the order from the book of Deuteronomy was confession first and then belief. In Romans 10:10 the proper order in true sequence is used which is faith first and then confession.
A person must BELIEVE to get saved. That has been true since the times of Abraham. In fact, the entire chapter 4 of Romans is devoted to Abraham's believing being imputed unto him for righteousness. Chapter 4 ends with the great truth found in verses 24 and 25:
"But for us also, to whom it (righteousness) shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification."
The little word for holds the key to understanding this verse. The Greek word is dia and it is used here with a noun (justification) in the Accusative case. Normally dia means "through or by means of", but when used with the Accusative its meaning becomes "because of or on account of". It marks the ground or the reason of the action.
Jesus Christ was delivered (handed over to die) FOR (because of) our offences and sins. He was raised again FOR (because of, on account of) our justification. In other words, Jesus Christ died because of our sins and he was raised from the dead because we were now justified. Without Jesus laying down his life for our sins, we could never be justified, and God could not have legally raised him from the dead. He was not raised TO justify us; he was raised BECAUSE we were justified!
That is why in order to be saved we must first BELIEVE God raised Jesus from the dead, which means we believe we are justified. To believe God raised Jesus Christ from the dead encompasses everything Jesus did in giving himself for our sins. The last thing Jesus did for us was give up his life. But, we were not justified until the legal requirement of being buried for 72 hours was met. After 72 hours in the grave we were officially justified and God could legally raise His son from the dead.
Now, if a person will only BELIEVE that through giving his life, Jesus Christ paid for our justification and that once he did, God raised him from the dead; then at least it is available for that person to be saved. But there is that little matter of confessing Jesus Christ as Lord. More on that subject a little later