It says in the bible, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31).
- Does this mean that all you have to do is say you believe in Jesus and you will be saved from hell to eternal life?
- Or does it mean that you can say with your lips that you believe, and just keep living as you always have, disregarding the things the bible teaches?
- Or does it mean that we can simply believe that the man Jesus lived on earth and exists even today somewhere in eternity?
The bible makes it clear that believing in Jesus is not “easy believism.” It’s not simply saying, “I believe Jesus existed, and then go on living life never giving Jesus another thought. Also, believing in Jesus is not just saying, “I believe in Him as a historical fact,” it is recognizing Him as Lord of the universe, as well as Lord of your life.
Believing in Jesus is not the same as saying you believe the world is round. When a person believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior, they accept in their mind, heart and attitudes the following things:
1. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus makes it clear that when a person accepts Him as their Savior, they trust exclusively in Him to forgive them and save them from their sins. A person can no longer trust their own good deeds, church-attendance or a religious system. Neither can they trust in other gods or religions. At the same time, Jesus frees you from trying to earn your way to heaven. You no longer have to walk a tight-rope with God; you can know you are forgiven of your sins, and that you are going to heaven because of what Christ has done for you on the cross.
2. FORGIVENESS OF SIN COMES ONLY FROM THE CROSS
Sin is what separates a holy God from we unholy people. No good works on our part can forgive our sins and wash them away. This is done only when we believe that Jesus died to forgive our sins, and has opened up to us the presence of God. The bible says, “For God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured God’s goodness into us.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) You see, Christ took your sins and died for them, and in turn, the penalty for your sins has been cancelled. You stand without sin in the sight of God because of what Christ has done for you when you believe in Him.
3. TRUE BELIEF IN CHRIST
As you can see, truly believing in Christ is much more than adhering to a historical fact or set of beliefs. It is also more than casually saying you believe in Jesus. True belief in Christ is trusting Him alone to make you acceptable before God by the way of the cross. You trust Christ for your way to heaven, not the church, yourself, your good deeds, or any religious act. And true belief in Christ also means that His ways will become your ways – His desires for you will become yours – and He will become the one you base your life upon. True belief means commitment to Christ!
4. BEING COMMITTED TO CHRIST
Commitment to Christ is far more than “easy believism” – it’s a new way of life. The bible says, “If any one is in Christ, they are a new creation, the old has passed away, behold the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) After you make the choice to trust Him to forgive your sins, He asks you to follow Him, not just on Sundays, but as a life-style. He asks you to follow him as a spouse, a student, a worker, a boss, a parent and in any and every other area of your life. When Jesus saves us, He saves us from the life we were living, rooted in sin; to a new life rooted in obedience to God. Who you live for changes. It use to be for you, now it is for God. We follow Christ and live for Him, not to earn salvation or a place in heaven, but out of gratitude for the price He paid to give us the gift of salvation that we neither earned nor deserved. Living for Christ is living out the gift He has given to us.
5. EMPOWERED TO LIVE FOR CHRIST
One final thing, Christ doesn’t call us to follow Him without giving us the power to do so. We can’t live the obedient life on our own. We need help. It is an inside job! Our real problem isn’t that we aren’t physically capable of obedience, but rather we aren’t spiritually capable. What connects us to the power of God and empowers us to produce the fruit He wants in our lives is the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said this to his original followers when He was about to leave them, because He knew they couldn’t live the life He called them to either without a power beyond their own: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit
of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.”
When we choice to accept the gift of salvation that the Lord offers to us and we make the decision in our heart to follow Him, He gives us the person and power of the Holy Spirit to fill us to help us change our thinking, our emotions, our desires and our will from what we want to God’s. He doesn’t save us and then leave us on our own to live the life He has called us to live. Rather He gives us his Spirit to live with us and in us!
THE STARTING POINT
Everything in our lives has a starting point. When we invite Jesus to come into our lives and we make the decision to believe in Him and follow Him, this is the starting point of a new life. If you have never made this decision, please seriously consider this decision and the ramifications of both not making it and making it. As billions of people will testify, when they gave their lives to Christ, it didn’t guarantee them an easy life, but it did give them the eternal relationship with God that they were designed to have!