“WAKE UP!” ~ Part 1: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved
(“WAKE UP!” will likely be a 4-5 part blog…)
What do you call yourself? A Christian? A lover of God? A follower of Jesus? A Child of God? The Bride of Christ? The Church? The People of God? All of these “titles” should mean the same thing. Yet, there is an astronomical variance between these titles, and the reality of what they mean to the person that “claims” or “bears” them or declares this to be “who they are.”
No one would disagree that many, maybe even the majority of people who “wear” these titles, are not actually truly living a life that is in keeping with the title they claim. Now, yes, for some, it is immaturity – for others it is ignorance. But, there are those among these who are not immature, nor ignorant, but rather are either “playing games” or are “in rebellion” to the whole truth that comes with such a title. To keep it simple moving forward, I will use the term “Believer”. After all, when it all comes down to it, we are talking about “being saved” aren’t we? All the key scriptures we have learned from the beginning of our “Christian Journey” tell us that to be saved, we must believe. Right?
- Romans 10:9 – “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
- Acts 16:31a – “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved”
- Mark 16:16a – “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”
Let’s establish up front that I am not talking about intellectual “belief”, nor am I talking about “acknowledging the existence of”. To better define the “believing” that I am talking about, let me use two examples. The first, from scripture: “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” (James 2:19) The demons believe, but their belief is not “saving belief”. Secondly, a historical example. I believe in Hitler. But I don’t “embrace”, “adhere to” or am otherwise “impacted” & “convicted” to “change” in my life by his teachings. Likewise, belief in Jesus without being impacted and convicted to “change”, is not “saving belief”.
So, how then do we know what type of belief Jesus was speaking of, is the belief that results in being “saved”? After all, there are many “followers” who are not believers – yes, it’s true:
- Read this passage. John 6:60-64:
“Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.”
Did you catch that? Read it again… speaking to “many of His disciples” Jesus said: “there are some of you who do not believe.” And then in verse 66 it says: “As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.” This is sobering to me! There are/were disciples who do not believe with the belief that is necessary to be saved!!
Jesus here, and in throughout scriptures, is talking about “belief of the heart” – apparently a belief that many who claim to be “Christian” or “Followers” seem to have in short supply. How do we know this belief? Does it have evidences? Is the “Fruit” to this belief? 2 Corinthians 5:17 reds: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” In Acts Peter is recorded as saying in chapter 2, verse 38 “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And even our verse above in Romans chapter 10, which begins in verse 9 saying: “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” continues on in verse 10 to read: “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
So in our first passage (Corinthians) we see that the “Born Again” (Conversion/Regeneration) experience is inseparably linked to the saving belief. And with being born again, comes a “New Creature” and this new creature is accompanied by new things, with old things having passed away.
Then, in Acts, we see this saving belief being mandatorily linked to the attributes of “Repentance” and “Baptism” yielding the promises of forgiveness of sins & the “gift of the Holy Spirit”. These are no small things to be lightly accepted or dismissed. If we have “saving belief” we will become “people of repentance” and “people immersed and saturated” in our new life, and be granted the “power” to let Christ’s Life reign in our new man as the power of God unto salvation by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.
Lastly, we see “saving belief” unmistakably resulting in “righteousness”! Not some impersonal righteousness, but the Righteousness of Christ physically manifested in and through our lives! This passage which promises salvation by believing, unmistakably teaches that the belief that saves will be visibly seen in our lives by others, and it will look like a life of righteousness!
So then, with these passages all in mind, it can be said: Saving Belief is a belief of the heart that comes from being born again to new life in Christ, with new things having come and old things having passed away, manifested in a life of repentance, immersion & saturation with the life of Christ, by the Holy Spirit, and an unmistakable visual lifestyle that displays righteousness. If these things are not taking place in your life in increasing measure, I encourage you to get on your face before God, and check your spiritual pulse to see if you have indeed come to a place of “saving belief” in the Lordship of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Coming next on “NoSpectators”? What is this repentance that is linked to “Saving Belief” and what does the resulting Righteousness look like, in layman’s terms?