Just Believe

By Martin Cheah

What must I believe to be saved? John Piper was asked this question. His answer can be summarized by saying that we must believe in 4 things:

  1. Sin – We must believe that we are sinners. A person who doesn’t believe he is a sinner cannot be saved.
  2. God – We must believe that there is a Creator God, and we fall short of His expectations.
  3. Cross – We must believe that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, died on the Cross and thus paid the price for our sins.
  4. Faith – Instead of working for salvation, we must have faith in Jesus and His sacrifice, and trust that He has done what needs to be done for our salvation.

Some Bible verses about believing in Jesus

Mark 16:16 – Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 6:47 – Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

John 20:31 – But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Acts 16:31 – They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Romans 10:9-10 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

1 John 5:13 – I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Is it that simple?

Many people cannot accept that salvation is so simple. There must be something more to it than just believing in Jesus. Complaining that it is unfair, they say, “What about your sins?

In Mark 1:15b, Jesus said, “Repent and believe the good news!”

When you come to your senses about your sin, repent and ask for forgiveness. Believe that, as 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Unable to stop sinning?

Some Christians feel that they are unable to stop sinning. They therefore struggle with the command “Go and sin no more” (John 8.1b KJV) that Jesus gave to the woman caught in adultery.

Martin Luther says, “Only those sinners belong in the kingdom of Christ who recognize their sin, feel it, and then catch hold of the Word of Christ spoken here: ‘I do not condemn you.’ Even if sinners are knaves and criminals, their sins will be forgiven, as long as they feel them, repent of them, and ask God for forgiveness.”

Luther’s point is that we are all sinners and will always be. But if we recognize our sin, feel its weight, and repent of it, then God will forgive us and not condemn us.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

“Godly sorrow” is sadness that comes because of hurting God instead of pleasing Him. This kind of sadness leads the person to stop committing that sin and turning to God in repentance. Our repentance is a sign that we are still aware of God’s standards and that we still care about what He thinks.

“Worldly sorrow” is sadness over earthly things, for example, financial troubles or loss of a job. It is a sadness related to the pleasures and desires of this life in this world. It does not lead to changing our lifestyle and helping us become morally better people.

Pastor Matt Richard comments thus, “But what happens when we do sin? When we do sin, because we always will in this life, we don’t try to do all sorts of good with the intent that the good will atone for the bad. No! This goes the way of works righteousness. When we do sin, we get to confess our sins freely to God. The sinful nature and its deeds get to be continually crucified into Christ.” (https://tinyurl.com/w6dax97h)

The Bible defines sin as lawlessness. (1 John 3:4) The consequences of sin can be both spiritual and physical. Spiritually, sin separates us from God. Physically, sin can lead to disease, addiction, and other problems. Although guilt and shame can be a step forward in a Christian journey, it can also bring harmful effects of depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.

I do not want to give anyone the impression that they can continue with their sins without facing any consequences. We stop sinning not by trying to stop sinning, but by walking with Jesus and inviting God into the dark places of our life. His light will dispel all our darkness.

Is Believing in Jesus enough?

Billy Graham states it this way:

Just to say “believe in Jesus” can produce a false assurance of salvation because even the devil “believes in Jesus.” To believe in Jesus is to turn from a life of sin, receive Him as Savior, and follow Him as Lord by obeying His word. When this happens, a person’s desires change as they begin to follow His teachings found in the Bible.

We have no holiness of our own; as the Bible says, “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). But when we come to Christ, God takes those rags away, and He clothes us instead with the perfect holiness of Christ.

“The law says, ‘Do this!’ and it is never done. Grace says, ‘Believe in this man!’ and immediately everything is done.” – Martin Luther.

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