THOSE WHO ARE SAVED BELIEVE THE GOOD NEWS OF GOD’S GRACE
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 3:16)
Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
BELIEF IS OUR RESPONSE TO THE GOSPEL OF GRACE
Believe: (Greek pisteuo) The word believe is found 140 times in the New Testament. Thayer Definition: 1) to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in 1a) of the thing believed 1a1) to credit, have confidence 1b) in a moral or religious reference 1b1) used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul 1b2) to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith
Rom 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…. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed–a righteousness that is by faith
Belief is our response to God’s sovereign initiative of love and grace. Belief is evidence that the good news (gospel) has been received, accepted as true and effective in bringing about repentance and transformation.
BELIEF (FAITH AND TRUST IN GOD) IS THE PERSONAL CATALYST OF SALVATION
Act 16:30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Act 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”
Rom 10:9 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.
Luk 8:12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
Joh 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”
Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Belief, and confession of what we believe, are products and part of the evidence of God’s loving and graceful outreach to us. Belief and confession are a product of the good news of salvation (It is God’s grace alone that is the root of salvation). In a sense the grace that was released through Jesus’ finished work on the cross is the foundation stone on which belief, repentance and the wholeness and eternal life of salvation (Greek:sozo) rests. It is Jesus’ grace that is the carrier of salvation and it is the response of personal belief that activates personal salvation for each individual. We are saved by grace through faith (trust and belief in God) and not by our own effort or works (Eph.2:8-9).
JESUS DIED TO SAVE US (Greek: sozo)
Joh 3:16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. Joh 3:17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.
Jesus died to save us from the wages of sin; a cursed life, destruction and eternal death. Having said that, there are actually two aspects of what it means to be saved (Greek: sozo);
1) the present “now” component which brings us spiritual life (Greek: zoe), wholeness, well being, healing, forgiveness and deliverance from evil. etc.
2) the “future” component of being saved from eternal separation from God (eternal death / hell) and the receiving of eternal life with God.
Rom 6:22 But now since you have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life. Rom 6:23 For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.
THOSE WHO DON’T BELIEVE ARE CONDEMNED AND LOST
The scriptures are clear; no belief, no salvation. Those who do not believe do not belong to Jesus Christ.
Joh 10:26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. Joh 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. Joh 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Joh 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
Joh 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Mar 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
2Th 2:12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Jud 1:5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.
A loving and sovereign God takes the initiative of reaching out to people in love and grace. No one can come to know God unless the Spirit of God initiates. Those who reject the message of God’s grace and choose to continue in unrepentant in sin, unrighteousness and unbelief are sadly destined for eternal condemnation. They have rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ which is God’s cure for eternal death, they have chosen not to be rescued by God.
ETERNAL LIFE IS BELIEVING JESUS
Joh 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.
Joh 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; Joh 11:26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Act 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
Joh 5:24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
Joh 6:40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Joh 6:47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.
1Ti 1:16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
1Jn 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.
Again it can be seen from the above scriptures that the evidence that someone has eternal life is that they believe in Jesus Christ. Salvation is not just about being whole and blessed in this lifetime. The greatest gift of salvation is eternal life.
JESUS HAD ISSUE WITH THE SIN OF UNBELIEF.
Joh 16:8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: Joh 16:9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; Joh 16:10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; Joh 16:11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
Joh 6:29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Rom 10:11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
Joh 6:36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
Joh 8:45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!
Act 13:40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you Act 13:41 “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’
In terms of John 16:8 the sin that the Holy Spirit convicts humankind of is the sin of unbelief. The original sin of the fall was rooted in unbelief in God’s goodness and goodwill. The sin of unbelief is the root sin of all moral sin. The sin of unbelief is the sin that condemns people to eternal death. Many place a great emphasis on moral sin. Bad as it is moral sin is not the central sin issue. The central issue and root of all sin is the sin of unbelief; unbelief in a good, kind and loving God who is “Abba” Father to His children.
THOSE WHO BELIEVE ARE FORGIVEN
Act 10:43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Act 13:39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.
Act 13:39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.
There is a direct link between belief and the forgiveness of sins.
RIGTHEOUNESS IS FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE
Rom 3:22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
Rom 4:11 Abraham received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.
Rom 4:3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Rom 4:24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness–for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
Rom 10:4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Righteousness; our right standing with God, cannot be obtained through our works or self effort. Right standing with God comes about though belief in the gospel in which the righteousness of God is revealed (Ro.1:17). God’s righteousness is by His grace and is received by faith and belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
THERE THOSE WHO ARE SAVED, AND, UNBELIEVERS WHO ARE PERISHING
2Co 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 2Co 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2Co 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2Co 6:15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
Rev 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
New Testament scriptures clearly distinguishes between “believers” who are saved and who have received eternal life, and “unbelievers” who are lost and condemned to eternal death. The call on every believer is to reach out to unbelievers with the good news of God’s love, grace and the wonderful gift of salvation.
THERE ARE CHILDREN OF EVIL
Joh 10:26 you do not believe because you are not my sheep.
Mat 23:15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes one [a proselyte], you make him doubly as much a child of hell (Gehenna) as you are.
Mat 23:33 You serpents! You spawn (offspring) of vipers! How can you escape the penalty to be suffered in hell (Gehenna)?
Joh 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.
Mat 13:38 The field is the world, and the good seed means the children of the kingdom; the darnel is the children of the evil one,
Act 13:10 And said, You master in every form of deception and recklessness, unscrupulousness, and wickedness, you son of the devil
All of humankind are created in God’s likeness (Gen.1:26) but not all are “children of God” (Joh.1:12). All people have prophetic potential through Jesus Christ to become children of God, as God’s desire is to adopt all those who respond to His grace into His eternal family (Rom 8:9 &15). A defining characteristic of the “children of God” is that they believe and trust in God. Those who do not believe are not God’s children and yet with repentance (a change of mind and heart). In a sense God is out to plunder the “family” (followers) of the evil one and his kingdom of darkness and adopt them into His family.
1Ti 2:3 For such is good and right, and pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior, 1Ti 2:4 Who wishes all men to be saved and to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the Truth.
GRACE AND BELIEF GO TOGETHER
Act 18:27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND POWER COMES ONLY TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE
Eph 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
Joh 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Joh 7:39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Joh 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.
Eph 1:19 his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength
Those who believe in the good news of the gospel of grace are sealed with the Holy Spirit who comes to live within them. The Holy Spirit can touch unbelievers but He only indwells those who believe and are “born again” (regenerated) by the Spirit of God (1Pet.1:23). It is through the indwelling presence of the Spirit that believers receive the power for ministry to reach out in love to the lost.
OUR MISSION IS TO PREACH TO GET PEOPLE TO BELIEVE AND RECEIVE LIFE NOW AND ETERNALLY
Rom 10:10 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….Rom 10:14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
1Co 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
Act 18:8 Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.
People cannot be saved unless they hear the good news and believe. We are all called to mission. We who are saved, are saved only by grace and it is a grace that needs to be shared. When we see someone lost and in sin our attitude needs to be one of love and compassion and “there but for the grace of God goes me!” Our mission is to preach the good news of “Abba Fathers” love and grace and call all people to be saved and “born again”. Any doctrine that opposes this call plays into the hands of the evil one who would keep humankind in blindness (2Co.4:4) and darkness.
Eph 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.