(Note: many Bible references
are included at the bottom of this article for your
In that little statement is the core of the Gospel (good news) message, and in one sense it is as simple as it sounds "believe and you will be saved". At the same time, however, that simple statement is very challenging in actual practice.
Let's take a quick look at each part of this simple directive:
1) Believe on - belief here is more than acknowledging a fact. Even the devils believe truths of the Bible but are not saved. For example, James 2:19 states “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Rather, the belief referred to here is a "saving" belief, not just an acknowledgment of facts. This belief creates a necessity of deification, or following, in the believer. It is a little more like saying, "I believe in good health", and not just saying it, but aligning yourself with eating healthy, and getting exercise and proper rest. Belief here is alluding to a life change, of becoming something new.
2) Believe on ... Jesus Christ. This part of the statement has several aspects.
Who is Jesus? Was he just a wise man who lived 2000 years ago? Is He truly God? Or something else? There are many different views of who this Jesus Christ really is. Christianity requires us to believe in the Jesus Christ as described in the Bible, not a man-made character warped into our own image. And this goes even deeper.
Why did Christ come to earth as a Man in the flesh? Genesis Chapter three provides the account of man’s original sin, and how that single act of disobedience cursed the entire Human Race, putting enmity between God and Man, and leading to death. Romans 5:12 tells us “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”.
The Scriptures also teach that the shedding of blood is required for remittance (forgiveness) of sins. Israel in times past performed animal sacrifice as a temporary covering for their sins, but those sacrifices were not sufficient to wipe them away. Rather, those animal sacrifices were pointing forward to a day when the Messiah, or Savior would come (see Heb 9:22, 10:4 and 10:11-13, below).
Jesus, who is part of the three persons of the one God (doctrine of the Trinity) came to earth in the flesh, so that His blood would be shed as a final propitiation. (Romans 3:25) The word propitiation simply means that Christ’s death on the cross - His shedding of innocent blood, changed God’s wrath toward us for our sins to that of God’s favorable mercy.
When we examine ourselves in the light of Scripture, and compare ourselves to the righteousness of Christ, we find that we fall way short. We are sinners. One of the first lies told to mankind by the Devil was that we would “be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). We think we can determine good and evil on our own, without relying on God of His Word. From childhood, we desire to have things our own way, rebelling against God. We want to rely on our own hearts, to make ourselves as a god, and to judge between good and evil by our own definitions. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Yet, just as the Lord told Adam and Eve that He is God and to therefore to trust His Word for everything, we are commanded to do the same. He continues to command all of mankind to repent and to turn from their rebellion. Our natural desire is to rebel against His authority for our autonomy and for that we need to turn toward the perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ and through His power repent (turn away, admit it and quit it) from our sins.
Jesus Christ left His throne above to become the Lamb of God for the sins of the world. He was the wholly perfect and only acceptable sacrificial offering to satisfy the eternal death penalty required for sin. Hebrews 4:15 tells us “for we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus Christ being fully God and fully man, lived his life on earth without any sin so that He could die in our place. The animal sacrifices pictured in the Old Testament were fulfilled by His sacrifice which was done once and for all time. Because of His perfect obedience to God the Father (something none of us could ever do on our own), we can be forgiven of our sins and their penalty before a Holy God forever. It is only because of what Jesus Christ did at Calvary that we can be saved from our sins. There is nothing we can do to clean ourselves up for God's acceptance or to work hard enough to earn salvation. As it says in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” No, the only way to be forgiven is to humble ourselves before Him by acknowledging that we are sinners in need of a Savior and to accept that it is only through Christ's work and sacrifice that we can be saved.
also recognize that Jesus didn’t
just die on the Cross, but also that He rose
from the dead and is sitting on the right hand of God the
Father as taught in 1 Corinthians 15:4 and
Colossians 3:1. He has returned to heaven to
rule and reign with God the Father. He is as much
alive now as He's ever been and He is Lord...which
gets us to our next point.
3) Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is God, but is he also YOUR Lord? Related to how the word "belief" is not just acknowledging a fact, but creating a new person & lifestyle, recognizing Christ as our Lord has many implications to it. It means we have a master, who is to be worshiped and obeyed. You are not your own, you are not the sole proprietor of your body and life. 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that your body (as a believer) is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and that you are not your own, for you were bought with a price. Note also that Paul often spoke of himself as a servant to Christ, such as in Romans 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ…”
Christ said in John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Believing in Jesus means loving Jesus for who the Scriptures show Him to be, obeying Him as your Lord, depending on His death on the cross as the supreme sacrifice to cleanse you from sins and to restore you to a right relationship with God. It means you will become a follower of His way. You have surrendered your autonomy to God's authority in all aspects of your life and therefore you will no longer lean on your own understanding but trust in the Lord and His Word (Scripture) to teach you how to love the Lord your God as stated in Luke 10:27 “...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”
So, putting these together, so far we have, "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ". This means I want to study His Word, the Bible, to know Him, which is how God has chosen to reveal Himself to man. It means I want to be like Him - remembering that He is God while I am mortal man. I will worship Him, sing songs in His name, and bow myself before Him. My theme will be Christ and His way for all of life!
bring us to the last part:
4) ..and ye shall be saved." Saved from what? Many don’t think they have a need to be saved from anything, that their life is alright – they don’t need a “savior”. However, they fail to recognize their own sin nature and their real sins against God. God’s salvation is (at least) two-fold: a salvation from the power of sin ruling in our lives in this current World, and a salvation from the second death, with the ability to live forever with God in His kingdom in the life to come.
Chapters 6 through 8 of Romans teach us that we can have power over the nature of sin in our flesh, by relying on and listening to the Holy Spirit (the third member of the Trinity), who indwells those whom God has saved. For example, Romans 8:2 states, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
We can reckon ourselves dead unto sin, but alive unto God though Jesus Christ our Lord, as stated in Romans 6:11, which also adds, “And, this new life gives us abundant joy and expectant hope because sin shall not have dominion over us.” We are truly free! Free to live with Christ both now and for all eternity as He's created us to be from the being of the world.
this World is not all there is, there is a World to come. The
Scriptures have many references to eternal life,
such as 1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay
hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called...” Many
think we die and that's the end, but Christianity teaches
that there will be a resurrection, a judgment day,
and that there is eternal life for everyone. The only
difference will be where we will live out eternity. Jesus
didn't just die on the cross, He arose on the 3rd day,
proving that He has conquered death (Romans
6:8-10). The resurrection is true, there
is a life after this one.
The Scriptures teach that there will be two groups of people at God's judgment seat - the sheep and the goats.(Matt 25:31-46) The sheep are those who have believed in Jesus Christ for their salvation, and the goats are everybody else. The goats will be sent to hell, where there will be eternal fire and the gnashing of teeth (Matt 25:31-46).
sense, hell is the absolute separation from
God, which is fitting for the non-believer, because he says
he wants nothing to do with God. While that might not sound
bad to some, we can’t
imagine what the world would be like without God. God holds
this world together, and He prevents man from doing his
worst. We think this world is bad at times now, but without
God's restraining hand (2 Thes 2:6-7), it
would be thousands of times worse. We should be thanking Him
daily for his great Mercy and Grace. In other
words, for the unsaved person this life is the closest thing
to heaven that will be experienced. And, for the Christian,
this life is the closest thing to Hell that will be
experienced. God's allows the rain to fall on the just and
unjust alike and He is over everything
the Cosmos and beyond!
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and ye shall be saved." It is simple, but it is not easy. The Christian life will take lots of Scripture reading, prayer and practice. Salvation is a free gift and yet it will cost you everything. Are you ready to acknowledge that you are a sinner in need of the gift of salvation offered to you through Jesus Christ? Are you ready to repent of your sins, to humble yourself, to give up the throne of your heart to allow Christ to sit there from this day forward; to obey His Word rather than your own ideas of what's good and evil? Are you desiring to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and to have Him as your Lord and Savior? I pray that if you are reading this, that this is God's calling to you, and that you will have ears that hear the Gospel and that you will seek Him and search for Him with all your heart.
Romans 10:10 “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
------Scriptures Referenced Above---------
Heb 9:22: And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Hebrews 10:4 “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
Hebrews 10:11 “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”
Romans 3:25 “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”
1 Cor 15:4: “And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures;” and Colossians 3:1 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Romans 6:8 “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.”
Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:...41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:...46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
2 Thessalonians 2:6
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed
in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth
already work: only he who now letteth will let,
until he be taken out of the way.”