What does it mean to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?
Mrs. Oliver B. Greene
The Bible teaches, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). But how does one believe on Jesus? How can we know when we have believed on him? To many, "believing" was easy - but to countless thousands, the words "believe" and "faith" are mysteries hard to understand.
They say, "I have always believed in Jesus. I have always believed the Bible; yet I do not know whether or not I am saved." That little word "faith" stops them - yet it is faith that makes salvation so simple and so easy that man has a hard time accepting it.
Paul said, "But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (II Corinthians 4:3,4).
The devil has blinded the spiritual eyes of mankind to the simplicity of salvation, and put it into the human heart that man must DO something in order to be saved. "Faith" is the stumbling stone. Some interpret faith to mean praying, working, feeling - and countless other things that have to do with man's efforts and emotions.
Perhaps it is because I, too, used to wonder if I really had "saving faith," that I have so much sympathy and patience with those who do not understand. I grant you it is a miserable position to be in.
It is not God's will that we live in uncertainty. It is His will that we know and understand what "believing" means. Therefore I want to tell you, as simply as I know how, what it means to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 1:12 says, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.
You know that Jesus is the Savior, and that according to Romans 3:23 "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." All are born in sin and are therefore on the road to hell. You know that Jesus took your place, He died for you - your substitute, your Savior. You also know that before His death can help you, you must RECEIVE Him of your own free will.
Now, you have acknowledged yourself a sinner and know in your heart that you want to be saved. You know that by receiving Jesus you can be saved, but your problem is HOW to receive Jesus.
You have never seen Him. If you could reach out and literally put your hand in His nail-scarred hand, that would be easy - and you would not hesitate to say, "Yes, Jesus, I will take you as my Savior." But you cannot do that, and some of you do not know how you will know when you have received Him. The most simple way I know to show you how to receive Christ by faith and to know when you are saved is just this:
Romans 10:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." In other words, God says, "I have given you the record of how I love you, and I have sent Jesus into the world to die for you. I have told you that if you will receive My Son I will make you My child. You will not be an adopted child - bit I will give you a new birth; you will be born into My family and become My child (John 1:12,13). I have told you all of this in My Word. Now when you are ready to receive My Son, just call - and I will do the saving!"
Born Again by the Word
I Peter 1:23 says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed (like our first birth), but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." That is what you want, is it not? You want to be born again. Jesus said, "Except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God….Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (John 3:3,7). God's Word says we are born again by the Word of God. Keep that in mind now as we turn to Ephesians 2:8. (We will use several Scripture passages; turn to them and mark them in you Bible.)
Saved by Faith
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). We are saved entirely by grace - nothing added, nothing taken away. Salvation is all of God - God's grace; but we receive it by faith. (We cannot see Jesus nor literally take hold of Him.) Faith is believing. Believing what? Peter says we are born again by the Word; so then - we BELIEVE THE WORD. Our faith is in the Word of God - not in our feelings, our prayers, our life, or anything we can do. Faith is believing God. (Notice, I did not say "believing IN God," but believing God.)
God says, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13). God wants you to BELIEVE Him. When you call on Him and ask Him to save you, and deep in your heart you sincerely tell Him you will receive Jesus as your Savior. God wants you to KNOW you are saved because He said He would save you. That is believing God. He wants you to trust Him to do exactly what he said He would do - and He said He would save you if you called on Him.
Does Salvation Produce Feelings?
If you pray for God to save you and then you say, "I know I am saved because I feel better," you have faith in the wrong thing. Some people have faith in a dream, some in a vision, some in feelings, and others in emotions. But by the authority of God's Word I declare that if you are basing your salvation on any of those things you do not have "saving faith." Saving faith is BELIEVING GOD, instead of believing your feelings.
We are born again by the Word of God. If faith is believing - then we must believe the Word. I am just as sure I am saved, as I am sure the Bible is the Word of God. Now what does this add up to? You hear the record God gives of His Son - that Jesus died for you, and if you will receive Him as your Savior, God will "born" you into the heavenly family and you will be His child. When you have heard God's plan for your redemption, you call on God and ask Him to save you. You believe God and trust Him to save you because He said He would. Then - you know you are saved because God said He would save you.
Have you sincerely asked God to save you? Have you believed God? It does not matter how you FEEL about it - God wants you to believe Him and His Word. Peter says that the Word "liveth and abideth for ever." Your feelings will never change nor alter the Word of God. The Word never changes - but your feelings do. Never put you faith in your feelings - but in the Word of God.
Now let us go back to John 1:12: "As many as received Him…." You know in your own mind and heart that you want to receive Jesus. You know you told God you would receive Jesus, and you know you meant it. Any sane person knows whether or not he wants to receive Jesus, and he knows whether or not he really means it when he asks God to save him. The devil does not make you doubt that part; what he tries to make you doubt and wonder about is whether or not God kept His word.
God Cannot Lie
According to Hebrews 6:18, it is "impossible for God to lie." And Paul wrote to Titus concerning the "hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2).
When you, the very best you know how, receive Jesus as your Savior, that is as far as you can go; the rest is up to God. Are you going to believe God?
Faith is believing.
We are born again "by the Word of God."
So - I am born again by believing God's Word!
He said if I would call, He would save me. I have sincerely called - and I know He saved me because He said He would.
Those who have sincerely called and still do not know whether or not they are saved simply DO NOT BELIEVE GOD. Yes, they believe there IS a God, they believe Jesus died and rose again, they believe God WILL save them - but they are not willing to believe God DOES save them NOW, this taking Him at His Word. They are not willing to believe He saved them because He said He would. They want Him to prove His truth by giving them some emotional experience. They are not willing to believe Him on His Word alone. They insult Him by asking for proof that He told the truth - but "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent; hath He said, and shall He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19).
Nine out of ten people wait for a "feeling" before they are willing to believe God. They ask God to save them, then tarry for Him to give them a feeling - and then they will believe Him. Do you not see how wrong this would be? You would then believe because of "feelings" - not because of God's Word. Those who are not willing to believe God's Word are calling God a liar. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that BELIEVETH NOT God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son" (1John 5:10).
The record God gave was that He would save whosoever called upon Him for salvation. Anyone who calls upon God and then says he does not know whether or not he is saved does not believe God and has made Him a liar.
Oh, how simple salvation is! God wants you to BELIEVE Him. We are saved by Grace through FAITH. Faith is believing. What do we believe? Remember - we are "born again by Word." Believe it because God said it. Do not ask for proof; that is not believing God, and it proves that you do not take Him at His Word.
Some people treat God as though they cannot trust His Word. They want proof (in an unusual feeling, a vision, or dream) that He meant what He said, and that He did what He said He would do. Feelings or no feelings, I know I am saved, praise God, because I know His word is true, and He said He would save me if I called on Him. I know I am saved because God said He would save me! I have God's Word for my salvation - do you?
May God help you to believe Him. "For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Romans 4:3).
Jesus said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: THE WORD THAT I HAVE SPOKEN, THE SAME SHALL JUDGE HIM in the last day' (John 12:48).
Spiritual Growth is Different
I believe many people have difficulty in "believing" because they have salvation and Christian growth confused. We have discussed salvation by faith, but Christian growth is an entirely different matter.
1Peter 2:2 says, "As newborn babes, desire the sincerer milk of the Word, that ye may GROW thereby."
2Peter 3:18 says, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
After we are born into God's family by the Word of God, we grow. In this, many people become confused. They expect to be and want to be mature Christians when the are just newborn babes. The older we grow in grace, the more we will read the Word. The longer we live for Jesus, the more joy we have. Truly - "Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before."
Paul admonished the Ephesians to "be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine…but…grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:14, 15).
Take God at His Word; do not doubt Him any longer. Be saved NOW - and have the assurance of your salvation!
"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God (1John 5:11-13).
THAT SETTLES IT!