What Must We Believe To Be Saved?

The Bible is clear that salvation is by faith alone, there is no work that we can or must do to receive it (Eph 2:8-9). One need only believe in order to be saved, but what is it that we must believe? Paul states the simple gospel message in 1 Corinthians 15.

1 Cor 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

But will believing that sentence is true really save us? Do we simply agree that this man named Jesus did these things? As I was reading my Bible the other day, this verse stood out to me. What stood out most was the word and in the sentence.

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.

We are saved by faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. But what is faith? I think this verse helps to define that very thing. The word because in this sentence is telling us why it is impossible to please God without faith. If you come to God for salvation you must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Faith means we not only believe God is real but we must also believe in what he has promised. Faith will cause a person to earnestly seek God, not merely believe in his existence. Do you realize that even the demons believe the 'facts' about God? But their belief causes them to tremble rather than rejoice because belief without faith will lead to death not life.

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.

Saying that you believe Jesus lived, died, and rose again will not get you to heaven if you do not truly believe in him. Hebrews chapter eleven is often referred to as the “hall of faith” for in it we learn about many of the great Old Testament saints and how they demonstrated their faith. They all believed the promise of God even though they never got to see it come to completion.

Heb 11:13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.

The actions of each person in this chapter are recorded as having been acted in faith. Noah did not merely believe God when he said it would rain, but by faith, “in holy fear built an ark to save his family.” (v7) Abraham not only believed he would inherit the land God gave him but, in faith, “obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (v8) “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.” (v17) By faith Moses “left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger.” (v27) “By faith the people passed through the Red Sea.” (v29) And the list goes on throughout the chapter. Every time someone believed and had faith it was evident in their actions. Their faith caused them to seek God so earnestly that they obeyed, even when it did not make sense and even when they did not know where they were going or what would happen. Faith caused them to do more than believe what God said, it caused them to “trust” him.

A famous passage used in witnessing to tell someone what they must do to be saved is Romans 10:9-10.

Rom 10:9That if you confess 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 confess and are saved.

Unfortunately many people miss the point because they do not realize what it means to believe in their heart. They confess with their mouth, but believe with their head and not their heart. That is not salvation, for to be saved we must not only agree to the facts, but put our trust in God! The context of Romans 10, however, helps to make it crystal clear. We only need to read the very next verse to better understand this.

Romans 10:11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

We must trust the Lord Jesus, not merely believe in His existence. As it says further in this passage:

Rom 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Faith does not come from knowing the history of Christ it comes from hearing the message through His Word. In order to believe in Jesus we must know who he is and what he says. Anyone who professes to know Jesus but does not know His Word is probably believing in a 'different' Jesus. The Bible warns us of that possibility. Only a belief in which you put your trust in the Jesus taught in the Bible will save you. Passage after passage tell us to “believe in” Jesus, including John 3:16. Let us not miss the significance of those two words together.

Having faith means to trust in God so much that you earnestly seek him and believe in all that he promised.

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.

Without faith it is impossible to please God, but with faith in Him we do not have to grow weary and lose heart! After giving us so many examples of those who were commended for their faith, the next chapter tells us what that knowledge should do to encourage us.

Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Do you have faith in Jesus or merely believe in His existence? It is our prayer that your faith be placed in the Lord Jesus. A faith which is grounded upon the truths set out in God's Holy Word and causes you to earnestly seek him by reading and studying his word everyday. Remember, without that faith, it is impossible to please Him.

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