Christianity 201

April 17, 2016

Is Your Belief Sufficient to Gain You Everlasting Life?

•••by Russell Young

There are eleven occasions where “everlasting life” is used in the Word of God; most are found in the book of John and teach that it comes through believing in Christ.  “For God gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal [everlasting] life. (John 3:16, NIV)

Since “belief” is the means of gaining everlasting life one should be sure of its meaning.  “Believe” is translated from the Greek pisteuo which is defined as “to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ): -believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary #4100)

Belief in the context of salvation goes beyond understanding that something is true; it means that one has sufficient faith in Christ or is sufficiently persuaded concerning the being and mission of Christ that he is willing to entrust his well-being to the Lord.  One’s conception of “belief” should not be limited to the understanding that his well-being can be assured by absenting himself of all responsibility for it by allowing Christ to do all that is necessary.  He cannot abrogate his obligations unless the Lord has allowed him to do so, and He hasn’t.  The writer of Hebrews has recorded that eternal salvation comes through obedience. (Hebrews 5:9) “Belief” means accepting the Lord’s teachings in the gospel with the commitment to honouring them with his total being…all his mind, soul, and heart. (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27)

In Biblical times “to believe” was synonymous with obedience.  “And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?  Se we can see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.(Hebrews 3:18, 19, NIV) One acts according to what he believes.  He cannot truly believe something and act contrary to that belief; his actions are to be congruent with his beliefs and his belief are to be in accordance with the Word of God.

The most commonly presented view of the means of salvation seems to be mental assent or conviction that Christ will deliver the confessor into His eternal presence if he acknowledges that Christ is God, acknowledges that he is a sinner, and voices repentance for his sin.  To accept the position that salvation comes through mental assent followed by confession of faith without requiring obedience, however, is contrary to much of the teaching of the New Testament.  Belief is to be ‘in the heart” (Romans 10:9) which is the motivator of one’s actions.  Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21, NIV)

Paul reported to King Agrippa that he had preached that people should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. (Acts 26:20)

There are many references to the need to obey Christ throughout the New Testament. (John 10:27, 8:51; Ephesians 5:3-7; Romans 6:16; 8:48:14) The understanding of the need for obedience should give cause for thought because many accept that they will be in the kingdom of heaven without any need for obedience or for doing God’s will.  The book of Hebrews presents: “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” (4:11, NIV)

Whatever one claims “belief” to mean, it must incorporate the necessity for obedience to Christ over one’s lifetime; otherwise his belief will be “in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:2) He is to be lord and He is to be honoured as Lord.  It is through belief that one relents of his own lordship and allows Christ to direct his life in order that his heart might be transformed into that of the likeness of Christ, (Romans 8:29) and become an offering acceptable to the Lord. (Romans 15:16)

Belief does not save anyone since every person believes in something.  What results in everlasting life is what one believes and how he proves that belief by his actions.  Belief produces faith and faith unless it produces works is meaningless. (James 2:17) One’s belief/faith is better measured by his actions than by his profession.  Everlasting life comes through belief that is evidenced through obedience to his Lord and Saviour.

2 Comments »

  1. From what I see this is a lot of Lordship/works salvation. For anyone to be saved someone would have to walk in relationship with Jesus for a long period of time to actually be saved. No one could believe on Jesus and then lose their life the next moment and be saved. Scripture teaches believing on the Lord Jesus will save us. What you are doing is adding to salvation. You take a lot of scripture out of its original context. My question to you is are you sinless? Because you seem to teach that. You say *One acts according to what he believes. He cannot truly believe something and act contrary to that belief; his actions are to be congruent with his beliefs and his belief are to be in accordance with the Word of God.* So when you sin you are acting against what you believe. You also would have to believe that the Corinthians and any other church that had issues weren’t actually saved.

    Comment by Ironnomad787@yahoo.com — May 22, 2018 @ 12:37 am | Reply

    • I am not teaching “works” salvation in the way that it is often presented, but I am teaching obedience salvation as per Hebrews 5:9, Mt 7:21 and many other verses. It needs to be clearly appreciated that there is more than one salvation or instance of being saved. You can search out my writing on this under the title “A source of Confusion: Saved/Salvation and “Eternal” Salvation.” There is a difference between being saved, which is deliverance from an imminent danger and from being eternally saved. That is, the first salvation is from past sins (Heb 9:15, 2 Pet 1:9) and that following is being saved into God’s heavenly kingdom. The first salvation is a gift and cones through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross; the second salvation, which Paul says is to be worked out with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12) comes through obedience to the Spirit and makes the believer an offering acceptable to God. (Rom 15:16) If you read Romans 8:1-4 carefully, you will see that that God has “righteous requirements” that were supposed to be met by the law. We are told that because of their sinful nature people we were weakened so that they could not accomplish those requirements. (Accomplishing them by ourselves would be salvation by works, our own effort.) In verse 4 we are told that the righteous requirements of the law will be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. That is, we are to be led by the Spirit and we are to obey him. (See Rom 8:13-14, Gal 5:18, 6:7-8) We are not under the law of Moses but as Paul stated, we are under “the law of the Spirit of life” (Rom 8:2) or as he states in another place under “Christ’s law .”(1 Cor 9:21). Our eternal salvation is accomplished by Christ as we obey him; he is the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 3:17, 18; Col 1:27; Gal 2:20).
      When considering salvation it’s purpose must be appreciated. People from the time of Adam and Eve had brought “pain” to the heart of God (Gen 6:5-6) Those who are to dwell with him eternally must have transformed hearts, those conformed to the likeness of Christ (Rom 8:29) so that the kingdom that he had envisioned will be realized and his heart will not be pained. Christ/the Holy Spirit as our Lord or sovereign, is able to accomplish our needed righteousness. (Gal 5:5) The work of Christ on the cross not only cleared our past sins but through his victory allowed us freedom from deserved death, the gifting of the Holy Spirit (Gal 3:14) and the New Covenant. (In my experience not many people know what the New Covenant is although it is the covenant of the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:6, 8)
      It is also important to understand the meaning of “belief.” Belief as was stated in the article that you reference requires obedience. This is revealed in Hebrews 3:18-19) Confessors make promises, but believers live them out. Romans 10:9 states “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord and believe…you will be saved.” “Confess” means to ‘acknowledge, promise, or covenant.’ …as in the New Covenant.
      You say that for anyone to be saved, they would have to walk in a relationship with the Lord for a long period of time. Yes, to their death. (Mt 10: 22) but it isn’t as hard as it might seem. We do not knowingly sin unless we break the law of the Spirit of life. If we deliberately continue to sin we have no hope (Heb 10:26). If we sin out of ignorance, Christ as high priest, resolves those sin. If we knowingly sin we are to repent and to confess our sins (1 Jn 1:9) However, we are to be walking in the light (1 Jn 1:7) of the Spirit.
      I know that it is very commonly taught that a person cannot lose their salvation, but the Lord taught that it could happen. (John 8:35- a son is one who is led by the Spirit -Rom 8:14)
      You ask if I am sinless. That is my goal. When I am aware that I have sinned, I confess it. I don’t believe that a single un-confessed sin brings about eternal separation from God. The Lord is in us and knows our heart and commitment. He knows our desires and he is to be loved with all our heart, body, soul, and strength. It is he who holds the keys of death and Hades and having they keys the destiny of earth person is his determination. Although he is merciful, he will not be mocked. There is a life to be lived and a death to be lived. He is preparing the Kingdom for his Father.
      We seem to use the word “saved” with a very narrow meaning…referring to eternal salvation, but care should be taken to apply its meaning as the Word does… to a rescue, protect, or healing. Paul, himself was not positive that he would be resurrected. (Phil 3:10-11) When he spoke of suffering like Christ, he was speaking of suffering to gain victory over sin.(Heb 2:18)
      In your own understanding consider the purpose of judgment that we all must face for things done while in the body. (2 Cor 5:10) Paul taught that more was needed than justification by the blood of Christ to avoid God’s wrath (Rom 5:9-10), which is accomplished through his life (the Spirit).
      You mention that I have taken a lot of Scripture out of original context. I am sorry if that is your understanding, but I have tried hard not to do that. It is my understanding that a lot of Scripture is simply being ignored.
      All I can ask is that the Lord bless you on your truth journey. It may be hard to tell, but I have posted about 110 writings on many issues related to eternal salvation, all fully referenced and carefully considered and prayed through. I am glad that you have challenged my writing, because it means that you are sincere. I trust that you will search out and investigate “truths” that you hear from other sources, as well. I would challenge you to carefully read through 1 John 3. From it you will understand that our life journey is not to be as laid back as many proclaim.
      All the best and God bless,
      Russ Young

      Comment by Russell A. Young — May 22, 2018 @ 11:03 pm | Reply


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