Weekly Devotional 3-25-19
Believing in Jesus is a requisite to Spiritual Life
What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Is believing that He was a person of history or a good man have any eternal value? Must a person believe something more about Him? He said that He was the Son of God and made this claim: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). If His claim is true, then a person must act on that claim if he wants to be accepted by God. John the Baptist, another actual person of history, said of Him, “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35). This was a reference to Jesus being the sacrifice that would satisfy God’s judgment against sin. The apostle Paul addressing this in his letter to the Christians of Rome wrote: “6For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.10For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (5:6-10).
Earlier in this letter Paul laid out the case that, “10There is none righteous, no, not one; 11There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God” (Romans3:10-11). Later, he informed his readers that, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). This confirms that every person needs to be reconciled to God. Paul gives the reason for this in chapter five of this same letter. Writing about the entrance of sin into the world and its remedy, he wrote, “12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–13(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.15But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.17For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:12-19).
Many people believe that Jesus was a person in history. They accept that He was a principled man, even a good man and a great role model, but they remain lost in their sin. They will remain in that predicament until they understand that they are sinners separated from Holy God. Their only remedy is believing (trusting) in the finished work of Jesus alone, and then acting on that belief. Jesus Himself testified, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have ever lasting life” (John 3:16). Later in the same chapter He said, “18He who believes in Him (the Son of God) is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light has come into world, and men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. 20For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deed may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:18-21).
The crux of the matter is, as Paul wrote, “9If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). By this Paul meant that Jesus not only lived but that He died and then rose from the dead. He died and rose again for a purpose; the purpose of securing for you and me, and all other persons who would trust in Him, forgiveness of sin and the salvation of our souls. Confessing with our mouth testifies that we believe this and have taken a stand for that belief. Believing and confessing are action words moving us from just believing facts about Jesus, to trusting in Him for our salvation.
All Scripture usage is from the NKJB