The Bible teaches that a person can only be saved from God’s punishment for their sins and made right with God through faith in Jesus. Faith is confidence about what we can’t see, or being convinced that something is true (Hebrews 11:1). In other words, it’s belief.
But you might wonder what exactly you must believe in order to be saved. After all, many people believe that Jesus existed. James 2:19 tells us that even the demons believe God exists, and they recognized Jesus as the Son of God when he was on earth (Luke 4:34). But that doesn’t mean the demons are in good standing with God.
Having faith in Jesus does include trusting Jesus’ word about who he claimed to be. It also includes trusting his Word about what he has done on our behalf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 summarizes what Jesus has done for us saying that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead “according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Believing that Jesus died for your sins actually rests upon a number of other beliefs that are woven throughout Scripture—beliefs about God, humans, Jesus, and life with Jesus.
We hope that like us you can confidently say that you have faith in Jesus. We also want you to understand what that really means. Consider the following truths from the Bible, about God, humans, Jesus, and faith itself. We wrote them in the first person so that as you read them, you can honestly assess whether they are truly what you believe. Read it as though you were asked to sign your name at the bottom.
- There is a Creator God (Genesis 1:1) who made me to know, love, and worship him. Because he made me, I am responsible to him.
- God is holy, perfect, and good (Revelation 4:8; Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 100:5; Nahum 1:7). He cannot dwell with evil (Psalm 5:4). He defines right and wrong and has given us his perfect law. He will not tolerate those who fail to keep his commands, for that would contradict his goodness.
- God is just (Deuteronomy 32:4). He will punish every evil deed with perfect justice (Hebrews 4:13).
- Humans were created good, the crown jewel of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26-28), who have fallen into sin, through the sin of their father, Adam (Romans 5:12-14).
- We’re sinners who choose to live for ourselves rather than yield our lives to God and worship him as he deserves (Romans 1:18-23).
- We’ve fallen short of God’s standard, sinning against him and others by not loving them nor God as we should (Luke 10:27; Romans 3:23).
- We’re on our way to eternal conscious punishment for our sins against God (Romans 1:18; 6:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10).
- We can do nothing to save myself from God’s just punishment or to earn his favor (Romans 3:10; Galatians 2:16; 3:10).
- God sent his Son Jesus, who is truly God, into the world to save me from my sin, because no mere human can make another human right with God (Psalm 49:7,15; Mark 10:45; John 1:1; John 3:16; John 10:30).
- Jesus is fully human, but he never sinned. Instead, he lived a life of perfect obedience to God (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22).
- Jesus died on a cross, willingly being punished by God for my sin. He is the only way for me to be saved from God’s wrath and restored to a right relationship with God (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).
- Jesus rose from the dead, to free me from the power, penalty, and (when he returns) the total presence of my sin (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- Jesus is Lord over heaven and earth. Being my Savior, he is also my Lord, who I belong to and obey (Philippians 2:9-11).
Faith and Repentance
- Salvation becomes mine only by believing in Jesus and receiving his gift. I cannot earn God’s forgiveness for my sins, nor will I ever deserve it. I cannot mend my broken relationship with God myself (Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).
- Jesus’ work, however, can (and did!). I must simply trust in what Jesus has already done on my behalf.
- Trusting Jesus means turning from my sins in repentance. (Repentance simply means changing your mind and turning away from sin.) Repentance is not a work I do, but the other side of the faith that God gifts us (Ephesians 2:8-10).
So, friend, the question is, do you believe these things? Would you sign your name to these things? And have these truths begun to transform you?