BELIEVING MEANS RESOLVING TO BELIEVE JESUS’S IDENTITY
As Jesus says several times in John, “Look at my work and you will know whether I am telling the truth or not.” The issue isn’t Jesus’ identity, but our honesty, and desire to honor God. The truth about Jesus resonates in the hearts of those seeking to find God and know him. His actions and his words call us to believe him. If we don’t believe him, we must reject or belittle him. There is no middle ground. We must look at the way he treated people, the things he taught, the way he lived his life, and the great works he did and then decide: Is this the work of a mad man or is he God’s Messiah? Is he the Son of God come in human flesh?
BELIEVING MEANS ACTION
Many well-intentioned yet mistaken teachers have said that nothing else is required along with belief in Jesus. Their reasoning is that if any works are involved, a person is trying to earn his salvation—something that is impossible to do (Galatians 2:16). Indeed, it is by grace —God’s favor toward us, including His gift of undeserved, unearned pardon—that we are saved (2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 2:5, 8).
But if no works are involved, does this mean one who believes that God exists and that Jesus is His Son and who is willing to receive all God’s promises doesn’t need to do anything?
Does this mean such an individual can live a life of sexual immorality, lying, stealing, killing—breaking every commandment of God—and still receive eternal life?
Human beings have long wrestled with understanding the relationship between believing in Jesus and good works. Human opinions and interpretations abound.
Let’s lay these aside and see how Jesus and the writers of the New Testament explain what believing in Jesus means.