When I was in false religion, I always assumed it was God’s intention or purpose to save all men and women without exception. I was wrongly taught that Christ came, lived, died, and rose again in order for God to save those who “would open their heart’s door,” allowing Him to take up residence in their hearts. Little did I know that such teaching only opened the door for self-righteous, lost, sinners to glory in their work of faith, instead of giving God the glory and honor due only unto Him for saving sinners by His grace. His grace is His unmerited favor based on perfect satisfaction to God’s law and justice by His Son, Jesus Christ.
Lost sinners have a tendency to put a lot of stock in their faith, i.e., their belief. However, the Scriptures make it quite clear how inadequate man’s faith really is: “Lord I believe, HELP THOU MY UNBELIEF” (Mk.2:24). At our best state, even those justified by Christ are forced to confess that if salvation were conditioned on their faith at anytime, they would be forever lost – “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom.7:24)
I recently have seen all these vehicles running around with one word pasted on the back window: ‘B E L I E V E.’ Maybe you have one of them on your car. Tell me, ‘What good does this one word do for some sinner in a state of lostness, one who by nature is at enmity (bitter hatred) against God?’ “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom.8:7). James put it like this: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: THE DEVILS ALSO BELIEVE, and tremble” (James 2:19). It’s not enough to flippantly throw around words like “believe,” or “accept Jesus as your personal savior,” because if “the devils also believe, AND TREMBLE,” what good will belief (faith) do a sinner who is “dead in trespasses and sin”?
Every justified sinner who has been regenerated and converted, brought to a knowledge of what was actually obtained for them in their representative man, the Lord Jesus Christ, knows that we do call on sinners to believe – “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). “And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment” (I Jn.3:23). If you’ll notice, both these passages say “believe ON” Christ, not “believe in” Christ. We call on God’s elect everywhere to rest (rely) ON Christ’s righteousness ALONE as their only hope of salvation – “And this is the record, that God HATH GIVEN (lit., already legally given to us by imputation and representation) to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (I Jn.5:11). I’m not calling on you to believe in order to obtain or gain salvation. I’m calling on you to rest in the FACT that Christ has redeemed and justified His elect by His perfect obedience and bloody sacrifice at Calvary as the sin-bearer. If you do rely on Him and what He has accomplished, it evidences that you are ONE OF GOD’S ELECT. BELIEVE ON the Lord Jesus Christ!