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Do you know that believing in someone means accepting as true what they say, and doing what they ask?



















Do you agree that these are issues that need to be taken seriously?



































































Texts




















Acts 16:31

















John 3:18











1 John 1:9














John 14:15-17












Isaiah 55:8














Mark 10:17

The Way to Eternity

What Must I Do?

3. Believe

BELIEVE

This is the most important of all, and could have been put at the top of the list. It is the most important because it includes all the others. Paul and Silas summed it up when they told the jailer, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved". The other things have been described first in order to show what is involved in believing. It is accepting facts, and it is also having faith. Believing in Jesus means believing who he is, what he did and also what he said. We believe that as the Son of God, Jesus possesses the divine nature. He is one with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, one God, so we worship him as Lord. We believe all that is recorded of his actions, including the miracles of power, healing and deliverance. We believe in his sacrificial and atoning death. Jesus died as the substitute for sinful mankind, so that all who believe may be redeemed and know the remission and forgiveness of their sins. We believe in the resurrection of Jesus, which signifies his triumph over death, and gives us our assurance of eternal life. We believe all that Jesus said, including his promises and his commands. Jesus told us that we must repent, be baptised and baptise others, be born again and receive the Holy Spirit. He also required us to demonstrate the good fruit of repentance by the right living of our lives, and to persevere in this to the very end. We have to believe Jesus and we have to believe in Jesus. Submitting to Jesus means believing that we can become one with him, and by the indwelling Holy Spirit identify with him in his nature and experiences. What Jesus is, we can be; and where Jesus is, we can be in eternity.

When John, the gospel writer says that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life, we need to remember all that is involved in believing.

TO CONCLUDE

There are three points to be made in conclusion. Firstly, these seven points are not events which are self-contained and follow each other in sequence. Mostly they are continuous events which interweave with each other. For example, we may make a major act of repentance, but that is not the end of the matter. Over the years we shall find ourselves sinning again and needing to repent, although we hope less frequently. Also old sins may be recalled, which we have carelessly or wilfully forgotten. These we are still able to confess, confident of God's forgiveness, and the purification from all unrighteousness. Being born again may be a single event. However, the filling with the Spirit is continuous, as we are transformed by degrees into the likeness of Jesus and empowered for service over a lifetime.

The producing of fruit of a changed lifestyle will be on-going, and the very word perseverance means that we go on and on. Our faith and belief in Jesus does not stop growing. We practise his presence more and more, as we learn to listen to him, to love and to obey him. Even our baptism, which is usually a single event, has a continuing effect and has its echoes when we partake of Holy Communion. All these things belong together, and interact and merge with each other as our life becomes an ever closer walk with Christ, and as we identify with him more and more.

The second point to make is that all the seven requirements are important and part of the picture. However, the order in which they occur is less important. We may decide that there must be a logical order for them to happen, or the way it happened to us must be the same for everyone. It may not be so. Let us remember that this is God's work, and his ways are not necessarily ours. Because the requirements are ongoing and inter-related, individual experiences may differ. God sees each of us as a complete picture, and knows the end from the beginning. We must be open and accepting of all that God wants for us, in the time and way he wants.

The final point is to emphasise again that the work of salvation is not a work done by our efforts and determination. It is a done by God and not by us. However, we need to co-operate, even if it is by not obstructing. The answer to the question, "What must I do?" is not, "Nothing". The words of the rich young man are very significant. He said, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" He did not say to earn or deserve eternal life. To inherit is to receive something as a gift, and eternal life is the gift of God. He also said, "What must I do?" and there was an answer that required a response from him. We have to be open to learn and know what God is calling us to. We have to accept and agree with what God wants. We have to submit to his will, and be obedient to all that God requires of us. To be received by God we have to be changed. That change has been initiated by Jesus through his death on the cross, which brings forgiveness of our sins and the gradual elimination of our sinful natures. The way to righteousness, both of character and actions, comes through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the companion on our life's journey. May you desire and experience every blessing as you proceed on that journey.

Following this we have a longer and more in-depth study. It is called "Can you tell me the way?" It is intended for those who are seriously wanting to continue with something of a more detailed nature. Please click the link on the left to access.