Hanging out with Christians on social media can be a trip sometimes. Whether in Facebook groups or just in the comments on ministry posts, you can encounter many different viewpoints among people who are all supposed to be in one accord. This week, two people on two different sites stated definitively that giving one’s life to the Lord was unnecessary for salvation. Both insisted that the only requirement was a profession of faith. “Yes, I believe that Jesus died for my sins.” Done. Anything past that, they both cried, was adding to the finished work of the cross. They called it works salvation (also called Lordship Salvation) and heresy. But what these guys are missing is what the Bible says about what it means to believe.
Belief Is More Than a Mental Assent
James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” It’s one thing to acknowledge with your head that something is true. It is quite another thing to believe it with your life. James 2:14-17 says, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” The point here is that WHEN you believe something, you act a certain way because of that belief. It’s the evidence, or fruit, that you believe it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” But, the very next verse qualifies the statement. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” It’s not our works that save us. But, the good works we do have been prepared for us ahead of time by God. We walk in them, meaning that we do good works, because we believe that He has work for us to do.
Belief Means Living Like You Have a God
You can say you believe that a chair will hold your weight. But, if you are unwilling to sit on the chair, your actions belie your so-called beliefs. If you say you believe that there is one God who sent His Son to die for your sins so you can live, you have to live like you believe it, or your words are empty. Romans 1:18-20 says that deep down everybody knows that there is a God because they have been shown it, and there is no excuse. But everybody who KNOWS it doesn’t live like it. Romans 1:21 says, “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Think about it. If you say you believe there is a God, a real God, is it still okay to go about living your life like everybody else who says there isn’t? Wouldn’t you talk differently if you believed Matthew 12:36-37? (“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”) If you truly believed, wouldn’t you think differently like it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5? (“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”)
Wouldn’t your priorities be different if you believed 1 John 2:15? (“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”) Wouldn’t you act differently if you believed Matthew 5:44? (“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”)
Belief Means Worshiping God as God
Finally, wouldn’t you worship differently if you truly BELIEVED that there really was an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present God with real feelings and desires? After all, would a real God (who is sovereign and not just a creation of our imaginations) tolerate worship of anything else other than Him? Right now we live in a world that is in the hands of the evil one. Everything competes for our worship. Idols of materialism and pride/self-love wink at us from every advertisement. Music and contemporary culture pound those ideals into our brains with every picture, song, article, and post.
Can we say we believe in God but never take time to read the Book He wrote to us? Can we worship God for an hour on Sunday but live for the world and ourselves the rest of the week? Or does worship mean giving our lives to the one who gave His life for us? In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, we read, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” We are not our own. He is our Lord and Master.
Belief Means Giving Our Lives to Him
Verse after verse of the New Testament assures us that more of us is required than nodding our heads. We must give our lives to Him if we believe that He is who He says He is.
- Luke 9:23 – “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
- Matthew 10:38 – “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”
- Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
- Galatians 5:24 – “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
- Luke 14:23 – “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”
- Luke 6:46 – “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”
Belief Means More Than Just Saying “Lord, Lord”
Some of the scariest verses in the entire New Testament are found in Matthew 7:21-23. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
These verses are talking about people who think they are Christians. They have done works as Christians, but they did not have a relationship with God. He doesn’t KNOW them. They didn’t do the will of His Father. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3, we read, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification…” From the Strong’s Concordance the word “sanctification” is ἁγιασμός in Greek, (pronounced hag-ee-as-mos). It means “the process of making or becoming holy, set apart.” We must be set apart for the Master’s purposes.
God Gives His Holy Spirit To Those Who Believe
When you believe that God is who He says He is, you will commit your life to Him, and He will give you His Holy Spirit. You will be born again. John 3:5-6 says, “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Romans 8:9 says, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” When you have the Spirit of God, you have a relationship with Him. You hear Him speak to you, and you do your best to obey. John 10:27-28 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
From Lukewarm to Red Hot
This subject is of special importance to me, and it’s the basis for my blogging ministry. My whole life I called myself a Christian and believed that I was one. I went to church every week, prayed every morning and night, and always listened to Contemporary Christian music. I had said the prayer of salvation as a kid. In fact, I said it again a few more times over the years because I never felt changed. Then one day when I was 41, God woke me up to the times we are living in (the end times). He also brought to my attention one very important verse from Revelation 3:16: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
All those years, I believed with my head, but I was still living for myself. I was the lord of my own life. Once I realized that His Word was true and He would not accept me in this condition, I decided to live my life like I really believed that everything the Bible says is true. From the moment I made that decision, He gave me His precious Holy Spirit. Since then, I have never been the same. I’m a new creation with a desire to worship Him with my entire life. He PUT the desire to live for Him inside me, and my life is now focused on the Lord Jesus Christ as my heart’s greatest desire. If you would like to watch my testimony video, you can find that here.
Lordship salvation is controversial in some Christian circles. Some people don’t want to think that there is any requirement past acknowledging that Jesus died for our sins. After all, John 3:16 says that “whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life,” and it’s absolutely true. When we believe with our hearts, we are saved. But believing is more than agreeing that something is right. It means LIVING the truth of the thing we believe. If God really is God, He deserves that we give Him our everything. And if His Word is true, He will accept nothing less.
Want to hear more about Lordship Salvation? Check out Got Questions. Interested in more articles about testimonies? Check out A Testimony of Healing After a Prayer in Faith. Or, for something a little different, try my tract called Plugged In. It’s a symbolic short story. It illustrates the concept that Christianity is the only way, and only those who do it God’s way will make it to heaven.