If You Believe It, You Have
By Jack Kelley
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life John 3:16. Over and over the Pharisees and teachers of the Law had told the people how God expected them to live, and a lot of it was down right impossible. So one day they asked Jesus point blank, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” John 6:28. It was a perfect opportunity for the Lord to specify every detail of God’s “do list” for humanity, His non-negotiable standards for admittance into His Kingdom. Would He tell them to get out pen and paper and be ready to write while He repeated the 10 commandments, or the 613 laws of the Torah? How about the Sermon on the Mount? How would He answer humanity’s central question concerning our responsibility to our Creator?
“The work of God is this,” He replied, “To believe In the One He has sent.” John 6:29 That’s it! That’s all He said. Believe in the One He has sent. Entrust your eternal destiny to the completed work done on your behalf by God’s Son.
Throughout the New Testament this unmistakably clear answer would be repeated.Here are a few examples;
For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast. Ephe. 2:8-9
If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved. Romans 10:9
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as gold or silver that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect. Through Him you believe in God, Who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, so your faith and hope are in God. 1 Peter 1:18-19, 21
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7
How much clearer can it be? Our faith has saved us, and even that was a gift from God. He gave us the faith to be saved without cost or condition. Maintaining that faith is the only thing we have to do. Indeed it’s the only thing we can do, because holding on to our faith is the only effort we can exert that isn’t counted as work (Romans 4:4-5). Anything else we do in a misguided effort to improve or perfect our position before Him is religious work and devalues the incredible price He paid so that we could have it for free. It shows Him that we don’t think He finished the job.
So it’s not what you do that matters, so much as what you believe. The work that God requires is that you will hold on to the faith you’ve been given, to nurture it and to protect it from the hollow and deceptive philosophy that depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Col. 2:8) These deceptive philosophies fall into two categories I call Gospel Plus and Gospel Minus. Remember, they all claim to be Christian.