Faith in Christ

What consitutes believing in Christ? And why has God made believing in Christ the sole condition for salvation?

Among other things we learn that "The Son is the radiance of Godís glory and the exact representation of his being." Heb 1:3  "In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form." Col 2:9 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14 "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Fatherís side, has made him known." John 1:18 And so among other things, certainly with respect to character, preferences, convictions, Jesus Christ is just like God the Father. To accept Jesus is to accept the Father. So also Jesus said, "He who hates me hates my Father as well."John 15:23  To believe in Jesus is to accept God's character, preferences and convictions as reflected in Jesus Christ. Or more specifically to believe in Christ is to believe in the person of Christ, the teachings of Christ, and the works of Christ.

I. The Person of Christ

Jesus Christ is essentially God in the flesh. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. ... and the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." John 1-3,14 So we understand that is was through Jesus Christ - prior to his incarnation into flesh - that all things were made.  "By him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." Col 1:16 And not only did he make all things, but also even now "sustaining all things by his powerful word." Heb 1:3b

Jesus Christ is to be honored just as God the Father is honored.

1. because he is the Creator
"Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything." Heb 3:3,4

2. because he is the Judge
"The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him." John 5:23

3. because he is the LORD
Not only is Jesus Christ judge to whom we must all give account, but more significantly he is LORD. And confessing Jesus as the LORD is essential for salvation.  "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." Rom 10:9 Jesus is not simply a lord, but the LORD as spoken of in the Old Testament.

New Testament quote about Jesus
Taken from the Old Testament 
Hebrews 1:10 He also says (about Jesus), "In the beginning, O LORD, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands." Psalm 102:24,25 "So I said: "Do not take me away, O my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations. In the beginning, O LORD, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands"
Romans 14:8-11 If we live, we live to the LORD; and if we die, we die to the LORD. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the LORD. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the LORD of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the LORD, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'" Isaiah 45:21b-23 There is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.
Acts 2:21 "'In the last days', God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit on all people ... And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.'
Acts 2:25 David said about him (Jesus): "I saw the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
Acts 2:36 Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both LORD and Christ.
Joel 2:27-32 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. 'And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people ... And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls. 
Romans 10:9 That 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 10:12,13 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-- the same LORD is LORD of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved."
2Thessalonians 2:1,2 Concerning the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the LORD has already come. Joel 2:27, 31,32 Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed ... The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved;
Acts 2:25 David said about him (Jesus):"I saw the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:1-2,8 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the LORD, "You are my LORD; apart from you I have no good thing." ... I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
John 12:40,41 "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them."(Isaiah 6:10) Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him. Prior to Isaiah 6:10 this is what Isaiah saw in Isaiah 6:1-3In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." 

Thus a significant aspect of believing in Jesus is accepting him as LORD. But what does it mean to accept him as LORD? Some would say that it just means to accept his deity. But LORD is just not simply referring to his deity. The LORD God is different than many people's concept God. For many have a non-LORD God concept of God in which God is simply viewed as a friend, or divine vending machine, but whom does not command you, one who doesn't demand submission, repentance, obedience, but just wants you to seek your own pleasures and do whatever you want to do. That "God" is a false God. It is a view of God counter to that of the LORD God.

Jesus asked, "Why do you call me, ĎLord, Lord,í and do not do what I say?" Luke 6:46 And Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, ĎLord, Lord,í will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matt 7:21

To be saved a person must acknowledge Jesus as LORD with the intention of doing what he said. Thus what constitutes "faith in Christ" is not simply believing particular facts about Christ, but also intending to act upon them.

II. The Works of Christ

Faith in his blood - Christ's atoning work on the cross.
"God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood." Rom 3:25  Christ payed for our sins, satisfying God's judicial nature, so that forgiveness could be freely granted. "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God."1Peter 3:18

Faith in his resurrection
"That 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." Rom 10:9

These along with the miracles Christ performed constitute the bulk of Christ's works in the gospels. And when the gospel is preached in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts, these are always included, being spoken of as actual historical events. To reject the historical and physical nature of these events is to reject Christ. For example Muslims claim to "believe in Christ", but reject the historical fact of Christ's death on the cross as well as his resurrection from the dead. This along with fact that they reject Jesus as the Son of God place them clearly outside saving faith. So also there are liberal theologians that view the miracles of Christ - even his resurrection - as mere myth. They are outside the faith. Christ himself said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." Luke 9:22 and his apostle, "What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time." 1Cor 15:3-6

III. The Teachings of Christ

The teachings of Christ are quite extensive, incorporating not only what he said during his incarnation into human flesh, but also what he spoke as the LORD in the Old Testament, and again in the last book in the Bible  Jesus speaks directly. And significantly by proxy through his apostles Jesus speaks through the New Testament letters. Jesus commissioned the apostles to preach and teach, giving them the Holy Spirit of whom he said, "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth."John 16:13 And "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." John 14:26 The apostle John writes, "We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us." 1John 4:6  And Paul, "If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lordís command." 1Cor 14:37 And the apostle Peter affirms Paul's words as scripture saying, "Bear in mind that our Lordís patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.  He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 1Peter 3:15,16

I bring up the apostles writings, because just as there are those who claim to believe in God but reject Jesus, so also there are those who claim to believe in Jesus but reject the apostles writings. Such people do not actually believe in Jesus. Jesus said to his apostles, "He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." Luke 10:16

This brings up a more general issue concerning what constitutes faith in Christ with regards to the teachings of Christ. Much as it can be debated the sense and application of Jesus' teachings throughout the Bible, can one believe in Christ and yet blatantly disagree with some small percentage of his teachings? Is it acceptable to say that one can believe 99% of what Jesus says, but completely disagree with Christ on 1% of his teaching? NO! The reason why is first of all it can be accurately stated that such a person does not believe what Jesus says, and thus such a person does not believe in Jesus. Secondly that such a person believes that Jesus is fallible, not repesenting God, and thus such a person does not believe in Jesus as infallible. Thirdly because they refuse to obey what Jesus said, they reject him as LORD.

Discussion Questions

What does it mean to believe in Jesus?
Why do you suppose God made believing in Jesus the sole condition for salvation?
Who is Jesus Christ?
Can his deity be proven from scripture?
What does Jesus' Lordship imply about his relationship with us?
What is the significance of Jesus' miracles? And in particular of his resurrection from the dead?
What if a person agrees with most of what Jesus says, but disagrees on a few points?


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015