John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”

There is much confusion among people what it means to believe in Jesus. Some say you just consent with your mind to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God or that He died for your sins. A good way to explain this is through an example. Think of those who voted for Donald Trump for President in the recent election, they were believing in their hearts that Donald Trump would make America great again and that he would follow through on his word on healthcare, abortion, economy, etc. True belief starts in the heart, which represents the core of who you are: our desires, our wisdom, our goals, what we treasure.

Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”

So what did Jesus come to earth for? What was the mission of Jesus? Let’s take a look at what the word says:

Matthew 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

1 John 3:8 “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

1 Timothy 1:15 “That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”

It is plain from these verses that Jesus came on a rescue mission to save people from a terrible condition that they are in, where Jesus refer to as being “lost.” Being lost is a horrible place to be in, because you are blind to your own condition. You are a slave of sin, and headed down a path were you stand condemned in the eyes of God.  Jesus came as a representative for man, where He was 100 % God and 100% Man while he walked this earth. The Man side of Jesus paid for the consequence of your sin. The judgment of God fell upon Jesus on the cross, where he was separated from God and Jesus cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” People are living a God forsaking lifestyle, where if they die in that condition, they will be forsaken by God. People need to deal with the penalty of their sins in this life. Jesus gave a parallel to this when He was talking with Nicodemus in John 3, about the Israelites in the wilderness who received a deadly disease due to disobeying the Lord. After the people humbled themselves and cried out to the Lord, He gave them a way out, which entailed the people to look at a serpent on a pole that Moses lifted up. This incident was just a foreshadow of what Jesus had accomplished when he came to earth. So is it just a simple belief of what Jesus did on the cross for me to gain salvation? Salvation does not stop at the death of Jesus on the cross, but the resurrection of Jesus is the glorious news of the Gospel. Have you ever heard the saying, “Jesus lives in me.” What people are really saying is the Spirit of Christ lives in my spirit. The life of God through the Holy Spirit now lives in my spirit.

Romans 6:5 “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.” 

People just stop at the Jesus taking away our sins through death, but their is a glorious reality of a whole new life available to every person. Paul referred to this as walking in the newness of life (Romans 6:4). Jesus in Matthew 6, is contrasting between living for the things of the world to the things of the kingdom of heaven. When you are living for the things of the world you are doing your own will that is separate from the will of God. Many are deluded in thinking that the will of God is the “American dream”, for me to be rich, have a respectable job, have a nice house, and have tons of fun in this world. Let me first point out, that I am not against money, jobs, houses, and having fun, but the context of these passages is serving them and worshiping as your god. Whatever you love that you will serve. Turning to 1 John 2 15 – 17, we see you can’t do the will of God if you are loving the world. They are polar opposites of each other.

2 John 2:16,17 “For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

The world will look attractive, but it is only fools gold. The word of God refers to serving the world as “deceitful lusts.” Solomon said it is like chasing after the wind. Not only does serving the world in sin lead to spiritual death, but everything here in the world is just temporal. Things of this world come and go, but he who does the will of God will abide forever. A couple of passages later in Matthew 6, Jesus talks about how you can’t serve two masters, you will either hate the one and love the other. There are a couple of other instances we see the word “master” used in the New Testament, but predominately the word “Lord” is used instead. Listen to what Paul says in the book of Romans:

Romans 10:9,10 “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

There is much talk to today about saying a sinner’s prayer for salvation. Again, not against saying a sincere prayer from the heart to Jesus will not result in salvation, but many use the above passage as a formula for salvation. Just repeating these words above will not save you. Salvation is a work from the Holy Spirit that needs to be received by men.

John 1:12,13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Here we see that Jesus is the one who deems one the right to become a child of God. A person is born into the family of God not by a natural birth, like if your come from a Jewish descent or through the power of your strength or through the power of another man, but only from God alone. Here a spiritual birth happens in the heart that is born of the Spirit, which is known as being born again. Sad to say there are many false converts in churches today, who have never become born again. I am a former false convert, so I know what it is like to have a form of godliness but deny the power to deliver one from sin (2 Timothy 2:5). I might of repeated a sinner’s prayer to God many times after I sinned, but did not become born again, because I was unwilling to repent of my sins. Having a heart of repentance is the first condition for salvation. Repentance is properly defined as turning around or even to change your mind. “About turn” is a military command that means to turn around from the way you were going to the completely opposite direction. This is similar for salvation, where you turn around from your own selfish will to the will of God. Your selfish will is filled with bitterness, greed, lust, anger, lying, etc. You need to make a decision in your heart to repent of these sins, and ask Jesus to forgive you of them.

sins

The first words that were uttered from the mouth of Jesus after He was baptized was Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17). Jesus told people that unless they repent they would perish in their sins (Luke 13:3). Going through the book of Acts you will find repentance is the starting point for salvation. Paul told the Ephesian Elders that he told people to have repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). Remember repentance is not a self-reform act, but an attitude of the heart, where you want to follow Jesus now. You want to do the will of God with your life. Going back to the verse in Romans, we see an important part was confessing the Lord Jesus. Meaning, Jesus is Lord over every area of my life. He is now the commander of my life. See when you make Jesus Lord over all life, you are placing your faith in Him to not only save you from sin, but lead you through life.  When we believe from our hearts what Jesus did on the cross, by shedding His blood for the forgiveness of sin (Ephesians 1:7), He will be faithful in saving us.

Romans 10:13 “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”

This is the meaning of the name of Jesus, “the Lord is salvation.” When we believe in His name, we are saying, “Lord save me from my sin.” The Lord will be faithful in staying true to His word. He will regenerate your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. That old, carnal, sin loving heart is replaced with a heart that loves Jesus and the thing of God. The love of God will be shed abroad in your heart (Romans 5:5). Your walk with the Lord has just began.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17