The most important thing anyone can consider is what they believe concerning God and faith. Our entire existence on this planet is just an opportunity to discover God and establish faith in Him. It is the most important thing we can do. 1 Peter 7 speaks of "faith more precious than gold". If we could for a second glimpse at heaven, we would be absolutely certain of how right Peter was. Because even if we had all the gold on planet earth God would not for a second be impressed nor would He allow us to buy a single day in heaven. If we had the strength of Samson, the wisdom of Solomon, the long life of Methuselah and worked every second doing good deeds we could not earn eternal life. It is only given to those who have real faith in Jesus Christ.
In this article I present 4 topics:
1. Why Christians believe in Jesus.
2. What Jesus taught.
3. Why we believe in the Bible
4 Why we believe in God.
Each topic is presented in the form of a memorable acronym.
WHY I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST
So what makes Christians believe in Jesus Christ? Let's take a look at a typical day in Christ's life.
Imagine a fair size hill. Christ would have been near the top. This location would have allowed him the best projection of His voice. There were no sound systems, so speaking to large crowds would have been real work. Large comfortable buildings just would not have been available to Him. At times the weather would have not helped the situation. His ministry was not easy. Mark 1 tells us He often had to stay in lonely remote places because He attracted such large crowds.
Speaking of large crowds. Mark tells us they came from everywhere. I think some people walked for weeks to get to Jesus. Entire towns and cities came out to see Him. All of the gospel writers spoke of huge crowds or multitudes of people On one event 4000 people on another 5000 people were there. If there were thousands of common people there would have been hundreds of the clergy there. The scribes (the book writers) and the teachers of the law who were the Pharisees loved the front row seats and would have easily made their way through the crowds to be right in front of Jesus. They would have watched His every move and heard every word. The soldiers would have been there too - making sure no talk of revolution took place. The thieves would have come; seeking to find opportunities for evil with so many people.
The big question is why did so many people come out to see Jesus? If He was just a carpenter with some interesting sayings, He would have never attracted such large groups. Even His own disciples didn't understand what He was saying. They faithfully took notes but really didn't understand much of what they were hearing and writing at the time. The average people were mainly farmers, fishermen, tradesmen, everyday working people - they would not have gone to so much trouble to get to Christ just to hear interesting stories or new philosophies. Why did they come? Yet they did. Week after week, year after year, for over three years thousands and thousands of people came to Jesus.
Poor people traveling significant distances may have depleted all their savings to get there. There was no high way patrol and robbers often waited along the roads to kill and steal from travelers. Speaking of no highway patrol there were no modern highways, no mass transportation, automobiles, airplanes, or convenient motels. Travel would have been very costly, difficult, slow, and dangerous. Most people would have not owned horses; travel would have meant walking endless miles and wilderness camping. So why did these great crowds come?
After they arrived to the area they would have had to wait and search for Jesus. He often traveled over 20 miles in a single day. No news media or signage would have assisted in finding Him. When people finally did find Him there were no comfortable seats, no inspiring music, no air conditioning, no concessions, no shade or protection from rain not even port-a-potties. So really why did they come? What real practical reason would there have been for so many to have come from so far?
They came because of the miracles. The miracles were amazingly, awesomely, instantly, freely, totally, completely, powerfully, lastingly real! Jesus could heal blindness, deafness, or lameness with just a word or touch. People would be healed just by touching His clothing. The rich and common people came with their need of healing or bringing sons, daughters, or friends in desperate need. The Bible says He healed all their diseases; it says everyone was totally amazed! There was no surgery, no painful treatments, no expensive medicine, no big bills - just total instantaneous, complete, lasting healing!
At times as many as ten men with leprosy would be healed at once. Leprosy then was in many ways worse than aids is now. People who got it were without hope of any medical help. They were instantly shunned and ejected from home and community. Leprosy cause bad smell, claw like hands until fingers dropped off, the face developed a cat like appearance. Slow death was a certainty. People feared leprosy. The Pharisees would throw rocks at them. They were supposed to cry "Unclean" so others could stay away from them. But Jesus wasn't afraid to touch them and when He did they were healed instantly and completely. Only God could have done what Jesus did! Only God would have had the power that Jesus had!
The mircles are just the first reason why we believe in Jesus. I recently taught a class on this topic, and I gave my students an easy-to-remember acrostic based on the title MESSIAH that will help you remember the reasons why we believe in Jesus.
Who was in front of the crowd every time Jesus performed a miracle? No doubt the skeptical scribes and Pharisees daily pushed their way to the front of the crowd. If they had seen even the remotest possibility that Christs miracles were not genuine or did not last, they would have been written those accounts of fraud, and their descendants would cite them even to this very day. But not one word was said or could be said. These religious leaders, who staunchly opposed Jesus, no doubt checked every miracle or healing completely. They questioned family members and neighbors (John 9). Not a single small detail escaped their notice. Certainly they returned even years later to see if the healing actually lasted. They could not refute the reality of the miracles. So they attacked the source of Jesus power, claiming that Jesus healed by the power of Satan instead of the power of God. However, even this attack testified to the reality of the miracles. The New Testament records over forty miracles, such as healing blindness, lameness, and leprosy, and raising the dead.
Originally, I told the class that this E was for evergreen, because the teachings of Jesus are like timeless evergreens. People never seem to grow tired of seeing some TV programs, such as Andy Griffith and Gun Smoke, and so the TV industry refers to them as evergreens, like the trees whose leaves never change or die with the seasons. The teachings of Jesus are timeless evergreens. They are as relevant today as they were a thousand years ago. That is a miracle. Isnt it amazing that we still teach our children the truths of Jesus?
But Ive changed the word to eternal, which is more to the point. Thousands of years after Jesus first spoke them, the truths Jesus taught are just as important in our modern era as they have ever been. And if our world should continue for another thousand years, the words of Jesus will continue to shape and instruct His church, and His teachings will still be relevant and loved. His eternal truth reminds me of what He said: My words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35).
One of the major reasons to believe in Jesus is that He fulfilled the prophecies taught for hundreds of years concerning the coming Messiah. Here are just a few:
Born of a virgin: Isaiah 7:14; Genesis 3:15
Seed of Abraham: Genesis 12:1-2; Genesis 22:18
Tribe of Judah: Genesis 49:10
House of David: 2 Samuel 7:12
Born in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2
Ministry of miracles: Isaiah 35:5
Rejected by His own people: Psalm 118:22
Humiliating death: Psalm 22; Isaiah 53
Pierced His hands and feet: Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:57
Crucified with thieves: Isaiah 53:12
Buried in a rich mans tomb: Isaiah 53:9
Lots were cast for His garments: Psalm 22
Rose from the dead: Psalm 2:7
Ascended into heaven: Psalm 68:18
Sits at the right hand of God: Psalm 110:1
Jesus foretold His own crucifixion, as well as His resurrection from death after three days. And one day soon, He will fulfill many of His other prophecies in Matthew 24.
The Passion Week was a huge emotional roller coaster for the disciples. What excitement they felt as Jesus entered Jerusalem amid the crowds shouting Hosanna! The excitement continued for days in the festive environment of the Passover, but then Thursday night, the mood changed to one of seriousness at the Last Supper. Later that night, the disciples changed from a state of complete exhaustion to feeling total horror as hundreds of torches blazed in the night, accompanied by the rhythmic sound of large numbers of marching Roman soldiers. Absolute terror gripped their hearts, and they ran for their lives! Later, they quietly sneaked back. Then, watching from a safe distance, they saw their leader, friend, and the embodiment of their hopes brutalized by what seemed to be the very demons of hell. Friday must have been a surreal horror show: everything was gone. Three years of following had all come to nothing. Immeasurable grief and tears flooded their souls. Complete hopelessness and despair drowned their hearts. All was gone! All was lost! The future was destroyed! Sunday morning, another complete change overtook the disciples' souls. What was this? They were dancing, smiling, and laughing. And what were they singing and shouting? HE HAS RISEN! HE HAS RISEN! HE HAS RISEN! HE HAS RISEN! HE HAS RISEN! HE HAS RISEN!
Jesus Christ is the most powerful and influential man that has ever lived. Not one world leader, scientist, or doctor has had the impact on the world that Jesus has had. Think of the huge numbers of hospitals and universities that began because Christian men and women wanted to bring the light and life of Jesus to others. Think of your own life. Think of how different you were ten, twenty, or thirty years ago and what Jesus Christ has done in your life since then. Isnt it a wonder how Jesus has changed drugs and alcohol into furniture and food for families? I look at my own life, and I am so thankful for a Christian mom and dad who, three times a week, took me to church and Sunday school. I have no doubt that the teachings of Jesus have saved me from ever having been involved with any kind of substance abuse or being imprisoned. The impact of Jesus Christ on my own life is immeasurable. I cannot even start to think of where I might be today if I had not met Jesus Christ. Thank You, Lord Jesus!
The apostles and early church suffered great persecution. They lost their homes and jobs. They were beaten, threatened, imprisoned, and beheaded, yet still they would not remain quiet! Why? Were they getting rich from their endurance? Hardly. What drove them to the ends of the earth? Why not give up and go back home? The answer is Someone who said, I am the truth. These early Christians knew that the only hope for a corrupt, suffering world was a Man who said, I am the way. These men knew that the only thing that has ever made sense in this mad, mad world is the Man who said, I am the life (John 14:6). They knew that the only hope for healing souls filled with the cancer of hatred, greed, lust, and evil was the Great Physician: Jesus Christ!
Someone once noted that history is really "His story." No credible scholar anywhere would even try to question whether Jesus really lived. That question would be equivalent to a scientist attacking the reality of the sun being hot and bright.
However, the real story of Jesus is the gospel. The central message Jesus taught was the gospel. That message alone is a powerful reason to believe in Jesus, for no other teacher spoke any other message like it anywhere before or after. Continue reading for a summary of what Jesus taught, using an acrostic based on the word gospel.
Jesus is God, whose word is final, who does not change, and who cannot lie.
Jesus is not willing that any should perish.
Jesus is the living water, our daily bread, and the light of life.
What did Jesus teach? The gospel message originated in the heart of God, and He first presented it to humanity through Jesus Christ. We can use the word gospel as an acronym to remember the major points of Christ's teaching.
What did Jesus teach?
Good News! God loves you! "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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16
Only: Jesus is the only way to heaven. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". John 14 "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death". Prov 14 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways" Isa 55:8
Sin: Jesus taught that mankind has a heart problem far worse than any disease we could imagine It is a spiritual disease called sin and it will lead to God's rejection of us if not cured. Jesus taught "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander". Matt 15:19 "All have sinned and ..." Rom 3:16 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". Rom 6:23 NIV
Providence:. God is absolutely holy He cannot allow anyone who is not also holy into heaven. "Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart". Psa 24 "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matt 5:20 "Who then can be saved? Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible". "my blood . is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins". Matt 26:28
Eternal "…whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16 "to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…." John 8:12 NIV See Rev 3:20
Life "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
I believe in Jesus because Jesus:
Why do we believe in God?
Yahweh is the English rendering of the Hebrew vocalization of the unpronounceable name of God. Yahweh makes a good acronym to remember the apologetic points of why we believe in God.
Y: Yeshua is the original Hebrew name for Jesus. If God does not exist, how can anyone explain Jesus? How can we explain the miracles, prophecies, resurrection, and the gospel message? Jesus is not only God revealed but also Gods love proven. Christ gives us proof of immortality and Gods power. Jesus points us to faith in God. Jesus Christ is a huge reason to believe in the existence of God.
A: Anthropological argument. Almost everyone hates evil, but how do we instinctively know (across racial, economic, and cultural barriers) what is good or evil? How do we all know evil when we see it? How do we know that injustice, prejudice, murder, rape, and robbery are wrong? We dont need a law degree to mark these acts as evil; we instinctively and universally know right from wrong. And only because God created us and has given everyone this knowledge do we all share it. That consensus is an evidence for Gods existence.
Wherever men have gone in the world, they have found certain innate ideas the human heart and mind. They do not arise from experience; they are there, inbred What are they? There is everywhere a belief in God. There is everywhere a belief in right and wrong. There is a belief in cause and effect. There is a belief in time and space. And there is universally found a belief in immortality.
How can man, as a living, moral, intelligent being, explain and understand himself and his fellows apart from a living, moral, intelligent God?
H: Heaven. People almost instinctively believe in heaven. It is a universal hope, a universal longing. As such it is also an evidence of the existence of God. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV).
But heaven without God would not be heaven.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:1-4 NIV, emphasis mine).
W: watchmaker argument or the teleological argument. The word teleological comes from the word telos in the Greek, which means end. The idea of the word is that most things are designed with an end or purpose in mind. Say that we are walking together in the woods, and we find a watch and see that it is running. We will not, even for a second, wonder how that watch put itself together. The obvious complexity alone is evidence of an intelligent craftsman. The fact that it is running is evidence of an outside source putting power into the watch.
The purpose, order, and design we observe in the world calls for a designer. Super complexity requires super intelligence to create it. Super power like that which we observe in the sun requires a larger source of power to create it. Therefore, a source of this super intelligence and super power must exist, as this intelligence and power is commonplace in the universe.
Albert Einstein said, the harmony of natural law reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection. Later Einstein wrote of his desire to know how God created the universe.
Does he who implanted the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see? (Psalm 94:9)
E: effect requires a cause, or the cosmological argument. The word cosmological comes from the Greek word cosmos, which means universe. The universe around us is an effect that requires an adequate cause, because logic demands a cause for every effect. Scientists may say that a big bang caused the universe, but only God could have caused such an event and supplied its raw materials.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world (Psalm 19:1-4, NIV).
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing (Isaiah 40:26, NIV).
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20, NIV).
Because the cosmos has clearly revealed God's power and divine nature since the beginning of creation, all mankind should know from observing the universe around us that a Supreme Being exists.
Dr. Robert Jastrow was founder of NASAs Goddard Institute, co-founder of the George C. Marshall Institute, head of the Mount Wilson Observatory, and a selfproclaimed agnostic. After concluding that the universe had a beginning and therefore must have had a beginner, Dr. Jastrow wrote:
For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.
H: His story is the Bible. The Bible not only declares the existence of God but is in itself powerful proof of Gods existence. If the Bible is just another book, how do we explain its fulfilled prophesies, universal wisdom, and incredible power to change lives for the better?
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart (Psalm 19:7-8, NIV).
 D. James Kennedy, Why I Believe (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 1980), 64.
 Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions The World As I See It (New York: Bonanza Books, 1974), 40.
 Albert Einstein, qtd in Nick Herbert, Quantum Reality - Beyond the New Physics (Garden City, New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1985), 177.
 Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 2nd ed. (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1993), 107.
Why I believe in the Bible
We can use the word Scripture as an acrostic to help us remember the different apologetic points.
S Source. The ultimate source of Scripture is God the Holy Spirit. The Bible is His work. However, the people through whom God worked were not your general, run-of-the-mill individuals. If you study the lives and read the writings of men like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Luke, Paul, David, Moses, and others, you will discover men who were not perfect and who did make mistakes but then seriously repented and recognized that a right relationship with God was the most valuable and essential prize for peace, true prosperity, and eternal survival. They were men not easily swayed by popular opinion or greedy for riches. They were not interested in building monuments to themselves, as too many others have been.
They were truly men of God.
C Christ. Jesus Christ believed in the Scriptures, and He quoted Moses, Isaiah, David and other writers. He taught that God's Word was more important than our daily food and that we should search the Scriptures, because they told of Him. The fact that Jesus believed in the power and authority of Scripture is a huge reason why we, too, should believe in the Bible.
The letter C could also stand for the word "complete". One of the interesting facts about the Bible is the fact that it is complete. It does not need a second edition. It does not go out of date, as most other books do. Because it is a work of the Holy Spirit, who is perfect in being and work, the Bible does not need constant correction of errors. The Bible is unlike any other book ever written. It is finished. It is timeless, just as relevant today as it was a thousand years ago, and if the world continues, people will still study and read a thousand years from now. It is trustworthy.
R Real. The Bible deals with real people and real places (unlike the Book of Mormon or the writings of L. Ron Hubbard). The Bible deals with real problems and shows real solutions. It is neither a book of fantasy nor the writings of a mad man.
I Impact. One of the reasons the Bible continues to be the best-selling book decade after decade is its impact on the lives it touches. In so many lives, it turns fear into courage, chaos into peace, tears into smiles, and alcohol and drugs into clothes and furniture.
Because the Holy Spirit wrote it, its message has the power to transform lives totally. The teachings of Jesus and the Bible are believable because they really work in the lives of people. So much of the popular teaching of todays culture is just the opposite, destroying lives and families.
P Prophecies. Only God knows the future. Everyone else is just guessing.
And the Bible contains thousands of prophecies made sometimes decades, hundreds of years, or even thousands of years before being fulfilled. D. James Kennedy wrote an excellent book titled Why I Believe in which he does a great job of presenting this topic and contrasting the ability of normal people to tell future events. I really encourage you to get a copy. One huge reason to believe the Bible is the fact that it has been right 100% of the time in the past, and so we can believe it to be right 100% of the time in the future.
T Truth. Truth is that which matches reality. We live now in a society where half the people and large corporations are conning and scamming and scheming to maximize profit. Youd better watch out for the mouse-sized type, because the devil is in those details, even if you dont understand the legalese. Lying has also become the norm in politics. But one of the great tests of truth is time, and the Bible stands the test of time and truth. Jesus says that He is the way, the life, and the truth (John 14:6).
U Uniqueness. There is no other book like this book. No other book transcends the bounds of time, culture, race, or status the way the Bible does. Absolutely no other book comes close to the Bible in its impact on the world, history, or human lives.
R Rocks. Though I have never been to Israel, I have seen lots of pictures. Big stones and rocks cover the land everywhere, and for tens of thousands of years, people have built houses and cities out of these rocks. They have engraved these rocks with names, dates, laws, and declarations. The interesting thing about rocks is their ability to survive for thousands of years. Archeologists are constantly verifying the credibility of the Bible through these rocks. The verifiability of the Bible is, quite literally, written in stone.
E - Evergreen. People never seem to grow tired of seeing some TV programs, such as Andy Griffith and Gun Smoke, and so the TV industry refers to them as evergreens, like the trees whose leaves never change or die with the seasons. The Bible is a timeless evergreen that is as relevant today as it was a thousand years ago and will still be a thousand years from now. It is timeless and trusted.
S Survivability. Evil people have tried for thousands of years to burn, outlaw, or discredit the Bible, yet it survives. Jesus said, My words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35). What a miracle that resilience is, and what a miracle the Bible is!
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My Story David Mainesmith
I am a grandpa with so many grandchildren that remembering all their names is sometimes a challenge, and I have spent over twenty years teaching Sunday school. So my reflections on why I believe in Jesus Christ are something that I have pondered for quite a long time. I hope that they help you in your search for God. The longer I live, the more absolutely convinced I become of the value and truthfulness of Jesus' teachings. The popular drug and alcohol lifestyle of so many people very obviously and tragically does not work. It only destroys individuals, marriages, children, and families. The teachings of Jesus, on the other hand, promote peace, contentment, and wholeness.
My father became a Baptist shortly before his marriage to my mother. My mother, who graduated from a Baptist seminary, was quite interested in missions work. Dad and Mom always kept us three boys and our two sisters in church three times a week. One of my earliest memories was standing on the pew beside my father in church and singing as he pointed out the words. My mother sang solos at church and had jiffy clubs for the neighborhood children, where she taught Bible stories on a flannel-graph board.
When I was about eight or nine years old, my parents sent me to a Christian summer camp in upstate New York. I had a great time, and I remember two distinct events about that summer. One was a lightning hit that severely damaged a huge tree just outside the door of our little cottage. The second was that I wrote my dad a letter saying that I had accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. You would think that, with such a start, I would have understood the basic teachings of Jesus Christ from childhood, but I didn’t - not at all! I know the Holy Spirit sparked something in my heart as a young child, but spiritual maturity and an understanding of faith take some time in coming.
If someone had asked me, “Are you saved?” I would have said, “Sure.” As a teenager, I knew the vocabulary and some of the Bible verses, but little real relationship existed between Jesus Christ and me. Because I didn’t internalize it, my proximity to church culture made little difference in my life. I had no real interest in studying the Bible. Whenever someone mentioned death or the second coming of Jesus, I experienced real fear. I tried to live what I thought must be a good life, but it was mostly self-centered. You see, my confidence was in a prayer I did not remember or understand and a church membership card that I’d probably lost. I was a nominal Christian at best, even though I went to church regularly.
In my early thirties, I began teaching Sunday school at Calvary Church in Charlotte, where Dr. Ross Rhoads was the pastor. My primary motivation for teaching was to help boys avoid some of the mistakes I had made. After a time, I knew that I had to figure out what the primary teaching of Jesus Christ was, especially regarding the doctrine of salvation. I needed to explain this point to the boys, but I did not understand it well enough to teach them.
Though I knew that Jesus died on a cross, what I didn’t understand was how His death related to me. What was I supposed to do with that fact? Who was Jesus, and why were so many people willing to die for Him? The apostle John remembered Jesus saying that God loved the world so much that he sent his only son, so that anyone who believed in Him would have eternal life (John 3:16, emphasis mine). But what did believing in Jesus really mean? And how were you supposed to know if you believed enough or the right way?
One night, I took a piece of paper and wrote at the top of the page, "What did Jesus say that we should do?" I went through all four of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and wrote down the things that Jesus said we should do. I came up with a very interesting list. Just a few of the items on the list were:
I said to myself: That’s what I will do. Have you ever tried to be pure in heart or perfect? I quickly discovered that I did not love God with all my heart and mind, did not even like my enemies, was selfish instead of giving, and was not even close to God's holiness. I could not live up to the standard Jesus set.
I found that the standard Jesus taught is not just difficult to meet; it’s impossible.
I discovered the same thing that Jeremiah did when he wrote about his own heart: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). When Isaiah realized the same thing, he wrote: "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5). He also wrote: "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6). St. Paul, who wrote almost half of the New Testament, said: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (1 Timothy 1:15) and “the things I want to do I don’t do, while the things I don’t allow I do” (Romans 7:15).
I almost couldn’t believe that these men, who seemed so close to God, all admitted a real sin nature of their own. But God makes another way for us, one that takes into account our inability to be holy like Him or even to desire to be holy like Him. All that other way requires of us is faith.
What is faith? Faith is a decision to believe based on knowledge, agreement, and trust. But faith is only as strong as the object in which we place it. The focus of most people’s faith is self. If God asked them why He should let them into heaven, they might want to tell God about how good they had been and what good things they’d done. God asks us to refocus our faith on Jesus Christ instead. Look to His strength and works. Don’t rely on yourself to be good enough.
We can remember the meaning of faith using the simple acronym KATE.
First, the K stands for knowledge. God wants you to know just three things, and they’re not hard to grasp or remember.
The first thing we need to know is really good news. God truly loves you! The apostle John wrote in his first epistle: "God is love" (1 John 4:8). John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, remembered Jesus saying: "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned" (John 3:16-17).
Secondly, we need to know that sin separates us from God's love. Isaiah wrote: "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1). St. Paul wrote that "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23), including St. Paul, all the prophets, you, me, and every man who has ever lived (except Jesus Christ). Scripture expresses the consequences of our sin in terms of a payment, as though we did some work and were going to be paid for it. The Bible says that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). That death means separation from God's Holy Spirit now and eternal separation and punishment from God for those who refuse to accept Him during this lifetime.
The third thing we need to know is that God came to earth, became a man (the man Jesus Christ), and provided a complete and perfect sacrifice (by allowing the world to crucify Him), which totally paid the penalty of our sins.
But is saving faith just knowledge? Is faith just something we know? I had known these facts for years, and just knowing these things had brought me no sense of assurance. No. Saving faith is not just knowledge of some historical facts or some Bible verses. One major concern of mine is the fact that we can know the four spiritual laws but not know the Lord. James the brother of Jesus wrote: "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder" (James 2:19 NIV). No, knowledge alone does not save us.
The second part of saving faith is agreement (the letter A in our KATE acronym). Unless we agree with God, the way we feel, rationalize, or believe does not matter. Our thoughts and feelings are not the standard for right and wrong or for faith. God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8). People today want to base their faith on personal experiences, feelings, faulty logic, or inappropriate analogies. I recently heard a woman try to defend her disbelief in Christ’s teachings on hell based on the workings of an apple sorting machine. But the Bible clearly says that we must base our theology on Scripture, not on our feelings. Paul wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine” (2 Timothy 3:16). He did not say that our feelings or experiences are profitable for doctrine. We are far too good at rationalizing evil as good for our feelings or logic to form our basis for theology.
Jesus Christ is the standard of right and wrong. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He did not say, “I am one option or one path among many that lead to God.” He declared that He was the ONLY way to God; so the ONLY correct teaching on how to be acceptable to God comes from Him. He said so, not me. We must agree with God that we desperately need His forgiveness and His ability to cleanse our hearts. We desperately need His love and His sacrifice on Calvary. When Billy Graham asks new believers to follow him in a prayer, they are hopefully expressing an agreement with God's Word. God's response and promise to us is: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).
The next letter, T, stands for trust. Our trust must rest in Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. We cannot trust our own good works, experiences, church memberships, religious acts, baptisms, or sacraments. The apostle Paul wrote: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8), and "by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight (Romans 3:20).
You see, the only thing that God asks us to do to receive the gift of eternal life is to depend on Jesus Christ, who paid all our debt for sin on Calvary's cross. The Bible says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
Our confidence must be in Jesus Christ and His finished work on Calvary’s cross:
Jesus did all the tough stuff! Jesus did all the work. He totally paid the price so that anyone can be saved. We must depend on Him for our salvation: nothing else!
If we were to believe that our salvation partially depended on one of these items in the above list, we would then have to consider all the theological problems that such dependence would cause. For example, let’s suppose we take the attitude that our salvation depended on our faith plus our baptism. Suddenly, baptism becomes immensely important, and we must begin asking ourselves about the validity of our baptism. Just how are we to be baptized? Are we to be poured, sprinkled, or dunked, and at what age and how often? Suddenly, our assurance of salvation disappears, because it now partly depends on our works. We could be baptized weekly until our hair was bleached white from the chlorine, and we would still have no confidence in our salvation.
Such a qualification would also mean that Christ must have been wrong, because when He was being crucified on the cross, He told the thief who was crucified with Him, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). The man was totally incapable of being baptized, joining a church, or doing anything else to earn his salvation. He was nailed to a cross. His death was just hours away. St. Paul also would have been wrong in saying “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38, quoting Habakkuk 2:4) and in saying “for by grace you are saved, it is not of works” (Ephesians 2:8).
But Jesus and Paul were not wrong. God’s grace allows a person who is totally incapable of any kind of work (such as a blind, isolated quadriplegic) to be saved, because Jesus Christ completed the payment of our salvation on Calvary’s cross. John records the last word Jesus said on the cross as the Greek word tetellisti (John 19:30). We translate it as the phrase: “It is finished.” But to a person living at that time, it meant much more. It meant that the legal requirements of the law had been totally satisfied. It was the word written at the bottom of a sales or loan contract, indicating that a debt had been paid in full. It states to us that our salvation does not even partially depend on our poor works, but on Christ’s perfect and finished work on the cross alone.
Returning to our acronym of the concept of saving faith, the E in the name KATE stands for eternal life. Jesus said, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John 3:36, emphasis mine). Please notice that word "hath" is present tense; so at the moment you place your confidence in Jesus as your savior, eternal life begins. And it is not something you earn. It is God's gift to us, and the blood of Jesus paid for it. St. Paul wrote, "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Jesus said in John 10:28, "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish" (emphasis mine).
Here is an excellent, succinct statement that summarizes a lot of important theology: We are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone based on the Bible alone.
If you have never asked Christ to be part of your life, then you might want to pray to Jesus and ask Him to come into your heart and mind. Tell Him that you completely depend on Him for your salvation and for making your heart pure and perfect in God’s sight. Thank Him for dying on the cross for you.
If God ever asked me why He should let me into heaven, I’d answer in two parts.
First, I believe in Jesus because Jesus:
Second, I believe in Jesus because:
Two excellent books would be a great deal of help to a new believer or anyone who is still trying to understand the gospel. They are both available in paperback very inexpensively.
Learning to Walk with God by Charlie Riggs is available from Billy Graham. The first chapter reviews the basic principles of salvation that I have discussed here and which are so important. The rest of this book will also be very helpful to a new believer.
Write to: Grason, P.O. Box 1240, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55440-1240.
Also, I recommend Why I Believe by D. James Kennedy. This really excellent book helps to strengthen your faith, because it discusses why Christians believe in God, Jesus, heaven, and hell, as well as why all the apostles and thousands of other early church Christians would rather die than deny the Lord Jesus. Why I Believe should be in your local Christian bookstore. If not, write to: Dr. D. James Kennedy, P.O Box 40, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33302.
If I can help to answer some questions for you regarding the Christian faith, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't forget to pray about your questions. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5 NIV). Don't give up. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6).
I am a member of Christ Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC. The website http://www.christbaptist.org/ is an excellent resource, where you can find a tremendous amount of good information.
God Bless You!
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