The thrust or goal of the Bible is the salvation of mankind. Paul said, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thessalonians 5:9). Thus, a good study for the Christian and non-Christian alike is the salvation of mankind. It is good for the Christian to be reminded of the biblical truths (2Peter 1:12). It is good for the non-Christian to know what he or she needs to do in order to be saved. As seen in the last article in this series, the first step to salvation is simply hearing the word of God. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The next step is logical and biblical—one must believe the word that he or she has heard.
In the Hebrews 11:6 the writer says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” This article will focus on some biblical examples of believing the word of God with the goal of salvation in mind, give an explanation of belief, and then end with an exhortation to everyone to believe the word of God for what it is.
In Acts 4:4 the Bible says, “…many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.” Due to the fact that many of the people heard the word and believed it on that day, the number of the New Testament church increased. In Acts 8, one reads the account of a group of people who were practicing sorcery. Among them was a man named Simon. These people changed their beliefs when they heard Peter and John proclaim the word of God to them: “But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.” Finally, another example of people believing the word of God is found in Acts 14. Paul and Barnabas were proclaiming the word of God to the people in the synagogue and the text says that many of them believed it. If people today will do what the people of the New Testament did, then the people today will get what the people of the New Testament got. The biblical imperative is clear: in order to be saved, one must believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul said, “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Galatians 3:22).
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith believes to be real what is not imperially seen or known. Faith is reasoning to an explanation that comes about because of the evidence that exists. One could say that he or she does not believe in God because he or she has not seen, smelled, heard, felt, or tasted God. Faith believes God to be real because the evidence that exists demands such to be the case. The design that exists in the world is one of the proofs or evidences which shows the designer God.
Mark 16:15-16 says, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.’” The Bible explicitly says that those who do not believe will not enjoy eternal life with their Creator. There are some who would argue saying the latter part of Mark 16 is not in some early manuscripts and should not be included in the New Testament text. While there is plenty of evidence to show that Mark 16 does belong in the Bible, the essentiality of faith or belief in God does not change even if Mark 16:9-20 were not in the Bible. There are many other passages some of which have already been seen in this article to show that belief in the word of God is absolutely necessary if one is going to spend eternity within Heaven’s gates.
The exhortation to the Christian is found in the great commission: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus has commissioned every Christian to tells others the gospel so they can believe it and be saved. The world needs Christians to tell them of the saving power of Jesus Christ. John 3:16 teaches that God has done His part. He has sent His Son and allowed Him to die on the cross and the reason is so that mankind can be saved. The possibility of salvation is there but the reality of salvation will not happen if Christians today do not do their part. Christians must teach others.
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!’” (Romans 10:14-15).
- Jeremy Northrop
It is never safe to neglect the fundamentals of God’s Word. Fundamentals are the basic facts of the Holy Scriptures. They are the foundational principles upon which other tenets are built (Heb. 5:11-14). Our learning process must begin with fundamentals. In grade school you first learned your A-B-C’s. Next, you learned words. Following that you moved on to sentences. Finally, you advanced to other matters of comprehension. But, learning the alphabet was crucial to your educational advancement.
Some folks were never fully grounded in the fundamentals of the Gospel. This handicaps their spiritual development. If they try to be teachers and preachers of the Gospel, they become a danger to the church. Their teaching is skewed and their doctrines destructive. They are like a person trying to teach the subject of math, having never understood the fundamentals—i.e., adding and subtracting. Such individuals do not make good math teachers. The same is true with teachers of the Gospel.
How can the following be true? “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). How can these learn biblical information, but not know the Truth? Perhaps they never understood the basics. In the church today there are preachers that see no sin in the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship. Some will have spiritual fellowship with anyone that calls God “Father” and Jesus “Savior.” They no longer believe that baptism is necessary for salvation. This is a far cry from Jesus and the apostles. It is not what preachers of the past stood for.
What is bringing about these changes? Why has this become so widespread? Believe it or not, it has a lot to do with a neglect of fundamentals. Brethren in the pew are not as fundamentally sound as in years gone by. Many elders have not been grounded in the basics. They are, in part, to blame for the success of false teachers across the brotherhood. They should be removing false
teachers from the pulpits, instead they are not able to recognize false teaching when they hear it.
Fundamentals must be taught in all of our classes. We need to start early in grounding our children and new Christians in the elementary facts of the gospel. It is an important step in bringing real strength to the church.
- Richard Massey
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