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Topic: The Gospel

Defining Jesus and Believing

by Darrel Cline

In another article (227) we said that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is an offer of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. But we also pointed out that every religion that has any links to Christianity has its own definition of Jesus. So Believe in Jesus!, though it is the proper exhortation for the Gospel, doesn't carry enough definition to enable anyone to be saved.

Confusion reigns because of the willingness of people to deceive and be deceived. In order to cut through the deceptions we must ask a central question: Where does God, in His Word, draw the lines in respect to faith in Jesus as the saving truth?

The answer is: in two places. First, He draws the line around Jesus and says that our faith must be placed in the true Jesus. He does this in 1 John 4:1-3 where we are exhorted to test the spirits to find out which ones are from God. The test, he goes on to say, is what the spirits say about Jesus. In the day when John penned 1 John there were some people saying that we are saved by believing in Jesus, but that Jesus was not a real human being. They said that Jesus did not come in the flesh. John opposed them on that and said that the teaching that Jesus did not come in the flesh was a false Christianity. The point I am making is this: the false religionists claimed to believe in Jesus, but they redefined Jesus so that He was not a real human being. Thus, they kept the right words (Believe in Jesus) but they confused and deceived by corrupting the truth about His identity. This means that God has said we are only saved by the true Jesus; not by the word Jesus. For the theologians among my readers this means that the Gospel has a necessary Christological content, without which there can be no salvation. Thus, if the Jesus we believe in isn't the Jesus found in the Bible, we are not saved.

The other place where God draws the line is in respect to what it means to believe. This line is drawn in Galatians 5:1-6. In that place the apostle Paul tells us that if we believe in Jesus and in the necessity of our performance of certain religious duties, we are not truly believing in Jesus. This means that Paul taught that faith in Jesus was restricted to Jesus alone. In other words, faith in Jesus is exclusive when it comes to salvation. That means that we cannot divide our faith among various objects. For example, the person whose hope for heaven is based upon the fact that he/she was baptized and that he/she believes in Jesus is not saved. The reason? Jesus does not accept a faith that is partially in Him and partially in some religious act that a person has accomplished. By the same token, a person who believes salvation through a church and through Jesus is not saved for the simple reason that this is a division of faith. The Bible says that Jesus died for our sins. Either He did or He did not. If He did, our sins cannot separate us from God; if He did not, His death cannot bring us to God.

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This is article #228.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.