I received an email yesterday from someone who thought I was saying in my devotion, What Does It Mean to Believe, that “faith plus works” equals Salvation. This is far from truth and far from the meaning of my devotion. It is difficult to get clarity when a devotion only consist of 600 words on average. I’m sure you can understand that.
The purpose of my devotion was to point out the difference between acknowledgement–which brings about no change in a persons life, and what the result is when someone truly believes.
I’ve been in ministry for 10 years and the gospel is my passion. I receive emails from both women and men who ask me why after saying the “Sinners Prayer” no change has occurred in their lives.
If you read my article carefully, you’ll see I’ve stated the problem.
To “believe” means much more than simply acknowledging Christ’s death on a cross. Unfortunately, for many today that word has been reduced to just that – a mere mental acknowledgement. Like me, multitudes have said the sinner’s prayer because they believe Jesus died on a cross. But without the call to confess sin and commit to a life of following Christ in obedience, no transformation takes place. That’s the problem with knowledge alone. It requires no commitment and brings about no lasting change.
Again, to clarify… my devotion is more about the meaning of “belief” and the result it has on our lives. Many have a mental acknowledgement of what Christ did on the cross. This is not faith. James tells us that even the demons believe. They know who Christ is and tremble! Saving faith believes to the point of repentance and surrendering their entire life to Christ. (When you believe something you live by it.) I’m not talking about works. I’m talking about the result of true belief/Salvation can be SEEN by a changed life. Not a life who is striving to win God’s approval, but is so gripped by His love, mercy and grace they can’t help but show it in all they do and say.
Striving to do good works to win God’s approval will never result in Salvation nor peace we all seek. Striving only robs of us our peace and joy. Good works drain our energy and produce a constant feeling of inner exhaustion, depression and discouragement—just as those who write me express. They feel as if God’s salvation isn’t for them because it’s not working. Imagine that! Perhaps they’ve never been taught (or didn’t get it) what to do after they believe—and that’s to practice a relationship with God through trust, love and obedience.
Salvation comes by faith alone. What is faith? What does it mean to believe? It means more than mental acknowledgement. I can acknowledge that George Washington was our first President, but he can’t save me.
It’s more than saying a prayer. True belief causes me to confess my sin and surrender my life to Christ the Lord. The result is transformation.
My brother is a great example. He was chemically addicted for 20 years. Experts say he should be dead. Many times we thought he was. He “tried” for years to give up his addition. He would even tell God, “I’m gonna do better. I promise.” It wasn’t until he went into LifeChallenge and committed to bible study for a year that he fell to his knees, confessed his sin, and surrendered his life. He is completely different! That’s what happens when we give God our mess. He makes it our message.
He started a construction company because it was the only thing he knew to do. With one broken down truck, he’d bid on jobs. When he did, he would brag on God by telling his story.
“I went from being unemployed to owning my own business. From being homeless to being a home owner, from being single to being married, from being bound by drugs, to freedom in Christ.”
Within a year and half, my brother had four brand new trucks and four crews. Don’t you love it when God shows off! Brag on Him like my brother does and you’ll discover that God is still parting red seas!
I’ll be in IL this weekend speaking on “Contentment.” Your prayers are greatly appreciated!
May God bless your weekend abundantly!