“You are the Christ, the Son of God” Peter said as Jesus asked the question to his disciples, “who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13-19).
That is the confession of belief that most of us seek from those who are presenting themselves for baptism. It’s a good statement, it’s a true statement that comes from understanding that goes deeper than just knowing the answer, it comes from what the Bible calls the heart (which is more than knowing, understanding, and emotion).
We have discussed what to believe. That Jesus is the Son of God and that God raised him from the dead. Both difficult to believe and accept for human beings who are short-sighted and small-minded (in terms of eternal things). Why do we believe? Why are we to believe in Jesus?
John 3:16 says that God loves you and me so much that he sent Jesus (Emmanuel, God with us, Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14) so that we (you, me, and everyone) who believe in Jesus the Son of God won’t perish ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%203:16&version=NIV )
I don’t hear that word perish much except with this verse of Scripture. Let me give you a view of what perish describes for me. It is the final conclusion of a horrible coming to an end of things. I know this is a rather awkward sentence and probably grammatically incorrect. The picture I have in my mind is like someone lost at sea without a single hope and distressing over the storm, the possible sinking of the ship, no visible way of escape, and finally drowning, which seems to me to the worst possible way to die.
Jesus came so we don’t have to perish. Perish from what? Our sin!
Sin, the failing to please God ( Romans 3:23; http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%203:23&version=NIV ) by disobedience to His will is a perishable offence. One sin is enough (c.f., post of September 29, 2009 for an example https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/im-as-good-as-any-christian/ ). And all of us have sinned and the greatest sin of all is when one does not believe in the Son of God that He has sent and receive God’s salvation through Jesus.
Jesus came to save. The angel told Joseph in Matthew 1:21 that Jesus will “save his people from their sins” and Jesus said after Zacchaeus repented that he came “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
Very simply, Jesus came to save us from sin and perishing in our sins which is an eternal thing. The horrible pain of separation from God. That place is called hell ( Romans 6:23;http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%206:23&version=NIV ) Don’t want that.
There’s another reason to believe in Jesus. God has given only one way to salvation. It is through Jesus Christ. In Acts 4:12 we get the picture. Peter with John is telling the very leaders who should have seen and believed in the first place but whose arrogance and pride kept them from believing these words, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”
Larry Norman, the Christian music pioneer (he had the very first Christian rock album) popularized the phrase “One Way.” As you would say “One Way!” you’d point to heaven with your pointing finger.
Jesus is the one and only way. We will only find the way to God through our faith and belief in Jesus Christ the risen Son of God. Not through some other means. Some churches teach other ways as well. By works, by trusting in some person or thing. Some will accept whatever form of belief you have. But, if we are going to please God we are going to need to follow his teaching and way. As God he has the right to decide how that will be.
Now here is the question I have for you. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
If you do, you have the first element of what it takes to be saved and the Lord bless you as you continue to believe in the Savior.