“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
I could also entitle this “Have you believed unto salvation?” The reason for writing this article is that there are many who say that they believe and are depending on that belief to escape hell and carry them to heaven when they die, but they do not believe according to the Scripture; therefore, they have been deceived. I write to show you a basis to examine yourself to see if you have exercised saving faith. (II Cor. 13:5: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates.”) Now is the time to examine while you are mentally able to do so--while there is a long suffering God, a preacher of righteousness, a striving Spirit, and an open door. All of which enables you to seek the Lord and be saved by exercising saving faith.
I want to show you two examples in the Bible where it says they “believed” but they were not saved as the Bible clearly brings out.
1. John 2:23-24: “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men.” They believed but Jesus knew their heart and condition and He did not “commit” Himself to them. “Commit” in verse 24 is translated from the same Greek word as “believed” in verse 23. Thus, Jesus is saying that He did not believe them. Our Lord knows the heart of all men. They did not exercise saving faith; therefore, they were not saved.
2. John 8:30: “As he spake these words, many believed on him.” The Bible says they believed in this verse. Sounds good. Let us put them in the baptistry, in the choir, in a Sunday School teaching position, and call them to pastor our church. But wait a minute! Jesus put some conditions on them in John 8:31-32: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” He said if they would continue in His word, they would be His disciples indeed--truly and they would know the truth and be made free--means they would be saved. This is a conditional promise “If-then”-- if they would meet the condition, then the promise would be a reality.
The condition--continue in His word. “Continue” means to abide, do not depart, or basically means “do what you know to do at the time” or “step in what light you have.” It implies obedience--obedience to what the Lord quickens or speaks to you. This is connected to Rom. 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” This verse makes it clear that faith comes by the Lord speaking to you. He may speak to you as you read His word or by His servant preaching His word to you. And what He quickens to you is what brings saving faith, which is a gift (Eph. 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.) to you. At that point you can exercise saving faith and have the reality of the promise--be His disciple indeed and be set free from your bondage of sin--be saved.
But these Jews in John 8 refuse to do what the Lord said and their outcome we find in John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Thus, they were not saved because they did not exercise saving faith even though the Bible said they believed. Their believing could be only in their head, which is what men preach today. We must believe with the heart and not just the head.
It is interesting to note that throughout the Bible, our text included, saving faith is dealt with. The word used is “believeth” which ends in a suffix “eth,” which denotes a continuous, habitual lifestyle of believing. If saving faith is exercised, that person believes today, tomorrow, next year, and if he should live that long, a hundred years from now. There will never be a time when he ceases to believe.
Jesus said in Mark 1:15: “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Thus, for a person to exercise saving faith, he must repent and that cannot occur until repentance has been granted to him, and that takes a completed work of Holy Ghost conviction.
I ask you again “have you exercised saving faith?” If you have, our text says you have “everlasting life.” Our text also states plainly that if you have not ever exercised saving faith, you will not “see life.” “But the wrath of God abideth on” you. This denotes continuous wrath, which means that hell and the lake of fire awaits you. It does not have to be that way. Get honest with yourself and God about your real condition and need now, while there is hope for your soul and allow the Holy Spirit to do a complete work of Holy Ghost conviction in all three areas of John 16:8. (“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”)
Mat. 7:22-23 (“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”) makes it clear that many thought they had been saved. But at the Great White Throne of Judgment, they will give their excuses and the Lord will say “Depart from me I never knew you.” He could say you never exercised saving faith! How sad it will be for many in that day! I ask you again, “Have you exercised saving faith?” It is a must to be saved.
This is only a skeletal overview of this subject. If you would like some series on this subject, please feel free to contact us. We have written material, as well as CDs. All of our material is free of charge--just for the asking. I want to be true to your soul which is why I try to tell you the truth.
THE PERSUADER - July-December 2012