I Believe in Jesus—What Now?

What do you say when you're sharing the Gospel and they tell you, “I believe in Jesus.”
What now?
The world is full of people believing in Jesus.
The Bible supports that you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.
But how do you explain the drunk in the street who believes,
Or the addict who confesses, 
Or the couple who continues to live together and say they believe?
Is that all there is to believing?

We have emphasized that one verse to the exclusion of all others.
The phrase “believe in Jesus” means nothing when we aren’t changed.

We must return to the Bible for our answers.
IF God created man for His glory, and He has. 
THEN He expects man to live for His glory.

It’s our duty as His created beings.
Bring my sons,… everyone who is called by My Name, whom I created for My Glory. Isaiah 43:6-7.
Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31.

How do we glorify God or bring God delight?

We glorify God when we acknowledge His glory, value Him above all things, give gratitude and trust Him.

He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me. Psalm 50:23.
Abraham grew strong in his faith, giving glory to God. Romans 4:20.

Glorifying God is, not only the duty of Christians, but required of all men everywhere.

Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.
So they (man) are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not glorify Him and thank Him as God. 
Romans 1:20-21.

Our duty as God’s creatures is to glorify Him.
But man does not give Him glory.
In fact, man takes that glory for his own. 
He’s unthankful.  
He dishonors God.

All men have fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.

How do we fall short of God’s glory?
Romans 1:23 explains, those who did not glorify God and thank Him as God became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images.

All sin comes from not putting supreme value on the glory of God. (John Piper, p. 44.)

Romans 3:10 says, we’ve all sinned.
We don’t thank Him.
We take His gifts for granted.
We don’t trust Him.
We take what He has given as our own.
We have dishonored His glory!
We’ve held the glory of God in contempt.

Nathan, the prophet, when he rebuked David after his adultery with Bathsheba and murdering Uriah, didn’t remind David of the sanctity of human life and the importance of marriage—
Nathan rebuked him for disdaining God’s glory.
You have despised Me…You have utterly scorned the Lord. 2 Samuel 12:10,14.
David’s sin, like all of us, was against God’s glory.

Because of our falling short of the glory of God—our disdain and contempt for His glory, our disobedience, distrust and ingratitude—we are sentenced to eternity away from His presence—that's Hell.

Hell is a real place.
It's an eternal place of constant suffering and anguish.
Some would argue it would not be just to be judged eternally, that God punishes for a while but then redeems man.
But God is supremely worth His glory. 

IF we expressed gratitude every moment of our day, it would not be enough to compare to His Great Attributes—just, kind, loving, merciful,…
Because He is so MUCH of those.
The greatness of those characters are perfect, complete, whole.
He is the epitome of what those words mean. 
He is the very definition of those things.
That demands acknowledgment, trust, and thankfulness from His created beings—man.

So, for man not to give acknowledgment, trust and show thankfulness is beyond repulsive—it’s damnable!

God, the true, righteous Judge, would not need to open the Bible to condemn all men.
Piper gives these three questions He could ask:

  1. Was it not plain in nature that everything you had was a gift and you depended  on your Maker for life, breath and everything?
  2. Didn't your conscience hold other people guilty when they lacked gratitude to a kindness you did for them?
  3. Has gratitude and trust toward Me filled your life in proportion to My generosity and authority?

CASE CLOSED. Condemned.

But God did not leave us there.
He loved us too much.

Praise God!
He sent His only Son.

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I Timothy 1:15.

All men would know about God through nature,
Man knows he’s accountable to God Who is in charge.
But for man to know about the Savior sent by God to pay our penalty, God gave His Word. 

Romans 3:25-26
God is wholly just AND He justifies sinners.
A paradox without Christ’s sacrifice for us.

God made Christ to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21.
He died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God. 1 Peter 3:18.

By His plan, God upholds His glory.
Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. Acts 3:19; 16:31

What is conversion?
Conversion is repentance (turning from sin and unbelief) to faith (trusting Christ alone for salvation.)
Repentance requires a change of heart. (Not just sorry you got caught.)
Without repentance, you merely agree with God.
You believe in Jesus.
Satan does too.
That doesn’t save him.
Nor you.
James 2:19.

Conversion, like all of life, is a gift from God.
Acts 11:18 says, God has granted repentance unto life.
It is a gift. A miracle.
The Bible describes us before knowing God. 
We were blind (2 Corinthians 4:4), hard (Ezekiel 11:19, 36;26), dead (Ephesians 2:1,5) and unable to submit to God’s law (Romans 8:7-8).

God must work to bring us to salvation. 
He prepares us through His Spirit by showing how empty we are without Him. We can’t do it ourselves.
Like a gardener must prepare the soil before the seed is sown, God prepares our hearts to come to Him.

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:6.

I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:7.

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statues and be careful to observe My Ordinances. Ezekiel 36:26-27.

Even when we were dead through our trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…By grace are you saved through faith; and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:5, 8.

God takes our unwilling, dead heart of stone and changes it to know, love and obey Him.
That is a MIRACLE!
It’s all God doings!
It has to be.
And God gets all the glory.

What do we do?
Submit to God’s work.

So let’s look again at that conversion idea.
It is God Who brings us to salvation (dead men can’t do anything), He softens our heart, He prepares the soil of our spirit to be receptive to His wooing, this all happens before we even do anything.
But then He waits for our response.
The Almighty God waits for us.
It is our decision.
God has prepared our hearts, given us the faith to believe and waits for us to repent—To submit our will to His own.
To acknowledge He, indeed, is Lord.
But He does tell us that today is the day of salvation 2 Corinthians 6:2.

Acts 16:31 states Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.
John 1:12 says, To all who receive Him…He gave power to become children of God.
Hebrews 5:9 says, Christ became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
John 3:36 He who does not obey the Son shall not see life.
Matthew 18:3, Unless you turn and become like children, you will never see the kingdom of heaven.
Mark 8:34-35 If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it.
Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
I Corinthians 16:22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed.

If you read those verses and thought that salvation was based on works, you are wrong. 
No works of man could ever do what Christ did for us.
But by our works we demonstrate the new creature God has begun by that miracle of re-birth inside us through His Spirit.

What unites all those verses in one simple purpose?
See Matthew 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

This parable is how someone is brought into the kingdom of God.
He discovers a treasure and sells all to have it.
The kingdom of heaven is where the King resides.
We are not longing for heavenly real estate—we are longing for the KING.

The treasure is fellowship with God!
We are converted when Christ becomes our deepest longing, our joy, our treasure.

That joy is the fruit of faith.
Romans 15:13 May God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.
It is by believing our joy is full.
Trust in God and His promises overrides anxiety; brings peace and joy.
Hebrews 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please God. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him.

The faith that pleases God is that confidence that God will reward us when we come to Him.

We would sell everything we own to have Christ Himself.

By this faith, we see God again working in us.
For God must change our desires. 
He changes our taste-buds to want Him.
A taste for His glory.
Before we didn’t have anything to do with God.

John 3:18-20
He who believe in the Son of God is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

Now, all we want is God.
That’s transformation!
He becomes our delight.

A craving to have more than what this world offers.
Our eyes are opened to see the light.
Then faith given to accept what God gives.
Results in the delight of knowing God.
By knowing God, He showers us with gifts—peace and joy.

I Peter 3:18 Christ died for sins once for all…that He might bring us to GOD.

That saving faith is that firm conviction that Christ is not just reliable, but also desirable.
It is He that our wandering hearts yearn for.

As life's struggles prove the treasure’s value, we find a deeper depth of what that treasure holds. 
Our faith grows.
As our faith grows, our joy multiplies.
Salvation has brought us to God.
He becomes all that we desire.
And He is more than enough.


Piper, John. Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1986. Chapter 2 pp.41-60.

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I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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