A popular belief in the religious world is “All you have to do is believe in Christ to be saved.” No one is doubting that Jesus saves (John 14:6). But, often, it is argued that, “If one really believes, he will confess, he will be baptized and he will live a life of obedience to Jesus Christ.” If one really believes in Jesus does this mean he will automatically follow up with works of obedience?
When it is pointed out that someone who claims to believe in Christ is now living a life of drunkenness or adultery, the reply by some religious people will go something like this: “Well, if he really believed in the first place he would have followed up; so, he must not have really believed.” I have always called this kind of reasoning the “cat chasing his tail.” You can go around and around all day and get nowhere with this type of argument. However, the Bible answers this argument clearly.
The Bible states that some believed on Jesus, but refused to confess Him: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue…” (John 12:42). We can’t say these people didn’t really believe in the first place or we find ourselves contradicting what John the Apostle states. So, John says they believed, but refused to confess. These are believers who did in fact not “follow through” in obedience. Now, the question begs itself: “Where does this leave these believers?” Remember, we can’t question their belief because the Bible says they believed. They didn’t go into “automatic mode” and obey by confessing their belief in Jesus as some say today. So, what is their spiritual condition having believed only ? They were afraid to confess Jesus. Were they in a saved state? Perhaps there is more to salvation than a mental belief? It can’t be both ways, don’t you agree? Jesus answers clearly:
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).
“For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26). Since these people would not confess Jesus, believing wasn’t enough. Do you agree with what Jesus says?