What Does I Believe in Jesus Mean?

Christians often say, “I believe in Jesus” and implore others to do so. Sometimes non-Christians wonder just what they mean by such a profession. They deserve an answer.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV). Hebrews 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please Him.”
The dictionary definition of “believes” means to “accept as true or real.” However in Scripture, “belief” far surpasses mental acknowledgment. The word “faith” in the New Testament exceeds simple trustworthiness, depending on “the reliance or trust that is the basis of man’s faithfulness, i.e., the faithfulness that expresses confidence in the faithfulness of God.” T. W. Brents writes, “faith may be defined as a firm, unshaken confidence.” Therefore, God is the only one worthy of our faith because he never fails nor lies (1 Corinthians 1:9; Titus 1:2).
Faith involves action that converts an idea into a life-changing event. We have changed our patterns of life and thought. We are now living and thinking in an entirely new context. Scripture moves from simply being a good book to an unyielding guidepost on our way to heaven.
What are the implications of “I believe in Jesus”?
First, faith in Jesus shows we are sinners in need of forgiveness. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We have all failed to live to the standard God would have us live. We are helpless to save ourselves, and our salvation can only come from Christ given by the grace of God (Romans 1:16; Ephesians 2:8,9).
Second, faith in Jesus means we realize he is the source of salvation. We have searched within ourselves and others and have found no way of escape from sin. Our heart aches with its burden and we hunger for relief. Turning to Jesus, we are admitting he is our only source of salvation and our sole way to God (John 14:6).
Third, faith in Jesus acknowledges his message is worth proclaiming. We have studied scripture and found his gospel to be the truth we have sought. Then we place it as our authority in life to show us how to live, love, and lead others to him. Further, we realize its truths are so irresistible that they must be proclaimed.
Fourth, faith in Jesus shows we are affirming that he is our new way of life. We have decided that he is the Savior and that his word should be our authority in life, Jesus is the way to God and therefore, we must live daily in his paths. Faith in him means he is worth following.
This is why in Scripture the word “faith” often stands for the entire plan of salvation. Faith is a process that leads us to renounce our previous sins and flawed authorities (Romans 12:1,2). We know we need a new Savior who will not only save us but lead us “all the days of (our) life” (Psalm 23:6). Faith leads us to desire to be born again (John 3:3-5). We want only to be a part of his body so that we can go home with him when he returns. And we only get “into” the body of Christ through the baptism for the remission of sins (Romans 6:3,4; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27). Faith leads us to the new birth and is the greatest journey ever conceived!
1/ International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 2:270
2/ The Gospel Plan of Salvation, 168

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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