“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

3.1 Believe in Jesus

(By First Hearing the Message of Truth)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6

Believe in Me. The central element of salvation is coming to a belief in Jesus Christ of Nazareth as your Lord and Savior. This is also called placing your faith in Jesus. You come to a belief in Christ by first hearing the gospel message of truth, as it is written:

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!

However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. – Romans 10:11-17

In another example, we see the apostle Philip explaining the gospel message of truth (and thereby Christ) to the Ethiopian eunuch:

Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this:

He was led as a sheep to slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He does not open His mouth.
“In humiliation His judgment was taken away;
Who will relate His generation?
For His life is removed from the earth
.”

The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. – Acts 8:30-35

All the prior chapters have been building up to this point, by setting a solid foundation – explaining to you the truth of God, explaining who Jesus was, showing you what His death and resurrection means, and that believing in Christ as your Lord and Savior is the first step on the path to eternal life.

I have been preaching to you the gospel message of truth from the very beginning. I have explained to you that being a “good person,” or being “religious,” performing ceremonies, worshiping idols or following after the “traditions” and schemes of man (e.g., praying to Mary, etc.) – none of these will get you into heaven. Only belief in Jesus will, and His sacrifice on the cross. It is only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross that you can obtain forgiveness of sins. You cannot buy forgiveness or earn it through good works – you cannot buy the blood of Christ. Scripture emphatically declares: “there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

As discussed in a prior chapter, there is no way around the fact that Jesus emphatically declared that He is God. Your (only) choices about Jesus are that:

  • He never existed (despite abundant historical evidence that proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that He did), or
  • He was simply a crazed lying lunatic who then died a horrible death on the cross trying to keep His lies, or
  • He was indeed God as He declared

Do you believe that Jesus is God? That He was born of a virgin as it is written? That He lived a perfect and sinless life, fully man, but also fully God, being tempted in all things just like you are tempted, but never committing sin? That He was the Son of God, and the Son of Man. That He willingly gave His life (He laid it down) for you on the cross, by being crucified as payment in an atoning sacrifice for your sins? That He was raised up again to eternal life after the third day? And most amazingly, that He will raise you up to eternal life with Him when He comes back?

That is called putting your faith, trust and hope in Jesus, and in Him alone, for “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” and “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Know that Jesus, God Himself in the flesh, willingly gave His own life on the cross, for you. He wasn’t forced to, He chose to – because He loves you. Matthew Henry eloquently writes: [1]

Jesus Christ is the first and the last. It is but a little scantling of time that is allowed to us in this world, but our Redeemer is the first and the last. He is the first, for by him all things were made, and he was before all things with God and was God himself. He is the last, for all things are made for him, and he will be the Judge of all.

This surely is the title of God, from everlasting and to everlasting, and it is the title of one that is an unchangeable Mediator between God and man, Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and forever. He was the first, for by him the foundation of the church was laid in the patriarchal state; and he is the last, for by him the top-stone will be brought forth and laid in the end of time.

He was dead and is alive. He was dead, and died for our sins; he is alive, for he rose again for our justification, and he ever lives to make intercession for us. He was dead, and by dying purchased salvation for us; he is alive, and by his life applies this salvation to us. And if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled by his death, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

It is this Jesus who you are putting your faith, trust and hope in. It is this Jesus who you are believing in, with all your heart, mind and soul.

It is written that Jesus “led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8 KJV); by this it is meant that He has led you, who were slaves of sin, Satan and death, to now be His own servant – i.e., He captured you from your prior captivity. And when captured by Christ, you have been redeemed from death to life. This was a state of spiritual death – you were dead in your sins but are made alive in Christ.

And contrary to public opinion and the loud shouts of skeptics, agnostics and atheists, coming to faith in Jesus doesn’t mean you abandon your reason, intellect and logical thinking. Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean just “blindly believing” in Christ, without a lot of justification and proven historical facts, eyewitnesses, testimonies, fulfilled prophecies, recorded miracles, etc. God wants you to decide based on truth and understanding. You examine all the evidence, and then make a rational, logical decision based on that evidence. Your step of faith is believing in the many things that we cannot directly measure (e.g., eternal life, God is Spirit, etc.). Documented miracles, fulfilled prophecies, eyewitness testimonies all confirm that Jesus was indeed God. And those facts, testimonies, fulfilled prophecies, recorded miracles, etc., are all documented in the Holy Bible.

Furthermore, new archeological finds continue to validate the Bible; in fact, not a single archeological or historical find nor scientific advancement has ever contradicted the Bible. Each new find has only strengthened and supported what is already written in the Bible – many things are recorded in Scripture hundreds or more years before they occurred.

If you are still unsure or have doubts and questions at this point, please face them head-on! You owe it to yourself to do that. It is your eternal life at stake here. Please don’t let doubts and questions stand in your way; I did that for a very long time. Seek out material that addresses your questions. We today have access to a myriad of wonderful Christian resources, many from fully credentialed scientists who are experts in their fields.

FALSE TEACHING(S) YOU WILL ENCOUNTER:

  • Atheism
  • The Bible is simply fictional “myths, folklore and poetry”
  • Universalism (i.e., any name, or any religion, even one you make up, or even no belief at all, can save you to eternal life)
  • Cults Which Deny Christ
  • Jesus Was Just a “Good Moral Person” (but not God)
  • You Get a “2nd Chance” After Death

RELATED SCRIPTURE:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” – John 3:16-21

“Enter through the narrow gate [Jesus]; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14

… “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household. – Acts 16:30-34

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:8-12

Being found in appearance as a man, He [Jesus] humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:8-11

For He [Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. – 1 Peter 1:20-21

John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him [Jesus]. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” – John 1:32-34

…knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. – 1 Peter 1:18-19

Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He [Jesus], having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. – Hebrews 10:11-13

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. – 1 Corinthians 15:20-22

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. – 1 Peter 3:18

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” – John 11:25-27

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him [you!] up on the last day.” – John 6:35-40

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me [Jesus]. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” – John 14:1-3

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life [Jesus]— and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. – 1 John 1:1-3

[1] Henry, Matthew. Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, London. 1706-1710/1721.

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“You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” – John 8:32

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