Is Knowledge and Belief Enough?
What is Salvation? What is Lordship? Can one exist without the other? There is a great misunderstanding among many today that all you have to do is believe in Jesus and you will be saved. Unfortunately, too many people make confession without repentance and submission to Christs' Lordship.
Romans 10:9-10 states, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved."
Is this true? Of course it is. However, too often we focus on the belief part and forget what the confession is? That Jesus is Lord.
In speaking of faith apart from works in James 2:17-19 he states, "So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder!"
Let's suppose that God had a conversation with Satan about his eternal destination. It might go something like this:
God: Satan. Do you believe that I am the only God, maker of heaven and earth?
God: Do you believe that I sent Jesus to die on the cross, taking on the punishment for the sins of the world, satisfying my wrath toward their sins, and then raised him from the dead on the third day?
God: Do you believe that in the last days I will raise the living and the dead to be judged either innocent or guilty based on their belief in me, and their confession of and and submission to my Lordship?
God: Satan, will you Submit to my Lordship and serve me faithfully, obeying all the commands I have given you?
Satan: NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I am going to take every soul with me that you do not save.
This would, in fact, be the end result of that conversation. Satan rebelled in heaven. He tried to overthrow GOD! He has no interest in submission to Christs' Lordship. Thus, no matter how much he and the demons know or believe about God, they will be condemned to everlasting torment in the lake of fire(Revelation 20:10). And his goal is to take as many with him as possible. However, whether in this life or before the judgement seat of Christ, every knee, including Satan and his minions, shall bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father(Philippians 2:9-11, Romans 14:10-12, Revelation 20:11-15).
A Passionate Plea
Please don't be one of the casualties of Satan's war against God. You see, knowledge about God, Jesus, and the bible is not enough. Just saying you believe is not enough. Belief without change is nothing more than mere intellectual ascent. It does not matter if you simply go to church or are actively involved with your church. If your whole life is not surrendered to the effort of repentance from sin and the pursuit of holiness, in every area of your life, then there is reason to question the relevance of your salvation. If you prayed a prayer once, but there really is not much of your life that looks like the disciples of the bible, then there is reason to question the relevance of your salvation. If you lack genuine interest in God's word, embrace the ways of the world, and perceive not problem with this then you are likely in open rebellion against God and, there is reason to question the relevance of your salvation
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and you truly believe with your heart, not just your mind, it will change you. Your thoughts and behavior will not be the same. You will not be perfect until heaven however, 2 Corinthians 5:15-17 states that "Christ died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but him, who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passes away; behold, the new has come."
God requires surrender of this life, that you may know life eternally with Him and in Him. Examine yourself and see if you are in the faith(2 Corinthians 13:5). If you find yourself wanting of the characteristics of a true, biblical Christ-follower, and thus you find that it is likely you are not in the faith, that can change now.
If you are Lost
God can and will save you if you are willing to die to yourself and live for Christ. Cry out to God to save you! He will! Then find a local, bible teaching church, get baptized as part of your public profession of your faith, and begin feeding on the word of God. God has given, to those whom are believers, everything needed for life and godliness by His grace, empowered by the Holy Spirit, through the study of His word, prayer, and obedience(2 Peter 3-11). All of this fosters relationship with God.
If you are Found
If you find that you are in the faith and desiring repentance and holiness, yet there are areas of your life in which this is lacking, know this. God does not require anything of the believer that He does not enable them to do. In Philippians 2:12-13 Paul instructs us, "work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to work according to his good pleasure."
Even the Apostle Paul whom wrote much of the New Testament recognized that he could not do it on his own. In 1 Corinthians 15:10 he states, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I but the grace of God that is with me."
Without Christ we all will be like Satan, rebelling against God and headed for an eternity of hellish, conscious torment. Don't be like Satan. Pray that the God of all grace will pour that grace out on you without measure, empowering you to believe and submit, thus saving you through the blood of His Son, and empowering you to obey through the Holy Spirit, thus sanctifying you and making your calling and election sure. Don't just know about the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, KNOW HIM! and be known by Him! For there is no greater joy.
In Jesus name,