All Scripture quoted in this study is from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible. Please note that throughout this document, “Gk.” indicates a Greek word and/or a definition for a Greek word. Greek is the original language of the Bible’s New Testament.
Before we begin our study – “Only Believe and Be Saved?” – there is an important Bible interpretation principle we must remember and apply if we would properly understand the topic at hand. The Bible is like a cut-up pie with the pie pieces (verses), applicable to any given subject, scattered throughout the pages of Holy Writ. You and I have both the responsibility and privilege to study and pull together the passages and verses (the pieces of the pie) that apply to a given topic, so we can acquire an accurate understanding of the truth presented in God’s Word.
For many topics presented in Scripture, there are passages and verses that taken by themselves – divorced from the larger testimony of the Bible – may inadvertently convey an erroneous or at least an incomplete description of what God would have us to know. Following is an excellent example of this reality.
Romans 13:1-3, 7: states, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:…7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”
This passage commands us to obey the authorities placed over us. No exceptions are mentioned within the larger context (surrounding content) of these verses. Yet exemptions are mentioned in other parts of the Bible, as we shall discover.
A similar passage is found in 1 Peter 2:13-15: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:” Again we are commanded to obey those who have the rule over us, without exception.
A third similar directive presents itself in Hebrews 13:17: “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” In sync with the previous two passages, the larger context surrounding Hebrews 13:17 includes no exceptions to obeying those in authority over us.
Yet the Bible presents a number of notable exclusions to the general requirement of complying with the mandates of people in authority. The following individuals disobeyed human authority with the approval and blessing of God:
- Daniel prayed to God even though King Darius had made a decree that no one was to petition God or man, except for King Darius, for 30 days (read Daniel chapter 6).
- The three worthies (Daniel’s friends) – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – refrained from bowing to the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar commanded them to worship on the plain of Dura (read Daniel chapter 3).
- Queen Esther illegally went before King Ahasuerus though he had not summoned her to his presence (read Esther chapter 5).
- Mordecai, Queen Esther’s cousin (read Esther 2:5-7), disobeyed King Ahasuerus’ command to bow down and reverence Haman, the chief prince of the kingdom (read Esther 3:1-3).
- The king of Egypt commanded the Hebrew mid-wives to kill all the Israelite male boys when they were born. But the mid-wives disobeyed the king and let the newborn boys live (read Exodus 1:15-17).
- King Herod commanded the wise men, who were traveling to find the young child Jesus, to later return to him to share where Jesus was living. But instead, the wise men returned to their land by an alternate route after being advised by God, through a dream, to do so (read Matthew 2:1-12).
- Peter and other apostles taught the people about Jesus even though the Jewish high priest and other Jewish leaders had commanded them to not do so (read Acts 5:16-29).
So, if we pull together all the information presented so far, the conclusion is that we are to obey human authority UNLESS it conflicts with what God requires of us, as expressed in the holy Bible. This especially applies regarding who we are to worship. After all, Luke 4:8 states, “And Jesus answered and said unto him [Peter], Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
The overarching principle presented so far is that we must compare related Scripture with Scripture to find truth. So now we must apply this tenet to the issue at hand: “Only believe and be saved?” Following are many passages, grouped in sections, to consider for determining the answer to this query.
One point we must remember is that “believing” and “faith” are spiritually, grammatically, and intimately tied together. “Believe” in its various modes is the verb form for which “faith” is often the noun. So, to a large extent, the concepts of believing and faith can be used interchangeably, and should be combined together as one group.
Just Believe and Be Saved (and Baptized)
Romans 10:8-11: “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth [Gk. present active participle = continuous or repeated action] on him shall not be ashamed [Gk. “kataischuno” = shame, disgrace, humiliate].”
—Confess, believe on an ongoing basis, and be saved. But what kind or level of belief is saving belief? Stay tuned…
Mark 16:15-18: “And he [Jesus] said unto them [Jesus’ close disciples], Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
—God can work with people who believe in Him and are baptized to perform many great acts, including casting out devils and healing the sick.
Acts 8:12-13: “But when they [people in Samaria] believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.”
—Those who believed on Jesus were baptized.
Acts 18:7-8: “And he [Paul] departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard [Gk. “sunomoreo” = border on, be next to] to the synagogue. 8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.”–Again, those who believed were baptized.
Acts 8:34-38: “And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”
—Philip baptized the eunuch for the eunuch believed that Jesus was the Son of God, based on the biblical instruction Philip provided to the eunuch.
Acts 16:26-33: “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s [the prisoners’] bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway [Gk. “parachrema” = immediately, forthwith].”
—Paul taught the prison warden from God’s Word such that the warden believed on Jesus and was baptized.
Luke 8:11-12: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
—The devil seeks to prevent people from believing in the Lord, thus blocking their salvation.
Acts 19:1-6: “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”
—In this account, those who believed were baptized and then they prophesied speaking with new tongues (human languages).
James 2:17-24: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect [Gk. “teleioo” = complete, mature, made perfect by reaching the intended goal]? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”
—Faith is demonstrated or verified by works (our acts of obedience to God). The devils believe in God, yet they will be lost.
So now we have an apparent dilemma. The previous nine passages have presented examples that in various ways proclaim that those who believe in God/Jesus are or will be saved. Yet the devils also believe in God. Will all the devils be “saved” and then be restored to their previous positions in heaven? Surely not! Thus, saving belief/faith must exceed the level or type of belief exhibited by demons. It seems there must be other factors that combine with or result from belief that collectively effect received salvation. In the next section, we will learn what elements are tied to saving belief/faith.
Elements that Accompany Saving Belief & Faith
This may be the most important section in this study! As you read the Bible verses included in this segment, remember the Bible interpretation principle exampled on pages one to three. That is, we must consider and compare a variety of Scriptures on a given topic before we can be assured that we understand the truth.
In the previous section, a number of passages seem to indicate that belief (only) in Jesus or God secures one’s salvation. But this current section presents a number of passages that supplement and complete the Bible’s explanation related to saving belief and faith.
1 John 3:22-24: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him [God the Father], because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
—Believing in Jesus is linked to keeping God’s commandments, loving other people, and living in a manner pleasing to Him.
1 John 5:2-5: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth [Gk. present active participle = continuous or repeated action] that Jesus is the Son of God?”
—Faith, including belief in Jesus as the Son of God, will prompt us to keep God’s commandments and will inspire and strengthen individuals to successfully resist the evil in this world.
Ephesians 2:8-10: “For by grace are ye [people] saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
—Again, our faith links us to saving grace that empowers and leads us to perform good works.
1 Peter 1:18-23: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation [Gk. “anastrophe” = move about, conduct, behavior] received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe [Gk. present active participle = continuous or repeated action] in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned [Gk. “anupokritos” = genuine, sincere, true] love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
—Belief in God is tied to obeying the truth, loving one another, and being born again, indicating a new direction in life where one’s thoughts, motives, words, and actions progressively align with God’s will.
Acts 2:41-46: “Then they [people gathered at Jerusalem for Pentecost] that gladly received his [Peter’s] word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed [Gk. present active participle = continuous or repeated action] were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,”
—Those who believed in Jesus followed the apostles’ doctrine (teaching) and shared their resources with those brethren in need.
Titus 3:1-8: “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. 3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”
—Belief in God is linked to doing good works on a continuing basis.
1 Thessalonians 2:10-12: “Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily [Gk. “hosios” = sacred, holy, pious] and justly and unblameably we [Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheous] behaved ourselves among you that believe [Gk. present active participle = continuous or repeated action]: 11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.”
—Those who believe in the person and things of God will seek to live in harmony with God’s will.
John 8:31-32: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
—Belief in Jesus is linked to living according to His word and knowing the truth.
Revelation 14:12: “Here is the patience [Gk. “hupomone” = endurance, steadfastness] of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
—Notice how the faith of Jesus is linked to keeping the commandments of God. This correlation is especially significant as it is found in the last half of the final book in the Bible.
Acts 19:13-20: “Then certain of the vagabond [Gk. :perierchomai” = go about or wander around] Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure [Gk. “horkizo” = to demand a person take an oath, solemnly implore] you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds [Gk. “praxis” = acts, deeds, practice]. 19 Many of them also which used curious arts [Gk. “periergos” = busy about other people’s affairs, curious, meddling, black arts, magic] brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”
—Believing is here tied to confessing sin and destroying one’s books about the black arts (magic).
A key conclusion for this section is that saving belief/faith is linked to and will be expressed by an individual’s seeking to keep God’s commandments, knowing and obeying the truth, abiding by biblical doctrine, performing good works, living in harmony with God’s will, resisting evil, loving one another, sharing one’s resources with those in need, and discarding sinful materials.
Believing/Faith Leads to Multiple Positive Results
Mark 5:24-34: “And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. 25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway [Gk. “eutheos” = at once, directly] the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue [Gk. “Dunamis” = power, might, strength] had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”
—Without faith (the noun form for “believe”) to approach Jesus and touch his garment, the woman would not have been healed of her infirmity.
Matthew 9:27-29: “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. 28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.”
—The two blind men received their sight because they believed that Jesus could heal them and they specifically requested that Jesus perform that miracle.
Mark 5:35-42: “While he [Jesus] yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. 37 And he suffered [Gk. “aphiemi” = allowed, permit] no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. 39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. 41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.”
—Jesus told the ruler of the synagogue to believe, and soon after Jesus brought up the man’s daughter from the dead.
Mark 9:20-27: “And they brought him [someone’s son who had an evil spirit living in him] unto him [Jesus]: and when he saw him, straightway the [evil] spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth [Gk. present active participle = continuous or repeated action]. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.”
—The man believed that Jesus could cast the evil spirit out of the man’s son. And so Jesus freed the boy from the evil spirit.
1 John 5:11-13: “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe [Gk. present active participle = continuous or repeated action] on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe [Gk. present subjunctive active = continuous or repeated action] on the name of the Son of God.”
—Ongoing belief in the Son of God brings fulness of life here on earth, and provides eternal life in the future.
John 14:1-3: “Let not your [Peter’s and other of Jesus’ disciples’] heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me [Jesus]. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions [Gk. “mone” =a place to reside, dwelling place, a staying]: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place [Gk. “topos” = place, position, location] for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
—Jesus is making dwellings in heaven where those who believe in Him will reside.
John 1:10-13: “He [Jesus] was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe [Gk. present active participle = continuous or repeated action] on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
—Believing continuously and receiving Jesus leads to being born again and becoming His special people.
1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold [Gk. “epilambanomai” = grasp, seize, take hold of] on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
—Maintaining faith (belief) requires ongoing diligence.
Romans 5:1-2: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
—Our faith links us to saving grace.
Romans 4:3-5: “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth [Gk. present active participle = continuous or repeated action] on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
—Ongoing belief in God is counted (viewed as) righteousness.
Galatians 3:8-9: “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” —Our life of faith entitles us to experience the benefits linked to God’s promises given to Abraham.
John 11:21-26: “Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother [Lazarus] had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth [Gk. present active participle = continuous or repeated action] in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth [Gk. present active participle = continuous or repeated action] in me shall never die [literally: not die eternally]. Believest thou this?”
—Death is only temporary for those who believe in Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:14-15: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman [Eve] being deceived was in the transgression. 15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety [Gk. “sophrosune” = sound mind, temperate].”
—The state of staying saved is contingent on maintaining the practices associated with faith in the person and message of Jesus.
We Need to Grow & Continue in Faith/Belief
Luke 17:5: “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.”
—Even the apostles needed to grow in faith, just as we do.
1 Thessalonians 3:9-10: “For what thanks can we [Paul et al] render to God again for you [the Thessalonians], for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; 10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?”
—The true Christian life is characterized by growth in the spiritual graces and practices.
Romans 12:3: “For I [Paul] say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly [Gk. “eis” = in this case means “moving toward a goal”], according as God hath dealt to every man the measure [Gk. “metron” = measure, amount] of faith.”
—We would never choose for Christ unless God first gave us a portion of faith.
2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates [Gk. “adokimos” = unworthy, failing the test].”
—Consider your life – your thoughts, desires, motives, and actions – to see if it aligns with the requirements detailed in Scripture.
Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
—Reading God’s Word, the Bible, will provide and strengthen one’s faith.
2 Peter 1:1-8: “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity [Gk. “agape” = love (the highest form of love), good will, benevolence]. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
—Faith, the noun version of believing, should be built upon to sequentially incorporate additional spiritual elements including virtue, knowledge of God, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and agape love.
Though we are to remain accepting of new people attending our church, we are to gently and progressively lead them to a greater understanding and higher experience consistent with a God-glorifying life. Ephesians 4:13-15 states, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
Colossians 1:21-23: “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.”
—Those whom God has saved will only retain that status as they continue to live in accordance with the Bible-declared practices of faith.
Acts 14:21-22: “And when they [Paul and Barnabas] had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
—Faith (and belief) are not just a one-time experience. Their expression, or experience, needs to maintain throughout one’s ongoing existence.
People of Faith (Believers) Do Great Things for God
Hebrews 11:1-11: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. 5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.”
—Faith/belief always leads to Godly action.
Without Belief – Faith – Truth, We are Doomed!
John 8:22-24: “Then said the Jews, Will he [Jesus] kill himself? because he saith,
Whither I go, ye cannot come. 23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”
—Failure to believe in Jesus will result in our ultimate destruction with no hope of salvation.
2 Thessalonians 2:8-12: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
—Those who don’t believe and love the truth will be lost!
Hebrews 10:38: “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back [Gk.“hypostello” = draw down, cower, shrink] my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”
—Living by faith (belief) requires sustained diligence.
Hebrews 4:1-3: “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”
—Hearing the gospel does us no good unless we accept and live by it. When these conditions are met, we will find rest of soul.
1 John 4:1-4: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
—Those who do not confess (believe in) Jesus have the spirit of antichrist.
Additional Belief & Faith Verses
John 9:35-38: “Jesus heard that they [Pharisees and other Jews] had cast him [a man whom Jesus had healed of blindness] out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.”
—The man’s belief led him to immediately worship Jesus.
Romans 3:31: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
—After the cross, God’s law is still valid. Having faith does not nullify our responsibility to keep God’s law.
Ephesians 4:11-13: “And he [Jesus] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”
—God gives abilities to people so they can better serve Him and become like Him.
People of faith (belief) will progressively come into unity in practice and affiliation with each other.
John 10:37-38: “If I [Jesus] do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.”
—Jesus’ works testify that He is one that is fully connected with His heavenly Father.
John 5:44-47: “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
—The people did not understand and believe Moses’ writings that spoke about Jesus.
Philippians 1:27-29: “Only let your conversation [Gk. “politeuomai” = citizen, to live as a citizen, conduct] be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition [Gk. “apoleia” = destruction, loss, ruin], but to you of salvation, and that of God. 29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe [Gk. present infinitive active = continuous or repeated action] on him, but also to suffer for his sake;”
—We should not be afraid, though ongoing belief in Jesus will inevitably lead to persecution.
In this paper, great emphasis has been placed on searching for and combining multiple Bible passages related to believing (faith) and salvation to determine what components, if any, are related to this important topic. One of the Bible interpretation principles driving this study is that while all Bible verses are accurate, they are not necessarily complete in themselves. That’s why we need to consider a host of verses/passages, combining their collective content to correctly arrive at truth.
The larger testimony of Scripture indicates that a saving belief in Jesus inevitably prompts and is connected to performance of a cluster of positive behaviors. These include baptism into God’s family, Bible study, righteous works, loving other people, striving to keep God’s commandments, being born again, resisting evil, sharing resources with others in need, confessing our sin to God, and discarding sinful materials such as books describing the black arts: witchcraft and sorcery, etc.
Many benefits accompany believing in Jesus and cooperating with His instruction. This paper included related accounts of physical and spiritual healing, family members raised from the dead, freedom from control by evil spirits, fulness of life, eternal life in the future, growth in spiritual graces, performance of great exploits like Noah and others who built an ark that saved Noah and his family from a world-wide flood, and reception of God-given abilities to facilitate improved service for God.
Please feel free to direct comments and questions regarding this study to Andrew Manthe by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.