Lesson 15 - The Act of Believing


Now that we have seen God's great love toward us, and His plan of salvation, there is a question that remains to be answered - what must I do? How do I accept this wonderful gift that God has given me? To answer this question, there is one thing we must first understand:


We can never merit salvation


Romans 6: 23 tells us that eternal life is the GIFT of God. We can not pay for it or work for it; it is a gift. If we do anything at all to earn it, it is no longer a free gift.


Read Ephesians 2: 8-9, and fill in the blanks below.


   For it is by ______ you have been saved, through ______ - and this is not from yourselves, it is the ________ of God - not by ______, so that no one can boast.


"Grace" is well defined as unmerited favor. Grace is more than just mercy. Mercy is God not giving us the punishment we deserve. Grace is God giving us the blessing that we do not deserve!


Faith" is defined in Hebrews 11:1. It says: Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. In Ephesians 2: 8-9 above, we see that faith is a gift of God. We cannot create that supernatural certainty of eternal things within ourselves - God puts it there! He is the One who gives us the faith we need to believe in Him.


"Works" denotes any good thing that is within our power to do. The Bible does not teach that good words are wrong - that is certainly not true. What the Bible does teach is that there is no work we can do that is acceptable to God to pay for our salvation. Or salvation is a free gift of Gods grace (undeserved favor), and we receive it by faith alone! We can never eam salvation by works, no matter how good and righteous they may appear to be. Isaiah 64:6 tells us that "all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags" compared to God's standard of righteousness.


But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit... (Titus 3: 4-5)


What is the "washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit?" Washing speaks of being made clean, having our sins washed away. We are told that this happens by being rebom (bom again) and made new by the Holy Spirit.


Reborn and made new

The prophet Ezekiel prophesied about the work of God making us new. In Ezekiel 36: 26 we read:  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."


Notice that God says He will do it. It is by His power, and according to His desire that He does this miracle. It is when the Holy Spirit comes to live in us that we are given this new heart. We can never make ourselves new by our own power.


    Read 2 Corinthians 5: 17. What do we become in Christ?


    Read John 1: 12-13. What were we given the right to become?



    What must we do to receive this right?


                   _________ Him and  _________ in Him.


These children of God are not born of natural descent or human decision;

but they are:



Keep these things in mind as you read the next section.


    Read John 3: 1-21. Take your time, and think about the things Jesus says in

    this section. Then go on and answer the questions.



· In verse 3, what is necessary tosee the kingdom of God?



· In verse 6, what is the difference between the old birth and the new birth?



· In verse 16, how did God show His infinite love for us?



· What is the gift He gives us?



· Who will receive this gift?



The act of believing

The New Testament of the Bible was originally written in Greek, which is a very descriptive lan4uage. Sometimes the meaning of a Greek word will not exactly match the meaning of any single English word. It may take more than one English word to accurately communicate the full meaning of a Greek word.


In the original text, the word that is translated "believe" is the Greek word "pisteuo." This word means much more than just believing something is true with our minds. This word means:  "To trust in, cling to, rely upon, adhere to"


Let's look again at the words of Jesus in John 3: 16 in the light of the true meaning of believing:


"For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever trusts in Him, clings to Him, relies upon Him, and adheres to Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.


Believing in Jesus means trusting Him completely, more than life itself. He is our life, and the source of all life. Everything that we know and experience in this world is temporary, and will9ne day come to an end. He alone is eternal and limitless. Who can we trust more than the great "I AM," who loves us with a limitless love?


It is not enough to know about Jesus and what He did; salvation is based on personal trust in Him. In other words, a head knowledge is not enough. We must have a a heart of knowledge. This means surrendering the control of your life to Jesus, and inviting Him to live in your heart and be your God.


"Here I am ! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in..." - Jesus    (Revelation 3: 20)


Is Jesus knocking at the door of your heart today? Have you opened the door? If you have not yet made that decision for Jesus, now is a great time!


How should I pray?

It is not at all hard to pray the prayer of salvation. It is not the exact words you pray that are important; it is the sincere commitment to Jesus Christ that you make in your heart. It is the true surrender of your life to the One who created

you to be His own; and trusting in Him alone for your salvation.


You can pray alone if you like, or you can pray with a Christian friend or counselor. Friends can accept the Lord together also. There is no certain place you have to pray. There just aren't too many rules about how it has to happen. God sees your heart, and that is what matters to Him. There are a few things that form the foundation for our true belief in Jesus Christ. Read them over before you pray. You may want to tell Him that you believe these things as you pray to Him.


· I AM A SINNER, AND I DESERVE THE JUDGMENT OF GOD.


· I AM NOT CAPABLE OF LIVING A SINLESS LIFE ON MY OWN.


  · I AM IN DESPERATE NEED OF GOD'S MERCY, AND LIFE- CHANGING

    POWER.


  · I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD; THAT GOD THE

    SON BECAME A MAN AND CAME 10 EARTH TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO

    US.


  · I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST LIVED A SINLESS LIFE ON EARTH,

    AND DID NOTHING WORTHY OF ANYJUDGMENT.


  · I BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST SUFFERED AND DIED FOR MY SAKE, AND

    THAT HE PAID THE PRICE FOR ALL MY SINS.


  · I BELIEVE HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD ON THE THIRD DAY, AND IS

    ALIVE FOREVER.


  · I BELIEVE HE LOVES ME, AND IS CALLING ME TO BE HIS CHILD

    FOREVER. I WILLINGLY RECEIVE HIM AS MY SAVIOR AND MY LORD.


As you pray, you should ask Him to forgive you for your sins, and help you to repent (turn away) from them. Thank Him for the price He paid to ransom you from death. Invite Him into your heart, to be your Savior and your Lord. He will come and live in your by His Holy Spirit! Ask Him to change you, so that you can please Him by your life. He will do it! When you surrender completely to God, you die to yourself and your old way of life, and become a new creation. You are born again by God's awesome power. You become a child of God! And a whole new life begins...


The promise of new life

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5: 17)


The promise of eternal life

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have etemal life. (1 John 5: 13)


"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." -Jesus (John 10: 27-28)


If you have teceived Jesus as your Lord, then these promises are for you! He will never let you go - you belong to Him, and He is all-powerful to keep you. You have been given eternal life with your Lord, to see His awesome glory and rejoice in His presence, and He will get you there! Now the journey begins...


We will Study about what it means to be a new creation in the next chapter.


Tomorrow we start on our five daily devo’s As you start each of the devo’s, say a prayer asking God to teach you about Himself through His Word. After you finish each devo, pray again. This time, you can pray for whatever is on your heart. Be sure to thank God for what He has shown you, and ask Him to help you make it a part of your life. He will do it!