Is simply believing enough
In Romans 10:9 Paul tells us ... if you confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (from the clutches of sin and its consequences) . If you aren’t afraid to announce your belief in Jesus, and your faith is strong in that you believe in your heart that God raised him from death, then this verse is exactly what you want to hear, seemingly confirming you are saved. There are also a few verses in John's gospel that support Paul’s words. Notably, these are Jesus’ words. .... so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [John 3:15] . 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. [John 3:16] . .... Truly, truly, I say to you, He who hears My Word and believes on Him who sent Me has everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death to life. .... [John 5:24] And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes on Him should have everlasting life. And I will raise him up at the last day. [John 6:40] Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me has everlasting life. [John 6:47] And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? [John 11:26] This seems straightforward enough. Of course, there has to be the obvious caveat that if you believe with your heart, then repentance of your sins, praying for forgiveness and, as appropriate, a change in lifestyle and attitudes is a natural consequence. Accepting that caveat, I question if simply believing is really enough. Allow me a simple analogy in an attempt to explain my thinking. If I were a heavy smoker, enjoyed a regular morning fry-up and spent my evenings having a great time downing a few pints with some like-minded friends, then I believe this lifestyle will certainly shorten my life. If, however, I chose to ignore this and continue with my unhealthy ways, then I’m not acting on my belief and by belief is in vain. In the same way, if I confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in my heart that God has raised Him from the dead, but do not act on it, then my belief is in vain. What prompts this view is Jesus’ words towards the end of his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:21-23 21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? 23 And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness! Jesus doesn’t give us the situation preceding these verses, but lets us assume the obvious: These people had come to Jesus fully expecting to be accepted, but were rejected, which led to their plea in verse 22: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? Jesus’ response would have been devastating. So, what had gone wrong. It might be that they were doing these things for their own glory and not God’s, or perhaps they were so involved in their works that they didn’t even consider that their relationship with Christ might be lacking. Whoever these people were, whatever their qualifications or ability to do the listed works, Jesus clearly stated that he never knew them, which means they never knew Jesus; they didn’t have a relationship with him. That, surely then, is what we should aim for. We have the means to enter that relationship by reading the gospels and epistles, praying and being a witness for Christ by living a better life. The final words from Jesus in his Sermon in the Mount gives is a good guide on how we might begin to achieve this. 24 Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. 25 And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house. And it did not fall, for it was founded on a rock. 26 And everyone who hears these sayings of Mine and does not do them shall be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain came down, and the floods came, and the wind blew and beat on that house. And it fell, and great was its fall. “these sayings of mine” are naturally those preceding these verses in his sermon as recorded in Matthew chapters 5 to 7. The Sermon on the Mount then is of vital importance in our quest to be ‘right with God’. It is considered to be the highest ethical teaching in the Bible and teaches us, God’s children, to develop our thinking ever closer to that of Christ, as Paul says: For who has known the mind of the Lord (God) , that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. [1Cor 2:16] . I would suggest that the Sermon on the Mount is too important to put off until a later time, and would recommend it be read now, but along with the aid of a commentary. Here are just two suggestions for available commentaries: Chuck Smith Written commentary David Guzik These links give the choice of written, audio or video commentaries.