John 3:18 “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
This verse makes it plain that whether or not an individual is condemned to Hell depends on belief, or faith. Let me point out now that the word “faith” in this verse does not refer to the doctrinal points of what you hold to, as in a creed.
Many people today have this kind of “faith,” but it is not the kind of faith that saves from Hell. In fact, the Bible tells us that the devils believe, too, but you can be sure that they will not escape the wrath of God in Hell! The devils believe because they were at one time in Heaven. They knew God and dwelt with Him. They have no doubt about His existence or power. Yes, you can be sure that they have those facts straight, and they even tremble over that knowledge: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19).
God is much more interested in what you do about those facts about Him and about His Son, Jesus Christ. If your “knowledge” does not cause you to change your ways, then what you call “faith” won’t do you any more good than what the devils know about God.
When Christ first started preaching, His message was to declare: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). This word “repent” means to change your mind about sin. Whereas you loved it before, hate it now, because it is sending you to Hell. Turn from it and tell God you are sorry for it.
After a child learns what “hot” means, they understand that they should not touch a “hot” stove. They believed it, and it altered their actions. This is the way saving faith works. Once you understand sin is sending you to Hell, it is time to not touch it anymore.
Christ needs to be the object of your faith, and not your works, or what you can do to save yourself. He died for your sins and now wants you to trust (believe) in Him alone for salvation. There is no other way to Heaven. Call on Him in prayer for forgiveness and salvation. Do it today. Make sure you have genuine faith in Christ, and are not merely trusting in a set of facts about Christ.
Notice again what the verse for today declares: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Hell is the price for a wrong kind of faith, but faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you leads to a real and eternal salvation.
Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
It is not difficult to know when your faith in God is weak. You find it hard to trust Him to do anything that you cannot do for yourself. This also causes you to leave out a lot of praying because you’re not fully convinced it works, or that God will answer your prayers.
A lack of faith, however, has some rather simple causes – each of which can be remedied rather easily. The first thing you must know is that you are truly a child of God through faith in Christ and the new birth. If you do not know that for sure, then it is time to get saved. Nothing else will help.
Three Causes of a Lack of Faith:
1. Sin Not Being Dealt with
The first cause of a lack of faith is sin. That’s right. If you have unconfessed sin in your heart, faith will be weak. Why? Because faith is a fruit of the Spirit, and if you grieve Him, this fruit will not be manifest strongly. Sin can be in the heart only, or in the life, too.
2. Not Doing the Will of God
The second cause of a weak faith is not doing what you know you ought to do. I mention this because some people may not necessarily consider this to be sin. As Christians, they know they ought to go to church, to read the Bible, to give, to pray, etc. – but they do not.
3. Not Using the God-Given Tools for Faith
A third and primary cause of a lack of faith is not employing the tools God gave you to increase it. After you have dealt with the sin and indifference to God’s commands, then you can start to build your faith. You cannot pray for it, pump it up in your mind, or, wish you had more.
God’s method to give us more faith is found in the Bible verse above. We gain and grow in faith by hearing the Word of God. We “hear” it through Bible teaching, Bible preaching, other Christians giving praise to God for His working in their lives through answered prayer, the singing of the hymns and other songs in church and radio, etc. This is one major reason church attendance is so important.
I also want to add that your faith will usually be in proportion to the time you spend in reading and studying the Bible. Little reading produces little faith. More reading produces more faith, as long as you are willing to obey what you read; and much reading and study produces a much larger amount of faith. This principle is true of any believer – whether a preacher like me or in a layperson.
As you can see, faith is based on a sowing and reaping basis. Those who truly have much faith and often see answers to prayer and are bold for Christ are also those who spend a lot of time in the Word. They see God work in powerful ways.
Now, let’s get down to where the rubber meets the road. The question, How much faith do you want today? can only be answered by: How much time are you willing to spend with God today?
II Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
There are various times when, as a believer, you will find yourself spiritually weak. There are also various ways the weakness will appear, including being weak in being willing to fight the flesh and the devil, weakness to do what is right, weakness to witness, weakness in getting up in time to have a good personal devotions, or go to church.
The weakness is made worse, though, when we are not willing to do anything about it – including praying. This demonstrates complacency in your weakness, revealing you accept it and do not intend to do anything about it; or, you do not believe anything can be done about it.
If you are a born-again believer in Christ, you can do something about spiritual weakness. Christ has already given you the tools.
The above verse is from the apostle Paul coming to God and asking him to take away a particular thorn in the flesh. The thorn was bothersome to Paul and he sought relief from it. In reply, the Lord said “No.”
Out of Paul’s dilemma, God gave us a principle and a verse that reveals many valuable things to believers. Here are some of them:
God does not always intend to provide relief.
God will always give His servants sufficient grace to bear what He in righteousness permits – although He does not necessarily promise we will understand it.
God can best provide and demonstrate His strength in our weakness.
Like Paul, God wants us to “glory in our weaknesses” because that is when God’s power can be most easily seen in our lives.
As humans, we naturally tend to gravitate toward things where our strengths will carry us through. In those instances, however, your own strength is working – and not necessarily God’s. God desires that we rely on Him in faith to provide the things we need – including emotional, and sufficient physical and mental health for the tasks He gives.
Whose strength are you relying on now to accomplish the things God wants you to do? It is true that we must be involved and expend our energies, but we also need Him to work – or we are working in vain.
Matthew 7:7,8 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
Many people are familiar with these two Bible verses, or at least with the idea of asking and receiving. The idea is used in many aspects: between friends, by business leaders, by politicians, and more.
In the spiritual realm, the Lord Jesus taught it to His disciples, not to unbelievers. The key idea here is that God is very interested in providing the needs of His children, and that He has the power to do it. He also does not need to be prodded, or pleaded with in order to give it.
In addition, though, there is also the strong principle here that says that God’s people often go without simply because they don’t ask. God wants you, as a faithful believer, to learn to make a habit of asking Him for needs, and for His will to be accomplished in the lives of specific individuals, families – and nations.
A lack of trust in God’s ability or willingness to deliver is a primary reason some things are not obtained. Asking in faith must lead to seeking that answer, and being watchful for it. Asking may also require knocking on doors so that clear direction may be given.
Faith comes by spending time in reading the Bible, talking to God in prayer, and in obeying God. As you do these things more, you will discover that your vision will be enlarged, and you will be enabled and encouraged to widen your asking – according to the will of God. God will not answer a request that is in violation of His Word.
Could it be said of any of us that we have not only because we aren’t asking? Think about what great things could be done for the Kingdom of God if we would only learn to ask, seek, and knock more?
I John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
Although it can be a struggle sometimes, Christians have something that ordinary religion cannot provide. Other religions must talk about subduing the flesh or learning to ignore it, but the child of God has the Holy Spirit within to help defeat the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
Having the indwelling Holy Spirit is a real game-changer. He is never tempted to sin. In fact, He cannot sin. The key for the believer, then, is to let the Holy Spirit have control. He never forces you to do something against your will, or takes over. Your will always remains intact, which is why some believers have difficulty with sin.
This Bible verse plainly tells us that being “born of God” (or, “born again”) is the victory. We are not what we used to be (thank God!), and we are not yet all that we shall be. In Christ, though, you should be learning how to walk in the Spirit and getting the victory through Him.
One of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) is faith. This means that if you will walk with Him, you can have the faith you need to have victory. Throughout the day, in faith look to Christ to provide you with victory and to make you aware of temptations before there is a problem – and a defeat. When faced with difficult situations, always be sure to ask Him in prayer for wisdom, guidance, and strength to do His will.
In the new birth, Christ has made us new creatures. It really is the Holy Spirit within us, and He is more than capable of leading you to victory over sin. Perfection will not occur in this life, however, but there is plenty of opportunity for growth in that direction.
I have no doubt that some people reading this title are going to be at least a little surprised by it. It is not a gimmick, or a trick. It is just plain Bible truth, and it is a truth that is repeated throughout the Bible.
Before I get to those reasons, I ask that you think for a moment why Jesus needed to die at all. You see, if Heaven could be gained by being or doing enough good, then Jesus did not need to suffer at all. The implication would then be that God made His Son to suffer for nothing. Of course, an all-knowing God did not make that mistake.
Here are five reasons from the Bible why good works cannot save anyone.
Because God’s Law Demands Perfection
Every one of us knows that nobody is perfect. We’ve all said it. With God, though, it is different. If He let sin and sinners into His holy Heaven – it wouldn’t be Heaven anymore. It would become just like earth – not much to look forward to, in that case.
To let us know what He wanted, He gave us the Ten Commandments. They are the gatekeeper, and they reveal what we really are inside. The problem with law is that it knows no mercy. Do the crime – do the time, is its motto.
God’s Law is also merciless. It says, in James 2:10: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” In plain English, it means if you sin, you forfeit Heaven. Now, the Bible also tells us that: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This means everyone is in serious trouble with a holy God!
Because Sin Is Not Erased by Good Works
Since we all have sinned, it means every human is facing a horrible penalty – Hell. Romans 6:23 tells us that the “wages of sin is death.” Hell is the price for sin – even if there were only one. Even judges on earth operate on a similar principle. Doing good works after a crime does not mean you won’t have to pay for the crime. Plainly, crimes against God will also have to be paid for in full.
Here is what the Bible says about paying for sin: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood” [death]; “and without shedding of blood is no remission” (“remission” means payment for) (Hebrews 9:22). This Bible verse teaches that no sin is erased – ever – without a sacrifice!
Because Good Works Will Not Change Your Sinful Nature
The Bible makes it plain that we all had a wrong birth. We were born into Adam’s family, and this means we are cursed. Every human needs a new birth and a new nature – one that can please God. The one we are born with loves to sin!
This is why we find that Jesus told one leader in his day: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Once any individual is “born again,” God gives that person a new nature – one that can please Him.
Because God Does Not Accept Good Works for Salvation
God will never corrupt justice. He will punish sin. If He were to let unrepentant sinners remain unpunished for their sins – then that is not just. Good works cannot buy God off so that He will overlook your sin.
Besides, what people consider to be good works, God does not see them that way at all! In Isaiah 64:6, He tells us: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses” (good works) “are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Even the best works are just rags to God, if offered in hopes of being saved by them.
Because Good Works Do Not Glorify God
The reason people try to work their way to Heaven is because they want to try and make themselves look good to God. They want the praise. Unfortunately, it can’t work because God very well knows we are sinners.
Besides that, He sacrificed His Son to buy salvation for you. This means that anyone trying to work their way to Heaven is completely ignoring this great Sacrifice God made for us! They are discounting the very blood of Christ – the only thing that can save their soul!
Notice carefully what God says about works in this verse: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). Works cannot save the soul. Faith in Christ’s work for you can save.
Notice in these verses also, that works cannot save anyone: “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:27,28).
The single key to getting saved is to trust Christ to save you. He died to take your penalty for sin. Recognize what He did for you. It cost Christ a lot to be able to offer salvation freely to you. Ask Him to forgive you of your sin and to become your Savior today. He is more than willing and able to do it.
Listen to the words of Christ: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
For Salvation and Revival, Evangelist Mike Valles
If you want to read more information about salvation, I encourage you to read the following posts:
Many people reading this post will know what Bible verse of salvation the title refers to, before I present it. That is because it also is one of the most well-known verses, and I am glad for the opportunity to talk about it today.
God never intended Bible salvation to be difficult to understand. The truth is clearly in the opposite direction. It is quite simple. In fact, so simple, that multitudes of people reject it because it sounds so simple that even a child can understand it. After all, didn’t Jesus say that children should be permitted “to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 19:14)? This verse means that many children get this truth and will be saved, and many adults will not be saved – simply because they just won’t receive salvation the way God offers it. God makes it easy to understand because e wants all to have it.
The Key Verse of Salvation
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Christ spoke these precious words in a discussion with Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. Jesus referred to Himself as the One God gave to everyone on earth for their salvation. John the Baptist referred to Christ as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Although God was desirous to send the promised Redeemer to Israel, God loved the whole world, and wanted to save all.
The reason Christ could save all people from their sin is because of Who He is – the “only begotten Son” of God. Now, it only makes sense that if all need to be saved, then everyone is already condemned! Because the Bible tells us: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Ro. 3:23), it is imperative that people everywhere understand that we are not good in God’s sight.
If we really were not so bad as to deserve Hell, then there was no need for Christ to die for us. But God sent Him to die, because God wanted to give us an opportunity to be saved.
One of the most important parts of this verse is the requirements it gives for salvation. Let me encourage you to reread the verse. It says that “whosoever believeth in him” will not perish. Simply believing on Christ is all that is needed to receive eternal life.
Believing Is More Than a Set of Facts
Now, please understand that when the Bible talks about the belief or faith that can save the soul, it is not talking about a mere intellectual understanding of a set of facts, although the facts cannot be neglected. Instead, it refers to an actual trust in Christ, letting Him do all the saving for you.
It is first an understanding that you are a sinner on your way to Hell. You have willfully sinned, and God must punish sin, all sin, in Hell. Then, you need to understand and believe that God in mercy sent Christ to pay the price your sin deserves, and He died for it. Christ was raised from the dead to reveal that all sins have been successfully paid for – including yours and mine.
As a result of understanding and believing these truths about Christ, you are sorry for your sin (rebellion against God and His commandments). You also know that God said that if anyone (“whosover”) comes to Him in prayer and sincerity, and desires to turn their life around and live for God, they can be saved.
Faith Also Means Receiving
How? Simply by asking God to forgive you because of the fact that Christ already paid it all for you. You, in faith, ask Christ to save and forgive you at the very moment you pray – and He will. Thank Him for it, and then begin to follow God and His Scriptures – the Bible.
If you have never asked Christ to save you, and you recognize your need for it, why not bow your head right now and ask Him to save you now? God loves you and He is ready to hear your prayer.
If you do ask Him to save you, I would like to hear about it.