Having understood the true Gospel, you must now believe. But what does it mean to believe? There are two aspects to believing. First, to believe is to repent. Second, to believe is to trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Both are necessary aspects of believing.
To believe is to repent from your sins and from sin itself. The specific acts of sin are called sins. But the principle or law from which our sins originate is called sin. Sin is rebellion against God’s rule and authority. Sin is lawlessness, i.e. our refusal to submit to God’s law. You must repent from both types of transgression — sin and sins. To repent from sins is to acknowledge that our specific acts of sin, no matter how large or small, whether they are sins of transgression or sins of omission, are sins against God Himself. We have offended a holy and righteous God. Secondly, to repent from the principle of sin itself is to acknowledge that this principle resides in us. We are rebels by heart. We are slaves to the principle of sin (rebellion) and cannot help but sin against God and His law. In other words, we are sinners not because we commit specific sins per se but because sin dwells in us and is our master. To repent is to acknowledge that the wages of both sins and sin is death.
The other side of believing is trusting in Jesus Christ as the solution to our sins and sinfulness. He is Lord of all. Through Him God is manifesting His rule. All authority has been given to Him. He is the rightful owner of God’s creation because He is God’s only begotten Son. It is not about turning a new leaf or trying to change our lives by our own efforts. It’s not trying to be a good person. We can only be saved from God’s wrath by the grace of God and through the blood of Jesus Christ. It is trusting in who Christ is and what has done for us on the cross. He gave His life as a ransom for many, to pay for our sins once and for all. He also delivered us from the principle or power of sin by setting us free. Believing is trusting that indeed God has done this for us for us in and through Jesus Christ. He is indeed our Lord and Savior.
This two-sided decision of faith is done from the heart (Rom 10:9-13). But we show this decision by being water baptized while calling on His name (Acts 2:37-38). This is what you must do to be saved. Salvation is by grace through faith, but faith without works is dead. There is something we must do. Our part is to repent and trust in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord, thus submitting to God’s rule once and for all. This is the only response that can bring about our true salvation!
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