A Belief That Saves

In the message “The Father’s Will” we saw that not all who do great things for God will enter Heaven, but “only he who does the will of My Father” (Matthew 7:21). We further saw that the Father’s will is “that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life” (John 6:40). We are given the gift of eternal life because of our belief in Jesus, not because of what we do; “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

Salvation can never be earned, it is a gift to those who believe. However, we must understand what it means to believe and what changes will occur when we believe. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder” (James 2:19). A saving belief is much more than just acknowledging God’s existence or even the existence of His Son – even the demons believe this!

Belief in Jesus is never simply an intellectual understanding. Belief implies a humble surrender. We will never “look to the Son” unless we first recognize our eternally lost condition due to sin; and we will never truly “believe in Him” for salvation until we accept our complete inability to save ourselves. A drowning man will never reach up for help until he first understands and accepts his need to be rescued.

To be rescued, we must believe so completely that we abandon all other “rescuers” and cling to the only One who can truly save; “any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). Giving up everything cannot save us, but true belief gives up all other sources of hope. It also reveals the trivial nature of our worldly attachments and creates an understanding that everything belongs to God. We see our life as lived for Him and desire to do ALL for His glory.

James 2:14,17
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? … In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

Belief must produce a change in our life or we know it is not a true belief – it is nothing more than dead intellectual understanding! At the moment we truly believe, we are “marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13), and we become “a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Belief creates change through the work of the Holy Spirit!!

If we lack the evidence of a changed life, we must not focus on creating the change. This type of change becomes self-righteous “filthy rags.” Rather, we must return to the cross and place ALL our trust in Jesus, truly believing He has paid the penalty for our sin and has granted us passage through the narrow gate to eternal life. As we completely turn over control to our Heavenly Father, fruit and good deeds will abound. Our life will be forever changed, but only when we begin with a belief that saves.

Have a Christ Centered Day!

Steve Troxel
God’s Daily Word Ministries

7 responses to “A Belief That Saves”

  1. Pastor Cliff Beveridge

    I am concerned about your understanding of the distinction between justification and sanctification. In your message on A Belief That Saves you stated that, “Belief must produce a change in our life or we know it is not a true belief – it is nothing more than dead intellectual understanding!” The Bible says the faith in Jesus SHOULD produce a change in our lives, but the truth is that many believers – people who have trusted Jesus Christ for salvation and are going to heaven when they die – do not undergo change in their lives. Their belief in Christ was a true belief, not simply an intellectual understanding. Where the key distinction lies is that faith unto salvation is a one-time faith and the moment someone trusts in Jesus Christ they are born-again, fully justified, completely saved from condemnation, and receive eternal life – all by grace through faith. But the faith that produces a change in our life is on-going faith. This is the day-by-day faith that results in the experiential sanctification of an already saved believer. When James spoke of dead faith in chapter 2 of his letter, he was not talking about someone who is not saved. He was talking about a believer whose faith is not producing anything. This is a born-again believer (fully justified) who is not abiding in the Vine and is therefore bearing no fruit. Think about how many times Paul, Peter, James, John, etc. exhort their readers to obey God’s commands for those who are already saved. If someone with “true belief” MUST change, then there would be no need for any of these exhortations.

    In your most recent message on The Rock of Obedience you stated that, “true believers will strive to be obedient to what Jesus taught.” You then went on to quote John 8:31 which says, “If you hold to My teachings, you are really My disciples.” The key word is that verse is disciples. Many born-again, going to heaven, eternally secure believers are not disciples. A disciple is a believer who follows Christ. Believers SHOULD strive to be obedient to what Jesus taught. Your messages of late sound like the teaching of those who preach Lordship salvation which is NOT the true gospel. Only God knows who has “true belief” and who does not. Many believers show no evidence of their faith – true faith, saving faith – because they are not walking in the Light. I love reading your daily devotions and your exhortations calling for obedience are wonderful, but when you start tying obedience to a “true belief” you are misleading people and blurring the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Pastor Cliff Beveridge

  2. Pastor Cliff Beveridge

    Thank you for the response. I pray that my original comment did not offend. It was sent out of genuine concern, not to be contentious. I, too, continually exhort believers to follow the teachings of the Bible and glorify God with their lives. That is why I so enjoy reading your daily devotional. Many of the folks in my church now read you daily devotional as well.

    My plea to you is to continue to make every effort to be as clear as possible about the gospel – to draw a clear distinction between saving faith for an unbeliever and the on-going faith of a believer. My concern is that, if that message becomes unclear, believers will begin to doubt their salvation.

    Keep up the good work and may God bless…

    Pastor Cliff Beveridge

  3. Pastor Cliff Beveridge

    You make a very good point. If the Apostle Paul (writing under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit) produced passages that need clarification when being taught, then why should any of us expect our messages to be any different? And I can think of a number of times when I had to clarify something I said (often in passing) during a sermon because I wasn’t clear enough or because someone took it the wrong way. Thank you for taking time out of your busy life to respond…


  4. Robert Beoaman


    Thanks for your insights on salvation. I had this same discussion with a group of Christian business owners, about true salvation.

    I made the point which was challenged that True salvation is to be found in knowing God. Jesus said, “this is eternal life that you know the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent.” As a follow up Jesus said that ” in that day many will say to me Lord, Lord but His response is depart from me I never knew you”

    It seems to me based on these two passages, knowing God in Christ is the central core of Salvation. Do we KNOW Him based upon our experience of surrender, (confess Jesus as Lord and believe in our heart God…)and seeing God confirm his grace and power in our lives proving ,through answered prayer, Himself God in ways only He is able to? So that with assurance we know that He could never say to us, “I never knew you” as a true friend could never say to us,I never knew you.

    My point, are we so close to Him that we KNOW Him with intimacy and therefore are sure of our salvation and if we don’t KNOW Him we may well hear those dreaded words, depart from me. I want those I love to be sure that they know Him by and through experience.

    I truly appreciate you thoughts.

  5. David Stevens

    Hello Steve.
    Just reading article in 2020!!!!
    Great read!!
    Completely agree.
    Hope you are well.

    Pastor David

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