It is said that in order for a person to be saved that they must believe, trust, and love Jesus. I would agree. However, not in the sense that some may argue. I would argue that these 3 actions actually wind up being one in the same; each necessary for and reliant upon, and being results of the other. Acts 16:31 clearly and simply states “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved….” But does this fit the bill for believing, trusting and loving Jesus? Indeed it does.
The Greek word translated to the English word “believe” anywhere in the New Testament, that I am aware of, is “piseo.” This word implies committing ones trust to something or someone; of course Jesus Christ in this case. Saving faith is synonymous with that kind of belief; we fully rely upon, and thus trust the sufficient and finished work of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 1:3) for the free gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). It does not depend on any of our efforts or proof thereof, whatsoever. If we start using our works as the benchmark for proof of our salvation, we start taking the focus off of perfect and sufficient Jesus Christ and putting it on our imperfect and insufficient selves. Worse yet, we wind up back-loading works into the salvation equation. Works are not part of the salvation equation no matter which way they enter into it; Satan will use whatever means he can to get us to believe otherwise; including those things that are “spiritual.”
We are born again; born of the Spirit; sealed with Him when we put our trust in; believe in Christ; when we believe the Gospel (John 3, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Ephesians 1:13). That spiritual birth; that new born again person that we become is sinless (1 John 3:9). That is why the new person has eternal life as opposed to the earned wage of sin (Romans 6:23).
One may then ask how love fits in here. Consider the following passage:
Mat 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Jesus sums up the entire law here. Sin is transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4). The new man/woman does not and cannot sin. Scripture also tells us that if we break one law we have broken all of them (James 2:10). Scripture also tells us that failing to do what we should do is sin (James 4:17). The new creature living within the believer is then of course doing these things; this of course includes loving Jesus; God.
Indeed we still have the sinful flesh. In Galatians 5:16 the Apostle Paul admonishes CHRISTIANS; SAVED people to walk in the Spirit as to not fulfill the lust of the flesh. This being said, we as believers should most certainly be examining ourselves; first in terms of knowing what we believe and why we are saved; this is what I believe that Paul is saying to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 13. Also as believers, we should be continuously examining our priorities, actions, thoughts, etc., in order to be walking more closely in step with Jesus and becoming more like Him. This is discipleship; a lifelong process, unlike salvation, which is an event. We want to earn all of the unspeakably wonderful rewards that He would potentially want to give us. Again, salvation is a gift, and gifts are free. Rewards are earned. They are a part of discipleship. We must never blur the line between the 2, it causes a great deal of confusion (I know from experience), and thus can potentially have drastic eternal consequences.
Do you love God the way you should? No. No one does this side of eternity. As long as we still have the flesh, which is contrary to the spirit, we will not. We do not shed the flesh until our physical deaths or the Rapture; whichever God has appointed for each one of us. Please do not live in fear of Hell because you don’t feel like you can “muster up” enough love for God. The more you walk with Him the more you will feel this love, as the fruit of the Spirit overtakes the lust of the flesh. Please don’t question your salvation because you didn’t have an “emotional” conversion experience either. Again, we look to perfect and reliable Scripture for the evidence of our salvation, not our imperfect and unreliable selves. If you have believed on Him, fully trusting Him; believing the Gospel, then you have received the irrevocable gift of eternal life (Romans 11:29). You have been born of the Spirit; a birth that is sinless and therefor truly loves the Lord Jesus. Rest in your salvation and watch how the Lord will bless you in so many ways, deepening your love for Him. God bless.
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