I know from the Bible that you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved as mentioned in Acts 16:31 and John 6:47. However, what about Him do we need to believe in order to be saved?
The is the $64,000 question, isn’t it?
First, I commend Alex for recognizing that the issue is believing, simply being convinced that something is true. Probably 90% of Evangelicals consider faith to be work. Alex is not trying to change believing into behaving. He is not suggesting that belief is really surrender, commitment, turning from sins, and obeying God. Believing is simply being persuaded.
But what about Jesus do we need to be persuaded is true?
Back in 2008 and 2009 there were two books written that suggested there were five or more essentials truths that must be believed in order to be born again. Their lists were slightly different. The following is a combined list of “the essentials” from those two books: 1) Jesus Christ is the Son of God; 2) Jesus Christ is genuinely human; 3) He never sinned; 4) He is equal to Yahweh God; 5) He died on the cross as our substitute in order to pay the penalty for our sins; 6) He rose bodily from the dead; 7) He gives everlasting life to all who trust Him and Him alone for it.
It is not clear why they include those truths but not other fundamental truths, like the virgin birth, the inerrancy of Scripture, the Second Coming of Christ, the Trinity, and Jesus’ eternality and immutability.
The problem these two authors had is that there is no passage in the Bible that lists all the supposed essential truths. They are forced to go to a variety of texts in order to create their own list of the essential truths. The fact that they come up with different lists is telling. Lacking any text that gives us all the essentials, we will certainly come up with different lists in our patchwork evangelistic message.
Why didn’t the Lord tell Nicodemus or the woman at the well everything they needed to believe to be born again? Why did Paul give an insufficient answer to the Philippian jailer’s question (Acts 16:30-31)? Why doesn’t the Book of Acts give us a sermon in which someone (Peter, Philip the evangelist, Paul, Barnabas) listed all of the essentials? The answer is that Jesus, Paul, Philip the evangelist, and all the apostles stated all one needed to believe to be born again. They left nothing out.
Alex, the Scriptures are clear what we need to believe about Jesus in order to be born again. John 3:16 gives you the answer. We must believe that Jesus is telling the truth when He promises that whoever believes in Him will not perish but has everlasting life. We must believe that He guarantees that anyone who believes in Him for everlasting life (1 Tim 1:16) is secure forever from that moment onward.
Look at it this way, Alex. The Lord Jesus does not give evangelistic invitations. He does not specifically invite people to believe. Instead, He simply states what is true. In a matter-of-fact way, He says, “He who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47). Clearly what we believe in Him for is everlasting life, life that cannot be lost. Repeatedly in John’s Gospel the Lord promises that the one who believes in Him will never hunger, will never thirst, will never perish, will never die, will never be cast out, will never be lost, will never be plucked from His hand or from His Father’s hand, and will never come into judgment regarding his eternal destiny (John 3:16; 4:10-14; 5:24; 6:35, 37, 39; 10:28, 29; 11:26).
All of the fundamental truths of the Bible should lead us to be the saving truth that the Lord Jesus Christ guarantees everlasting life that cannot be lost to all who simply believe in Him for that life.
Once anyone gets to the point where he is convinced that the sole condition of everlasting life is believing in Jesus, simply being persuaded concerning some truth(s) about Jesus, then he is not far from certainty of his eternal destiny. He simply needs to grasp that we must believe in Jesus “for everlasting life” (1 Tim 1:16). I believe in Jesus for my eternal destiny. As a result, I’m sure that I have everlasting life that can never be lost since I know that Jesus cannot lie. I know His promise of life is true.
Do you know that His promise of life is true? If not, make that a matter of constant prayer until you are sure. I suggest you read John’s Gospel prayerfully. You will see the promise of everlasting life repeatedly given. And if you are seeking, God will reveal the simple truth to you as well (Matt 7:7-11; Heb 11:6).