what is it to believe on Christ?

51bbkptgqxl_ss500_I am compelled to share one more thought on “work out your own salvation”, and then I will move on.

I was given a book last week titled, A Pastor’s Counsel: Wise Words for Weary, Wounded and Wondering Sheep (Solid Ground Christian Books).  The book is a compilation of writings by Jonathan Edwards, Ashbel Green, Philip Doddridge & Thomas Scott.

The book intrigued me in that most of it addresses the subject of one working out ones own salvation.  The first chapter asks: what is it to believe on Christ?

The authors write:

I will suppose that you have at some time felt alarmed in view of your sin, and inquire in your thoughts, if not in words, “What must I do to be saved?”  You have the same answer that Paul gave the jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Still you hesitate.  You ask what this language means.  You desire to know what it is to believe on Christ.  Your wish, fellow-sinner, is a very reasonable one.  The wonder and the sin is, that you have not asked such a question before.  It is a most important and solemn question.  It has much to do with your salvation: for the Bible declares, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

What is it to believe on Christ?  Three answers are provided.

It is,

  • To feel your need for him;
  • To believe that he is able and willing to save you, and to save you now;
  • To cast yourself unreservedly upon his mercy, and trust him alone for salvation.

Let’s take a brief look at each answer;

To believe on Christ is to feel your need for him:

Till you do this, you will never seek him earnestly, or trust him wholly.  You do not send for a physician till you feel yourself to be ill.  It was only when Peter found he was beginning to sink, that he cried, “Lord, save me.”  So the sinner never goes to Christ in a right manner, till he feels himself to be a lost, wretched being.  It is not enough to know this: you must feel it.

To believe on Christ is to believe that he is able and willing to save you, and to save you now:

He is able, for he is almighty.  You are a great sinner, but Christ is a great Savior.  Satan has been trying to persuade you that Christ is not able to save so great a sinner as you are.  It is false.  He is able; unless you believe this in all its glorious extent, you will no more be willing to trust him, than a man on the roof of a burning house will step upon a weak ladder which he knows will give way beneath him.

To believe on Christ is to cast yourself unreservedly upon his mercy, and trust in him alone for salvation:

This implies that you renounce all expectations of saving yourself, or of being saved any other way than through the righteousness and redemption of Christ.  Did you ever feel as if you had done all you could?  Have you tried to think of something more to do, to obtain hope and forgiveness?  You have done too much in this way already.

I can think of no better way to conclude this series on working out your own salvation than with the last two paragraphs of the chapter.  For those who have never believed on Christ to be saved, I implore you:

Does your heart now say, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief?”  Will you take the Savior at his word?  Are you willing to trust him to do the whole work of your salvation?
If so, prostrate yourself before this waiting, insulted, and still compassionate Redeemer; tell him with all your heart, and he will pardon, accept, and save you.


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