1 John 5:12-13
Numerous people believe in God, attend church, and are convinced that they will someday go to heaven. But of these, far too many are misinformed about salvation.
Some believe that a person’s eternal destiny depends solely on how much good he accomplishes in his lifetime. Others accept that Jesus died for us but think we have to contribute toward salvation through works. Both views are incorrect. Scripture clearly teaches that we are saved only through a personal faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9).
What He did—namely, living a perfect life and dying for our sins—is what makes us right with God. When we receive Jesus as our Savior, His completed work is credited to our account. Our sin-debt is paid by His blood, and His righteousness is applied to us. Remember, we are saved not by what we do but by whom we trust—we can’t add to or take away from Christ’s finished work on the cross (John 19:30; Acts 4:12).
There is another common area of misinformation: many are convinced that belonging to a church, reading the Bible, and praying are evidences of being a Christian. These are important, but they’re not what establishes us as God’s children. We are adopted into His family when we acknowledge the insufficiency of our own efforts and embrace what Christ did for us. At that moment, we are set apart for the Lord and belong to Him.
It is essential that our faith be grounded in biblical truth. Receiving forgiveness of our sins, belonging to God’s family, and dwelling with Him forever depend on it. Do your beliefs agree with Scripture?
When I became a new believer, someone patted me on the shoulder and said, “Do the best you can,” which is unbiblical and unhelpful advice. A while later, I was discipled by some faithful saints, who taught me the truth about believers.
A believer is identified as a child of God. Through prayer, we have access to our Father at any time, and we can expect that He will be faithful to every one of His promises. What’s more, we are no longer classified as “sinners,” a term describing those who have not received Jesus Christ as Savior. We’ve been transformed into saints—holy persons saved by grace and set apart for God’s purposes. Sin and temptation will continue to be realities for us as long as we’re on earth. But since our transgressions are forgiven, our new identity cannot change.
A believer is positioned in Christ. God’s Spirit dwells in us so we can live righteously, as Christ did. To describe this relationship, He used a grapevine metaphor. The Lord is the vine, and we are the branches connected to Him and drawing on His power (John 15:1-5).
A believer’s mission is to show Christ to the world. Our vine is to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). When our character and conduct reflect these aspects of Jesus’ nature, we help others to see the beauty of a relationship with the Lord.
The truth about believers is that we don’t have to “do the best we can.” God works through His children to accomplish His purposes.