Reflection: Contemporary critics of Christianity are often heard attacking a straw man argument – the idea that, provided a person “believes in God” or “believes in Jesus”, he or she is assured of “going to heaven”. But that is not what the Bible teaches. James – Jesus’s brother – scoffed at the suggestion. Belief in God is a necessary first step, certainly (see Heb. 11:6, yesterday’s verse) but such belief, in and of itself, is quite inadequate for salvation. Verses which may suggest the contrary when read in isolation (even John 3:16)
cannot be so understood. Why? Because belief alone is “useless” and “dead” (Jas. 2:20, 26). After all, even Satan himself believes in God’s existence. As we shall see in coming days, saving faith involves much more than intellectual assent to that bare proposition.
Question: Are you relying on the assumption that mere belief in the existence of God, and/or Jesus, is enough for eternal salvation?
Prayer: Father help me to avoid ever becoming a nominal Christian. Help me to sustain a faith that is truly alive. Amen