IS IT NOT ENOUGH THAT “I BELIEVE IN GOD?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
Friend, you state it as though it is meritorious. “I believe in God” is quite general and thus can be understood in more ways than one. What do you mean you “believe in God?” The standard way to take that is that you believe God exists. Such a claim is all well and good, and while you are close to the truth, it is too basic and not an adequate basis for faith. Your position is deceptive, as it provides a false sense of security. After all, there are myriads of gods in the world. Firstly, which “god” do you believe in, friend? The living and true God, or some idol (counterfeit)? Secondly, exactly what do you believe about that “god?” Thirdly, just how do you have—or can you even have—a personal relationship with that “god?” See, there is widespread ambiguity here. As we will see shortly, there is something better, more precise, more reliable, than the simple message of “believing in God.”
Consider what the Holy Bible declares in James 2:19: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Satan and his evil angelic associates also “believe in God.” Does that suggest they have a right standing before Him? Is He pleased with them? But, they do believe, correct? See, “believing” in and of itself is not meritorious! Furthermore, you can believe information in the head and not believe in the heart. That mental assent or intellectual agreement, while better than unbelief, is nevertheless still not a substitute for heart faith.
Read Acts chapter 8: “ Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.  Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:  Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:  (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)  Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
“ And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,  Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.  But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.  Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.  Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.  For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.  Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.”
Simon believed with his head (verse 13) and yet his heart was not right before God (verses 21-22). He had a mental agreement but he did not have imputed righteousness (a right standing before God). This made him opposed to the God of the Bible. Many who profess faith in God today are doing nothing but agreeing in the mind; they have not made personal application, exercising faith in the heart. Oh yes, they are just as Hell-bound as those who do not believe at all! Notice what Romans 10:10 says: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness….” The heart is the major issue before God, not the head! Friend, be sure you believe in the heart and not merely the head. Millions upon millions will miss Heaven because of this very error. Imputed righteousness comes by faith in the heart.
Moreover, Scripture speaks of more than “believing in God.” For example, the title “God” is generic and not unique to Christianity (see 1 Corinthians 8:5-6). The Bible states, “believeth in Jesus” (more exclusive—and, of course, less popular). Far more people believe in “God” than believe in “Jesus.” You can find religions where the name “God” appears but never the name “Jesus.” It is not enough to “believe in God”—even if in the heart. We must believe in Jesus with respect to the heart. What exactly does this involve? Are we to just believe that He existed as an historical character? Are we to believe that He was merely “a good teacher,” or “just another one of God’s prophets,” or “just one of many martyrs who died for the truth?” Again, we must be more definite in our understanding if there is to be an adequate basis for faith! Without our heart faith firmly resting in a clear and secure Gospel message, our souls are damned forever!!
The Bible’s overwhelming testimony is not “believe in God,” but “believe on Him” and “believe on His Son.” Notice:
- John 3:15-16,18,36: “ That whosoever believeth in him [God’s Son, Jesus Christ] should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him [God’s Son, Jesus Christ] should not perish, but have everlasting life….  He that believeth on him [God’s Son, Jesus Christ] is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God….  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.”
- John 5:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me [Father God sent His Son, Jesus Christ], hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
- John 6:35: “ And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me [God’s Son, Jesus Christ] shall never thirst…. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him [God’s Son, Jesus Christ], may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day…..  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me [God’s Son, Jesus Christ] hath everlasting life.”
- John 7:38: “He that believeth on me [God’s Son, Jesus Christ], as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
- John 11:25: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me [God’s Son, Jesus Christ], though he were dead, yet shall he live:….”
- John 12:44,46: “ Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me [God’s Son, Jesus Christ], believeth not on me, but on him that sent me [Father God sent His Son, Jesus Christ]….  I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me [God’s Son, Jesus Christ] should not abide in darkness.”
- John 14:12: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me [God’s Son, Jesus Christ], the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
- Acts 10:43: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him [God’s Son, Jesus Christ] shall receive remission of sins.”
- Romans 3:26: “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
- Romans 4:5: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him [Father God] that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
- 1 Peter 2:6: “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him [God’s Son, Jesus Christ] shall not be confounded.”
- 1 John 5:1,5,10: “ Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him…..  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?…..  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.”
Believing “on” Almighty God and “on” His Son the Lord Jesus Christ are important prepositional phrases. They denote reliance or dependence upon—not “in” but “ON” (note that well, friend, note that well!!). You must depend on Almighty God to be merciful and gracious as opposed to relying on your religious goodness to merit His mercy and grace. Jesus Christ must be relied upon to support you where you have come short of God’s glory because of sin. It will be because of His work and not yours that you can be declared righteous before the God of the Bible!
Let us read Romans chapter 3: “ Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
Father God put the Lord Jesus Christ on display as a “propitiation through faith in his blood.” This underscores His shed blood, a sacrifice, or fully-satisfying payment for our sins. It was no ordinary death: it was the death of the God-Man, who went to die in our place, to experience God’s wrath against our sin. Sin is a barrier between you and God, and believing in God does nothing to remove that barrier. However, friend, the God of the Bible put His Son on Calvary’s cross to pay for your sins, to put away your sins, and to be resurrected for your justification (to give you a right standing before God). What you need to do is rely exclusively on His finished crosswork as the total payment for your sins. It is not important that you work; it is more important that you believe. It is not important that you believe; it is more important what you believe. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
» Is faith in Christ alone enough to go to heaven? Do not the devils believe?
» Is Acts 16:31 a sufficient Gospel message?
» Can Jews who believe in God, the Father, but who reject Jesus, be saved from eternal damnation?