“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31 ESV)
The Philippian Jailer’s conversion raises a significant question:
“…what must I do to be saved?” (v.30).
Here is a man
‘trembling with fear’ (v.29) not only because he fears he’s lost his prisoners, his job and his life, but for a deeper reason: in this
‘great earthquake’ (v.26) he has been confronted with a mighty work of God and is desperate for salvation.
Where does his hope lie? Only in Jesus who is the one place where God’s salvation is to be found: ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.’
But what is this ‘belief’ to which he has been called?
Sometimes belief can mean less than certainty. I may believe that the train will arrive in five minutes, but I can’t be sure.
Sometimes belief comes after a thorough investigation of the evidence of which one is convicted.
But the belief referred to here is not that of partial certainty or mental effort; it is to be so struck by the reality and presence of Jesus that we can do nothing but acknowledge that he is supremely God and that our only hope lies in him.
This belief is more than a cognitive nod in Jesus’ direction; it has to shape and embrace the whole of our lives. It has to put a decisive stamp on all that we are and all that we do. It has to define us completely. Hence we are called ‘believers’.
It’s not that salvation is offered as a reward for our belief in Jesus, rather as we believe in Jesus, as we confess him, we will discover that we are already embraced by his salvation.
It’s not that believing has any power of itself; it’s not that we are saved by belief. We’re saved by the grace of him in whom we believe.
As we look and listen to Jesus we will become wholly absorbed by him, we will be in true fellowship with him acknowledging him as Lord, and thereby finding in him peace, love and grace.
Believing in Jesus is not simply a one-off event that takes place when we come to faith; it’s a life-long walk as we allow that belief to guide and transform us.
The Christian message contains a fearful question and a merciful answer: What must I do to be saved? Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved.
It’s here we find gracious rest as Jesus calls us to share in his salvation:
‘Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.’ (Matthew 11:28-29 The Message)
The challenge for us is to believe, come and live in that rest.
Father, may our lives be fragranced with belief as we participate in your salvation.
Have a good week believing in Jesus,