Do You Believe This?
The apostle James, in his epistle, argued vehemently against intellectual assent. This is the idea that faith merely considers a set of propositions, all of which are true, and agrees with them. Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God? Yes, and you join the company of devils who also believe the same fact. There must be more to faith than this fact affirming exercise.
The apostle Paul argued the same point in Romans 6, he argued against the tendency toward Antinomianism. The Antinomian trusts Jesus for salvation, or so he believes, and then he goes and lives like hell. He is deceived about his salvation because he believed something with his intellect, but it had zero impact on the way he lived. James argued faith without the proper effect is dead (Jas 2:14–24).
Arminians love to present biblical facts about Jesus and salvation. In an attempt to close the deal, they attempt to answer all of the objections an unbeliever may hold. When the last objection is answered, the Arminian goes for the close, “Is there any reason left that would prohibit you from trusting Jesus as your Savior, tonight?”
Is Jesus in heaven, biting his fingernails, hoping everyone everywhere will believe in Him and be saved? No, He is the sovereign Lord of the universe, sustaining absolutely everything by the Word of His power (Heb 1:3). He, along with God the Father, sends the Holy Spirit to God’s elect people wherever they are on the earth (Jn 14:26; 15:26). At His appointed time, in accord with His eternal counsel, that elect soul hears the Word of God and believes it because the Holy Spirit has just baptized and took up abode in that person’s soul (Mt 3:11; Jn 14:17; Acts 2:38; 10:45; 11:6; Rom 8:9, 11). This is the regenerating work of the Spirit (Jn 3:1–8; Eph 2:5; Col 2:13; 1 Pet 1:3).
The evidence of this new birth, spiritually, is the faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This faith is a gift of God (Phil 1:29) brought to the heart and mind by the grace of God (Eph 2:8–9). Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the One whom He has sent (Jn 6:29).” Faith is God’s work, not man’s.
Faith is a realization, a spiritual illumining, that validates the knowledge of God in Christ. The mind of Christ and the heart of Christ affirm to the believer that the Word of God is true. This is only manifest in those who have the Spirit of Christ in them. One either has the Son, or he does not have the Son of God indwelling (Jn 3:36), hence, he has eternal life or he does not (1 Jn 5:12).
The inquiry is not, “Do you believe this?” Rather, the question is, “Do you have the Spirit of God’s Son living and working in you?” This destroys the manipulations by men — for others to pray the sinner’s prayer, walk the aisle, raise the hand, or exhaust objections to why they should let Jesus be their Savior.
Paul, in the Scriptures, anticipates the coming Arminian heresy as he writes Romans and Galatians, especially. The trickery used to “get a decision” begins with the failure to comply with a simple condition that anyone could comply with. The condition of the New Covenant, according to Arminians, is the obedience of faith.
Using the language of the Bible, the Arminian makes faith a simple work of easy-believism. The sinner is given facts, and then told she can use the free will God gave her to decide for herself to be saved. She is told that her faith will save her. “Do you believe this?” If she says, “Yes” then she is immediately accepted into the church because she made her decision on a certain date, at a certain time, with certain witnesses. Later, when she “loses” her faith, she is told to remember the faith she had on the day of her decision.
The crux of Arminian free will decisionalism is a man-centered theology that takes salvation away from the sovereign, Triune God and gives it to sinful man, to determine his own fate for eternity. “Just believe” is an abominable encouragement. It leads multitudes of unregenerate unbelievers astray into thinking God honored their decision on that infamous day way back when.
Faith is the full and permanent apprehension of the knowledge of God in Christ for salvation. The Word of God is the substance to be believed because it alone gives us hope of eternal life. This knowledge of God manifests with the regeneration of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is a gift that increases by the will of God, according to His predetermined plan and foreknowledge. We grow in grace and knowledge, as more of the life of Christ manifests in us (Gal 2:20; 2 Pet 3:18).
It is impossible to please God without faith (Heb 11:6), so those He pretermits are not pleasing to him. They will not and cannot believe; therefore, it is futile to question them about their faith or their unbelief in Jesus Christ. If one does believe in Jesus Christ, we are confident he or she will let you know about it without asking.
Spokane Valley, Washington
January 28, 2022