Faith in His Blood

The instant of conversion is when we believe on God in the context of what He has done for us in Christ (Jn 3:36), but what is it exactly that we actually believe in or about God and/or Christ that saves us?

Abram was justified the instant he believed in Jehovah (Ge 15:6), yet he evidently had a deep relationship with God prior to this time and was following Him the best he knew how. (1-4) Abram had obediently left his home and family to follow Jehovah (He 11:8), built an altar to worship Him (12:8) and called on His name. (13:3-4) Yet Abram’s belief in God did not justify Him.

The faith which justified Abraham came afterward (Ro 4:19-22), and was thus more than believing in God’s existence, that God should be worshipped, trusted and followed at any cost. Such beliefs are evidently typical of those seeking salvation and involve prerequisites to saving faith, but do not fully comprise it. (He 11:6)

We might think believing on Christ is equivalent to accepting the fact that Christ is God’s Son and that He rose from the dead, yet we find Christ Himself telling us that many who call Him Lord, evidently believing such obvious basics about Him, will ultimately be cast away, eternally condemned. (Mt 7:21-23) Many who claim to believe the historical facts about Christ aren’t obeying Him, showing that they don’t love Him (Jn 14:23), and He’s telling us in no uncertain terms that these folk don’t belong to Him. (26-27)

God says Jesus Christ is made a propitiation for us through faith in His blood. (Ro 3:24-25) In other words, the belief that justifies is an explicit, unwavering trust in and dependence on the efficacy of the blood of Christ for one’s personal justification before God: it is the blood that makes atonement for our soul. (Le 17:11) It’s knowing we’re justified by what Christ has done in shedding His blood and dying for our sin (1Co 15:3), becoming our sin (2Co 5:21), washing us from our sins in His own blood (Re 1:5), and imputing perfect righteousness to us. (Ro 4:23-25)

This is not the same as believing Jesus Christ died to provide an offer of salvation to the whole world, such that anyone may be forgiven of their sins. While this is certainly true (Jn 3:16), this belief in itself does not save anyone because it is not personal; it’s not about one’s own sin being atoned and paid for. This belief opens the door to salvation, but believing it does not get us through the door because something that applies to everyone, but does not in itself save anyone, cannot be proper grounds for our justification. Believing it gives us no personal assurance of eternal life.

We are justified as we become fully persuaded that what God has promised us in Christ He is able also to perform (Ro 4:21-22): that the blood of Christ and His atoning work has satisfied God in our personal case and has eternally justified us. (Is 53:11) This is a supernatural work in which God assures us of eternal life in Christ (1Th 1:5), based entirely on the work Christ has done in dying for us personally on the Cross, paying our sin debt to God, and creates in us a new nature (2Co 5:15) that loves Him (1Co 8:3) and obeys Him. (1Jn 3:9-10)

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14 thoughts on “Faith in His Blood”

  1. Those who have believed in Christ in this way may eventually lose assurance of their salvation if they are not adding to their faith virtue, knowledge, temperance and other facets of holiness. We regain our assurance by going back to the cross, reminding ourselves of what Christ has done for us, asking God to quicken us and restore to us the joy of our salvation, and beginning again to pursue His ways.

  2. Tim,

    Would you agree that belief and doubt are mutually exclusive terms?

    1. Yes, concerning the same object of that faith or unbelief. I define faith as supernatural assurance, being fully persuaded, and this is exclusive of doubt. Would you define faith differently?

  3. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭KJV‬‬
    https://bible.com/bible/1/jhn.3.16.KJV

    Would you agree that a person who believes is assured of the promise of eternal life?

    1. Technically, yes, however, I think it would be good to qualify what we mean by “believe”. Those who address Christ as Lord in Mt 7 are turned away: they evidently believe in Christ in a certain way, but not in a way that saves them. A man may believe in the existence of Christ, that He is the Son of God, that He died and rose again, and be committed to serving Him. But I do not think this is sufficient to justify a man. A man can believe all these things and live this way without being a new creature, without actually loving Jesus Christ. Those who do not love Christ do not belong to Him.

  4. A man believes that Christ fulfills the penalty for sin by His sacrifice on the cross and accepts the free gift for justification. Does he receive an eternal life that is imperishable?

    1. Yes, if repentance is also in place. I think one who believes the atonement gives them license to sin isn’t actually believing in/on God Himself. (Ro 3:8)

  5. Believing is simply being persuaded. Believing is simply being convinced something is true.

  6. How are you defining repentance since there are two types of repentance?

  7. Joe here,

    I’m just a dumb old basketball coach but I do believe in Christ for everlasting life, as stated in John 3 16. I do believe that promise is true.

    In Matthew 7 it’s obvious to me ( but remember ” dumb old basketball coach” that he is not talking to Muslims, Hindus, ect. He’s talking to people professing to be Christians. Could this be “Christians” that believe in a works based salvation. Just a thought.

    1. Yes, I think their response indicates that they are trusting that God will receive them based on how they have served Him.

    1. I think repentance is changing our mind about breaking God’s Law. To stop thinking it’s OK to sin. To start trying to obey God’s Law as well as we can.

  8. Believing is to Fully trust in Him — perhaps ONLY the Potter can bring us to that [place] — the three Hebrew Children who were cast into the fire by the king — as I listen to the word believe in the context of the culture I have grown up in — it could just be a mental belief — but trust encompasses “heart” also.

    That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

    stephen

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