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 5:17) that loves Him (Jn 14:23) and obeys Him. (1Jn 3:9-10)

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24 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.

      1. Tim,

        Do we have any scripture to support this view of repentance? Or is this a derived view?

        1. Since I don’t know where scripture says in a compact manner, “repentance is…”, I would say this definition is derived, from texts such as 1Jn 4:4-10:

          4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
          5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
          6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
          7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
          8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
          9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
          10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

          1. From the onset it appears that John is writing to believers about fellowship. This is declared in the opening of the book. See below. The repentance you describe is for believers and not unbelievers. The entire gospel of John that is written for unbelievers to believe does not mention anything but “faith” in Christ for justification. Isn’t that odd that John would not include things like confession, repentance or following any type of “rules” etc for justification?

            ‘If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.’

            I John 1:6-10
            https://my.bible.com/bible/114/1JN.1.6-10

            1. Great points!! I appreciate them.

              I agree John’s first letter is to believers; he does begin with a focus on fellowship. Yet John doesn’t say repentance is only for believers, or that one may be a believer without repenting; he effectively says believers have already repented — those who haven’t yet repented are still unbelievers.

              I love your observation that John doesn’t formally mention repentance in his Gospel; I’d never noticed this and I find it very interesting. Yet in his Gospel John doesn’t present sin as optional for those who believe in Christ, or a concept of believing on Christ which still pursues sin.

              Note how John, in Christ’s own words, describes those who don’t believe on Christ: “He he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (3:18b – 21)

              “Come to the light” is another way of saying “repent”; we can’t do either one without also doing the other: those who are still pursing evil/sin are hating the light.

              John’s Gospel effectively says this in many places: Believing on and receiving Christ requires letting go of sin — we can’t have them both. Perhaps he does not mention repentance as a separate activity because it really isn’t. Believing on Christ involves repentance inherently; turning from sin is part of what is happening within us as we believe on Him.

              I love this discussion! It is edifying to me, and I hope it will be helpful to others as well.

              1. I believe that I John 1:9 is directed towards the believer and is our bar of soap. I believe that “believers” can be out of fellowship and repentance applies to them. I don’t think that to initially believe requires repentance. That follows the conversion. I don’t think John wrote this to the unbeliever as a condition for justification. I do enjoy the dialogue and sorry for late responses, but life is hectic right now.

                1. Glad you are enjoying it too.

                  If a person can be justified without repenting, do you believe it’s possible for a person to not repent after being justified, at least for a time, and die and go to heaven without ever repenting?

                  1. Yes, a person can have eternal life by simply believing in the promise of everlasting that was offered to everyone.

                    1. Thanks for confirming; your answer is consistent with your earlier comments.

                      So, how do we reconcile this with 1Co 16:22? “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.”

                      Or 1Jn 5:1-2? “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. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

                      Or Ja 2:14? “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

                      Or 1Jn 3:7-10? “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”

  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

    1. John 🙂 20:31 – “but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

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