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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Just Believe?

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All my life I’ve heard, "In order to be saved, the only thing you need to do is believe." But it seems to me that there’s more to it than that.Didn’t Jesus say that he would judge us in the same way we judge others? So if I believe and then judge others, it seems as though I wouldn’t be saved. I’m kind of confused. I’m not sure that if I just believe I’ll really be saved.


Steve Answers:

Your question is one that Christians have struggled with for centuries. And many Christians lean toward one extreme or the other.

One extreme is the one you identify: "Only believe, and everything will be just fine." The other extreme is this: "There’s always something more that you need in order to be saved."

Those who hold to the "only believe" view tap into such scriptures as:

1 John 5:11-13: "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."

John 5:24: "Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

Romans 3:28: "So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law" (NLT).*

John 11:26: "Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Those who line up on the there’s-always-something-more-that-you-need-in-order-to-be-saved side refer to Bible texts such as:

James 2:17: "So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all–it is dead and useless" (NLT).

Matthew 7:1, 2 (which you referred to): "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Matthew 6:14, 15. "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Matthew 25:42-46: "‘I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me no clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me. . . . When you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life" (NLT).

For those who grow up believing the first extreme–just believe–there’s often a haunting sense that there’s more to it than that. For those who grow up believing the second extreme–there’s always something more that you need in order to be saved–there’s often a sense of futility and hopelessness.

We’ll talk more about these extremes next week. 

*Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.



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