Our last post pointed out that one must hear the word of God before he can be converted to the Lord. Next, the Bible says one must have faith, which only comes by hearing. Note what Paul said, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). When the gospel is studied (by reading or listening to another declare it) it will bring about faith to the good and honest heart. It will be seen that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God, through prophecies, miracles, and witnesses of His resurrection (Matt. 2:1-6; Jn. 10:37-38; Rom. 1:4; Acts 2:32).
Faith in Jesus as the Christ is essential to turning a man from serving the devil to serving the Lord. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6). Again, He declared, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (Jn. 8:24). The apostle Peter proclaimed, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). A man may be sincere, moral, kind, and “religious,” but if he does not believe in Jesus as the Christ, he will forever be lost. This includes the Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and any others you can think of.
However, contrary to popular denominational doctrine, faith alone is not enough to convert a man. John reveals, “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (Jn. 12:42-43). These men were lost, though they believed in Jesus because if we please men, we are not the servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10). Rather than faith alone, faith must motivate a man to action and obedience. James said, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (Jas. 2:26). Therefore, when we have faith in Christ, we must submit to His commands, including confession, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins (Lk. 12:8-9; 13:3, 5; Mk. 16:16; cp. Acts 2:38).
Steven F. Deaton