In the last article we noted that the essence of faith is God-dependence. Faith for salvation is depending on Jesus to save you from sin and judgment. This decision involves the entire soul of man: mind (understanding), affections (agreement), and will (transfer of dependence).
However, to stop short with just understanding and agreement is not salvation. It would be an “acknowledgment-only” decision, which is believing about Jesus without believing on Jesus. Even the demons acknowledge Christ. They believe about Jesus. Luke 4:41 explains, “And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God.” In the intellectual sense they believe about Christ. They even know that Jesus died and rose again. But obviously the demons are not on their way to heaven.
Many acknowledge Jesus Christ. They understand and agree with the basic truths of sin, righteousness, and judgment. But an acknowledgement-only “decision” without the volitional transfer of trust is not salvation. It is simply “easy-believism.” It is the “one, two, three, repeat after me; slam, dunk, chalk ’em up on the charts” routine which gives people a false assurance of heaven. A lack of real emphasis on sin and judgment, dealing with it only in general terms, often produces this kind of shallow decision.
True believing in Christ for salvation goes beyond the intellect and affections [acknowledgment] to the volition [dependence]. One must make the choice of transferring his dependence to Christ for salvation from sin and hell in order to be saved. This is as simple in a physical sense as a drowning person who, seeing a rescue boat going by, cries out, “Help!” and, therefore, is transferring his dependence from his own self-effort to someone else. In salvation, one transfers his dependence from a wrong object of dependence to Christ.
I’m using the terminology easy-believism because of its common usage in Christianity, but it is a confusing term because believing is not a work. Therefore, in that sense it is easy to believe.
If easy-believism is one extreme, what is the other? The next article in this series will consider how believing is not a work and will examine the opposite extreme in misunderstanding what it means to believe.
John Van Gelderen