| What does it mean to Believe
on The Lord Jesus Christ?
[He] brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved
This scripture is used in modern evangelism as a formula for instant salvation.
Using a single scripture this way is called reductionismand is bad
theology. There are at least seven aspects to salvation including belief,
repentance, trust and assurance, commitment and allegiance, water baptism,
the gift of the Holy Spirit and incorporation into Christian community.
To say all one needs to do is believe to be saved because
of what Paul said to the Philippian jailer, is as illogical as saying
all one needs to do is be obedient to be saved because of
what Luke said in Acts 6:7. As Gordon Smith writes in Beginning Well,
When the Bible refers to the conversion experience through one of
the components, we must not be reductionist and conclude that particular
element is all thats necessary to be saved. While conversion
is complex and has many different elements, any one of these elements
can represent the whole of the experience.1
If one wanted to make an argument for reductionismand I dont,
the only salvation element that would fit the bill would be water baptism.
... baptism now saves younot the removal of dirt from the
flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience (1 Peter 3:21
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on
Christ (Galatians 3:27).
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ
were baptized into his death (Romans 6:3).
Another scripture commonly used in evangelism is Romans 10:9: 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.
Using this as a reductionist salvation formula ignores the meaning of
the scripture in context.