Why are there many passages of scripture that say if you do this you won’t go to heaven or it’s a sin, but then there are many scriptures that say literally all you must do to enter the kingdom of heaven is believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins.
Answer: Thank you for the question Lori.
We are going to cover several examples, some by Jesus Himself that explain, we must not only believe, but do the words of Jesus to be saved. We will even open the Strong's Concordance and identify the meaning of “believe”.
Let’s get started.
Whenever this subject comes up, I always like to point out there is more to salvation than just “believing”.
Anyone can say they “believe” in Jesus, but what does that even mean?
If we truly believe in Jesus, it means we follow Him. It means we commit our lives to Him.
Otherwise, how can we say we believe in Jesus, but disregard His words by living a sinful life?
If we disregard what Jesus said, then we really do not “believe” in His words, do we?
Think about it, even the wicked angels believe in Jesus, but I guarantee you there is no salvation for them.
Turn your Bible with me to,
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
See what James explained?
Even the “devils” who are “super natural spirit's of a bad nature” believe in Jesus Christ. Yet, there is no salvation for them.
Let’s read the next verse.
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Faith without any works is dead.
“Faith” and “belief” alone are quite meaningless. If we have true faith, we have works to back up our faith, (James 2:18, 26). Lots of people say they believe in Jesus, but few show it by following and adhering to His words.
That is where the difference comes in.
Turn your Bible with me to,
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.
Now turn to.
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.
One more verse.
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Notice the words “believeth” and “believe” in bold?
By looking in the Strong’s Concordance, we find these words are G4100 in the Greek language, and they can mean, (see: How To Use Bible Study Tools),
To have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): - believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.
If we “believe” in Jesus, then it means we “entrust our spiritual well being to Christ”.
It means we “commit” to Him.
The very word means,
The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, or activity. A pledge or undertaking.
When we put all of that together, we can see there is much more to salvation than just belief. When we accept Jesus Christ into our heart, we not only “believe” in Him, but we “commit” ourselves to Him through a renewed lifestyle dedicated to His word.
That does not mean we change overnight, it will take time and much prayer, but with God all things are possible, (Matthew 19:26).
Jesus Himself directly addresses your concern Lori.
Let’s read about it.
Turn your Bible with me to,
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
“Heareth” even means “understanding”. When we truly hear, we understand, and we become changed. We become a new man in Jesus, and we live our life according to His words, (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Jesus said, those who do this are like a man who built his house upon a rock. That means your (spiritual) home has a firm and strong foundation to stand on. Through Christ, it will be able to withstand whatever the world throws at it.
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
That rock is even Jesus Christ in the symbolic sense, (1 Corinthians 10:4). That storm is equivalent to the trials and tribulations the world throws our way. This house remains throughout this storm. Yet, this only applies to those who built their house on the words of Jesus Christ, and live by them.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
This is a prime example of those who simply “believe” in Jesus Christ. They believe Jesus is real, yet, they do not “doeth” which means, “commit”.
They do not “commit” themselves to Jesus Christ. They hear His words, and then go on about their life, not “committing” to Him. These individuals are like the foolish man who built his house on sand, (Matthew 7:22-23). They are like the seeds that fell in the thorns and on stony ground in the parable of the sower, (Matthew 13:3-9 given, 13:18-23 explained).
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
If our spiritual foundation is not built upon the Rock which is Jesus, it’s going to crack, break, and come tumbling down.
We cannot just possess a “belief”, we must “commit” ourselves to Jesus Christ. We must do away with the former sinful man, and put on the renewed man in Christ. Then, living our life by His words, we will be saved.