Thursday, June 05, 2008

Believing in Jesus

While researching a topic, I came across this excellent response to a question on how we are to come to faith in Jesus on the WELS Living Bold website. The site is designed with youth in mind, but the resources are ageless.

Question: I know that I can't believe in Jesus without the Holy Spirit. But after the Holy Spirit comes, do I (or someone else) make the choice to belive in Jesus? I mean, it's my choice to get baptized or confirmed, right?

Answer:

You ask a very important question. Many Christian churches in our world today use their human logic to answer it by saying each individual person has some goodness or power within themselves to accept Jesus as their personal Savior. The technical term for this is "decision theology." They believe that Jesus has done everything to save them for eternity, but I have the choice to decide whether I want to accept or reject him as my Savior. That makes sense logically to my human reason, but that isn't how God says a person comes to believe in Jesus.

God tells us in Scripture that every human being is conceived and born spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3), blind to the truth of God's Word (1 Corinthians 2:14), and enemies of God having no power in ourselves to change our unbelieving condition (Romans 8:7). By nature we are conceived and born as rejectors of God, but by nature we have no power to decide one day we want to believe in Jesus as our Savior. Salvation and faith (the ability to believe in Jesus and say you believe in Jesus) is completely the work of God the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3) working through the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and the Sacrament of Baptism (1 Peter 3:21, Titus 3:4-7, Galatians 3:26-27, John 3:5). Salvation and the ability to believe (faith) that Jesus has saved me for eternity are both gifts that God the Holy Spirit gives to us(Eph. 2:4-9).

Read on...

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