• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

Why would eternal life hinge on a belief?

Discussion in 'Struggles by Non-Christians' started by hubble9458, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. hubble9458

    hubble9458 New Member

    2
    +1
    United States
    Agnostic
    In Relationship
    My question regards the importance of belief in determining where a soul would spend an eternity. The term belief is usually defined as either A: accepting something as true, or B: trust in someone or something. I'm assuming salvation within the christian context is a combination of these two definitions. One must accept that christ was god incarnate and that he died for our sins and also trust in this person for salvation.

    Why would an individual's eternal destiny depend upon a belief that something happened? Either it happened or it didn't. So why does it matter what an individuals opinion is on the matter? It seems totally strange to me that god would require the blood of his murdered son in order to forgive the sins of his creation, but its not nearly as bizarre as the idea that an individuals belief determines their eternal fate.

    It would make more sense to me if the life of christ was an example of how we should attempt to live our lives in this world; that god came to demonstrate to man how a human should behave in this creation. But it would appear that christian doctrine assumes that in mans fallen state, his own attempts to reach for the highest possible morality are futile and salvation from eternal damnation hinges solely on the acceptance that a particular event in history (the death and resurrection of christ) happened.

    If christ died for the sins of humanity then that is amazing, if not then I guess we'll go from there. But why does my opinion matter?

    I truly don't intend to offend anyone but only to pose my questions in regard to the christian doctrine in hopes that someone can help me understand it. Thank you.
     
  2. mukk_in

    mukk_in Yagna Mukkamala Supporter

    722
    +863
    India
    Christian
    Celibate
    Without faith it's impossible to please God. So belief is essential for salvation and eternal life. The shed blood of the Lord Jesus is in keeping with the Old Testament tradition of shedding lamb's blood for atonement. That's a simple response, but I think it's complete. Peace in Christ :).
     
  3. Oldmantook

    Oldmantook Active Member

    483
    +124
    Non-Denom
    Married
    Your premise that one's salvation is solely a matter of belief only is not quite accurate. However you are somewhat on track as belief is requisite (Jn 3:16) as well as obedience (Heb 5:9) for eternal life. The atoning work of Christ's sacrifice made possible the ability of man to obey God through grace - something that man had been previously unable to do by trying to keep the Old Testament law. When understood in this manner, perhaps it makes more sense to you that salvation is not only the result of cognitive assent but is accompanied by the ability to now live a Christ-like life as you have already proposed. One other thing - the Apostles preached a message of Christ crucified AND his resurrection. The Christian faith rises or falls on the veracity of the resurrection which is why they emphasized that they were eye witnesses to this historic event - much like the testimony of witnesses in court to establish fact/truth.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  4. pat34lee

    pat34lee Messianic

    +2,053
    Messianic
    Single
    Belief is only the beginning of it. Belief requires action.
    Especially where it involves life and death or eternal life.

    Many Christians don't even understand this simple fact.
    If you believe God, then you have to ask what he wants.
    Then you do it. He isn't a genie who grants wishes. He is
    a King who expects us to obey him.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  5. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal

    +237
    United States
    Charismatic
    Married
    US-Others
    Salvation is the consequence of the surrender/return to submission to the God of the Bible, on His terms.

    One cannot truly do this if they do not believe
    1. Him to be God,
    2. that His terms are correct, and
    3. that His terms are exclusive.
    Hebrews 11:6 says,
    "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  6. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

    +10,730
    Non-Denom
    Married
    Hebrews 11: 'By faith..."; "By faith..."; "By faith..."; "By faith...".
     
  7. Blood Bought 1953

    Blood Bought 1953 Ned Flander’s Buddy

    369
    +210
    United States
    Non-Denom
    Married
     
  8. Blood Bought 1953

    Blood Bought 1953 Ned Flander’s Buddy

    369
    +210
    United States
    Non-Denom
    Married
    Hubbble ..you have been extremely incisive in your description of mankind’s dilemma.Humanly speaking,it would seem that God would give Heaven to those who are the nicest or to those who are the most moral,,you know-those that are “good enough”. Most ofMankind believes just that—Satan’s oldest lie.God can save anybody He so desires, however His Word says. He will only save those that TRUST Him. Abraham is a great example .” Abraham BELIEVED God and God “decred. (Sorry,I can’t erase typos).....I was saying. “God declared Abraham righteous” Abraham’s FAITH made him right in God’s eyes.It saved him The GOOD NEWS is that it will save you too! Don’t be fooled by the simplicity! BELIEVE a promise of God—here’ a great one “A y ody Oops....”Anybody that asks to be saved WILL be saved” look at it closely....it does not say you will be put on probation,it does not say you have a “chance” to be saved—-you WILL BE SAVED! It worked for me.
     
  9. JIMINZ

    JIMINZ Well-Known Member

    +313
    United States
    Charismatic
    Married
    .
    Is your question a seeking of knowledge because you are truly seeking Salvation for yourself?

    The simple answer is, because you are dead in your sins, you do not have life within you, for God is not the God of the Dead, but of the Living.

    Col. 2:13
    And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

    John 6:53
    Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

    Luke 20:38
    For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.


    A person does not gain Eternal Life with God by Believing, he only receives Forgiveness of sins, you must be Baptized in order to receive Eternal life, and have your life hid in Christ.

    Col. 3:3
    For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

    Mar. 16:16
    He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
     
  10. MyGivenNameIsKeith

    MyGivenNameIsKeith Member

    222
    +103
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    Non-believers have a tough time with this because they don't recognize the creator as even existing. Let alone, believe in Jesus Christ, his son. Scriptures tell us, that if you knew the Father, you would know the Son as well, and if you knew the Son, you would know the Father. Once you start to give God Almighty his place in the thought process you have about it, you start to really see what the "belief" is all about. You ask why would he do something like that? Because God is SO HOLY.. and I mean like holy as judgment day holy. No one can stand in his presence or look upon him because his glory is like the sun shining. Ever try looking straight at the sun? Burns your eyeballs out. So there was nothing that could do the job of atoning for our mistakes, evil thoughts, transgressions, sins to enable us to be in his presence. Not even close. So God provided himself to be that atoning "lamb" to do the job. Because he loved us that much. He wants you to spend eternity with him. So he made a way. Eternal life is eternal life. It's free, and all you have to do is believe to receive it. No fine print. No long term layaway. We can't achieve eternal life on our own. He makes eternal life possible with the cross. I mean honestly, what else really matters that it could hinge upon except your belief? Your belief determines whether you're righteous or unrighteous, due to the works that follow your faith. If you have no works, your faith is useless and dead (faith without works is dead and hollow). If you have works but no faith, your works are inspired by something other than belief, possibly selfishness even. So belief is kind of the key.. Think about it like any loving relationship. God loves you, he just asks you to love him in return. If you don't then it's not really a relationship. Have faith enough to pray to him and see what happens, and I promise it will change your life. Take that first step, because God already took the first step for you.
     
  11. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

    +9,003
    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Married
    Hello, hubble9458, and welcome to CF!

    That is an extremely astute question.

    You might find the ancient understanding of the early Church to make better sense of this (though it can take time and study to really begin to understand what that entails, so I fear I won't be able to make more than a simple rough outline here).

    Firstly, the way you worded - "that God would require the blood of his murdered Son in order to forgive" is a quasi-step in the direction of what the early Church does not believe. Yes, Christ died on the cross for our sins, in order to reconcile us to God, and to defeat death (that second part is usually left out and is actually quite important). The part that the early Church rejects (which you didn't quite say) is that God had a problem, that He needed satisfaction and was incapable of forgiving otherwise, that He was somehow slave to some cosmic law that demanded God Himself provide satisfaction (to whom?) in order to balance the scales so He could forgive, and/or that it was the suffering that He demanded (a "pound of flesh") that SOMEONE had to pay before He became willing to forgive. All of these are the "step further" in reasoning that change the dynamic, indeed change the very nature of God - to suggest that He is either insufficient, impotent, a tyrant, or at worst, a monster. God forbid!

    No, the early Christians would not have recognized such a "god" and it represents a change to the original Gospel (which means "Good news" ... how can this be "good news"?) Besides, in its extreme forms, it pits the will of the Father (to destroy sinners) against the will of the Son (to save sinners) and creates a division within the Holy Trinity which is impossible.

    Christ was a sacrifice, His death did defeat death (because God cannot die, so death could not contain Him). But the subtle changes added in more modern theology warps this a bit.

    As to belief ... it is not simple belief that saves us. Personally, I think it bizarre also that God should determine eternal condition based on whether we can make ourselves believe something. We can't, or in cases where we manage to, it represents disordered thinking, and God is not looking to cause mental illness in order to accept us. But if you decide to believe that the sky is green, you can't do it. Not only that, but the demons know who God is. They certainly believe, and even tremble, but that doesn't save them.

    Belief is necessary to the point that someone who hears the (true) Gospel and absolutely rejects it would be doing so out of a heart that turns against God. But even a seed, a grain, of belief, God can fan to a flame (and knows how to lead us into faith, if we will but cooperate). Anyone who has zero belief would not waste time asking such questions.

    Scripture mentions "saving faith". THIS is what we must have. There does need to be a conversion. For some people it happens suddenly, for some God brings them through many small steps in preparation. Conversion is an acceptance of the Gospel (this can be weak at first) but most importantly, the heart is turned toward God. The very fact of someone continuing to ask questions is evidence of this journey.

    But it is not simple mental belief. A most important part happens because of that openness to God, the turning of the heart toward Him. This is where much of the rest of your post comes in. Christ is indeed our example, and THAT is truly what is important. Someone who is being saved will cooperate with the grace of God, do those things that Scripture instructs us to do (primarily act in love, but also flee sin, resist temptation, discipline our flesh, submit our thoughts to Christ). With God's help, we act as Christ acted, even think as Christ would have us think, and through this, God works in us to transform us to be in both the image and likeness of Christ - restores us to what God created us to be in the beginning. THAT is salvation. And through this process, we grow to know God better, to love Christ more, and as a result, the eternity we are going to spend in His Presence will be blessedness, joy, life.

    It does involve belief and trust, but focusing on those alone creates a misperception. People start to think it's a process of mental gymnastics that "saves" us, and that is completely foreign to the early Church understanding. Rather, it is who we really become - are we like Christ? The very name "Christian" means "little Christ" ... it means to be like Him.

    Anyway, I hope that helps. I think you are closer than you realize. Praying for you. God be with you!
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  12. Ygrene Imref

    Ygrene Imref Well-Known Member

    +830
    Other Religion
    Celibate
    I don't think churches have hit this point - that we are DEAD. Not technically dead, or metaphorically dead, we are literally and wholly dead. We are rotting meat sacks with an "on loan" spirit from God to convict us.

    We have to get ALIVE first - which requires the BELIEF you are dead, and that Christ can restore you back to life. Then, once we are ALIVE, we get to talk about Heaven.

    But, we have to become literally ALIVE right now.
     
  13. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness Supporter

    768
    +328
    Christian
    Private
    Our beliefs determine our actions, that's why beliefs are important. But that in itself doesn't explain why having wrong beliefs will cause a person to be condemned.

    Humankind is in a really bad way, because it does tend to let it's beliefs prevent it from doing what is good, right, fair etc. Whenever a person chooses to do what is not good, right and fair, it has an impact on someone else, which causes suffering or resentment and this is not what God had planned for the world. He had made a world that would give Him praise for life, and it was basically a Utopia. So we can see in this way that it is people who have beliefs that are not consistent with the truth that are responsible for all the problems in the world.

    Furthermore, it usually doesn't happen as a result of a rational decision, but we all become corrupted by the way the world trains us to think, so that we do in fact learn to act in ways that are unrighteous because that is the culturally accepted "norm". This is how the scriptures speak about "not conforming to the pattern of the world, but being renewed in our mind" (Romans 12:2) and "becoming again as a little child" (Matthew 18:3).

    The thing is that God doesn't want us to be living in a way that causes suffering or resentment, so He keeps on trying to teach us to turn away from our sin. This is His constant interest in us, even on those days when we might not even be giving a thought toward the gospel. The thing is that if we come to understand that what we are doing is sinful and yet we choose to keep on doing it, we actually need to convince our self somehow that what we are doing is ok even though God knows that we have come to receive a conviction for it. At that point, we have chosen to believe deceit instead of truth - such a person actually has departed from the truth, rejected God's way. This means that they become resistant to The Holy Spirit's guidance whenever that issue is approached. This is the basis for what is said in Psalms 14:1.

    Some people who get attached to sin, feel threatened by those who would expose their sin, and in their desperation to preserve their way of life, they will actually choose to act against that one in order to quench the threat - even though that one is innocent.

    Hopefully this gives you a good idea of why our beliefs are important for determining whether we should be blessed or cursed! (anyhow, it isn't beliefs that determine our eternal destiny, but our actions: Matthew 25:31-46).

    Also, I see a good opportunity to warn you that there is an antichrist spirit who has an interest in bending minds to believe perverted views of the gospel. This antichrist spirit is spoken of by St John, who said in 1 John 4 that it had already come into the world. He said that 2,000 years ago. That antichrist spirit is a counterfeit spirit that is not holy. It is not the spirit of God. Jesus said that many would take the broad road that leads to destruction, and we should beware of the wolves coming in sheep's clothing that inwardly seek to tear us apart. Those ones, having yielded themselves to believe and follow an unholy spirit, wind up believing it's perversions of scripture so as to propagate and even create false doctrines (2 Peter 3:16, 2 Peter 2:3).

    Those ones will quite freely say with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and they will believe in their heart that He was raised from the dead, thinking that this will give them a ticket to heaven when they die (Romans 10:9), but they will refuse to yield to The Holy Spirit (John 5:39-40, 2 Peter 2:1b) because they have believed a false doctrine and come under a curse (Galatians 1:8-9, Matthew 6:22-23).

    From the way you are speaking, I perceive that you are in a situation of risk by having been exposed to such a counterfeit spirit, as you probably have been receiving views of the gospel from Christians who have believed false doctrines. For instance, the words you are using seem to reflect a common perversion of the atonement that suggests that Jesus' blood made forgiveness easier for God, when in fact the shedding of innocent blood is an abomination to Him (Deuteronomy 21:8, Matthew 23:33-35). Hebrews 10:28-29 along with Matthew 21:38-40 shows that we are on borrowed time and God's grace is not to be taken lightly or irreverently as a license to sin.

    You should be encouraged to see that you haven't fallen for such a deception yet, but even so your heart is demonstrating that you have an interest in finding the accurate knowledge of The Holy One (consider John 3:20-21). You have taken a step toward the light and you have demonstrated courage too - resisting that which doesn't make sense, and humbling yourself to ask for help in public.

    Do persist and be patient! I have a good sense from your words that you will not regret going there :)
     
  14. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member

    +3,253
    United States
    Lutheran
    Private
    Trust in God leads to a faith that involves positive changes in ones own life and the world. Faith is just the doorway to that new life.
     
  15. Blood Bought 1953

    Blood Bought 1953 Ned Flander’s Buddy

    369
    +210
    United States
    Non-Denom
    Married
     
  16. Blood Bought 1953

    Blood Bought 1953 Ned Flander’s Buddy

    369
    +210
    United States
    Non-Denom
    Married
    ..Hubble....Don’t let well-meaning people complicate what God has made simple.God made the promise to save if you believe on His Son.It is His will that nobody perishes has made it easy for us.....incredibly hard for Him-the price He had to pay we will never fathom.Since He made the promise,if I may put it crudely,the monkey is on His back—He will see you into anything that is required be iT baptism ,communion or carrying a cross across the country.Just believe and trust Him to guide you-He will finish the work that He started. “What must I do to be saved?” Asked the Philipian jailer..”Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved” Simple then.Simple now.
     
  17. pat34lee

    pat34lee Messianic

    +2,053
    Messianic
    Single
    That is not the end, only the beginning.
     
  18. JIMINZ

    JIMINZ Well-Known Member

    +313
    United States
    Charismatic
    Married
    .
    I am puzzled, you list yourself as (Other Religion) but then it appears as though you include yourself in Christianity.

    1Co. 15:22
    For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

    Gal. 2:20
    I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
     
  19. Noxot

    Noxot far away Supporter

    +1,232
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    US-Others
    real belief is about being as near to God as you can which is fundamentally something to do with being and not mere outer understanding.
     
  20. Ygrene Imref

    Ygrene Imref Well-Known Member

    +830
    Other Religion
    Celibate
    More or less what @Noxot said.

    The relationship I have with my Father just is.
     
Loading...