Salvation means spending eternity with God. The Bible says the souls of ALL people are eternal, but only Christians will spend eternity with God. Christians know the only requirement for attaining salvation is to “believe”.
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved …” Acts 16:31.
It sounds really simple and it is. However, the English language is very poor when translating the Greek word “pisteuo”. This Greek word translated as “believe” is an active verb, not passive. An English dictionary defines “belief” as a person being convinced of some truth. Unfortunately, that is passive. It is how we think Abraham Lincoln existed. We “believe” he lived and was a president.
This is NOT how one attains salvation. In my book Armageddon Now, I used the following as an illustration. Suppose you are driving south on I-65 from Indiana toward Kentucky. In front of you is a bridge crossing the Ohio River. As you drive towards it, you “believe” it will hold you up as you cross the river. That is the way you believe in Abraham Lincoln. However, when you are on the bridge looking down at the raging Ohio below you, and “believe” it will keep you from falling into the river … that is the way you must believe to obtain eternal salvation.
Many Bibles replace (or add) the word “on” for “in” after “believe” as a clue. That still doesn’t yield the correct definition. It takes several more English words to obtain the proper meaning of the kind of belief that leads to salvation. The active definition of “believe” is “to adhere to; to trust and have faith in; to rely on”.
Therefore, this is what Paul was telling the Roman jailer (and us) in Acts 16. In order to obtain salvation, we must trust Jesus died for atonement of our sins and was resurrected; we must rely on Jesus for living our lives in and for Him; and we must always stick (adhere) to the knowledge of Jesus’ saving grace.
Even beyond this, we are to stick to Jesus in every circumstance. We are to rely on Him to help us in every situation (good or bad). And, we are to trust He is in control and will make all things work together for our ultimate good.
An interesting question is why God would choose “belief” as the mechanism we must use to be saved. Oddly, the answer can be hinted at by referring to the birth of Quantum Physics. It is an interesting science. Actual events such as why electric current can pass from one copper wire to another when they are wrapped together is that particles (the current) “jump” from one to another through teleportation.
But, another peculiar event from studying Quantum Physics and its application to “belief” is bizarre. The decision of an experimenter influences the outcome of an earlier part of the experiment. Particles “seemingly” anticipate the experimenter’s future actions and alter themselves accordingly.
Two great physicists Einstein and Bohr (during that era) disputed the explanation of the phenomenon of light. Einstein theorized light was particles; Bohr claimed it was waves. The debate was tested by several scientists. The outcome was very strange. Those scientists who agreed with Einstein “proved” light to be particles by their experiments. The ones agreeing with Bohr had their experiments “prove” light was waves. What they “believed” about light became true.
In like manner, what we believe about Jesus becomes true. Although scary, those who believe there is no God will likely be right … for them. They will get what they believe.
Definitely, what Christians believe about God is true.
The bottom line is to believe (rely on, trust in, and stick to) Jesus!