So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. (Acts 16:31–32—NKJV)

Has anyone ever asked you, “Why don’t you trust me?” Any one of a thousand reasons may have passed through your mind. Perhaps he has already sent the message loud and clear that he cannot be trusted, and so he has taught you how to treat him for you know him all too well. Then again, maybe you did not know him well enough. Either way, you were certainly not willing to do what he asked of you.

To believe is to have faith in something or someone by entrusting yourself to its/his care. Trust goes to the core of human meaning, interaction, and relationships. To varying degrees, we live our lives trusting people and things. We trust our alarm clock, our car, our furniture. We trust our parents, our teachers, our friends. We trust our pastor, our doctor, our investment advisor. To believe, or not to believe, is quite natural human behavior and is part of navigating through life.

The biblical concept of belief raises this very human activity to a higher level. The Greek word signifies a belief which has come through persuasion. It is more than a creedal statement (“I believe God exists and is love”). Biblical belief is to place total confidence in, to trust, and to rely on because you have been fully persuaded (“I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins, and gave His life so that I might live”). This kind of belief is akin to entrusting, committing, yielding over, and releasing into someone else’s care.

The difference between a creedal statement of belief and saving faith is something like letting your teenager drive your car to a game or to college. There is a vast difference between allowing your teenager to drive himself to a high school football game for the evening, compared to giving the car keys to him and watching him drive off to college for the semester. In the one case you are giving the car with multiple restrictions, and he will be closely monitored in short order, even after he has proven that he is a safe driver and is generally responsible. In the other case you are yielding over and entrusting into your child’s care a car which you will not be able to monitor. There is a sense of finality to it all.

This later believing faith is the one found in our verses. In Acts 16 you find the history of the Philippian jailor who had been given the responsibility of keeping guard over Paul and Silas. He had heard their gospel of salvation, available only through Jesus Christ; he had seen them manhandled and beaten with many stripes for their gospel; he had been charged with keeping them under lock and key in the innermost part of the prison. He had heard their praying and heard their praises. He had also seen the prison doors miraculously opened. He knew that God was at work and that he needed the good news of a transformed life found only in Jesus Christ, and so he cried out, “What must I do to be saved?”

“Believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” are Paul’s words. He needed to: 1) Consider Jesus worthy of trust in character and motive; 2) Place total confidence in the Lord’s ability to do just what He says He will do; 3) Entrust the salvation of his soul into the hands of Christ; 4) Commit the work of saving his soul to the care of Christ. Acts 10:43 states, “To Him [Jesus] all the prophets witness that, through His Name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission [forgiveness] of sins.”

Is your salvation a purely intellectual exercise, parroting facts, or is it a work of God causing you to yield to His claim on your life through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ who died in your place? Are you living a believing life? Trust and obey.