“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
In this scripture passage, the use of prepositions is interesting. It does not tell us to believe “in” the Lord, but rather to believe “on” the Lord. Usually we think in terms of believing in the Lord, in Christ our Savior and in God. We don’t think of believing on. But if we look back a bit, we find several references to believing on, rather than in. We lean on Jesus, pray that we might put our cares and grief on Jesus, and often feel that the Holy Spirit is on our shoulder guiding us and protecting us. If we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, we literally put all of our faith, trust and confidence on Him. We know, deep in our hearts, that He is far stronger than we can ever hope to be and that anything we might put on Him will always be upheld. Our faith, our hope, our sense of goodness will never fail if they are placed on the Lord.
Now we come to the interesting and often misunderstood part of this passage. It states that we will be saved and that our household will be saved if we believe on Jesus. But this is not necessarily true. Within our proverbial (or literal) households are many people and, unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for the actions of them all. Many of us have a sister or brother, a son or daughter, a cousin or parent who has made wrong choices, gone down the wrong path, and not put his or her belief in the Lord. Some of us have members of our households who are in prison for crimes of violence, in drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers for having made poor choices, and in family court trying to right a former wrong.
The “you” spoken of in this scripture is a singular “you.” Remember in our junior high school grammar lessons when we learned: “I, you (singular), he or she, we, you (plural) and they?” The “you” who is told to believe in the Lord, the “you” who is promised salvation and the “you” in your household is a singular you. You, and you alone, can choose to believe on Jesus. You, and you alone, can choose the path of salvation and you, and you alone, can represent one member of your households.
We have enough trouble following the ways of Jesus ourselves. We are weak and fallible and we stumble and fall. And, just as in secular life, we cannot be completely responsible for the choices or actions of another, even one who is close to us. We can talk about God and faith. We can teach our children about the love of Jesus and the promise of salvation. We can proclaim the gospel of our Lord and Savior. But we cannot control the behavior or thoughts of anyone other than ourselves.
May we all know the joy and peace of leaning on our Lord Jesus Christ and may we be ever aware of the promise of salvation and forgiveness of sins. May we do our best to walk in the path of Jesus and encourage others to walk with us on our journey. But, Lord, may we also know that we can only make our own choices and not those of others. Help us to recognize our weaknesses and our impotency to control. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
You might also like to read:
- Bible Verse of the Day
- Daily Bible Guide
- The Disciple by Ronald Way
- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series
- Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament
A discussion of today’s bible verse is encouraged. If you would like to partuicipate, please feel free to write a comment in the space below. There are many different outlooks and interpretations and, the more we share, the more we learn.
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