The Opposite Of Belief
In modern English usage, belief can be defined as mental assent to an idea. But what is belief in a biblical sense? Is it mere mental assent, or trust, or confession? One way to see what belief means in the Bible is to see what it is contrasted with. Let’s go to the foremost authority on the subject, Jesus Christ.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36 ESV)
So according to Jesus, the opposite of belief is disobedience! In fact, belief and obedience are inextricably linked together. This link is so strong that to speak of belief or faith without stating or implying obedience is to take it out of context!
Even in Mark 16:16, where Christ says that, “he who believes and is baptized will be saved, and he who does not believe will be condemned” many teachers try to twist the verse to say that it refutes the essential nature of obedience (in this case baptism). But in fact, since obedience is implied whenever belief is mentioned, the verse in no way weakens the command to believe and be baptized!
So am I talking about a salvation by works? Of course not. In baptism, it is God who is doing the work of regeneration. When Paul speaks of works, he is usually referring to “works of the Law” and not obedience in faith. And he is correct! Law keeping has no power to save! But James speaks of works as a natural consummation of saving faith. Again, we are saved by faith in the resurrection of Christ, but that salvation is effected at baptism. (1 Peter 3:21)
So what is it that we are supposed to obey? The Gospel!
“in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8 ESV). But what is the Gospel? According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, this is the Gospel:
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-5 ESV)
But how does someone obey an event like the death, burial and resurrection?
According to Romans 6, it is done in baptism.
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6:4-6 ESV)

When we participate in the death, burial and resurrection at baptism, we obey the Gospel and our faith saves us! As Peter wrote, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 3:21 ESV). Write all you want to explain this verse away, but you can’t force it to say anything other than “baptism saves you”!

Remember, the opposite of belief is disobedience. You cannot speak of faith without obedience, or you are taking belief out of context!

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