If belief is activated by my will or intellect, there can be no difference between believing in a brand and believing in God. However, when the Holy Spirit activates my will and causes me to believe, faith is infused into my soul. Modern Christianity has made Jesus Christ a product. Many of our modern preachers treat Jesus Christ as a brand.
The doctrine of the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the sinner, who is made capable of being born again (regenerated) and accepting Christ and all His benefits in faith, is foundational to Christianity. Jesus reminds us in John’s gospel that “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:25-26).
Jesus gave us a promise of the Holy Spirit’s power for regeneration and strength of faith after He had gone back to the Father. When the Holy Spirit has activated repentance in my heart, He causes me to believe in the incarnation, atonement and salvation. Faith is infused in my heart and then I have the capacity to believe. He changes my will. When faith is infused into my soul, my belief-system is changed. I now know that God is stable, reliable and faithful.
You may ask: What is salvation?
Jesus Christ prepares the way of salvation in His work of incarnation and resurrection, and so brings about justification, God the Father acts as the Judiciary who justifies the sinner on that basis. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit unveils the justification to God’s chosen people. Thus, for Kuyper, Scripture teaches two positive truths, which on the surface to contradict one another, namely:
1. That God has justified us in His own, judgment – sent from eternity
2. That we are justified by faith, only in conversion
(Kuyper, Het Werk Van Dein Heiligen Geest, 463-464)
Thus, from God’s point of view, the believer is justified from eternity, according to God’s own sovereign and eternal council. From the point of view of the objective, justification is accomplished in the resurrection. I stumbled over a great definition by Louis Berkhof on justification: “…As that legal act of God by which He declares the sinner righteous on the basis of the perfect righteousness of Christ” (Berkhoff, A Summary of Christian Doctrine, 111).
The Bible says no man/woman can save themselves. Unless the Trinity is involved in our salvation, we are not Christians. This cheap Gospel that has been marketed by false pastors and teachers, cannot be a marketing tool for a brand.