Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What Does It Mean To Believe?

The definition of believe from the dictionary is:  to be persuaded of the truth or existence of; to have faith in the reliability, honesty, benevolence, etc., of; to accept the truth of something.

Even the demons believe.

To believe means to have faith.  The Bible tells us in James 2:19, “You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that – and shudder.”  Demons believe in the existence of God and that He has prepared a place called hell for Satan and his angels.  They shutter because they know they are going there.  They were the first to recognize that Jesus was the Son of God, but they did not submit to Him.  They believe as much or more that you do about Christ.  Their faith is purely intellectual.  It does not change their lives.  We humans can believe in the existence of God, too.  We can believe in the Bible, but still we could go to hell for eternity just like the demons.

The Bible tells us in John 4:16-53 about a nobleman who had faith.  He had historical faith, intellectual faith and trusting faith.  When he had trusting faith, he was saved.  Heb. 11:6 tells us “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” 

What is the gospel?

We need to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.  What is the gospel?  It’s the story of Jesus:  That He is the Son of God; He came to earth in human form; He lived a sinless life; He was crucified on the cross as a substitution for you and I; He was buried; God raised to life three days later, which is called the resurrection; He ascended into heaven and is preparing a place for us forever.

Before He ascended into heaven He appeared to Peter, John, the 12 disciples, to Thomas and then even to as many as 500 people at once.  His brother James did not believe He was who He said he was, but after His resurrection James was convinced.  He wrote the book of James.  Later, Jesus even made a special appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus.  These are just some of the appearances the Bible tells us about.  There may have been many others. 

We believe a lot of things.  We believe in magic, even we know it is not true.  We believe the car will start when we turn the key.  We believe the electricity will come on when we flip the switch.  We don’t know how, but we believe it.  So if we believe without seeing, we are more blessed.  We trust everything based on creditable witnesses.  We have never seen Abe Lincoln, but we know he existed.  The resurrection proves that everything Jesus said is true.  It’s the proof that everything about Jesus is true.  See John 20 and 21 for the full account of the resurrection of Jesus.

Without the gospel there is no hope.  You will not be saved if you do not believe.

Are you one of thousands of people who believe in Jesus, but don’t trust Him as Lord?  Believing in Jesus means you acknowledge God as Creator, admit you are a sinner, confess your sins and repent (turn away from) of them.  It means trusting Him as Lord.  It means accepting His teachings.  It means obeying His laws.  It means believing His Word.  It means being baptized.  Baptism does not save you, but it is an outward symbol of a person’s new life based on turning from breaking God’s laws to obeying God’s laws.  

If you are a child of God then there are things to practice for spiritual growth:  unite with a Bible-believing church, pray daily in all circumstances, read your Bible daily, and witness for Him. 

Remember you are not perfect.  Only God is perfect.  You will mess up from time to time.  But God is always with you and He always forgives.
God is waiting for you to come to Him.  He doesn’t want you to go to hell.  That’s why He’s waiting and waiting before He returns again.  He wants to give everyone a chance to believe and trust in Him.
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

“To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

“He asked, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.’” Acts 16:30-31

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