Shock, Wonder, or Trust?

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).

Jesus Christ is an interesting character, to say the least. This first-century miracle worker and teacher is the reason we call that historical period “the first century.” Such was Christ’s mark on the world, that Western historians from 525 AD onward noted His earthly ministry as the pivot-point of all human history.

Everyone who takes Jesus’ works and words into consideration must respond in some way. Some respond with shock, thinking that Jesus must have been a crazy invention of some religious upstarts of ancient history. Others respond with wonder, amazed that a man may have spoken and acted so astonishingly. Jesus demands another response, however, from those who seek to enjoy the benefits He offers.

Jesus, claiming to be both true God and effective Savior, says that not all ‘hearing’ is real ‘hearing,’ and not all ‘believing’ is real ‘believing.’ But, in order to pass from death to life, one must faithfully hear Jesus’ word and trustingly believe.

If one hears and believes, then the promise is sure: that person will never “come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

May God graciously grant us the ears to hear and the will to believe.

Living Like We Believe

“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him” (1 John 2:28–29).

Everyone believes something.

This may come as a surprise to you, or it may come as a silly and obvious thing to say. Either way, the statement is probably not immediately remarkable. If, however, we consider that the way we live reveals what we truly believe, then the statement may become more thought-provoking.

The Bible tells us what we may already know to be true about this subject. The choices a person makes are always based on what he or she really believes. We may claim a certain set of beliefs, but our lives will either give evidence for or against our belief claims. Believing Jesus will manifest itself in a person’s way of life, and so too will disbelief and rebellion.

Jesus is the Savior of sinners, and He is the one through whom God will judge the whole world. Those who truly believe these things, and trust in Jesus to rescue them from judgment, will live in light of these realities.

In other words, genuine belief always produces transformed living.

May God grant us grace to believe Him and the conviction to live as we say we believe.

Do you Believe?

Belief is a funny word. “I believe it might rain today.” “I believe in God.” “Just believe!”

“I believe it might rain today.”

“I believe in God.”

“Just believe!”

 

 

All three of these uses of the word ‘believe’ are fairly common among our culture, and yet none of them actually line up with the way Christians ‘believe’ Jesus Christ or ‘believe’ the Gospel, which is the message of Jesus’ person and work.

It might be helpful to understand two important things about belief. 1) belief is powerless by itself, and 2) belief must be genuine to count at all.

Belief itself is powerless. For example, a person may believe a chair is solid, comfortable, and functional, but believing such things does not make them so. The chair may or may not be able to live up to the person’s belief. This helps us understand the powerlessness of belief. If our belief is placed in a powerful object, then it is well-placed, but our belief does not make the object powerful.

Additionally, our belief must be genuine. To put it another way, it must pass from mere affirmation to personal trust. Using the chair analogy again, one may believe and say all kinds of nice things about a chair, but he or she truly believes the chair when he or she sits down on it. That is when belief becomes genuine.

Therefore, genuine belief in a worthy object is what it means to be a Christian.

God became a man in Jesus Christ; He lived the obedient life God requires of all humans and earned the blessings of God. Though Jesus was morally perfect (sinless), He was counted as the worst sinner of all time – taking upon Himself the disobedience, immorality, and sin of all those who would believe in Him. After Jesus died, He was resurrected from the dead, and He forevermore shall be the immortal God/man.

Because Jesus Christ has done all this, and because He is capable of rescuing guilty sinners from the penalty they deserve, then we may believe Him and enter into the peace and rest that this worthy object brings. Place your genuine belief (trust) in this Savior, and He will most assuredly demonstrate Himself to be powerful beyond measure.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him” (1 John 5:1).