Posted by: Derek Guyer | February 5, 2010

Do We Really Believe?


There is a lie being spread by our adversary, the devil. The lie is destroying the very foundations of faith in Jesus Christ. It’s disguised itself as independence and strength, but is creating slothfulness and complacency in the church and destroying home after home.

The lie is that God does not expect our obedience. The lie is that obedience is not a necessary part of sincere faith in God. There is no doubt that faith is the only thing necessary for salvation in Jesus Christ.

“…a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.”

Galatians 2:16 NIV

This point is driven home throughout the Christian circles like crazy. The unfortunate part of this story is that faith alone being our source of salvation, has turned into just believing in God. “Just believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and he’ll save you”. It’s true, I believe that. Unfortunately, the word “believe” means something different to all of us than it did in the original Greek in which the New Testament was written.

When you tell someone they just have to “believe”, the obvious truth is that most of the Christian world has “believed” the words of John 3:16, but not actually continued reading down into verses twenty and twenty-one where the word “believe” takes on a deeper understanding. There Jesus says:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

John 3:16, 20-21 NIV

James takes explains this idea further:

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”

James 2:14-19 NIV

In all of our work helping “Christian couples” to rise above the lies of Satan and consequences of sin, we have only had one couple come to us who didn’t believe in God at all. That means God’s people are cheating on each other, betraying one another, and separating what God brought together. Isn’t that a bad sign about our understanding of God’s will?

How can we say the love of God is within us when we’re living so far from His will? We can’t. Our actions are not representative of the Savior in whom we say we have faith. Even the demons believe as many Christians do.

The word believe, in it’s original Greek, means to “entrust” yourself. It’s not just an “aha” moment where we understand something. It goes beyond that. It extends to the time when we give ourselves over to the thing we now understand. Faith, in it’s nature, requires action.

Jesus goes as far as to say:

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

John 14:15 NIV

He doesn’t just treat obedience as if it’s a good idea. He says that our obedience is a direct reflection of our love for Him. So, how much do you love God? How strong is your faith?

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

I John 2:3-6 NIV

If you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God – If you believe that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, then you will live in that way and obey His commands. As a result, you will experience the benefits of living in the way you were created to live.


Responses

  1. Awesome insight, so true.

  2. I agree- this is at the heart of what is going wrong. I shared a house with some fellow Christians where I tried to point out that doing fornication will lead to broken hearts on both sides and they quoted Galatians to me and called me a legalist!


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