A man once said to me, “I have a hard time accepting the idea that God will only let me into heaven if I believe a certain thing or a certain way. So I live my entire life and, at the end, it all comes down to whether or not I believe something to be true? I’ve seen big changes in my friends and family members who believe, so I want to believe, but I have a hard time accepting this.” The man’s openness was refreshing, and I completely understood his skepticism. For if belief is nothing more than admitting the truth of a matter, I think he has a point. Mere acknowledgment of fact, however sincere, is something less than transformational. The apostle James gave voice to the sentiment this way: “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”1
Biblical belief is so much richer, so much warmer, and so much more substantial than an academic nod of agreement from afar. For the foundation of our faith is so much more than a mere notion or idea; He is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in whom life exists. Jesus assures us, “as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.”2 So also the apostle Paul attests of Christ, “All things were created through him and for him,” he writes, “. . . he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”3 The belief to which God calls us, then, far surpasses mental assent; He invites us to a place called faith, where we entrust our very lives to Him in whom eternity exists. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”4
Taking this cross-over step of faith, we emerge from the shadows of our hiding and enter into restored relationship with God. We experience Him as He transforms us, and we enjoy Him, for He is not a belief system of our making, but the abundant life of our longing.
If the Spirit is stirring in you to be reconciled to God through His Son, you can respond by praying:
Jesus, I know I cannot gain eternal life on my own or by my own merit. I do not live as you would have me live. For this I am very sorry. I believe you are the Son of God and that you paid the penalty for my sins because you love me. I believe you rose again to never-ending life and that you offer that life to me as a gift. I entrust myself to you, receive your gift now, and by your promise, cross over from death to life. Fill me with your Spirit and use me for your honor and glory. Thank you for your precious gift of life in me.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)
[Click here to read more about salvation through faith in Christ in Romans 10:6-13.]
1 James 2:19
2 John 5:26
3 Colossians 1:16, 17 (ESV)
4 John 5:24
Today’s post is an excerpt from Christ in Me. Copyright © 2016 Paul Nordman. Used by permission. All rights reserved.