What Does It Mean To Believe?
Rev Gary Evensen
@2005 NJUPC INC
The English language has a couple of different implications for believe.
To accept as true or real as in - Do you believe the news stories? -
To credit with veracity as in - I believe you. –
To have an opinion, to think as in - They have already left, I believe. -
To have firm faith, especially religious faith.
If you just accept something as true and real as in the example of believing in news stories, that definition of believing requires no action on your part.
If your crediting someone w/veracity, or something that is true, that also does not necessarily require any action just simply believing.
If your belief is like have an opinion as in - They have already left, I believe. -
If your wrong its no big deal because its just your opinion
The 4th definition was to have firm religious faith and amazingly enough the dictionary gives no example of usage as in the other definitions
The English language has some interesting nuances. Consider these words which have multiple meanings or implications.
Statement 1) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
Statement 2) I did not object to the object
Statement 3) The bandage was wound around the wound
Here we find all the statements had 2 different meanings
As I showed in the English definition on believing, it can have multiple implications and I want to perhaps challenge your thinking today and ask you to consider how do you believe in Jesus Christ.
Do you accept him as true or real as in simply believing news stories?
Do simply credit him with veracity?
Is your belief merely an opinion in him?
Or Do you have that firm religious faith in him.
If you look at some the many biblical examples throughout the bible, God either spoke his word directly to these men, or spoke though his prophets, which they then believed and received that word in faith but that faith required that they do something in order to receive the word that they had believed!
Naaman was a captain of the Syrian army and was afflicted with leprosy.
Naamans wife was told about the prophet Elisha
and how he could heal Naamans leprosy, so Naaman went to find this great prophet and we pick up the
story now in
9 Then Naaman went with his horses and
chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house.
10And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and
wash in the
In the story of Naaman God gives us an object lesson
1) Naaman had an attitude, he had to lose the attitude to receive his healing. His power and status held no weight in regard to his healing
2) Naaman did not like what he heard, but that did not matter, he had to do what the prophet said or he would not have been cleansed.
3) Naaman thought his ideas were better than the prophets instruction, he wanted to wash in the rivers of Damscus, but again if he had not obeyed he would not have received the promise.
He believed the words of the prophet but if he did not dip in the water seven times he would not have been cleansed and this shows us an action was required of him in a response of obedience to a promise given him by the prophet of God
Abraham gives us that same faith lesson. Abraham believed the
words of the Lord in
In the book of John we are given this great and wonderful promise:
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Notice the phrasing of the scripture: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish.
Notice He did not say will not perish.
Because Jesus knew a response is required by God to every word of faith spoken!
To do the will of God in response to words of faith requires a response of obedience when a person believes!
30And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
The apostles told them believe of the Lord and you shall be saved. Some make a quantum leap and say believe on the Lord and you ARE saved. In there eyes perhaps they are thinking of believing as in some of our earlier definitions.
1- To accept as true or real as in - Do you believe the news stories? -
2- To credit with veracity as in - I believe you. –
But neither of these definitions address true religious faith
The chronicle in
Like Abraham and Naaman there response of faith was a response of obedience to the spoken word of God and they were baptized.
And this is a very biblical
Here the writer of the book
of James clearly states that simply believing is not enough. In
And the writer of James shows us that faith cannot be shown without works, or that action that defines faith.
As we read in
And as we continue a little farther down we find in that same dissertation some folks who will miss heaven.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
But these were people who prophesied in Jesus name, they cast out demons in Jesus name and if they had not believed they would have been subject to the demonic abuse the 7 sons of Sceva received at the hand of demonic forces in Acts chapter 19. They did MANY wonderful works in his name, yet the Lord will say
I NEVER KNEW YOU!
Because they were practioners of lawlessness, or as the KJV says iniquity
You see there are some
spiritual laws, one is found in
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
If you do not sow spiritual things you will not receive spiritual things. Believing is just the starting point, for you cannot have faith unless you believe, you cannot act upon your faith unless you have faith, you cannot receive the promises of God unless you act upon your faith. And it all starts with believing.
If you do not sow, you will not reap. God will not fill a vessel that does not present itself to him.
Believing is more than just believing that Christ lived died and rose again.
It will take you to new heights and new depths with God if you will step out and begin to be like Abraham and Naaman and a multitude of others who believed the promises of God and did something about it.
How bout you today, I want to challenge you to not only believe and have faith but stand upon the promises of the scripture and receive what God has for you by letting your faith take action.
For that is what true believing is all about.