What Does it Mean to Believe?

John 6.29 describes the work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.

One of the knocks on Christianity is it’s easy entry to heaven. Some believe going to heaven is as easy as believing in Jesus, after all, isn’t that what He just said? Its fair to say what He meant by belief and what we understand by belief are not the same.

If what we understand belief to mean, simply believe, then the devil and all the demons would go to heaven since they certainly believe. In the gospel it is only the evil spirits who consistently identify Jesus correctly as the Christ the Son of God. I don’t think they will live with God forever though they believe.

Jesus furthers His teaching about believing when He describes the necessity of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. This didn’t help His cause at growing His followers when He taught it but it does help us understand what He means by belief when we read it.

Starting at the beginning, the human predicament is a propensity at birth to deny, rebel and disobey God. This malady makes earning our way to heaven entirely impossible from God’s perspective.

To get to heaven, to understand the work requirements, God states simply we must believe. What we must believe is that the blood of Jesus spilled at the cross of His crucifixion is the remedy for our rebellion. His blood is the only sacrifice acceptable to God for pardoning our disobedience.

Do we believe that or do we think we still must do something else? Do we believe that or do we believe God will accept people from all the other religions that teach something different from what God Himself has done in Jesus? Now belief is getting harder.

Jesus said we must be born again, we must receive a new spiritual birth that will culminate in a new body capable of living for eternity with God in heaven and eventually upon the new earth. We have to eat His body, we have to absorb Him into our lives Who, by His Spirit, will transform us by empowering us to live obedient lives despite our natural inclinations toward rebellion.

Do we believe Jesus rose from the dead in His body and that He will raise from the dead all who love Him and have placed their faith in His resurrection? Do we believe God lives within those who love Him by His Spirit changing them from the inside out? Do we believe Jesus alone is the life we need for this world and the next?

It is true we must believe in God to do His works but that belief must transcend acknowledgement that God exists into trust that He rewards those who deeply love Him and earnestly seek Him.

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