Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What does it mean to believe?

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” - Romans 10:9.
What does it mean to “believe”? It is often presented to be a state of mind; a sincere thought; a feeling; a point of knowledge; an understanding; a confession. However, when we read on in Romans 10 we see that Paul provides some additional insight into what it means to believe. Paul points out the need to accept the good news. To accept something, you receive it. You take ownership of it. You make it yours and put it to its intended use.

Paul clearly shows that belief is not simply hearing about something or having knowledge of it when he states, “But I ask, did they not hear? Of course they did.” He continues by pointing out that it is also not simply about understanding: “Did they not understand?” We can hear it and we can understand it. But, it is when we "live it" that it is truly belief.

Paul gets to the heart of the matter when he points out, through the words of Isaiah, that it is really about whether or not we submit to Jesus as our Lord: “But, concerning Israel he says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.’” What we see here is that it is about whether or not belief changes our lives. Do we respond to Christ? Do we embrace him with everything we are? Do we repent? Are our hearts circumcised and wholly given to him? Or, are we obstinate and disobedient? Do we continue to live for ourselves? Do we disobey God? Do we confess he is Lord, but not make him Lord? Does it change from being all about us to being all about God?

So, “confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead…” Make Christ your Lord. Give it all to him and obey him. Die to self and submit to God. Live it out.

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