Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Believing in Jesus

Chuckle: "If people don't like tailgaters, why do they buy bumper stickers?"
 
Quote: “It becomes a matter of prime importance to answer with clarity the question, What does the Bible mean by having faith and believe.” –Findley Edge
 
“For God so loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 HCSB).
 
Our passage is a quotation from the lips of Jesus Himself during His conversation with Nicodemus. It is perhaps the most beloved passage in the Bible because it lays out the dimensions of God love and His plan of salvation simply and concisely in a single verse. Notice I underlined the words, “believes in Him.” Our lesson today will focus entirely on the meaning of the word, believe. In my library, I have a book written by Dr. Findley Edge entitled, “The Doctrine of the Laity.’' The following is a direct quote from page 33 of his book:
 
    First, we have a linguistic problem; that is, a problem related to the meaning of words. In the New Testament, the Greek word for faith in its noun form is pistis and in its verb form is pisteuo. Both words come from the same root word. Unfortunately, in our English language, we do not have a verb form for the word faith (that is I faith, you faith, he faiths). Therefore, in 1611 when those who translated the King James Version of the Bible came to the verb form of the Greek word for faith, they translated it believe. This would not have created a problem except that in the intervening centuries the word believe has had a rather significant change of meaning. This seemingly simple change in meaning has had, in my judgment, a profound effect on evangelical Christianity since that time and may be one of the major causes for weakness in our approach to evangelism today.
 
    In 1611 to believe meant to hold dear, to give one’s allegiance to, to give oneself to. It was the committing of oneself to another as in a marriage relationship. Today, however, the word believe has come to mean primarily the cognitive acceptance of some proposition. It is true that we talk about being related to God personally and “giving ourselves to God,” but in too many instances the primary meaning of believe is a belief in propositions about God. Belief in God means we believe in His existance. Belief in Jesus as Savior means an intellectual belief that Jesus can and will save us. One of the major weaknesses in our churches today is the tendency to make salvation a cognitive belief in a set of propositions.
 
    This tendency has created a corollary problem for us, namely, the tendency to make salvation primarily a status. These two problems have fed each other. Because we have tended to view salvation as a status rather than a dynamic relationship, we sometimes have been guilty of devising our own plan for salvation. End of quote.
 
    It is imperative that when leading someone to Christ we define the word believe to mean having faith in Jesus, placing our trust in Him, committing our lives to Him as personal Lord and Savior. Understanding this definition of believe is essential for our sins to be forgiven and for us to inherit eternal (everlasting) life. I close with this illustration: I can believe intellectually that an airplane can deliver me safely to my destination. However, when I board the plane, settle into my seat, and the plane lifts off the runway, now I have believed. I have entrusted my very life into the hands of the pilot and the structural integrity of the airplane. Have you believed in Jesus Christ by entrusting your life and eternal soul into His hands and committing to serve Him?.
 
Love, Jerry & Dotse        

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