Pastor's Pen - October 2016
It's Simple! Believe and Have Faith
The word of God is no less powerful than it was more than two thousand years ago when Jesus Christ, walked on this earth. Sometimes, our so-called “modern” Christian way of thinking, makes belief more complicated than it needs to be.
In Romans 10, Moses clarifies the difference in right living that comes from obeying the law and the righteousness that comes from an act of faith in our hearts. The Apostle Paul quotes Moses' words, “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart...” (Rom. 10:8).
There is only one way to experience the delivering power of God. Paul, feeling the need to make it very clear to his Roman audience writes:
If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him (Jesus Christ) from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, or made right, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved (Rom. 10: 9-10).
How to Believe
An easy explanation of how to believe is to have sufficient trust in the information received from God, through his Holy Word, so that you are compelled to act upon it. Obviously, if followers of Christ are to make an informed decision to believe, he or she must read the Bible with an intention of trying to understand its simple truths.
There is a Greek word that was translated into the English language as both believing, or to believe, and as faith. But in the Greek language, it is the same word, “Pstis.” So when we look at two words “believe” or “faith” keep in mind that they are the same words in the Greek language from which the New Testament was translated.
Belief and Faith are Verbs
To use of belief, apart from faith, is like trying to mix milk into coffee. You have to stir it! We can quote the Bible, attend a bible study and Sunday School class and memorize scripture, but that is not enough. To mentally agree or intellectually accept God's Word is not necessarily to believe and have faith. The benefit comes when believing and having faith is put into action. Faith is a verb!
When we believe, combining faith and action, James says we are to act accordingly.
James, Jesus' brother writing to followers of Christ in the first century says, What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you have faith but do not have works? He continues, even the demons believe . . . faith apart from works is barren (2:18, 20).
While it is true that good Christian deeds are a desirable result of faith and believing, we also know that it is not those deeds that earn us our salvation. Salvation is a gift given to us by our Heavenly Father. The ability to activate and receive His gift is given to us by God alone.
Faith and Belief are for Sharing
The Gift is not for us alone. The Apostle Paul makes it very clear that we have a job to do after receiving the benefits of our faith and belief personally. We have the awesome task of PASSING IT ON! He goes so far as to ask Christians four straight-forward questions in Romans 10: 14-15:
1. How are they to call on one (Jesus, the Christ) in whom they have not believed?
2. How are they to believe in one (Jesus, the Christ) of whom they have never heard?
3. How are they to hear without someone to proclaim him (Jesus, the Christ)?
4. How are they to proclaim him (Jesus, the Christ) unless they are sent?
Heed the Apostle Paul's Challenge
We MUST take God's great message of salvation to non-believers so that they can hear the Good News. Whether they choose to ACT on their faith by believing is not our responsibility.
As a community of faith at the Ridge Church of the Brethren, who are we sending to make sure that others hear? How beautiful are our feet (Rom. 10: 15)?