Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Keeping Belief in the Mix

A wide variety of ideas about how someone gets “saved” are floating across our computer screens and working their way into our conversations. 

I have never felt comfortable with a definition of personal salvation that did not include the exercise of personal belief. Belief is that place of traction where we choose to receive what is being offered. The words believe, believed or believer appears over 100 times in the New Testament in a post-Pentecost, New Covenant context. The choice to believe was a threshold a person had to cross in order to receive what Jesus promised. 

A basic study of the word believe carries the definition, “to have faith, in or upon a person or thing.” It also means, “to entrust” as in entrusting yourself to a person, not a method. The word "believe" comes from a root word that means, “persuasion.” We will only entrust ourselves to someone who has persuaded us that they are speaking the truth. Many times I actually exchange the word entrust for the word believe. Entrust carries a more personal tone. Jesus is so much easier to entrust your life to than a list of church doctrines or denominational preferences.

It is important to remember, Jesus had no single method of evangelism or a scripted prayer for salvation. Jesus never gave invitations or had His followers pray a sinner’s prayer. A group of disciples simply began to follow Jesus and at some point, they chose to believe and became a believer.

As you consider hitching your theological wagon to someone’s interpretation of what constitutes salvation, make sure somewhere in the mix an individual response of belief is present. None of this just happens. The Cross wasn’t an accident - it was a choice, and so is it with our individual response to the offer of salvation. At some point, the message of Jesus has to be believed in order to be received. How we approach Jesus and engage Him in our moment of belief is both creative and personal for each person. In whatever way you help people connect with God through Jesus Christ make sure you leave belief somewhere in the process. Without belief none of this glorious salvation is possible.

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