As a Christian who grew up in the church, I find that sometimes the most encouraging passages to read are those that deal with salvation. In the midst of a world full of Christians who constantly tell you how to live, how to serve, how to work, it’s nice to hear Jesus set the record straight again – just believe.
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
But hold on a minute, because it’s important to understand that what we believe in really matters. Jesus is not talking about believing in God. Jesus is talking about believing in the salvation message that he is bringing from God.
I recently noticed something about Ansley. She believes in God. There is no doubt in her mind. During the past few months as we have prayed together at night, we’ve seen some of our prayer requests answered and she thanks God every night for making so-and-so better, etc. She has no doubt that God made the animals and the leaves and gives the birds their song. She believes there is a creator at the center of this universe and we worship Him as God.
However, I know this too about Ansley…she is stubborn. She can be selfish. Many times she is not at all interested in listening to mom and dad. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. She has no problem in believing in God…a kind creator who gives us everything good in life and wants us to simply be nice to each other…but she’s a far cry away from getting to a point of realizing how utterly sinful she is and being moved by the message of salvation to the point of accepting God’s free gift as her only hope.
It will be difficult for her, because to believe such a thing requires at least a moment of clarity…of understanding that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never make it on your own. You’ll never be good on your own. Only through Christ can you be made whole.
You see the Pharisees had the same problem…they believed, though not in the right thing, as Jesus finally points out to them…
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
It’s not enough to believe in the God who created, who sustains, who sent his Son. We must believe in the message. We must come to him in submission and accept His salvation through Christ.