Do you believe Christ?: Ask a lot of people if they believe in Jesus and you’ll likely get a positive response. They may not believe He is the Son of God, or the Messiah (Christ). But they believe there might have been a person called Jesus back then, a prophet of some kind.
Christian followers might boldly proclaim their belief in Jesus, but as my friend Rev. Nancy Carmichael-Stoner put it, “They might believe in Christ but do they BELIEVE Christ?”
I believe in His teachings
My father used to say “Well, I believe in the teachings of Christ.” I suppose in a way it was a strategy to avoid the questions from a young man.
Okay, love your neighbor, do unto others, yada yada yada. It’s shallow and does not reflect the truth. Dad was never one for explaining himself, although he was probably one of the most Christ-like men I ever knew in many respects.
It really wasn’t until shortly before his death that he came close to proclaiming Christ as Savior, but given his strict Methodist upbringing, I am sure he understood from his parents who and what Christ is. People are funny about religious expression. They avoid it.
Do you believe Christ, is He the way the truth and the life?
Believe in or believe is an important distinction. It’s one thing to believe in Jesus, but it quite another to BELIEVE Jesus. Jesus said He was the way, the truth and the life, but do we believe Him. And if we express belief, how has that changed our lives?
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder. (James 2:18-19)
Where is evidence of Christ in their lives?
People go through the motions when it comes to matters of faith. They go to church, maybe serve on committees and outwardly look to be right in line.
But do they really believe Jesus and follow Him. They talk a good game, but where is the evidence of Christ in their lives? Examine what it means to be “in Christ” or what is means to have “Christ in me.”
It is an active relationship that tells the story. Prior to coming to faith in Christ, we were spiritually dead. He has given us new life.
The woman at the well
I am reminded of the scene in “The Chosen” when Jesus meets the woman at the well. She is at first very skeptical, but when she comes to understand who Jesus is, she gets excited. “I’ll going to tell everybody.” Jesus counters, “I was counting on that.”
She became a different person because she was in Christ and she believed Christ. An ounce of faith led to a ton of action.
I’m a pastor and I care about Monday morning
Over the years I have explained to people that my relationship to the church was difficult. As a pastor, I did not care much about Sunday morning, although it was important. I led music, did sermons and baptisms.
But I care more about Monday morning and what people were doing. I visited homes, places of business, farms and places around town, just to see how they were getting along.
Are they living out their faith?
Was the church making a difference in their lives and were they “in Christ” when not around the members of the church? Christ changes lives and there has to be evidence of the conversion.
From what I saw, this was very much the case. It was encouraging. But then the infighting at the church began. They’d get mad at the pastors, argue about the budget, and in the process loose their connection to the one who gave them life.
Pride and personal interested replaced “love your neighbor” and Kingdom work was set aside in favor of the new church building. It was all Christ all the time.
Merely believing in Christ in not sufficient
The point is merely believing in Christ is just a watered-down approach to the faith. Being “in Christ” is having life in its fullness. It is the purpose of the relationship that Jesus paid for on the cross.
It is sadly an important point that many churches miss, because the focus is on the church instead of its founder.
A recent poll showed that only about nine percent of Christians actually believe the Bible is essential. Believe in Christ or believing Christ is a point of debate that needs to be engaged. It’s time to get back to the basics.