The Weight of Belief–John 8:24

Posted: January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

When Jesus speaks, we are wise to listen carefully and think deeply about what He says.  When the King speaks, we pay attention…or at least we should.  Therefore, read the Gospel’s and pay special attention to the words in red (if you have one of those Bible’s).  Make sure that you do not read too quickly.  We often are guilty of reading fast and skipping over important words and ideas.  We should slow down and take everything in.

Take, for example, John 8:24.  Jesus speaks very clearly to the Pharisee’s about His identity.  He says plainly, “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am He you will die in your sins.”  Read that slowly.  Jesus is telling the religious leaders that unless they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah, then death in sin is the result.  And since dying in our sins means that we will stand before God and have to bear His wrath against our sin, this is not good news.  But if we are found in Christ, then we will find that God has dealt with our sins at Calvary.

And how exactly does that (being found in Christ) happen according to Jesus?  By believing.  Notice that little word that Jesus speaks.  “Unless you believe…”.  Believing in Jesus as the Christ is the only way to not die in your sins.  Jesus does not make it hard to understand.  He doesn’t give a theology of justification, imputation, new birth, or anything else.  He touches those subjects in other places, but not here.  Here the emphasis falls on simply believing that Jesus is who He says He is. 

Well, that raises an important question.  What does it mean to believe?  Is it simple mental assent to some facts about Jesus?  Can’t be.  The demons assent to the fact of Jesus being the Son of God but they shudder (James 2:19).  Is it simply acknowledging that Jesus comes from God?  No.  Look at Nicodemus (John 3).  Then what is it?

I think the answer can be summed up in the two-fold idea of repentance and trust.  Two sides, one coin.  To believe in Jesus is to believe all that He said.  It is to turn from our sin (repentance) and trust in Jesus alone for our salvation.  It is believing that all other roads to heaven are bankrupt.  They do not exist.  There is a turning from our old path and clinging to Jesus on His path. 

If this has been done, then I would say you have exercised Genuine Saving Faith in Jesus.  You have believed in a saving way.  You can call it faith, trust, or belief, but it is the type of thing that has you hating sin and loving Christ.  And then…Oh, Christian…your life is transformed and you begin to walk in light as Jesus is in the light.

This is the weight of belief.

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