I feel a need to ask this question because, once again, I’ve been amazed by the religiousity of supposed Believers. I also feel a need to clarify some definitions. Please forgive me if I don’t take all my definitions straight out of the Bible. I applied a little critical thought.
Firstly, what does it mean to ‘believe’? The words ‘believe’ and ‘faith’ are used interchangeably, but I think this could be the fundamental reason people keep misunderstanding what it means to believe in God. Is believing an act of the will? Is it a choice? Or is it a reality, that is either you do or you do not know?
I’ve come to the understanding that to believe is to know a reality – an acknowledgement of a truth one may not be able to provide evidence for, but is sure of. You don’t choose to believe. You either do or you don’t. But your FAITH is evidence that you actually believe… Faith follows from genuine belief.
I’ve also come to the understanding that faith is the act of trusting and obeying. It is indeed an act of the will! It is a choice. You have to choose to have faith and exercise faith in something, in the same way one would choose to exercise courage. When you have faith in God, you choose to trust Him (trust is not a reality like believing, it is something that must be applied) and you choose to act in obedience. There is no faith if either trust or obedience is absent, which is why James makes a clear case for faith and works being inseparable (Jam 2:14-26).
Now two things. You can believe that God exists…without exercising faith in God (that is, without actually believing in God)! To believe in God means more than believing that He exists, but actually means exercising faith in Him, by trusting and obeying. There are many people who believe in the existence of God, but do not believe in God…
James used the demons as an example. I would also suggest that many religious people of different religions believe in the existence of God…but they do not believe in God, because they do not know Him. You have to know someone in order for you to trust them…and obey them…and by so doing, be regarded as having faith! To make it clearer, I believe that Obama exists…but I don’t believe in Obama, because I neither trust nor obey him.
Many so called Christians are this way!!! They believe that God exists, but their actions reveal that they don’t actually believe in Him, because they neither trust nor obey Him. And many people of other religions can’t trust nor obey God, because they have never known Him…rather they are simply conscious of His existence! Jesus said it quite clearly here, “no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matt 11:27).
I’m afraid that many of you may not truly believe in God at all… Rather, you believe that He exists. This is good. A great first step to faith in God. Now, you must receive the gift of faith, without which no man can be saved (Eph 2:8). When Jesus reveals Himself to you, and reveals the Father, then you will know Him, and will enter a relationship with Him that is characterised by TRUST and OBEDIENCE, and will bear the fruit of LOVE. Because it is not all who call Him Lord that will be saved, but those who do the will of God (Matt 7:21).
“…when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
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