Throughout many years of ministry I have met people from different countries, backgrounds and denominations who have told me in no uncertain terms that they believe in Jesus. Yet I have found that, when questioned as to exactly what they believe, many of them have no more than a superficial understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done for mankind.
Many from none Christian religions have a historical knowledge of Jesus, whilst others know little more than that He was a baby born at Christmas.
What then does it mean to believe in Jesus?
What does Jesus mean to us?
First of all, to believe in Jesus means to know Him and be known by Him.
‘Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal: “The Lord knew those who are His.”’2 Timothy 2:19
To be able to know Jesus we must first know, and accept, who and what we are.
It is the general attitude of church-goers to divide the world into two groups of people: ‘Them’ and ‘Us’ – ‘them’ being the wicked folk who never come to church, and ‘us’ being the ‘good’ people who don’t want anything to do with that lot out there.
I have experienced the anger of otherwise very nice old ladies who have taken offence when I have shown them scriptural truths within Romans 3:10-18, which begins:
‘… as it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one …’Romans: 3:10
Collectively, the passage asserts that they are not as good as they think they are. None of us are.
So, we have to accept that we are all sinners and in need of a saviour. We have to realise that belief in Jesus starts by acknowledging that He is the saviour.
This belief must then go further, becoming a deep inner desire to be cleansed from sin and to partake of Jesus’ life and Spirit.
The consequence of adopting such a belief will set in motion a dramatic change in us. We become those who no longer view Jesus historically or as a focus of church doctrine; we no longer see God as being ‘out there’, somewhere far away, but as a loving Father who is always near to us.
Christ Himself becomes the very source of our life; His presence by His Spirit is a living, dynamic reality. We know Him and we are aware that He knows us. To believe in Jesus is to have Him takeover our lives.
Toward the end of his life, the Apostle John wrote:
‘And this is the record, that God has given to us everlasting life, and this life is in His Son.1 John 5:11-12
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.’