What does “believe” really mean?

God promises many wonderful things to those who will “believe in Him”. John 3:16 promises everlasting life; Acts 16:31 promises to save us; John 3:15 promises eternal life; John 1:12 promises we can become a child of God.

“Believe” in these scriptures requires more than agreement.  I can agree with God’s Word and admit that Jesus Christ is God the Son who personally paid for my sins when He willingly took my place and died on the cross, was buried and came alive again 3 days later. (I Cor. 15:3-5)  But that is NOT totally what “believe in Him” means when it comes to these promises.

Here is an illustration that may help:

Back in the 1920’s and 1930’s, people tried to become famous by doing perilous acts in order to become financially secure.  At one point, some people got into barrels and went over Niagara Falls. (The survival rate was very low)  There is a museum today on the Canadian side of the falls that has many stories and the physical evidence of these events that you  can read about for yourself.

One enterprising young man put out an unusual challenge to the media and public.  This circus performer said he would put a tightrope across Niagara Falls and walk across it without a safety net or safety gear of any kind.   The word spread quickly and a day was selected for this unprecedented event.  Hundreds crowded around the falls to see what would happen.  There must have been mixed feelings and beliefs about whether he would successfully walk across the rope without falling in.  As the crowd quieted, the tightrope walker carefully made his way across the rope while the falls thundered below him.  After agonizing minutes, he successfully reached the opposite side and cheers went up from the crowd.  However, he was not finished yet.

The tightrope walker made his way back to the crowd and called out to them.  “Do you believe I can walk across the Falls again?”  The all shouted, “Yes, we believe you can.”   Then he challenged them with another question:  “Do you believe I can put a man on my back and carry him across with me?”  Again the crowd  shouted, “Yes, we believe you can.”  With a clear, voice he challenged, “Who will come forward and get on my back right now?” The silence was deafening.   No one replied.  The tightrope walker called out the challenge several times more.  Still no-one responded.  Finally, his own promoter stepped forward and accepted the challenge.

Now the crowd was more anxious than ever. They held their breath as the man climbed on the tightrope walker’s back.   As the walker slowly and carefully stepped onto the rope no-one spoke.   He moved across the rope, over the falls.  Can you imagine being the man being carried and hanging on for dear life?  Yet they continued across as the tightrope walker carried the man across to the other side. They were safe!!

A thundering cheer went up from the crowd and reporters burned up the news wires with their stories.

But one question remained:  Who really “believed” in the tightrope walker?  After all, most of the people said they believed.  Perhaps some even wagered money on their belief.  The answer, of course, is the one climbed on the tightrope walker’s back.  He put action to his words by putting his life into the hands of the tightwalker.

That is what “believe in Him (Jesus)” means in these promise verses from God.  It is not just an intellectual understanding, nor a verbal agreement.  It is turning your life over to Jesus Christ for the rest of your life (heart, mind and soul).  It is a one time decision that allows God to come into your life and change you from the inside out.

I made that decision 33 years ago.  (See Blog article: “What have you got to lose?”)

Have you “believed in Him” (in Jesus Christ) as your own personal savior?

Please e-mail all responses to Dr. Nancy at:  [email protected]

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