Image courtesy of truthvine.com
One night many years ago, I ran into a young woman “witnessing” on a street corner. She told me Jesus loved me, but that I needed “to believe in Him in order to be saved.” I asked her why. She seemed uncertain how to answer, so I continued, “I believe there’s a God-force or something out there. So, if he/she/it loves me, why isn’t that enough?”
Here’s how she might have answered:
James 2:19 tells us demons believe in the existence of God (how could they not? He’s “the enemy!”). But he doesn’t tell us they believe in God. Which may seem insignificant, but that missing word is everything.
Believing someone means believing they’re stating facts correctly, even though you may take no action in response to that belief.
But believing in someone means trusting in that person themself, and acting in accord with that trust. In fact, the more literal translation of Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Why? Because, while there are numerous in words in the biblical Greek, this specific in word indicates an active response, an action taken.
It’s like the difference between believing a particular plane is leaving Afghanistan, and believing you must get on that plane to be saved!*
A year after that young woman spoke with me, I took a life-changing leap of faith. I’d begun reading the words of Jesus and come to believe that, as the Apostle Peter said, He had “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68), that He himself, and not just His words, was Life. And so I took action. I leaped.
*Not to trivialize the life-threatening circumstances many are currently facing in Afghanistan. Quite the opposite. Please pray for them!