Do You Really Believe In God?

Do You Really Believe In God?

Pastor Vincent - 8 October 2022

Weekend Devotion: Do You Really Believe In God?

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Now, it is often said: “Getting people to believe in something is about the skill of convincing”. We see the salesman trying to convince customers to believe in his product. Or a parent trying to persuade the child to believe what he wants for him is the best. It involves reasoning, convincing and a whole lot of persuading. But believing in God is altogether a different thing.

 

Now, I am not saying there is no need for reasoning and persuasion in getting someone to believe in God. We have a mind that needs reason and understanding, and we also have a heart that needs to be convinced.

 

But to believe in God is not likened to just believing in a product that works, or to believe in a good advice. But in biblical terms, to believe in God is to have a personal relationship with Him. It is the denial of self, and yielding our sovereignty, our Lordship to Christ.

 

Many have misconception about believing in Christ. They thought of faith in God as some sort of a mental assent, an acknowledgment that God is real, or believing God will deliver them through some trials, or provide them with something. But they never thought of it in terms of a relationship.

 

You see, my son has a father and son relationship with me. When he believes in me, he doesn’t just believe when I say: “Son, dad will give you your allowance next month”, but he believes in me as his father, the person that he trusts, that he loves, and with whom he shares a deep affinity with.

 

Now that faith, that trust is not determined or built on whether I’ll gave him an allowance next month, or whether I will buy him a smartphone or not. It’s more than that. It’s built upon a deep unchanging relationship. And that is what believing in Christ is all about.

 

When God reconciled us to Him in Christ, that eternal unchanging affinity with God was established. God is no longer someone who deals with us transactionally anymore. It’s not about giving him something and getting something from him in return. Not that. That’s paganistic. By believing in God, we know God not only as a deliverer or provider, we know Him as our Eternal Father. 

 

Now, there are of course times our faith may be hit, we may go through very dark moments in our lives, or we may even be given over to discouragements or temptations, but the promise of that relationship will not cease. God promised to preserve that faith that is in us.

Inevitably, in our trials, we may be comforted, we may be strengthened, or we may be chastened or disciplined, but the workings of that relationship will never cease.

 

Relationship always provokes a struggle in trials. True believing always calls for a response. We seek God for an answer, and God answers us with His word, and He makes sure we understand. And He gives us time and space to understand. We can be feeling conscience stricken, we can be disheartened, or we could even be angry with God. But God will keep revealing to us.

 

That relationship doesn’t die off.

 

A believing relationship with God is one of faithfulness and steadfastness on the part of God. He doesn’t leave us in abandonment just because of how negative we feel right now. True believing never ended up in abandonment. That is what the true Christian faith constitutes.   

 

Now, if there is so much misunderstanding we have about believing in God, that’s because the church has often failed to teach what “true believing” is all about. First, the church has failed by inventing something called “easy-believism”. You see, easy believism assumes that believing in God to be just a positive feeling or acknowledgment towards God. Or it gladly assumed someone has believe just because he has done the sinner’s prayer. Far be it from us to reduce what true faith is to a mere ritual exercise or worse emotionalism.

 

True faith is by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit regenerates a person and produced faith in Him towards Christ when he heard the gospel. An eternal relationship as a result was formed at that moment. That kind of faith cannot be provoked by human means or cleverly invented ways.

 

And that is why James has given us a very thought-provoking statement about what true faith is. In his rhetorical statement to show what true faith means, he said:

 

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder”

-James 2:19 -.

 

You see, the bible states that Satan believe God exists, and he believes Jesus is the true and living God. But that doesn’t get him saved. Why? Because his sort of believing does not measure up to the saving faith which the Bible demanded.

 

Now, there are at least 3 elements to saving faith.

 

First of all, there is the Latin word “notitia”, which is the information or the data. And this refers to the content of the gospel that we must believe. i.e. We must believe we’re sinners before the Holy God. We must believe that Jesus is our only Savior, and that He died on the cross for us. And we are coming to the only true and living redeemer who can save us. We are not coming to a Santa Claus or a healer, or a prosperity God call Jesus. So we must get the information, the content of the gospel right first. Fervently believing in the wrong content doesn’t save us. So without the right gospel being preached in these times, we know people who believe in Jesus may not be believing in the right Jesus after all. Believing that he is born in Nazareth, or he did great miracles is not enough to get us saved.

 

We need to believe that HE is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

 

Next, the second element to saving faith is represented by the latin word “assensus”, or intellectual assent. Meaning, I have to acknowledge or agree that these things are true, that is Jesus truly died for my sins. But please note, by acknowledging, I have to stress that saving faith is not just agreeing to a scientific fact, like someone agreeing to Newton’s law. It’s not just agreeing to a historical fact. A person can be aware of the right content about God and even agree that it is true, but he may not get saved. As it is, Satan knows the content, and Satan knows that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but he’s not redeemed by that. Why not?

 

Because Satan lacks the third and most crucial element of saving faith which is called “fiducia”, which means personal trust and reliance. Saving faith is given to all of those who put their trust in Christ and His righteousness alone. It’s not trusting in Christ as well as a tinge of own merits. It’s Christ and Christ alone. He alone is my redemption; He alone is my righteousness. He alone is the savior of my soul and the deliverer of my life. So do you have that personal trust and reliance upon Christ Jesus? That trust, that faith symbolizes your eternal relationship with God.

 

Now, don’t worry about the sheer scale of your faith. God is first most concerned about the genuineness of your faith. If your faith is true, that faith has already connected you to the Almighty God. That faith that enables you to call out to God as “Abba Father”, will see you through all adversities. It is a faith that moves mountains. It is a faith that would see you through all impossible situations in life. Not because that faith is meritorious or powerful in anyway. But the giver of that faith is all powerful, and by that power, He will preserve and deliver us from harm’s way till the end.

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Pastor Vincent Choo
choochisan@gmail.com

Vincent is the Senior Pastor of The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) and is an ardent missionary to the Chinese World. He currently lives in Singapore with his wife, Qiufen, and has three kids, Mary, David, and Caleb.

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