What Does It Mean to Believe? - Romans 10

What Does It Mean to Believe?

Romans 10:1-21

"You gotta believe."  Today if you do a search on the Internet you'll find more than 800,000 web sites that contain those inspiring words.  This is not a quotation attributed to Billy Graham or some well known preacher.  In fact they have nothing to do with Christianity.  They're a part of baseball history made famous by a somewhat flaky pitcher for the New York Mets.  His name is Tug McGraw.  During the last month of the baseball season in 1973, whenever he pitched he would pound his glove and scream at no one in particular, "You gotta believe."  His team went on to win the National League pennant.  Tug was telling his teammates that they had to believe that they could win.  (His son is well known country western singer, Tim McGraw.)

For the Christian it's not enough to say that you have to believe.  Faith must have an object.  It begins with the Word of God, the message of the gospel of Christ.  "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."  Romans 10:17.  In Acts 4:4 we have an example of hearing and believing.  "Many of those who heard the word believed...."

It's been preached that we don't have to believe about Jesus.  We have to believe in Jesus.  That isn't really true.  It is necessary to believe about Him, specifically who He is, and what He did.  Muslims believe in Jesus the prophet.  Cults also have various erroneous beliefs.  According to Romans 10:9 and the rest of the Bible, Jesus is Lord.  In Romans 10:13 he is Lord, that is, Jehovah God of the Old Testament.  In other words, Christians believe in the deity of Christ.

What did He do?  Again, in Romans 10:9 He rose again from the dead.  This Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, just like the Bible says.  We believe in a resurrected Savior.  That's what we believe about Him.

After we have heard the good news about Him, we are called to believe in Him.  Some make a distinction between believing in Him and believing on Him.  Romans 10:11 quotes Isaiah 28:16: "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."  Acts 16:31 says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved...."  They claim that it isn't enough to merely believe in the Lord.  They're wrong.  John 3:16 and other salvation promises do not need to be rewritten.

"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."  Romans 10:9, 10. 

There is a belief which is not unto righteousness, which is not unto salvation.  Hebrews 10:39.  It's believing only with the head, a mental assent.  On Sunday morning in many churches the congregation says, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ...," reciting the Apostles' Creed in unison.  We have no problem with this.  However, simply giving credence to a doctrine is not saving faith.

Faith in Christ involves more than the intellect.  It is with the heart that we believe unto righteousness.  Some would divorce our emotions from our decision to accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior.  Too many people get caught up in the details apart from their feelings.  Faith works by love.  Galatians 5:6.  Saving faith believes in the heart. 

In conclusion consider the last verse of the children's hymn, Jesus Loves Me.

 

"Jesus, take this heart of mine;
Make it pure, and wholly thine.
Thou hast bled and died for me;
I will henceforth live for thee."

 

You gotta believe!

 

Loving Father, we can never thank You enough for all that You have done for us.  Please accept our sincere thanks and love.  We believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord indeed.  Have Your way in our lives.  In Jesus' name.  Amen! 

 

The Salvation of Israel - Romans 11

 
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