Chinese Church VoicesChristian Life

What Does it Mean to Believe in Jesus?

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In this post on the popular Christian Site Voice in the Wilderness (kuanye), the writer addresses a fundamental theological question: What does it mean to believe in Jesus?

We often hear people say "believe in Jesus" and we ourselves also often use this phrase. Once we have believed in Jesus, we often urge others to believe in him as well.

What exactly does it mean to believe in Jesus? How are we to understand it? John 1:12 answers this question this way: "But to all who received him (Jesus), who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God." Please pay attention to how John addressed those people, "all who received him, who believed in his name..." From this passage we can see that believing in Jesus equals receiving Jesus.

What then does it mean to receive Jesus? For example, if I go on a trip to the United States, my home is not there and I have no relatives there. But I have friends there and my friends will receive me into their home. In the same way, when Jesus comes to us, do we want to receive him? Where do we want to receive him into? Our homes? Our churches? It is a good thing to receive Jesus into our homes and churches, but it is not good enough. More importantly, we need to receive Jesus into our hearts. Many people just receive Jesus in their homes or in their churches, but they havent received Jesus into their hearts. So when they are at home or at the church, they behave well. But once they are out in the world or finished attending church services, they say goodbye to Jesus and live their own way. No wonder there are people who go to church in the morning and go gambling and dancing in the afternoon, indulging themselves in their old way of living. This is because they have not received Jesus in their hearts. Therefore, to receive Jesus means to invite him into our hearts.

Who can be called a real Christian? He who has Jesus living in him is a real Christian. Some people look like Christians,they get baptized, partake in Communion, go to Sunday school and attend many church activities. They are active in the church and are respected by the pastor and other church members. But Jesus is not within him. I can tell you boldly that they are not Christians. People will say he is a Christian but God will not. When our Lord Jesus returns, he will say to these people, "I never knew you; go away from me."

I think throughout the Bible, there are two sad comments. One is for pastors: "God did not send you." The other is for believers: "I never knew you." Imagine a person spending his whole life preaching, but in the end, he only hears God say, "I have not sent you." Isn't this sad? We have to admit though, that nowadays there are pastors who are not sent by God. Also, imagine a man viewing himself as a Christian all his life and in the end hearing God tell him, "I never knew you." Isn't this sad too? But again, we know that today there are many false Christians that God does not recognize.

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth saying "Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!" (2 Cor. 13:5). I believe that real Christians will not afraid to be examined or tested. If someone asks me, "Are you saved?" or "Have you been reborn?" I would not mind if they ask me a thousand times. But some people will feel very much offended and start quarreling upon hearing this question. Friends, let me ask you straightforwardly: Do you have Jesus Christ in you? Paul put it clearly, "Jesus Christ is in you unless you fail to meet the test." In other words, if you are saved, you have Jesus Christ in you. What would happen if Jesus were not in you? Would you not perish and be rejected? This is a very weighty matter. It is about our soulswhether they to be saved or be rejected and perish. We must carefully examine ourselves. Do not be a nominal Christian who takes on the appearance of a Christian doesnt have Jesus in you. You will be rejected by God in the end. Lets look at another verse.

Revelation 3:20: "Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me." I'd like to explain a little bit. Listen -- we use listen to ask for special attention. When the matter is especially important and crucial, and we want people to pay close attention, we say listen. What important thing does Jesus want to draw our attention to?

"I am standing at the door." Here, the door refers to the door of our hearts. Knocking refers to Jesus standing at the door of our hearts and knocking on it. The purpose of knocking at the door is simple -- wanting to come in or to send things in. Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts, wanting to come into our hearts and give us his grace.

How does Jesus Christ knock on the door of our hearts? Does he stretch out his hand from heaven and knock on our chests? Of course not! Hearing the Word is Jesus is knocking. Believing in the Word, is opening the door and inviting him in.If you hear my voice and open the door. Here the word if tells us that some people will open the door, but others won't. It is sad if we open our hearts to let the devil come in, but give Jesus the cold shoulder when he knocks. The sayings "A bad padlock invites a picklock," and "love darkness rather than the light," are portraiture of today's world. But if someone opens the door, what will happen?

"I will come in to you." That's what our Lord says. If we open the door of our hearts, Jesus will come in. When we want sunlight or air in our house, we simply open the door and window to let it in. Our Lord Jesus is like sunlight; open the door, light comes in. He is also like air; open the window, air comes in. So, in the same way we let sunlight and air in, we don't need to do much -- we open our hearts and invite Jesus in. There was a little boy who wanted to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior. So he prayed, Jesus, "I open my heart, please come in." When he finished, people asked him, "Has Jesus come into your heart?" "He has," answered the boy. "How do you know He has?" Without thinking of an answer the boy said: "Because he said that if I open the door, he comes in. I have opened, so he must have come." Jesus is the God who created heaven and earth, when God knocks, do we just stand and not quickly invite Him in? Jesus is more honorable than any president, any king and prime minister. Should we not hurriedly open the door? Jesus' love for us is deeper than anyone in the world. When the one who loves us most knock, do we not open it? Jesus came from heaven to earth, died on the cross and rose from the dead; we can never fully comprehend what he had endured for our sake. Now he stands at the door, knocks with nail-scarred hands and will you not open it? It is vital whether we have Jesus in our hearts-with Him, you are saved; without Him, you shall perish. Will you goof off in such a life-death matter? I pray that the Lord will have mercy on you and you will learn like a child-open your heart respectfully and invite Jesus in.

Original article: 什么叫做信耶稣 (kuanye.net)

Image credit: Corcovado Jesus, by Doug Wheller, via Flickr

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