Belief In ≠ Belief
…you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
– 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
Last Sunday my pastor Jeremy Freeman made this statement:
Believing in God does not always equal believing God.
I could not agree more!
It is 100% possible to have a general belief in the existence of God, even the God of the Bible, without having your life changed by believing what God has said. I know this is true because I was once someone who was in a church for twenty plus years believing in God and not believing God.
After God saved me from my self-deception and false assurance, I believe it is my calling to proclaim this message to others!
I don’t care if you attend a church, or if you went down front and had a pastor baptize you, or even if you prayed a prayer.
NONE OF THAT WILL SAVE YOU FROM HELL.
You can fill a pew every Sunday, throw some money in an offering plate, pat the pastor on the back after every sermon, then spend all eternity under God’s judgment for your sin.
In fact, some of the most regular church goers in the world, the Pharisees, were called whitewashed tombs (John 5:44). Sure, they kept a bunch of rules, went to worship, gave to the temple, and to the poor, and they loved patting each other on the back (John 5:44), all while being dead on the inside. They had no life in them. Each one of them believed in God, but they rejected believing God.
They wanted their own god. They wanted to decide what their god was like and what their god would do and say. They wanted a god on their own terms. Friends, to believe in, love, follow, and devote one’s life to a god that is different from who God himself has said he is, is idolatry!
God came to destroy every idol in our lives. Everything that we would raise up for ourselves in his place and seek to find our joy in more than him, he came to tare down. He loves us too much to leave us hopeless and empty at our altars of wood, stone, religion, money, sex, power, reputation, self-pity, and many more. Including our own imagination.
…we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by [Jesus Christ] whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. – Acts 17:29-31
Christ came to not help us feel comfortable while we go on our lives trying to be satisfied by ourselves or the things of this world. He came to give us new life and set us free!
The question is, have you left all idols to believe God’s word about who he is? Do you believe him that we are sinners in need of his salvation? I’m not asking if you have asked Jesus into your heart, I’m asking if you have asked him to come into all your life and take over!? Is he your Lord? Have you brought all that you are before him and said, “I’m 100% yours.”
That is repentance and is where you will find true forgiveness and freedom. Forgiveness of your sin so that you can be united with God, and free to finally follow what he has called you to do: to enjoy and proclaim his name and glory!
Sunday Reflections are short articles that share thoughts from weekly Bible reading, devotions, sermons, or times of worship. You can find more of them here.