There is a haunting warning contained within the Gospel ofÂ Matthew.Â In the seventhÂ chapterÂ verses, 21-23, it reads:
In this series of verses we are offered a warning that there is the potential to have Christ deny any relationship between Him and us.Â How doÂ ChristiansÂ know theÂ differencesÂ that existsÂ between knowing of Him and believing in Him?Â The true importance of this topic is difficult to fully quantify in written word but consider the promise to those thatÂ believe as opposed to merely knowing of Him,Â as highlighted in John 3:16-17:
â€œFor God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.Â For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.â€Â (NIV)
Those that â€œbelieveâ€ in Him are promised eternal life.Â Many reading this are probably groaning at the prospect of life eternal, but this promised existence is glorious and is devoid of the pain that we experience in this life.
Our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Father is the most important component in our faith as Christians.Â This verse is manifesting and declaring our Godâ€™sÂ impossibleÂ loveÂ for us.Â This love is notÂ self-centeredÂ or an esoteric concept for men to debate, but it is a literal manifestation through the sacrifice of His Son!Â Â This incredible demonstrationÂ ofÂ true love,Â Godâ€™s own self sacrifice, gives us hope and eternal promise.Â Â Â How do we distinguishÂ and ascertain the differences between simply knowing who Christ is,Â and establishing a true beliefÂ inÂ Him?Â How do we avoidÂ thisÂ terrible conversationÂ explained to us in Matthew, at our judgment?
GainingÂ aÂ knowledge of Christ is relatively simple.Â Reading the Bible gives theÂ seekerÂ a glimpse into both his nature and his ministry.Â Researching the writingsÂ of historical figuresÂ around the time of Christ substantiates His existence.Â This intellectual acknowledgementÂ of the man that was Jesus doesÂ notÂ requireÂ any heavy liftingÂ neither intellectually norÂ with regards to our faith.Â One can even intellectually agree on the divinity of Jesus, but even this agreement does not truly constitute the act of believing,Â that Christ is seeking from us.
For example, after my exit from the LDS faithÂ I struggled with my belief in God andÂ consequentlyÂ my doubtsÂ regarding Christ.Â Â During this dark walk without God,Â I was given the opportunity to attend a local First Presbyterian church, where I heard a sermon regarding the historicity of Jesus Christ.Â During this sermon I wasÂ intellectuallyÂ forced to acknowledge the historicity of aÂ man name Jesus Christ, but the most important moment came when the Pastor began to discuss the resurrection.Â As he discussed the evidences of Christ beingÂ raised,Â I was faced with an incredibleÂ prospect;Â I had to acknowledge the Son of God!Â I could and had to acknowledge Him after this sermon, but I did not yet â€œbelieveâ€ in Him as stated in John and Matthew.Â Â At this point, I now know that Â I would have had a very difficult and devastating discussion with Christ at my judgment due to my lack of true belief in Him. Despite my knowledge of Him, He did not yet know me.
The act of â€œbelieving,â€ that He is commanding and pleading with us to gain,Â involves trust and confidence. This trust and confidenceÂ must beÂ placed in the knowledge that only He can save us!Â Â Not only do we trust him with matters of eternal destiny;Â weÂ mustÂ trust in Him enough to place Him at the head of our lives and daily affairs.Â Â ToÂ believe,Â is to place trust in His teachings, words, and example.Â ToÂ believe,Â is to trust that He can and does have the power to change our lives.
If you have never before trusted Jesus Christ, let this promise of transformation and everlasting life be yours todayÂ -Â believe!Â Declare your own spiritual bankruptcy, knowing that there is nothing you can do to secure your own salvation.Â After reading this please drop to your knees and pray to allow Him to come intoÂ your lifeÂ and take over.