What Is A Believer?
By Eli Stutzman
September 1, 2008
In the book of Acts 16:31 it tells us of a sermon by Paul and Silas to the jailer;
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
It seemed too easy to preach such a short sermon and have such a large impact on the life of their jailer. Surely many of these Roman rulers had personally met and heard Jesus in their earlier years. How could anyone not believe what they had seen with their own eyes? But there is more to it! Lets examine what the difference is between believing about and believing on.
I believe about Hitler. I remember when he was alive and saying all kinds of things. History has recorded the facts. Many people alive today heard him and knew what he stood for. That does not make them or me a follower. Now whether you believe about or on Hitler makes a huge difference. If you believe about him, fine, most of us do. But if you believed in him you would study to see what his ideas and instructions were for all kinds of situations. You would diligently copy his thinking and make it part of your life. We know it says in James 2:19
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
So we see believing that there is one God is not going to save anyone. There is obviously more.
Believing in Jesus involves looking at what HIS teaching and commands are. If Jesus is LORD as he says, then my believing must allow him to directly affect my life. If I decide Jesus had some good ideas and I will follow some of his commands, am I then a disciple? Of course not. But now if I say and determine that I am going to set my life on a course that makes me a believer in Jesus Christ, and that in spite of failures (sin), my life shall honor Jesus, I am still a disciple. A disciple says sin must decrease. That is what is meant by dying to self. Selfishness is the cause of almost all failures. Therefore, self must decrease, Christ must increase. Faith (believing) is known by action.
Unfortunately, action can be there without faith. Some very good things are done by people who are not believers in Jesus Christ. How then shall we tell the difference? It is confusing if we only look at the good works. As for me, I listen to what you say as well as what you do.
ACTS 10:43 To him (Jesus) give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
I now emphasize the words "whosoever" and "believeth" in the verse above. Whosoever is absolutely anyone. Believe in Him and not simply about. Find out who He is and what He claims. We cannot call on the Lord for mercy if we don't know who He is. We can't know who he is unless someone tells us whether in print or by voice. If someone tells us, how do we know he is telling the truth? I look for personal experience of what God has done in the person's life.
Jesus changed my life. Can He change yours?
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