** A repeat post from FB - but one I feel is important to reshare! Enjoy!
As I sat in the church during my Uncle’s memorial service, I heard of all the wonderful characteristics of who he was, how he portrayed so many “Christ-like” characteristics, and how much he was loved. I also heard a message that is often given at funerals of how he is now in heaven, and one day we will join him if we only believe in Jesus. It was during this message, I found myself to become unsettled. I felt the Holy Spirit stirring in my heart some thoughts as I heard the all too famous verse being quoted from John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
All we had to do is believe in Christ and we one day would join him in heaven. Hmmm… really all we have to do is believe. As I looked around the church, and watched so many people agreeing with this message the pit in my stomach grew deeper. Not because of the message given, but because there is more to it the just the knowledge of who Christ is, and the belief that he came and died on the cross for our sins, it is a matter of head vs. heart.
Many people understand and even believe in Christ, yet, have no relationship with Christ, and have not yet made Him the Lord and Savior of their life. Many even claim to be Christians, yet bear no fruit, or understanding what it means to be a Christian. They get it in their head, but not in their heart. Heck, even the demons get it in their head, they even believe in Christ, but to follow Christ is a whole different story. We see this in James 2:18-19 “But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works. "Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! “
This is all too common and really hit home to me today. I am saddened that so many have this false hope, that they too will be in heaven, because they believe that Jesus died on the cross, yet never accepted him to be their personal savior. We see this through Luke 13:22-30: “He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, open to us,' then he will answer you, 'I do not know where you come from.' Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.' But he will say, 'I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!' In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
We are told all too often that it is all so simple “just believe,” and so many “just believe.” It is head knowledge. It is a false sense of security that they too will be going to heaven because they believe that Jesus came and died for their sins. They believe that this is the answer that will win them eternity in heaven, and that they have nothing to worry about.
Believing who Christ is, is only a part of the key to heaven. Knowing who Christ is, having a relationship with Christ, and walking with Christ, living a life pleasing to him, is the answer. Having heart knowledge of who HE is, and becoming so close to him, that he says, Yes, Father, I know who he/she is! I paid the price on the cross for him/her. That is the heart of believing. It is so much more than just knowledge about Christ; it is the knowledge of his character, and so desperately striving to be more like him. I love how Paul puts this in Ephesians 4:17-32
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
I pray that I will have a relationship with Christ like this, bear the fruits of the Spirit, and on that day that my name is called in Heaven, I will hear the words “well done, my good and faithful servant!” I pray that you too will come to know the saving knowledge of who Christ is, and that you have the eternal hope that I have, not a hope built on false perceptions.