…but it isn’t.
I want to be truthful with you. Salvation isn’t mine to offer, but besides that, I don’t want to dangle it in front of you like a piece of candy so that you’ll get sucked in. I don’t want to “suck you in.” This isn’t a bait and switch. Because I don’t want you to dip your toe in the water.
My friend, it’s cold at first. A toe dip won’t do. You’ll try it, and you’ll come right back out. And that fear of the cold really might keep you out. Only a dive suffices. Only once you’re in, really in, do you understand that it’s anything but cold.
Enough metaphor. Believe in what?
What does “believe” mean, anyway?
“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’” Romans 10:8-11
A few very important things, then seriously I won’t be long winded tonight. Carefully consider this: how does it say you believe?
With your heart.
“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
He can see it. Before you get too excited, pause. He can see it. This is incredibly important for you to understand. A repeated prayer will not save you. It absolutely will not save you. You must believe – with your heart – that God Himself came to earth as a baby – the Lord Jesus– expressly, purposefully, to live and display the perfect life, just so that He could finally take the punishment and commit to Himself the justice that He requires in offering His own life for our sakes. You have to believe – with your heart – that He did die, that He was even tortured and crucified, the very Maker of the earth, that on that cross He took your sin and carried it to the grave. You have to believe – with your whole heart – that because this sacrifice IS sufficient to cover every single one of your sins, justice was finally served and through His power and grace and righteousness He did in fact walk out of that tomb and He lives! Our Savior lives. That’s what you have to believe.
With your heart. You don’t believe with your mouth, or with words. You believe with your heart. Confess with your mouth. Believe with your heart.
Why do I repeat that? Because He will search your heart on that final day. And you won’t fool Him with a prayer of passion that you spoke a lifetime ago and didn’t live out. Was it genuine? Do you think He won’t know?
Friend, I’m not trying to teach you to earn His love or His grace. You can’t. But I’m asking if you have believed those powerful, powerful things, with your heart. And have you confessed Him? Is He your God out loud?
Y’all, He is or He isn’t.
There will be a day when Jesus’ Book of Life will be opened. This Book is a big deal. If your name is written in there, you’ve believed and confessed, and you are welcomed in. He’s prepared a place for you in Paradise. If it’s not written in there, you’ll be thrown into the lake of fire. You’ll never experience God again. Total separation. Those whispers you ignore today? They won’t return ever again. You’ll not hear Him again.
It’ll be opened. He’ll read it Himself.
GET ON THE LIST.
You just don’t believe? Well then by all means ask for help with that!
Jesus said to him, “ ’If You can?’ Believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24
A father of a boy with a demon asked Jesus if He could help, which in hindsight to us is kind of cute. Of course He could. And He did. But note that there, that there’s a precedent for asking for help with unbelief. Don’t be afraid to do it.
I could talk all night but I won’t. Believe. If you do it with your whole heart, I can guarantee you won’t regret it. Don’t count the cost and dip just a toe in? Regret will abound. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.
As always! Much love and many prayers for your humility of spirit, soft hearts to get the truth, open eyes to see it, and belief to sink deep into the reality of your heart.
Next time: Repentance.