By Femi Aribisala
The Jews asked Jesus: “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” He said to them: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he sent.” (John 6:28-29).
Jesus is the Saviour therefore, undoubtedly, belief in Jesus is fundamental to salvation. Often, when people came to Jesus for healing, he would ask: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28). When he visited his hometown, John notes: “He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13:58).
Jesus did not tell Nicodemus to become more religious to obtain eternal life. He did not tell him to give more tithes and offerings to the synagogue. He simply told him to believe in him: “For 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.” (John 3:16).
Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to determine precisely what it means to believe in Jesus; especially because although demons believe, nevertheless, they are not saved.
Faith in Jesus is an active participle. If we believe in Jesus, our actions will testify to our faith. James says: “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18). Likewise, the psalmist says: “I believe therefore I speak.”
If we believe in Jesus, we would not be overwhelmed by sickness because he is our healer. If we believe, we would not be dismayed by loss because he is our redeemer. If we believe, we would not be intimidated by giants in the wilderness of life knowing he is our shield.
If we truly believe, everything we do and do not do will derive from our belief. Indeed, anything and everything that does not come from belief in Jesus is a sin. (Romans 14:23).
So answer me this: what precisely has your belief in Christ ever caused you to do? Those are the things that validate your salvation. Have you ever removed the roof of a house because you believe in Jesus? Has your belief finally led you to lay down your life for Christ’s sake?
We walk by our faith: we don’t merely stand by faith. Believing requires us to step out of a boat at Jesus’ command and walk on water. It requires us to forsake all and follow him. It requires us to walk a tightrope across a great big gorge to get to God. That tightrope is Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
Rise and walk
I was cornered by armed robbers on the way from the airport in Lagos. Nevertheless, the Lord assured me: “Nothing is going to happen to you here.” After he said this, one of the armed robbers shot me in the leg, seemingly contradicting God’s promise. But then the Lord continued: “Femi, nothing is wrong with your leg.”
Should I believe the word of the Lord, or believe the evidence of the bullet in my leg?
Later on, the Lord said to me: “I allowed you to be shot because I wanted you to see yourself using crutches. You have been using crutches all your life but did not know it.” Then he asked me: “Can a man with a broken leg walk without crutches?” I did not think so. But he insisted: “He can walk by trusting in me. Now, put down your crutches and walk.”
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I put them down but could not walk. Therefore, I had to learn to walk again, but this time by trusting in God. That is what it means to believe in Jesus. When we believe in Jesus, we do the impossible. When we believe, we rise from our sickbed, take up our bed and walk.
If we believe, we would not stay too long on any mountain: we would go forward. Because they believed, Joshua and Caleb entered the Promised Land. Because they did not believe, the rest of the Israelites perished in the wilderness.
So many so-called believers do not believe in Jesus. Most believe with their lips and not with their heart. Many profess belief in the Jesus they do not know. But true faith must be grounded in knowledge. Peter says: “Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge.”(2 Peter 1:5).
You cannot believe in Jesus from merely reading about him in the pages of the bible. You have to know the Jesus of the bible. You have to enter into a personal relationship with him. Paul says: “I know whom I have believed.” (2 Timothy 1:12).
It is a shame that today’s Christianity is rife with contradictions. The president of the Christian Union is jilted in love and falls into depression. In truth, she does not believe in Jesus. She does not know Jesus is the redeemer. The choirmaster’s project fails and thereafter he loses all hope. He does not believe in Jesus. He does not know that the hope in Jesus does not disappoint. (Isaiah 49:23).
The evangelist loses a child in a car accident and refuses to forgive the driver who hit her. She does not believe in Jesus. She does not know that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. (John 11:25). The usher’s business collapses, and he stops going to church. He does not believe in Jesus. He does not know that the Father of our Lord Jesus is not mediated through results.
Believe to see
Thomas says of the resurrected Jesus: “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”(John 20:25). Poppycock! Seeing is not believing. The Jews saw Jesus’ multiplication of five loaves to feed five thousand and still did not believe in him. They came asking to see another miracle before they would believe.
Miracles don’t lead to belief: belief leads to miracles. We don’t see to believe; we believe to see. David says: “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13).
Faith in Jesus opens the eyes of the blind, enabling us to see the kingdom of God. Accordingly, Jesus said to Martha who was mourning her dead brother: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). Thereafter, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, even though he had been dead and buried for four days
When Nathaniel believed what Jesus told him, he received a promise. Jesus said to him: “You will see greater things than these. Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (John 1:50-51).
“That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3).