Links Daily Devotional

To Work or To Believe?, Part 2: Belief

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29, NIV)

Let’s think about what happens when we seek out a golf teacher…

Every serious golfer has had to ponder this: Who will I take lessons from? What benefit will they bring to my game? What are their claims? Do they back those claims up through their students’ improved skills and/or by their own expertise? Ultimately, we are sizing them up to determine if we can believe in them, because it’s hard to follow what they will instruct and show us if we don’t trust or believe what they say. If we do believe, then we start implementing and making changes based on that trust relationship.

I know that all analogies break down at one point, but I am trying to grasp what believe really means. In Christ’s case, his claims have such magnitude that to believe him has a deep transforming effect in us.

From Scripture we find that to believe in Jesus is to believe that he was sent from God, he is Son of Man and Son of God, fully human and fully divine, that he is the true Teacher, the Word, never leading astray, always speaking truth, always loving, always covering with grace, always ready to forgive. The Father has placed his seal of approval on him, and his blood purchased forgiveness for our sins. Sin is the thing that continuously causes us to fail the test; Christ’s death and resurrection is the provision that allows us to pass the test.

It is hard to really believe all this. The proposition almost sounds too good to be true.

The existence of Jesus isn’t too hard to accept, as we have historical records more numerous for his life than Julius Ceasar’s. Eyewitness accounts of the miracles and prophecy in Scripture help us believe the resurrection and his deity. Jesus’ claims are backed up! But grace, this new and unique concept of Christianity, strikes us as unbelievable. It is completely outside what we are used to. That’s because the solution was engineered through perfect love.

Our hearts resist God’s pardon! And to think others can be pardoned in this same way is also a challenge—especially the really “bad” sinners (though we know full well that there is no such thing as a “good” sinner). We are so used to “earning” our way that we constantly want to go back to that system.

Deep in our hearts, we know we deserve punishment. That is why we act out sometimes and give God the silent treatment or find “work” to do to try to “make things right.” Unfortunately, self-righteousness and pride lead us astray to think that we can save even one hair on our heads by a good deed. That is unbelief!

Christ’s blood provided complete forgiveness—a gift almost too big to accept! Almost. But our sin, however great, wasn’t too big for God to accept. He took it all! That is why the gift is so extravagant. And thus, it takes much humility to accept and believe grace. We must stop working and lay down our efforts in exchange for his.

Forgiveness freely given leads us to deep gratitude. It changes our heart and our whole life. Jesus is the ultimate trustworthy Teacher. Let’s believe and follow him!

Isabelle Beisiegel

November 15, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

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