Believing That, Believing In

Every time I fly somewhere I always notice a very specific and important moment on my trip: it’s the moment I transfer my weight from the end of the jetway onto the jet by stepping through the door. It’s a very delibrate act of the will, a decision that I make to trust the plane and it’s pilots to lift my body to 30,000 feet, hurl it at 500 miles per hour several hundred miles away, and then land it gently at another airport, where I can take the same step off the plane and onto another jetway. When you think of it, that step at the end of the jetway is quite a step of faith. And yet, every day millions of people around the world take that step.

It’s that moment of weight transfer at the end of the jetway that fascinates me. For in that instant, I go from believing that the airplane can take me to, say, Nashville, Tennessee – as I did yesterday morning – to actually believing in it to do so. Simply  believing that the airplane could take me to Nashville, Tennessee didn’t get me here. I had to believe in the plane. I had to entrust my very life to the plane. Only then could it get me to Nashville, Tennessee.

This difference between believing that something is true as opposed to believing in it is critical for everyone to understand when it comes to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We can believe certain things about God and Jesus just like we can believe certain things about airplanes and their pilots. But mere mental ascent isn’t enough. Just like airplanes, God and Jesus can’t do us any good if we don’t believe in them; if we aren’t willing to take them at their word and entrust our very souls to them. This act of  surrender – trust – is what the word “in” means in that most famous Bible verse of all, John 3:16.

“God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

There are many other examples in the Bible of believing in or on Jesus. Here’s one more:

“To the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Romans 4:5

Just as trusting in a plane is a life and death matter, so trusting in God and Jesus, is a life and death matter. Only in the latter case, it’s an eternal life and death matter because it involves our soul. 

So what exactly is it that God wants us to trust Jesus to do? What He wants us to do is to acknowledge that we have sinned and are sinners and to put our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, as the one who paid the penalty for our sin. That is the step at the end of the jetway God is asking us to take. We can know all about God. We can know all about Jesus. But until we personally trust in Jesus – rely completly on Him – as the one who paid the penalty for our sin, we are still standing on the jetway.

So have you taken that last step? Have you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ? If not, I invite you to do so. Here’s a prayer you can use to express your decision to trust Jesus Christ as your savior from sin.

“Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I accept your gift of forgiveness by placing my faith and trust in your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you that He died for me on the cross and rose again. Come into my life and be my Lord. Help me to live for you. In Jesus name, Amen.”

If that was the prayer of your heart, welcome. You have just stepped out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.

This post first appeared in NewCommandment.org.

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